Summary: No. 7 in a series of 8 messages on the church covenant dealing with our care for one another
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. )
1. This promise takes things a step further. It says that we agree to cultivate (do things to achieve something in our lives) sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech. And since we have already labored the point of cultivating Christian speech, we won’t say much about it, except that it is in perfect harmony with the rest of scripture. But what is striking is that we promise to strive to make our feelings toward others right. We promise to be sympathetic in our feelings.
2. 1 Peter 3:8, Heb 10:24, Eph 4:29, 32, 1 Cor 12:25,
3. Illustration: “Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That’s what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.” 1 of about 20 reality checks for women from men, For 30 years, Randy Murphy drove without a traffic incident, without being stopped by the police, and without a driver’s license. Then, the 46 year old Knoxville, Tennessee native’s luck ran out. On his way home from work as a dishwasher, he increased the volume on his radio. Turning the corner he was stopped by police officer Mark Taylor who pulled him over because of the blaring music. When Officer Taylor asked Murphy for a driver’s license, Murphy admitted he didn’t have one. What would we expect in that situation? Officer Taylor asked Murphy why he didn’t have a license. Murphy said that he couldn’t read enough to pass the written test. With uncommon courtesy, Taylor told Murphy, if you’re willing, I’d like to help you with the reading part of the test. The police officer gave Murphy his pager number. Later that afternoon, Murphy paged Taylor to schedule their first meeting. For the next three months the men met several times a week to review the test booklet. When Murphy felt ready, Taylor accompanied him to the department of motor vehicles. Murphy took the test six times before he passed and then sailed through the road test. Taylor’s act of kindness earned him the Officer of the Month award from the Knoxville Police Department.