Sermons

Summary: Tying the Gospel portion of the lectionary (John 15:1 - 8) to today’s text (I John 4:7 -21) we can draw the conclusion that if we are detached from the life giving vine that we are incomplete, insecure, dissatisfied and spiritually starving.

PERFECTING LOVE

Text: I John 4:7 - 21

1 John 4:7-21  Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. (8) Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.  (9)  God's love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him.  (10)  In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.  (11)  Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.  (12)  No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.  (13)  By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.  (14)  And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world.  (15)  God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God.  (16)  So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.  (17)  Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world.  (18)  There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.  (19)  We love because he first loved us.  (20)  Those who say, "I love God," and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.  (21)  The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also (NRSV).

All you have to do is listen to popular music and you will hear all kinds of viewpoints about what love is and how people look for it and are disgusted or heartbroken when love has disappointed them. Listen to some song titles in popular music about love… Tainted Love (Soft Cell), What’s Love Got To Do With It? (Tina Turner), You Give Love A Bad Name (Bon Jovi), Love Stinks (J Geils Band), Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places (Mickey Gilley). Way before these songs were ever recorded, love has been misunderstood and misrepresented. Today’s text tells us how love is about how genuine unconditional love is from God.

In our world today, we have a lot of misunderstanding about what genuine unconditional love is as so many try to find love apart from God. Without God’s love we are incomplete! The Gospel section of the lectionary (John 15:1- 8) helps us understand that apart from Jesus Christ we can do nothing. Jesus tells us that He is the Vine, God our Heavenly Father is the Vine grower and that we are the branches. Tying the Gospel portion of the lectionary (John 15:1 - 8) to today’s text (I John 4:7 -21) we can draw the conclusion that if we are detached from the life giving vine that we are incomplete, insecure, dissatisfied and spiritually starving.

Today we will explore insecure love, unrequited love, and perfecting love.

INSECURE LOVE

What is it like for those who have not experienced God’s love? Are they incomplete?

1) Fear: How many times did you run to your parents when something scared you?

One summer night during a severe thunderstorm a mother was tucking her small son into bed. She was about to turn the light off when he asked in a trembling voice, "Mommy, will you stay with me all night?" Smiling, the mother gave him a warm, reassuring hug and said tenderly, "I can't dear. I have to sleep in Daddy's room." A long silence followed. At last it was broken by a shaky voice saying, "The big sissy!" http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/f/fear.htm Why do children want the comforting of their parents when they are scared? Every child wants to feel secure.

2) God shaped hole: Is there a God shaped hole in their lives? Do they suffer from separation anxiety? Saint Augustine ‘s (354 - 430) answer was yes. Augustine had tried to fill the God-shaped hole in his life. He tried to fill that God-shaped hole in his life with everything but God. In his quest he was lustful, ignorant and aimless. He was like a sailing ship on windless sea. He had separation anxiety looking for love in all the wrong places until he found fulfillment in God’s love when he at last concluded in his writing entitled Confessions he said, “Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in Thee”. How many are there who go on a quest looking to fill that God-shaped hole in their lives only to fill empty?

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