Summary: condemning heart
Did you hear the story about the Hot air balloon? This man was traveling in a hot air balloon when he realized he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a woman below. He descended a bit more and shouted, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am." The woman below replied, "You’re in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You’re between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude."
"You must be an engineer," said the balloonist.
"I am," replied the woman, "How did you know?"
"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is, technically correct, but I’ve no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I’m still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help at all. If anything, you’ve delayed my trip."
The woman below responded, "You must be in Management."
"I am," replied the balloonist, "but how did you know?"
"Well," said the woman, "you don’t know where you are or where you’re going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise, which you’ve no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it’s my fault."
Let me ask you, How many of you this morning are the man in the balloon and how many are the lady on the ground; how does it help anyone, if we start blaming people, getting technical, for every disappointment we feel? How many of us have a master degree in history, citing every infraction, feeling every slight as an offence punishable by death? Have you ever said, they did not do this for me, but they did that for George and Sally on their birthdays? How can they forget me? I thought they were supposed to be Christians and love me.
Let’s see what John has to say, 1 John 3:11-24: 11 This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 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. 13 Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19 This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20 whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
John tells us that the oldest message in the world is the message “We should love one another.” And the first person in the world to disobey that message was Cain. We still live in a world where resentments, anger, grudges and violence dominates. Daily we hear stories of people not being loved, rather they are killed, raped, divorced, bullied, sued, terrorized, abused, have road rage and it happens to everyone, whether you are at home, office, school; Christian or not. People are living with hatred, which the Bible equates as murder in their hearts. It seems like our world is overrun with the Cain syndrome despite the fact that churches throughout our country are filled this morning with people. Do we really love one another?
Well, beside the fact that Jesus told us to love each other, John gives us another reason why we should love one another and it is more likely to be one we can all certainly relate too. You might want to underline the first part of verse 20. V20 “whenever our hearts condemn us.”