Love One Another Again I John 3:11-24 Argyle 10/6/13 I John. Introduction to Scripture

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1 1 Love One Another Again I John 3:11-24 Argyle 10/6/13 I John Introduction to Scripture Many of you have heard me tell this story of well known pastor and author, Juan Carlos Ortiz. One morning for his sermon Ortiz simply said Love one another and sat down. That caused a little bit of a stir in his church, but nothing compared to the second Sunday when he did the same thing. You should love one another, Ortiz said and he sat down. When he did it the third Sunday, Ortiz added, I am going to keep preaching this same message until you start doing it. Don t get your hopes up that I m going to do the same thing this morning, but I do feel a little like Ortiz. Two weeks ago I preached on loving one another from I John 2. It s the theme of this morning s Scripture passage and it will come up again in two weeks. And Christian love is the subject in II John when we get to that. Apparently John thought this was something that needed to be addressed repeatedly in the church that he was writing too. Apparently the Holy Spirit thought we needed to hear this message over and over again also, because he included it in the New Testament canon. So, as we read John s teaching on love this morning, let s be aggressive in looking for a different angle or insight into this very familiar subject. (Read) (Pray)

2 2 Introduction John seems to be a little conflicted in his writing. On the one hand he challenged the authenticity of his readers faith. On the other hand he kept reassuring them of their faith. It may be that he was writing to different groups of people. Or, perhaps he was writing to the same person who needed to hear different messages depending on her state of mind. Some days I need to be reassured that I belong Jesus Christ. Because of my faith in Christ I have been forgiven of my sins, adopted into God s family, indwelled with the Holy Spirit and reserved a seat in heaven. Some days, however, I need to be reminded of that. I need the comforting assurance we see at the end of this passage. But other days I need a spiritual kick in the butt. I can be arrogant, spiritually lazy and disobedient. I need to be reminded of my responsibilities as a follower of Jesus Christ. I need the challenging words we see at the beginning of this passage. John in this passage gives us both challenging and comforting words. May the Holy Spirit impress upon your hearts whichever message you need to hear today. Loving One Another is Revealing I want you to notice, first of all, that loving one another is revealing. John wrote, We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Our love for one another

3 3 reveals the genuineness of our faith. For the past three weeks we have been studying the three tests that John gives for determining the genuineness of faith. There is the test of obedience, the test of love and the test of belief. John explained these tests in chapter 2 and now he is going back through them in chapters 3 and 4. The first test is the test of obedience. John said, if we are genuine Christians we will obey God s commands. This is what George Orlemann preached about last week. As George said, If Jesus is opposed to sin and came to take it away, how can we claim to be his follower and continue to sin. The third test is the test of belief. John said, if we are genuine Christians we will believe that Jesus is God s Son, God in human flesh. That s what we will be talking about again next week. Today we are looking again at the second test, the test of love. John said if we are genuine Christians we will love our brothers and sisters in Christ. Our love for one another reveals that we have passed from death to life. Our lack of love for one another reveals that we are spiritually dead. Loving one another is revealing. Loving One Another is Dangerous Loving one another is also dangerous. John wrote, 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.

4 4 Loving one another seems to have two very different effects on people. Some people are drawn to the Christian faith by the love they see that we have for one another. They want to be part of such a community. On the other hand, John indicates that some people will hate to us because of our love. Like Cain s hatred for his brother Abel, the world will hate us. Cain s hatred was motivated by his recognition that his actions were evil, but his brothers were righteous. John warned in his gospel that the darkness hates the light. History has shown over and over again the truth of John s words. Persecution against Christians in places like Egypt, Eritrea, India, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Vietnam and North Korea is greater today than it has ever been. And persecution is growing in our own country. Loving one another may attract some folks to the church, but others will hate us for it. Loving one another is dangerous. Loving One Another is Costly Third, loving one another is costly. I am fascinated by the connection between John 3:16 and I John 3:16. Most of us are familiar with John 3:16. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16) We are not as familiar with I John 3:16. 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. (I John 3:16) God loved the people of this world so much that he sent his son to lay down his life for them.

5 5 We ought to love the people of the church so much that we lay down our lives for them. The kind of love we are called to is costly. It involves making sacrifices for one another. John went on to flesh out what sacrificial love looked like. He wrote, 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. God expects us to use the resources he has entrusted to us - our possessions, our time and our abilities to love one another in the church. It is not enough to say that we love someone, that love needs to be expressed in our actions. One of the challenges of loving one another this way is our reluctance to be let others love us this way. Many of us are too independent or proud to let others serve us? When I was laid up after my fall a month ago, someone called to see if she could mow my lawn. I declined. Why? Sure I could still mow my lawn, but it was painful. Why wouldn t I let a sister in Christ mow my lawn for me? This passage has caused me to reflect on that, but I know that many of us are reluctant to let others love and serve us. Loving one another is costly. Loving One Another is Reassuring Loving one another is revealing, dangerous costly and reassuring. John ends this challenging section with these comforting words of assurance. This then is how

6 6 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. Most of us have days where we wonder if we are really Christians. In our hearts we wonder if God really loves us and if we are truly saved. Or course Satan is at the root of those doubts because they keep us from doing the work that God has for us to do. John gave us an antidote for those doubts. He told us to look for love in our lives. Love for one another shows us that we belong to the truth. It is not that our deeds of love save us, but they show that we are already saved. Deeds of love are tangible evidence that we belong to Jesus Christ and should quiet our doubts. Loving one another is reassuring Conclusion If Juan Carolos Ortiz was here this morning he would say, Love one another! And next week he would say the same thing. And the week after that. It s crucial for our fellowship with one another and our witness to our neighbors and our assurance of salvation that we keep growing in our obedience to this command. Love one another!

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