Community Bible Chapel
Monday, September 16, 2019
A place to grow.... where everybody is somebody and Jesus Christ is Lord.
 “Love Like Jesus loves You”  John 13:34
 
Because of the calendar, we are in a bit of an odd place.

          -Normally we would be introducing the new theme the first Sunday of the year

                   and looking ahead.

          -However, today we are going to use our time to look back on the past year  

                   and evaluate our growth in Christ to “love like Jesus loves you”.

 

We introduced our theme last year and the difficulty of growing to love more like Jesus.

          -The fact that we picked this theme speaks to the fact that people don’t love

very well.

          -Why do broken relationships, divorce, homelessness, poverty,

and a division of ethnicity happen in our world?                -                           -Is it because we lack the ability to feed people?

                   -Maybe we don’t understand how to live together.

                   -Or we don’t have the technology fix things.

          -No, we have all that, so what’s the problem?

          -The problem is in our heart.

                   -Much like the heart that is painted on the banner – it’s a mess,

and it’s spilling over.

                   -Sure, we want to love others . . . right?

-But that desire lives in conflict with our selfish desires.

          -I pray that through the year, God has used the circumstances of your life and

                   helped you to interpret those circumstances through His Living Word.

          -That He has grown you in Christ-like love this year.

 
Jesus himself gave us our theme.

Turn to John 13:34 – Highlight it

          “A new command I give you:  Love one another.  As I have loved you,

so you must love one another.”
X  What Is Love?  I John 3:16

          -Although the world recognizes what love is, it struggles to define it.

          -It’s so complex the Greeks had seven words to help define it.

          -We use it to mean all kinds of things that are differentiated in the context.

                   “I love chocolate” does not carry the same meaning as “I love my wife”.

And the culture is all over the board on defining it, and I will streamline

that down to . . .

One writer who sums it all up

“Love is the most powerful emotion a human being can experience.

     The strange thing is, that almost nobody knows what love is.”

 

And apart from God’s love for us, we would also be groping in the dark.

But as with all things pertinent to our lives, the Scripture is sufficient

          to give us understanding that is beyond ourselves, and is true.

X -I John 3:16 gives us the answer.

          -And it is defined by how Jesus has loved us.

          “This is how we know what love is:  Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.”

-We paraphrase that around here by defining love as: 

X Doing what is best for the other person, no matter the cost to us.

-And that definition comes right out of the Gospel.

          -Jesus did what was best for us, at the highest cost to himself.

-We were lost in sin and separated from Him and He came to us

and died in our place so our sin could be forgiven through faith in Him.

          -That action defines love as much more than a feeling or a force.

                   -Love is not love without actions of love whether I feel like it or not.

          I Cor 13:4-8 speaks of those actions of love.

                   -It gets read at almost every wedding I have attended and is a wonderful

 description of the actions of love.

                   “Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast,

it is no proud.  It is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.”

          -We studied that passage a couple years back.

          -The passage lays out what love does and doesn’t do – it’s all actions of doing what

is best for the other person.
 

-Not only is love defined by God, but . . . .

X Love Originates with God  v. 34

          -John states “God is love” twice in I John 4:8, 16

          -Love is not something that God does to become more loving,

but something that He does because He is love.

          -Love is part of God’s character, so actions of love flow from Him.

                   -As part of my character, and I know this might surprise most of you,

but I can be “abrasive”.

                   -So when someone says something against God’s church, or my family,

I might not say the most loving thing in return.

                   -As a matter of fact, I might say something downright hurtful.

          -When John states  “God is love” he isn’t just giving us information

and it’s not only for our benefit.

                             -He is making a propositional and ethical statement.

                             -That becomes clear as you read I John chapters 3-4.

-His point is that if “God is love” and we are in Christ, then we will

 have no other way to live but to live in that same love.

                             -God’s love will change the way we live.

                             -It will affect how we think about ourselves and our circumstances,

                                      and it will change our actions.

                   -As a matter of fact, John makes a clear argument that if your life isn’t any

 different – if you are not growing in God’s pure love for others,

 it’s fair to question your salvation and renew your relationship

with Jesus.

                   -Something is not right, so dig deep and work to solve that problem.

           

X Love is Given To Us From God   v. 34

          -Jesus said in this passage from John to “love as He has loved us”.

          -That means that if we have any hope of loving better, we have to understand

God’s love for us.

-And we spent a large part of the year delving into how wide, high,

                   and deep is the love of God.

-We started the year studying how Jesus loves in the gospels.

          -Ephesians helped us grasp some of the depth of the love of God.

          -We saw how to love others when we are experiencing difficulties     

through the book of Ruth.

          -And we worked to not just know and follow the disciplines of the faith,

but we worked to develop those disciplines into loving actions.

-Even as we look at the context of this passage in John we see God’s love in action.

                   -The chapter begins at the Passover meal.

                   -They finished eating and celebrating the remembrance of

                             the angel of death passing over the children of Israel because of

the blood of the lamb painted on their doorway.

                             -God had lovingly provided for His children.

                   -And Jesus gets up from the table, wraps a towel around his waist

and proceeds to wash all the disciples feet.

                   -Foot washing was the work of servants and one of the lowliest tasks.

                   -And he washes all their feet, including Judas – the traitor.

                   -Peter, the one who would deny Jesus three times also gets

his feet washed by Jesus.

-And Peter recognized that this was completely messed up.

-Here is his creator washing his feet.
                   -We might ask:   Why would Jesus do this for this motley group?

                   -But as we said earlier – love is an action that does what is best for the

 other person. 

          -But that isn’t all.

-As we follow the context, the account plays out and Jesus gets arrested,

beaten and dies on a Roman cross for these men and all people down through the ages, including you and me.

-Jesus demonstrated and gave us a pure definition for love in

doing what was best for us no matter the cost to Himself. 

          -God created us with a huge capacity to love Him and love others, but in our sin, we

rebelled against His love and we became selfish.

-Our hearts were darkened by sin and made loving very difficulty.

          -I’m not saying that we stopped loving altogether.

          -But if we are honest, we all love up to a point that we feel taken advantage of

and then we pull back the reigns and stop the love wagon.

          -God loves us even though we take advantage of His love.

          -He does that because in that rebellion, His love is most clearly seen as pure.

-The stage where His love was displayed was not in the movie theater

full of adoring and cheering fans, but on a lonely Roman cross.

-He would love a world in total rebellion, and die as a demonstration of

the depth of His great love.

          -Even though Jesus gives us this command, unless you have received that

perfect love of God by personally trusting in Jesus for the forgiveness of

 your sins, you will have no hope of loving like Jesus loves.

                   -We love as others return our love or in order to gain their love,

but God loves us because His love is best for us.

                             -And unless you know that kind of love firsthand, loving others like

 that will not be possible.

          Gospel - ABC
         

X Love Is Manifest In Us, To Reflect God’s Love To A Lost World  v. 35

          -It’s funny that Jesus speaks in this passage of a “new commandment”.

                   -The OT law certainly pointed toward loving God and love others,

so there is nothing new in the commandment itself.

          -Those OT commands however were not given because God thought we would be

able to keep them, but because He knew we couldn’t keep them.

                   -Our rebel hearts would not allow it.

          -You might ask:  PJ, why would God give us commands He knew we couldn’t keep?

          -Romans tells us the purpose of the Law was to show us our sin,

so we might fear God and turn to Him in faith and find His grace.

-The fact that we can’t keep the Law is meant to lead us to Christ.

          -This “new command” is termed “new” because it has a different basis.

                   -It’s not meant to reveal our sin and produce fear,
 but to show God’s great love.

          -So, we are not commanded to obey the command to love others in order to

earn our salvation, but because of the salvation we already have through

 faith in Jesus’ love, we can now freely love others.

          -And that, my beloved, is totally different and new.

                   -It’s not based on earning our salvation, but because we already

have salvation in Christ.

          -And the purpose of God’s love to us is to reveal His love to the world.

                   -We are not here in church to show the world how good we are,

but to show the world how loving God is.

                   -That He would love even me is amazing.

 

Now, lets take the rest of our time to evaluate how we have grown to love like

Jesus loves us this year.

X  We live by grace through faith.

          -It’s always a good time to evaluate the motivations of our hearts.

          -We might ask

-How did we do at getting off the treadmill of our works?

                   -God’s love provides all we need to love him and others.

                   -We don’t have to – but we get too – we are free too.

                   -So, out of all the opportunities that we jumped at to love on others

this year,

                             -How many of them did you do out of obligation?

                             -And how many did you do because you just couldn’t wait to love on

 them and reveal God’s love in us?

                   -It’s my hope that we all grew enough this year that the balance between

 those weighed more heavily on the
“just wanted to reveal God’s love” side.

          -We can also ask about the ditch on the other side of the road.

                   -The “since I’m free in Jesus because He already paid for my sin,

 I don’t have to love others.”

 

                   -Sure, the truth of God’s grace helps us deal with our guilt when we fail to

     love, but it should never become an excuse or motivation for selfishness.

                   -You might want to look back at the last year and all the opportunities

you have had to love others, and ask:

-How have I loved those who are difficult to love?

-Have I given all I have so they might see the love of Christ in me?

-Or have I pulled out the grace card and given myself a pass?

                   -And again, don’t evaluate that based on loving those who are easy to love.

                   -It’s the difficult people where our heart is revealed.

              -Because God loves us and lives in us, we now can freely love Him and others.

                   -I John 4:7 helps us evaluate our relationship with God.

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God” . . . .  v. 12  “if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”        

                   -Because of the implications of that little word “if” that is in there,

we must evaluate our love for others to determine our love for God.

                   -As I John 4:20 says,

“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar.”

          -So we don’t evaluate our relationship with God by our best relationships

but by our worst.

                   -Are we doing all we can to love on the person in that relationship

so that we might reveal the love of God?

                   -If we are in Christ, then Christ’s love will be manifest in us

and we will love others.

                        -Remember love is doing what is best for them, no matter the cost to us.

         

As we close out our theme for the year and give it some honest evaluation,

understand that this theme is not done doing its work in our lives.

          -Love is the major theme in the entire Bible and it is the work of God in our

 lives as well.

          -He loves us and then loves others through us to reveal His love.

          -The world is groping around in the dark looking for love.

-When they come in contact with the light, Jesus said that it will reveal

          we are his followers.

                    -Our actions will speak louder than our words.

-Love should be seen in how I relate to my wife, my children,

my boss and co-workers, or the lady at the grocery store.

 
 
-God’s love is extra-ordinary.

-Meaning, He went way out of His way to do what is best for us.

-And our love in all our relationships should also be extra-ordinary.

-And our hope is that in our love, others might catch a glimpse of

God’s great love and be drawn to His saving grace.

 

          So, my dear brothers and sisters – God loves you.

                   -Continue to let that sink in and continue to grow in the knowledge of it.

                   -Allow the perfect love of God to marinate into all your relationships

and let it to overwhelm all hurt and pain that this world can dish out.

 
 

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