Summary: This sermon explores how our relationship with God results in us developing relationships with others.
The Christian life revolves around having two loves.
One is God
And the other is other people…
People in our congregation and people in our wider community
But Loving as God commands is not always easy….
Some people can be very difficult to love
Is there someone you find difficult to love?
Do you struggle with loving some people?
Maybe they have hurt you.
Perhaps they are soo different from you that there is nothing in common.
Our struggle to love someone shows that we are human.
And it shows that we are serious about love.
Anyone can have a theoretical romantic approach to love.
From a distance we can say we care about someone.
We can even pray for them.
But are prayers are often the starting point that maybe pointing us towards some action.
For instance in Matthew 9:37-38 Jesus says to the disciples ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into the harvest field.
Then in the very next verse in chapter 10 guess what He says to the disciples.
And that is being active in love.
And such love is hard.
Loving a homeless person,
Loving someone who has hurt you,
Loving someone who is different from you
or Loving a problem person are some of the people God wants us to love.
And loving them can be difficult.
Satan and many people in the world give us excuses of why we don’t have to love them.
To treat them with love.
Like they don’t really deserve it.
Or it probably won’t work or they may even take it for granted.
Yet loving others is what God calls each one of us to be actively doing.
And this type of love involves giving more than receiving.
Mother Teresa in a famous speech highlights that the love God calls all Christians to be involved in,
Is the love that is not too focussed on what we receive, what we have or even how it makes us feel.
But rather Christian love is focussed on giving.
Giving away what God has given us.
Consider verses 12 and 13 of today’s reading from John 15
Jesus says 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
Friendship for God is not based on what we have done for Him,
But rather what He has done for us.
Listen again to verse 16 of John 15
16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.
God is calling us to be involved in a love that gives
Many people find giving and laying down their life even for their friends difficult.
Let alone those people we have problems with.
As people affected and infected by this world,
Most of our lives are orientated around what makes us comfortable, what we want, what we can get, what we have.
Giving like Jesus is not a natural thing for us.
At times we will struggle in loving others as God has loved us.
There is only one remedy for this
We need to constantly be connected to the source of love.
When it comes to love we are a lot like a soaker hose.
A soaker hose is nothing more than a dry bit of rubber.
It has no hope of giving life
For it to be effective it needs to be connected to a source of water.
But when it is connected to water
Water flows not only into it but also through it and out of it.
It not only receives water it also passes water onto whatever is around it.
Likewise for us to love like Jesus
We need to be connected to God
And when we do this God and His love not only flows in us,
It also flows through us and onto those around us.
And so our times of worship together
Our times in small groups
Our times in personal and family devotions
Are times where God is not only showing His love to us,
But also preparing us to love others as He has loved us.
Now a starting point of how we are to love others is the ten commandments.
And from 1st John 5 verse 3 says
This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,
Many people are adverse to rules.
They will look for ways around them.
Some people think God commandments are too hard.
And they are hard, we know they are impossible to completely meet.
But avoiding them because we can’t always meet them is not the answer.
Consider this Jesus says when you obey the commandments you are showing love not only to God but also to others.