Summary: Mother's Day Sermon that transitions from the importance of a mother's love to God's love. What the world needs now is the love of God in Christ that comes through God's word.
What the World Needs Now...
“The sweetest sounds to mortals given are heard in Mother, Home and Heaven” (William Goldsmith Brown). No one can possibly mistake the connection between motherhood, love and God. God certainly hasn’t missed that connection. In the Bible He is compares Himself to a mother who cannot forget her child: “Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you” (Isaiah 49.15). Mothers, in many ways bring us close to an understanding of God’s love.
Yet the world still struggles to find love. In the 1960s Americans sang the song “What the world needs now is love, sweet love. That’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.” Before that time and since, many, many songs have been written appealing for love. Why does love so often fall apart in this world? Why do marriages decay into bitterness and families disintegrate into spite and separation. Why do friends stop talking to one another and colleagues hold grudges?
Today we are going to look at the Easter life in terms of love from the teaching of the Apostle Peter. He will not look for improvement in this part of life with psychological evaluations, improved education, or genetic advances. No, Peter will direct us to something far greater than all of those. He will direct us to the love of God in Christ.
Goal: “Love one another earnestly...”
One of the greatest examples of love in the Bible comes to us from a mother named Jochobed. She was the mother of Moses, who was born at a time when the Egyptians were killing all newborn Israelite boys. Jochobed loved her son and was determined to do anything she could to save him even if it meant one of the greatest acts of love... giving him up! She put him in a basket and floated him down the Nile River. The childless daughter of Pharaoh found him and adopted him. Love, ultimately is giving up for another. In this case Jochobed gave up the pleasures of being a mother in order to save her son.
The world’s love is selfish and self-centered. It says, “I will give as long as I am getting something in return.” But God’s love is sacrificial. It says, “I will give as God has given to me.” Peter urges us to practice this kind of sacrificial love. “Love one another earnestly,” he says in chapter one of his first letter. In the third chapter he says, “have compassion for one another, love as brothers...” (3.8). In the fourth chapter again he says, “Above all things have fervent love for one another...” (4.10).
What opportunities do you have to love “earnestly” and “fervently”? What opportunities do you have to love by giving up and by sacrificing for others? Is your husband or wife mean to you? Are your children disrespectful? Are your parents unfair? What will you do? Will you get angry? Will you repay evil for evil? Will you try to ignore them and avoid them? One of the biggest sacrifices of love that we can make is to endure the bad behavior of one another. Peter says in the fourth chapter: “Love covers a multitude of sins” (4.8). This doesn’t mean we should be doormats for people to wipe their feet on us. But it does mean that we won’t slam the door in their faces. We will talk. We will try. We will turn to Jesus.
Malady: Impure and dying hearts
John Elder Robinson wrote the book “Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s.” Asperger’s is a form of Autism in which a person struggles with social interaction. People with this condition have a difficult time establishing relationship but an especially difficult time when they end. Speaking about his own divorce, Robinson aptly describes the death of human love: “Relationships end, and we don’t know why... Logic tells us that it started out real. Love grows, and goes astray. Life intrudes. Other options appear. At some point, what was real became false. And looking back, we cannot know the precise time and place that it all went wrong... I believe most people are good, but life presents them hard choices. Sometimes the paths they choose are not the best. As much as we hope otherwise, we cannot control where another life leads... Sometimes, all the roads hurt.” (Blog by John Elder Robinson, November 22, 2010)
This is such a sad description of human love. It is a realistic description... Except in one very critical point. I have to disagree with John when he says, “I believe most people are good.” I know this is not a culturally popular thing to say. But it is the truth to say that people are not good. If they were, most marriages would be good. The world would be good. The problems would be few. But the reality is just the opposite. One of the worst errors you can make is to think that you are by nature a good and loving person with no need to grow. We are all born from love... The love of our parents. But this love is a perishable kind of love. Peter is right when he says that we are created from perishable seed. Human love grows beautifully like a flower at first. But eventually it dies and withers. No matter how hard we try to keep ourselves alive and our love alive, all things human are in the process of dying.