Summary: John pointing out the path of God in a fllen world.
Loving One Another
June 11, 2006
When a therapist works with a couple that is struggling with communication/struggling with conversing, an activity she may use is to have the couple sit back to back with a identical set of blocks in front of each of them. The activity is for each person to build the same structure having 1 person being the instructor, giving directions. While the other person simply listens. The second person cannot talk. He simply must listen carefully. So as the instructor takes 1 block at a time and instruct the other to do the same. "Take 1 yellow block and lay it sideways"/ "take 1 red block and place it on top" a structure is made.
The goal is to have both structures looking alike. The goal is for the one spouse to speak clearly and in an understandable way and for the other to listen really well. Most of the time the outcome from this activity looks quite differently. But when the therapists says let’s do it again and this time each of you can talk as much as you like/back and forth - the structures end up looking nearly identical.
On a typical Sunday, I in a sense am the instructor and you the ones who sit quietly. I talk desiring to share with you how to go about walking with and in Jesus. And you listen.
It is one way communication. But not today.
If we are going to go about building this Christian life, 2-way conversation works best.
So that is why you are facing each other this morning.
Rather than staring at the back of the head of the person in front of you, I want you to see each other’s faces. To see your fellow pilgrims who are on the Jesus path.
This may be uncomfortable.
A bit unsettling for some of you.
But I do it to make the point. We are in this together. We - as a family - as children of God live at our best when we live with each other.
There will be opportunities: to speak.
to be still.
Our text for today is 1 John 3:11-24. Rather than reading it through all at once, we will read it in 5 sections during the service.
The reason for 5 sections is because 5x in this text. 5x in these 13 verses John begins a sentence by using the word "This".
Not only does John use the word "this" 5x in our text for today but he also uses it 14 other times in this book of 5 chapters.
19x in total, John uses the word "this".
Why? Because he wants to-
make a point
define the way of God to a people who were:
led astray by false teachers.
John wants to get them back on track so he says "This is the message," or "This is how we know" or "This is love".
Imagine for a moment that someone has given you a trip to some unfamiliar place. You didn’t have time to research your location and you want to take it all in. You want to see the good spots and skip over the tourist traps. When you get off the train you see a sign "Tourist Bureau" and you head there immediately.
You walk in and ask the person behind the desk what do I need to see while I’m here. I have 2 days here, what would you recommend?
And the person behind the desk takes out a map and says.
"These are the places you need to visit. Don’t waste your time with the other spots. Go to these."
That is what John is doing throughout the book we call 1 John. He is pointing out the way. The path of God in a fallen world.
This is the way of Jesus.
This is his message.
This is the truth . . .
And in today’s text he is leading us into the way of love.
The geography/the landscape he wants to take us on - familiarize us with his love. There are 5 movements in these verses.
1st John is going to tell us what love isn’t.
2nd John is going to invite us to love like Jesus.
3rd John is going to give us some assurance.
4th John is going to ask us to respond.
5th John is going to and lastly John will equip us to live this way.
Movement #1 - The Confession - vs. 11-15
"This is the message you heard from the beginning. We should love one another."
That’s the message - our duty is to love.