Summary: As we obey the two great commands we overcome the world. Living for God, serving all people.
Overcome the World!
How deep the Fathers love for us!
How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory
Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that left Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom
I have gained from the life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ! This is my testimony, he is my wisdom, he is my confidence – but why should it be?
Well let’s try and address this question that Andrew contemplates quite often. I have done nothing but respond to what Jesus did in defeating sin and death. But wait there’s more!
Read 1 John 4:19 – 5:5
The Apostle John, this esteemed follower of and teacher about Jesus, this great man of God in his letters has a tendency to repeat himself, have you noticed that as we have gone through this series on his letters he keeps coming back to this point about the love of God. He writes about how God loved us and that we are to respond by loving our brother, one another and those around us who are in need. John points out that we are to love pretty much everyone, Old Uncle Tom Cobbly and all. My apology to the youth here about that reference to Uncle Tom Cobbly it’s an English Folk song that that the older folks here will be familiar with, it is a reference to others. We are to love others. So why was it that John repeated himself?
a) The people of the early church had short term memory problems
b) The people of the early church were plain outright thick
c) The people of the early church came from backgrounds where God’s love was not known
d) The people of the early church were lacking this vital teaching and were getting tied up in all sorts of other thinking that was of no real value
e) The people of the early church had confidence issues about their standing before God
f) A combination of the above
What we have to remember is that all scripture is given by the inspiration of God and that only scriptures constitute the divine rule of Christian faith and practise. The church at the time was struggling with odd beliefs, with some pretty wacky kind of teaching, stuff that had sort of slid under the door, odd theology that wasn’t in line with Jesus teaching and person. John was bringing the church through his letters back to the truth, back to two great commandments. “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’” (Luke 10:27).
1)Why because while people were saying they loved God, they didn’t show in the way they treated others. That sort of “Oh Jesus how I love you, your my best friend but I’m going to argue, fight, get my own way no matter what blah, blah, blah, blah it’s all about me and if I trample over a few others so what!”, sort of stuff. The two great commands were not being carried out, John paraphrased the great command by saying that God has given us the command in verse 21; “Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” (v.s 21b). We ourselves have this commandment paraphrased as our Corps Vision statement “Living for God, serving all people.” Is this a gutsy commitment or is it doing what God requires of us?
2)John goes onto say “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his child as well.” Well here’s a curly question, one of the joys of being the bloke whose preaching is that you get to ask some curly questions. But then again sometimes they come with even curlier answers.
The question: who is the child of God that John is saying we are to love? In this case it’s the person next to you, that dear old grey headed person, or perhaps not to older grey headed person, that lanky teenager, that wriggly little kid, it’s the dairy owner, it’s the neighbour who wakes you with their lawn mower or by screaming at their kids, it’s the housewife living up the hill who drinks to take away the pain of abuse, it’s the person you pass daily and never talk to, it’s that person new to the situation who looks a bit scarey but who is hiding behind their own fear. Getting down to the nitty gritty, these people are our neighbours. On a world level it’s the country that is a political adversary as much as the one who is our friend, the people with different ethics and religions that we don’t have to agree with to love. Have you thought that it is this love that brings them to God – to an awareness of their place as his children?