Summary: Where the joy of living a significant life comes from.
We’re in this series called, “Made to Count – Am I Living a Life that Matters?”
Last week in chapter one of John’s letter we discovered that FELLOWSHIP is one of the keys to living a life that matters. We’ve got to interact with others according to God’s instructions in order to live a satisfying and meaningful life. We need to share our joy through living authentically, taking our masks off and consistently confessing to God when we sin.
In chapter two of John’s letter there’s another key word to add to FELLOWSHIP.
This is the second integral part of a living a life that matters. We definitely can’t live a life that matters if we don’t experience and share love. I think even most people who don’t profess to follow Christ would acknowledge that.
But the emphasis John makes in this chapter is that our LOVE must be the right kind of love.
Apparently one married couple had not been expressing the right kind of love toward one another. This rich lady had her $100,000 Rolls Royce up for sale and she was only asking $100 for it. A prospective buyer asked why it was so cheap. She explained: “It was in my late husband’s will that I sell the car and give the money to his beautiful secretary.”
Or another couple. After weeks of getting the cold shoulder from his wife, an unhappy husband finally confronted her. “Admit it Linda,” he said, “The only reason you married me is because my grandfather left me ten million dollars!” “Don’t be ridiculous!” she shot back. “I don’t care who left it to you.”
We must love in the right way. We have to take our love to the highest levels in order to live a life that matters. Just like our fellowship must be the right kind of fellowship, our love must be the right kind of love if we would experience the best that God has for us.
This is vital. If you love, and all human beings experience love on some level, but if you love yet don’t learn how to love on anything higher than the natural, basic levels, then you won’t live the meaningful life God created you to live. It’s that simple.
Here’s the deal. Each one of us can experience love on four different levels – and the higher the level of our love goes - the greater our gratification of living a life that matters.
That’s why I want to talk to you today about “The four levels of love.” If we try to live a satisfying, meaningful life by merely loving on the easy levels of love, if we never get off the ground floor of love, then we’ll be disappointed when it comes to living a life that matters.
It’s not until our love matures, and grows and ascends to the highest levels that we begin to experience the meaningful life God intended for us. It’s really very simple but it’s still often overlooked.
Let’s begin by looking at the very lowest levels of love from 1 John chapter two.
I. Loving the world’s ways.
This is the lowest level. This is the level that every one of us has lived on at one time or another. Sadly, this is one of only two levels of love some people ever care about. And living on this base level assures us of NOT living a life that matters. To understand this lowest level of love look at this key passage from the Apostle John’s letter.
15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. 1 John 2:15-17 (NLT)
Now look at this same passage from a paraphrase of this Bible passage.
"Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity." 1 John 2:15-17 (Msg)
This level of love is natural to all of us and yet the Bible tells us that it is the level of love that we’re NOT supposed live on. It’s an inbred part of our sinful nature. Loving the world’s ways and the world’s goods comes naturally to us because this level of love appeals to the next level. Actually the first and second levels of love are integrally related.