May 16-18, 2020
Pastor Timothy J. Spaude
Text: 1 John 3:11-18
1. What’s love got to do with it?
2. I want to know what love is.
3. All you need is love.
1 John 3:11-18 (EHV) “This is the message you have heard from the beginning: Love one another. 12Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the Evil One and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own works were evil, while those of his brother were righteous. 13Do not be surprised, brothers, if the world hates you. 14We know that we have crossed over from death to life, because we love our brothers. The one who does not love remains in death. 15Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him. 16This is how we have come to know love: Jesus laid down his life for us. And we also should lay down our lives for our brothers. 17Whoever has worldly wealth and sees his brother in need but closes his heart against him—how can God’s love remain in him? 18Dear children, let us love not only with word or with our tongue, but also in action and truth.”
If you haven’t been to a wedding reception lately some things have changed. You may remember that at many receptions guests would try to get the bride and groom to kiss by klinking their glasses. That’s not so common any more. The brides and grooms are fighting back. They make you earn the right to have them kiss. You might have to correctly answer a trivia question about the bride or groom. You might have to roll a large pair of dice or spin a wheel and do what it says or stick a bag on a board with the bags game. I’ve been to many receptions where the bride and groom would not kiss unless the requesters sang a song that had “love” in it. I’ve often threatened to Chris that I was going to get up and sing “Love Stinks” by the J Geils band. Now you can understand why there would be this request to have love songs at a wedding because love is a necessary ingredient for a marriage.
And love is a necessary ingredient for a Christian. God made that abundantly clear through his Apostle John. If you recall John was the last living Apostle. While all the others had been martyred Jesus used John to grow up the fledgling Christian church. When it was brand new love abounded. This is what we are told about the early Christian Church in Acts 2:44-45. “All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.” They loved each other with word and actions. It was obvious. Some sixty years later when John wrote his first letter with its strong emphasis on love you have to wonder. Was love for one another waning? Were some of them wondering, “What’s love got to do with it?”
If you are wondering what love has to do with being a Christian, I can answer with one word, everything. “This is the message you have heard from the beginning: Love one another. 12Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the Evil One and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own works were evil, while those of his brother were righteous. 13Do not be surprised, brothers, if the world hates you. 14We know that we have crossed over from death to life, because we love our brothers. The one who does not love remains in death. 15Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him.” John takes us to two beginnings. First is the beginning of the Christian Church when Jesus had his disciples in the upper room and told them, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34) Jesus said loving one another is necessary. It is a sign, evidence, that you are a disciple of Jesus. Then John took us to another beginning, the beginning of hatred, the opposite of love. Just like love is the evidence of belonging to Jesus, hatred is the evidence of belonging to Satan. And brothers and sisters in faith today need this warning just like they did at John’s time. Cain did not murder a stranger but his very own brother. Cain was jealous of his brother. He hated the fact that Abel’s righteous living testified against his own evil living. We need the warning that the ability to hate lives in our own lives. We have seen it come out when we have murdered a brother or sister in faith with our words, tearing them apart. We also need to understand that when we live as followers of Jesus unbelievers will hate us because we remind them they are wrong. What’s love got to do with it? Everything. It’s a sign that you are a Christian and its absence that you are not.
Now someone might hear or read this and honestly say, “I want to know what love is.” That’s legit. That word love gets thrown around a lot and can be twisted to mean all sorts of things. But if you want to know what love is as a Christian you don’t have to guess. You just have to look—at Jesus. “This is how we have come to know love: Jesus laid down his life for us.” Look at Jesus as see what love is and is not. Love moves a person to do what they can to take care of the needs of others. All people have the need of having their sins removed. If sin clings to you when you die you go to Hell. People cannot like that truth all they want. You might not like it or want it to be that way but it is the truth. No one covered with sin lives in heaven. Only Jesus had the ability to take care of that need. Only He is the perfect holy Son of God. Now taking care of that need would cost Him dearly. But He loved. So He laid down His life. That sacrifice paid for the sins of the whole world. That’s love, sacrificing to take care of the needs of others. Love is not permission to sin. Love is not toleration of sin. Love is not letting others do what they want or giving them whatever they want. Look at Jesus and you see what love is: making a personal sacrifice to help someone in need.
Now, brother, sister, all you need is love. Love that shows. “And we also should lay down our lives for our brothers. 17Whoever has worldly wealth and sees his brother in need but closes his heart against him—how can God’s love remain in him? 18Dear children, let us love not only with word or with our tongue, but also in action and truth.” Remember Jesus shows us that real love means that if you are able you make a personal sacrifice to help someone with a true need. Having received the love Jesus has demonstrated in action and truth on the cross we now reflect that love to others. Not by paying for their sins. We can’t do that. And Jesus already has. But from time to time we will find ourselves in position to make a personal sacrifice to meet a brother’s need. In this context brother is your fellow believer. What needs might they have that I can make a personal sacrifice to show love? Well they need the Gospel. While our Christian giving is important as a way to show love to God it also shows love to our brothers and sisters in faith who need pastors and teachers to preach and teach. Actually giving, making that personal sacrifice, loves with action and truth and let me tell you I have seen the love in the way you have been making such efforts to get your offering in. How wonderful it has been to have so many members contact us willing to drive or shop for or help other members in this shut down time. Others of you have offered your stimulus payment to help members in need. That’s action and truth. So many have given time for our building program, cleaning and painting and hanging things. Action and truth. Depending on where things go with unemployment there may be opportunities for you to sacrifice to help a fellow member whose hardship goes on. Before Covid 19 we were planning our emphasis to more deliberately live as the family we are. St Jacobi. Your church home on Forest Home. As we get back together and resume that emphasis you will be presented with opportunities to love each other as family and it is important that you do because if you don’t, you’ll give love a bad name.
Love is what it’s all about. God so loved us. We love one another. There are literally thousands of songs about love. I checked. There will likely be more. But none will hold a candle to the one we already sang. Jesus loves me. This I know for the Bible tells me so. Dear friends as He has loved us, so we must love one another. Amen.