Summary: No. 7 in a series of 8 messages on the church covenant dealing with our care for one another

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Text: 1 John 3:11-18, Title: So That They May Know, Date/Place: NRBC, 9/7/08, PM

A. Opening illustration: read first half of letter on p. 90 MacArthur Comm Acts 1-12

B. Background to passage: John is writing to a church involved in a split with its roots in theology. He wrote the book to salvage the church from the ruins of a damning heresy. And one of his main focus points in the book is discerning who is really “in the truth.” He has just revealed two manifestations of genuine belief, with the latter being love for the brethren. And so the text that we have read tonight is the elaboration on the fact that we must love the brethren in word and truth so that they may know that we are disciples

C. Main thought: We promise to exercise brotherly love toward others in the church in very specific ways.

A. Pray and help one another (v. )

1. One of the ways that we promise in our covenant to love one another in practical ways is by praying for one another continually, but also when sick or distressed. This is just a tangible way that we agree to demonstrate Christian love toward one another.

2. James 5:16, 1 Thess 5:17, 25, Heb 13:18, 1 Thess 5:11, Gal 6:2,

3. Illustration: This last week I was thinking about this priority of love and I saw an incredible example of it on Dateline NBC. It seems that two members of the same church participated in a 40 day prayer and fasting time to seek God’s will for their lives. One of the woman badly needed a kidney transplant, and at the end of the 40 day time of prayer and fasting, the other woman felt strongly that God was leading her to donate her kidney to this other woman. People couldn’t understand why, after all they weren’t family, they weren’t even friends before that, one was white the other was black. Her response was simply, "She has a need and God has given me the ability to meet that need…that’s what loving each other is all about." Love then is the giving of self, and as long as we have a body and are working out our salvation, it will always be synonymous with sacrifice, in the Christian sense of the word. Love sacrifices naturally just as the eye sees and the ear hears. Sometimes I am amazed at how the poorest are the most compassionate,

4. We are pretty good about praying for the sick among us. Maybe not quite as good at praying for those among the distressed (partially because we don’t always know the needs, because everyone is scared to share b/c it might become community knowledge.) We are good at praying for people who are hurting, but what about people who are not? Do you ever just pray through the church roll? And you must remember that this doesn’t happen by itself. There are wonderful people in your SS class that are responsible for it. There are 7 active deacons who are responsible for the ministry of mercy. And it takes individuals like you to take the initiative and look for needs to meet. What church member have you prayed for this week? How have you helped another in distress this week?

B. Cultivate sympathy and courtesy (v. )

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