6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: Remember the Greatest Commandment?

Introduction: The Professor’s Confession

Horrified by his students’ poor writing habits, renowned author and college professor David Foster Wallace considered how he might improve their skills. That’s when a startling question confronted him. The professor had to ask himself why a student would listen to someone “as smug, narrow, self-righteous, and condescending” as he was. He knew he had a problem with pride.

That professor could and did change, but he could never become one of his students. Yet when Jesus came to Earth, He showed us what humility looks like by becoming one of us. Stepping across all kinds of boundaries, Jesus made Himself at home everywhere by serving, teaching, and doing the will of His Father.

Even as He was being crucified, Jesus prayed for forgiveness for His executioners (Luke 23:34). Straining for every anguished breath, He still granted eternal life to a criminal dying with Him (vv. 42–43).

Why would Jesus do that? Why would He serve people like us to the very end? The apostle John gets to the point. Out of love! “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.”

Jesus showed us that His love eradicates our pride, our smugness, our condescension. And He did it in the most powerful way possible. He gave His life.

Source: Tim Gustafson

I. The Commandments Of Jesus Not The Commandments Of John 23

A. Words Of Jesus And How John Used Them Preface

1. If the verses we are reading tonight sound familiar, it is because of the wording John uses.

2. Just in the third chapter of 1John, we find:

a. Commandments 4x

b. Love 8x

c. Abide 5x

3. If we expand our search parameters to include all of 1John, we find:

a. Commandments 14x

b. Love 34x

c. Abide 20x

4. If we include all of three of Johns letters, we find:

a. Commandments 18x

b. Love 40x

c. Abide 23x

5. If you had never heard a sermon or lesson on the Letters of John, could you make a conclusion that the commandment of Jesus would be to love and abide?

B. The First Command Of Jesus 23a

1. His command is to believe on the name of Jesus

23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ

—Text 23a

2. If we believe and receive…

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:

John 1:12

3. If we don’t believe…

He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:18

4. Jesus works bear witness…

Jesus answered them, I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Fathers name, they bear witness of Me.

John 10:25

5. The whole word of God is written for a specific reason!

but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

John 20:31

6. Is there any wonder why He gave His command?

C. The Second Command Of Jesus 23b

and love one another, as He gave us commandment.

1. There are 12 occurrences of the command love one another in the NT.

a. All but three of them are found in the writing of John.

b. But we should not conclude that John is the only Apostle to repeat this commandment.

c. Both the Apostle Paul and the Apostle Peter repeated this commandment to love one another as well.

2. We know something else as well.

a. Since the Scripture is given by inspiration of God, it is God who is directing these holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

b. There is another Holy One who speaks on this matter.

You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

Leviticus 19:18

c. How about the Holiest of All?

37 Jesus said to him, You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 22:37-40

3. When John wrote, I write you no new commandment, he was not lying!

a. I want to ask you a very real and serious question.

b. Doesn’t it do us good to reinvestigate the old commandments once in awhile?

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