Summary: The heart of the gospel is love - God's love expressed through the willing sacrifice of Jesus on the cross four our sins. When embraced, this leads to us living lives of love.

July 22, 2018 Sermon - What Love is - 1 John 3:11-24

There’s a dual purpose to today’s service, and also to my message today.

Today we’re continuing in our study of the Letter of 1st John, and it has a lot to say about relationships and about love.

And of course the main reason we gather each Sunday and often during the week is to worship and glorify the living God.

The other purpose to today’s message and service is to celebrate, and also to bless and to, sort of, say goodbye to a person who has been a part of our congregation of 13 odd years,

who has grown up among us, found his confidence in Jesus, found his feet in ministry, and stretched himself to connect with another part of the body of Jesus.

James Cheyne has been a bright light among us for many years. He has led us to the throneroom of God as one of our key worship leaders.

You have enjoyed his angelic voice as he’s taught new music and sung over this congregation the blessings of God.

James learned about the love of God here first. He learned about Jesus and how Jesus gave His life for us out of love.

He learned that we love because God first loved us. (We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:9) James received Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour here at Church at the Mission, and like many of us, the course of his life was beautifully altered when he became a follower of The Way, of Jesus the Messiah.

Let’s get into our passage today.

For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.

This passage starts out with a jolting contrast. It’s intended to startle. It’s intended to get our attention.

We should love, like we’ve heard from the beginning. This is the core of the message and this is the heart of the gospel.

And this is the way we should live. We should love. We need to love. We need to love because if we don’t love, we drift. And where do we drift?

We can too quickly become like the first brother who murdered his own kin. Cain, the murderer of innocent Abel. Jealous Cain, generous Abel. Vain Cain, worshipping Abel. Obsessed Cain, available Abel.

We are compelled by the love of God to continue to return to the love of God as the basis for our lives.

We are compelled by the Word of God to make behaving in loving ways toward others a part of our character, part of our conduct.

The 4th anchor of the Way of Jesus that many of us are part of reflects this: I am learning to Love God and Others.

The phrase ‘We should love one another’ is found in this passage because it can be missing in our lives.

It’s found in our lives when we walk closely with God, when we submit to his will, when we are attuned to the Spirit of God as He speaks to us.

It can be MIA, missing in action, when, like Cain the first murderer, we walk away from God in practice;

when we allow envy of another to overwhelm us. When we become self-absorbed and self-obsessed.

The call is to love. The call is to live a life of loving God and loving others.

How do we do that? If it’s new information for us, how do we get rolling with that way of living.

If we’re stalled out and feel like we’re moving backward in our faith, how do we get back on track.

The way Jesus loves us is by giving of Himself. The way Jesus wants us to love others is by giving of ourselves.

As a pastor I’m always of looking for potential new leaders.

Leadership is important. Leaders who follow the leadership style of Jesus are critical in the life of the church.

So when I’m looking for new leaders, what do you think I do? I don’t look for flashy extroverts.

I don’t look for people who one way or another draw attention to themselves. I don’t even look for people who necessarily appear to be highly gifted.

I look first for servants. I look at the ones who stick around after the service and help clean up.

The one who comes in early and offers to help serve refreshments, to help set up for the service.

The one who sits with a new person and is welcoming and engaging to our visitors.

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