Sunday Sermon Notes April 26, 2015

What Does Love Do-1 John 3-16-24

Audio:

 

WHAT DOES LOVE DO?      1 John 3:16-24

Last week we talked about being Abba’s children – loved, growing like Him, and being distinct from the world. It is our lifelong trek to move toward Christ-likeness  and we are never more like Him than when we grow in our ability to love as He did. What does “love” do? 

1 John 3:16-24, HCSB

16 This is how we have come to know love: He laid down His life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has this world’s goods and sees his brother in need but closes his eyes to his need—how can God’s love reside in him? 18 Little children, we must not love with word or speech, but with truth and action. 19 This is how we will know we belong to the truth and will convince our conscience in His presence, 20 even if our conscience condemns us, that God is greater than our conscience, and He knows all things. 21 Dear friends, if our conscience doesn’t condemn us, we have confidence before God22 and can receive whatever we ask from Him because we keep His commands and do what is pleasing in His sight. 23 Now this is His command: that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another as He commanded us. 24 The one who keeps His commands remains in Him, and He in him. And the way we know that He remains in us is from the Spirit He has given us.

1. LOVE SACRIFICES SELF (1 John 3:16)

Jesus is the one who teaches us love. What examples of love in His life can you remember? The cross is the ultimate act of love. As we live we grow in our understanding [AMP: By this we come to know (progressively to recognize, to perceive, to understand)] . How can we lay down our lives for our brothers?

Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. ~Philippians 2:3 

When we lay down the completely normal desire to live for ourselves, and when we instead allow the love of God to reorient us toward the needs of others.

2. LOVE SERVES OTHERS (1 John 3:17)

Who among us has “this worlds’ goods”? We all do. It would be hard to imagine what Jesus would say of us today in a world in which almost half the people live on less than two dollars a day. Believing in Christ means believing that Christ saves us by making us like himself. 

“Faith alone, the Reformers said, is all that is required for salvation. but faith is never alone. When God creates saving faith in our hearts, God creates active love. Faith in Jesus Christ is faith that transforms the believing heart, making it a self-sacrificed heart.” Ronald Cole-Turner, Feasting on the Word.

The question is not having this world’s goods, but what do we do with them? God’s love will not let us ‘close our eyes’ [AMP: closes his heart of compassion against] Compassion is the key to serving others. We cannot love God and ignore those in need. Our relationship with God is connected with our love for others. 

I never knew how to worship until I knew how to love. ~ Henry Ward Beecher

3. LOVE SURPASSES WORDS (1 John 3:18)

Love as a feeling is nice, but not helpful. What if Christ had only felt love for us? What we learn from Him is that love is demonstrated throughout our lives. Truth Leads to Action. Love is not always giving things away. Sometimes it is helping someone stand up on their own. Love is action, not just emotion.

“Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did.”~C.S. Lewis

4. LOVE SEEKS TO OBEY (1 John 3:19-23)

When we belong to Christ we strive to obey Him (19). Obedience leads to confidence before God. How can we be confident when we struggle with obedience  … falling short of His glory?

Obedience and our Conscience: Our conscience can be a friend, directing our lives. Our conscience can be an enemy when won’t experience God’s grace. Remember that God is greater than our conscience! He knows all things – he knows our sincerity. He knows all things – our apathy. Since God is greater than our conscience, how do we have confidence before Him?

Obedience and Confidence (21-23)

Keep on praying (22). Obedience puts us in sync with His will; He hears! We are trying to please Him, not trying to get Him to please us.

Keep on Trusting (23a We believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ.)

Keep on Loving (23b Love one another as he commanded us).

Keep on Abiding (24 The one who keeps His commands remains in Him, and He in him.)

Keep Confidence the strength is not in you but in God (24 And the way we know that He remains in us is from the Spirit He has given us.)

On May 29, 1914 the Empress of Ireland sank with 130 Salvation Army officers on board. 109 of them were drowned, and not one of their bodies that was picked up had on a life vest. The few survivors told how the Salvationists, finding that there were not enough life preservers for all, took off their own and strapped them upon even strong men, saying, “I can die better than you can.”

Where is Love calling you to sacrifice and serve today?

LifeGroup Discussion Questions

1. In our text the sacrifice of Jesus as an act of love is prominent. What is one of your favorite New Testament stories about Jesus’ love for others?

2. How might 1 John 3:16 read to a first century (or 21st century) Christian who was under the threat of persecution? What would they understand their instruction to be? How would someone lay down their lives for another today?

3. What does 1 John 3:17 teach regarding the Christian’s view of ‘stuff’?

*Why do you think we struggle with having too great attention to material goods?

*How can we obey this command on a practical level?

*How does 1 John 2:15-17 relate to this discussion?

4. Why was it necessary for John to emphasize loving ‘in word’ and ‘in deed’? We use the word ‘love’ loosely, but love should be accompanied by an action.

*What are some ways we can express love to those in our church family who may be hurting?

*What are some ways we can express love individually as we live out each day in the community?

*How is love in action expressed in your home?

5. John’s section on conscience is meaningful (1 John 3:19-21).

*In what ways do Christians especially struggle with guilt wrongly felt?

*Why is this struggle so big?

*This section has consistently puzzled commentators. Some have seen it as an encouragement, some a rebuke.

-What does this text say to you from the perspective of God knowing all things – especially our sincerity and desire.

– What does this text say to you from the perspective of God knowing all things – especially our apathy.

6. Verse 24 says, “ And the way we know that He remains in us is from the Spirit He has given us.” What are some ways that the presence of the Holy Spirit can give you assurance? How could Galatians 5:22-23 relate to this?

For personal devotion this week:

Do the ways you treat certain other believers reveal any areas of hate in you? Is there anyone you are refusing to love? If so, how does this affect your relationship with God? What can you do about this?

Resources

David L. Allen’s Preaching the Word Series, 1-3 John.

Feasting on the Word for Year B.

LifeChange Bible Studies.

Sunday Sermon Notes April 19

1john3.1

Abba’s Child       1 John 3:1-10

Audio:

In all of the ways that God presents Himself to us, it touches our hearts that He reveals himself as Father.

“Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.” ~ Brennan Manning

This is an image found often in Scripture.

Ephesians 4:6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

1 Peter 1:3 Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead

Isaiah 64:8 Yet Lord, You are our Father;we are the clay, and You are our potter; we all are the work of Your hands.

Matthew 6:9 “Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.

Our text today is a word of assurance that is based upon the truth that we are the children of God.

1 John 3:1-10 (HCSB)

Look at how great a love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children. And we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it didn’t know Him. Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed.We know that when He appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself just as He is pure. Everyone who commits sin also breaks the law; sin is the breaking of law. You know that He was revealed so that He might take away sins, and there is no sin in Him. Everyone who remains in Him does not sin everyone who sins has not seen Him or known HimLittle children, let no one deceive you! The one who does what is right is righteous, just as He is righteous. The one who commits sin is of the Devil, for the Devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose: to destroy the Devil’s works. Everyone who has been born of God does not sin, because His seed remains in him; he is not able to sin, because he has been born of God. This is how God’s children—and the Devil’s children—are made evident.

Abba’s Child is Loved. 

“Look at how great a love the Father has given us!” Love is from God and He teaches us to Love.

1 John 4:7-8 Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1 John 4:19 We Love because He first loved us.

John 3:16-17 For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

Our heavenly Father understands our disappointment, suffering, pain, fear, and doubt. He is always there to encourage our hearts and help us understand that He’s sufficient for all of our needs. ~ Charles Stanley

Abba’s Child Grows Like Him

We are Called by His Name (1:1 That we should be called God’s children…)

We will be like Him (1:2 We will be like Him …).

We purify ourselves as he is pure (1:3).

He takes away sin; there is no sin in Him (1:5,6).

He remains with us after new birth (1:9)

There is here the present sense that we are God’s children now … and the future sense that we will become like Him when he is revealed.  For now we imperfectly follow Him. We are assured that we are secure in our salvation
because of his cleansing blood. This is to make a difference in our daily lives.

Abba’s Child is Distinct

From The World (Vs. 1 – ‘The reason the world does not know us is that it didn’t know Him.’)

“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best day and night to make you everybody else, means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting.” – E. E. CUMMINGS

From the Devil (Vs. 8)

AMP: [But] he who commits sin [who practices evildoing] is of the devil [takes his character from the evil one], for the devil has sinned (violated the divine law) from the beginning. The reason the Son of God was made manifest (visible) was to undo (destroy, loosen, and dissolve) the works the devil [has done].

Verse 10 – This is how God’s children and the Devil’s children are made evident.

Being a child of Abba means we have a different approach to life, a different idea of what is right, and we are  distinct.

What a privilege it is to be Abba’s child … loved by Him and growing to be like Him. I think this text speaks to a lot of people.

*The Outsiders – you are inside God’s great family.

*The Regretters – you are forgiven eternally.

*The Lost – you are wanted, sought, and invited.

Thomas Obadiah Chisholm was born in a log cabin in Franklin, Kentucky around 1866. As a young man attended then became a school teacher at age 16.  By the age of 21 he was associate editor of his hometown newspaper. He was a humble man, calling himself ‘an old shoe’. It was 1897 at a revival that he gave his life to Christ … about age 27. He wrote a poem that expressed his desire to grow to be like his Heavenly Father. After many challenges in life, he died in 1960 at age 94 having written 1,200 poems, many put to music.

We owe to T. O. Chisolm songs like Bring Christ Your Broken Life, Great is Thy Faithfulness, Living For Jesus, Only in Thee … and a song that relates so well to our message today.

O to be like Thee! blessed Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
O to be like Thee! O to be like Thee,
Blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

LifeGroup Discussion Questions

1. This passage shows us that we are becoming more and more like our Heavenly Father as we live in faithfulness and purity. Can you think of some ways you are like your earthly father – whether you intended to be or not?  (This can be sensitive to some, this is not a question to probe painful memories if they exist … so feel free not to comment if you choose.)

2. One of Apostle John’s devices is to use contrasting figures. Look through this passage and identify the contrasting figures you see here. What are your observations about them?

3. Apostle John says that “The reason the world does not know us is that it didn’t know Him.” We know from the teachings of Jesus we are to be in the world but not of the world. Apostle Paul said he would become all things to all men to win some. In what ways should we be distinct from the world? In what ways should we become like the world in order to reach out to the lost with the Gospel? What are some ways we can become so much like the world that we lose the distinctive message of the Gospel?

4. Verse 3 suggests that those who know Christ will purify themselves. Why does knowing Christ lead to purity? What do you think of when you see the word “purify” … how would someone purify their life?

5. What do you think it will mean to be like Christ? (See 1 Corinthians 15:42-49; Ephesians 4:24; Philippians 3:21.)

6. Can a Christian sin or not? Verses 6 and 9 contain some thoughts that have perplexed Christians for centuries (so, don’t feel bad if it confuses you!). John has already made provision for “when we sin”… but here says we cannot sin. Look up these verses in the Amplified Version and the New International version and see if they offer some clarity. In our text, what are we told that Jesus does with our sin and with the works of the Devil?

7. Brennan Manning reflects on how we think God feels about us. “We unwittingly project onto God our own attitudes and feelings toward ourselves… But we cannot assume that He feels about us the way we feel about ourselves — unless we love ourselves compassionately, intensely, and freely. ” ― Brennan Manning, Abba’s Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging. What are your thoughts about accepting that God truly does love us? What stands in the way of accepting that as a reality?

In some private devotional time this week examine your own life in light of 2:29-3:10. To what extent do you act like a child of God, and to what extent do you act like a child of the devil? Spend some time in confession, if necessary. From what habits do you need to purify yourself (3:3)?

Resources:

Song Scoops Blog