Summary: Your car is from Detroit and your TV is from somewhere in Asia. But love is an import from heaven. Love comes from above.
For the next few Sundays, we are going to focus on our relationships in our community in a series, entitled, Won’t You Be Our Neighbor? We are asking many of you to read The Art of Neighboring as we progress through the series. This is a light read that you can move through in a matter of a couple of hours. In fact, one of the simplest pieces is this tool: where you are asked to identify the names of your 8 closest neighbors. As we have been preparing for this day, our staff called this “the chart of shame.” In a recent survey, one-fourth of those surveyed indicated they had no one to talk to. Part of the problem is we are no longer rooted but we move and move and move again in an increasingly mobile society. We can be compared the life of a tourist, someone who is always moving, never belonging. Always interested in collecting experiences, but remaining superficial and disconnected from permanency. We drop into a rich but small book tucked away toward the end of our Bibles.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother” (1 John 4:7–21).
Part of the reason John is writing this letter is to enrich the relationships within the church.
1. Love is an Import
Your car is from Detroit and your TV is from somewhere in Asia. But love is an import from heaven. Love comes from above. There can be no tariff on love, for we would get in a “trade war” with heaven itself. The word “love” occurs thirty-two times in some form between 1 John 4:7 – 1 John 5:3 and 53 times in the entire letter. There’s an incontrovertible logic to John’s message.
Let me show you his logic in three steps.
1.1 The Source of Love is God
“…for love is from God…” (1 John 4:7b).
Love comes from God for look again at the end of verse eight: “…God is love.” Did you know the source of love is God? Light comes from the sun because the sun is light. Heat comes from fire because fire is heat. And loves comes from God because God is love. Love comes from above. Love flows from or out of God and has God as its spring or source.
Do you know why God created anything? God wasn’t lonely and He made you because He needed you – no, no, no, and a thousand times no! Instead, He created you for you to share in His happiness. God made you out of love in order that you may share in His happiness.
Dorothy Sayers wrote detective novels around a fictional character Lord Peter Wimsey. The daughter of a pastor, she was one of the first women to graduate from Oxford in 1915. Whimsey was an aristocrat detective from the 1930s who solved all kinds of crimes. But he was an unhappy, bachelor until a Harriet Vane shows up and saves him. About halfway through the detective series, this woman suddenly appears in the series, Harriet Vane. Dorothy Sayers looked at her character, Lord Peter Wimsey, and saw that he needed someone to help him out. So who did she put in there? Harriet Vane. It is thought by many that Vane is recreation of Sayers herself, the author of the series. In real life, she was a detective novelist, a woman, and one of the first women to go through Oxford. She put herself into her own stories. Here is a woman who had all the same characteristics as the author. She looked into the world that she had created and she fell in love with her chief character, Peter Wimsey, and she wrote herself into that story so she could heal him. Harriet Vane saves him. That’s what God did for us. God looks at us harming ourselves. He sees how we are broken, hurting, and aimless. And He writes Himself into our story. He sends His Son into our story to save us. He lovingly wrote Himself into our story.