(3/22) Our Lord Jesus did not come to start a new religion, but to start a revolution. He wanted to start a movement of people who would care more about the needs and well-being of others than they do about themselves. Thatís what He did for us.
At this time of year when we are beginning to focus on Easter, we remember what God did for us in Christ. We were a people in desperate need of a Savior. Our sins had placed us in a hopeless situation. We were doomed to being separated from God forever because of our sinful condition.
But God did something. He cared about us and sent His Son to die to pay the penalty for our sins so we could be forgiven and set free. Thatís the gist of verses 9-10. God did not simply say that He loved us. He demonstrated His love. He did something. God did not simply feel emotional about us. He did
When the Bible says that we are to love one another as in verse 7, it isnít telling us to feel something, it is telling us to do something. And while you may feel compassion or pity or friendship or more, the desired result is that you do something for the people you are loving. I want to remind you
again, that the evening before our Lord was arrested. He took a towel and a basin and washed the dirty feet of 12 men to demonstrate love. He then gave them a command, to love each other the way He loved them. He told them that this kind of love would be their identifying characteristic, their badge. People who receive love
from God are to pay that love forward to others. Notice several things with me:
I. The Appeal to Love (vv. 7-10)
A. Love is an evidence of being born again (v.7). Before we were born again, our lives were primary focused on selfishness and self-centeredness. We loved ourselves and pursued what is best for ourselves. Paul describes it this way in Ephesians 2:2-3. Look at that please. And you He made alive, who were
dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind,
and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
But when you received Jesus as your Savior, the Holy Spirit came and took residence in you and gave you a new heart that began to care more about others than you do yourself. You found yourself caring about what other people need.
B. Love is evidence that you know God, and not just know about God (vv.7-8). There are a lot of people in Churches that know about God but they donít know God. They have never experienced the love of God personally. They donít know what it is like to feel hopeless and helpless, and to cry out to Jesus
and have Him forgive them and give them peace and purpose. But those who have experienced Godís love want to share that love with others. They know the heart of God by experience. God wants to be known by experience. He wants you to let Him touch your heart and life. He wants you to enter into a oneness with Him as He cleanses
you of your sins and shares His life with you. He wants you to join Him in a life ling partnership of revealing His love to a needy world.
C. Those who donít love donít know God, because God is Love. What light and heat are to the sun, Holiness and Love are to God. It is the very nature of God to seek to help helpless people regardless of the costs. By the way, here is the only place in the Bible (vv.8 and 16) that describe Godís nature as
love. We know that God is Holy. John uses the word Light in chapter 1. His Holiness demanded that sins be punished and the law satisfied and His Love satisfied His own Holy demands by sending Jesus to be our substitute and our propitiation, or satisfaction. People who see people in need and donít do anything to help donít know
God; they have never experienced the mercy and grace of God in a time of need. They may be able to quote scripture but they do not know God. And sadly, our Lord Jesus will one day say that he never knew them (Matthew 7), "Not everyone who says to Me, ĎLord, Lord,í shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of
My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ĎLord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?í 23 And then I will declare to them, ĎI never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!í
II. The Obligation to Love (vv. 11-16) verse 11 and 3:16 say the same thing. The word ought means an obligation. We are obligated to pay His love forward. So, letís pause here for a few moments and consider how we are to love each other.
There are several ways. Isa 58; James 1:27; Matt. 25: Ephesians 4-6
A. Is with words. Turn to Ephesians 4:20-25.
ē Donít deceive, donít lie, Speak the Truth with your neighbor. Speak honestly. But speak gracefully. We lie to protect ourselves or to try to gain an advantage on someone. Be a person of integrity and always speak the truth in a gracious manner. That may be in telling the person the truth about their
need of a Savior and the consequences of their sins.
Integrity also means keeping your word. If you promised to do something or give something, then do it. Your word has to be your bond
ē Look at verse 29. Loving your neighbor means that we use words to build each other up. Everyone needs encouragement and affirmation. We all need to know that we have value. Pause and think for a moment. Who do you know that needs a shot of encouragement? Maybe they have been sick. Maybe they have lost
a job, or are experiencing an empty nest. I have some friends that have lost their ministry and they are discouraged. A card, a call, a text with some encouraging words mean a lot. Proverbs 25:11, "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold In settings of silver."
ē Look at verses 30-32. You need to forgive someone who has hurt you.
ē Sometimes it is loving to warn someone of the dangers of their actions.
ē Sometimes someone needs for us to pray for them with them.
But there are times when words arenít enough.
B. Is with acts of Kindness. Do you remember what our Lord said about His return in Matthew 25? 31 "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy[c] angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from
another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ĎCome, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me
food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.í
37 "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ĎLord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?í 40 And the King will answer and say
to them, ĎAssuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.í
Turn to Isaiah 58.
Loving one another may mean to give of your time to visit someone in the hospital nursing home or even in jail. It may be giving food or money to those in need. It may be raking leaves or shoveling snow for an elderly neighbor. Or helping with a bill.
C. Is with our lives. This may be mentoring a young person, adopting a child, putting the needs of your spouse and children above your own. It may be to rejoice with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep. It may be teaching a class or going on a mission trip to another country.
I told you all after the 1st of the year that every day, you should start your day by asking God for someone whose life you can touch today, everyday. Ask for divine appointments and intentionally touch someone for Jesus. Before you go to bed at night ask, "Whose life did I touch today?" Thatís what
Debbie and I try to do.
When you intentionally touch lives for Jesus by loving each other like Jesus loved you, Godís love has reaches itís desired goal (4:12) it has been perfected in us. People see God in us. People know that God is real because they see what He has done in us and is doing through us.
(v. 14) These deeds of love give us a basis for telling people that God has sent His Son. Someone once said, that people wonít care how much we know until they know how much we care.
III. The Ability to Love Ė (vv. 12-13) Loving people like that isnít natural. But God has given us the ability to love like Him because He Himself has come to permanently reside within us. Paul tells us in Romans 5: 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our
hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Does that ever amaze you? God lives in me. And in you. God is incarnate in us. What an awesome thought. And He will never leave us or forsake us. No matter what, He is with us for the long haul. And he enables us to love people for Him. We are so united to Him that He is in us
and we are in Him.
Now notice, verses 12-14, no one has seen God at any time, but when we love one another, people see the reality of God. Listen, people are watching you. They want to see that you and I have something different. People are not amazed when you act the world, because the world is selfish and self-centered.
They expect you to act like them. But when they see you loving the unlovely, helping the needy, asking for forgiveness when you are wrong, and giving forgiveness when you have been wronged, you are testifying to the reality of God in your life. The world really wants to know that there is something different, something real,
and God shows Himself through you when you love one another.
IV. The Confidence of Love (vv. 17-18) John wants us to know that being about Godís business results in being able to face our own deaths with confidence, even boldness. The word boldness carries with it the idea of not meeting a stern judge but of a gracious friend (like in 2:28). The scriptures remind
us of the fact that after death there is a time of accountability before God. The unsaved are afraid of the punishment that they know that they deserve. Our boldness comes from the fact that we have taken on the life and ministry of our Lord. We have been accepted in Christ and therefore share in His confidence before the
Father. Our punishment has been met in Jesus, therefore we have nothing to dread, nothing to fear, just the confident expectation of being with our Lord, Savior, Brother, and Friend.
V. The Confirmation of Love (19-21). We Love because He first loved us. You and I did not seek God, we did not go about wondering how to honor God. The truth is God sought to love us. First He sent His Son to satisfy our sin debt, then He sent someone to love you for Him. Take just a moment and think of
some of the people who cared enough to tell you about Jesus. God loved you through them. They demonstrated Godís love to you. That someone told you about Jesus and cared for you in some way. Having received that love you want to show and tell it to other people out of gratitude for God showing it to you.
But when someone says, I love God but not people, or I love God but not His church, and they refuse to forgive or to give, John says that person is a liar. It is impossible to love God whom you canít see, if you canít love people that you can see. And God loves His church, and God loves the lost. Love
for God goes hand in hand with loving people. How can you keep the greatest commandment of loving God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength? You must Love the people that are created in His image. If you canít do that, you donít have a relationship with God. All you have is a religion.
Pray to love people for God, for divine appointments. To make the invisible God visible. Our Father, We pause to thank you for sending people into our lives to touch us with grace and the hope of the gospel. Our lives have been forever changed because they loved us for you. And now we ask that you let
your love reach its desired goal in us. Show us, show me, whose life I can touch today for your glory. Or, give me a divine appointment, someone I can encourage, help, or pray for today. Someone who will be different when this day is over, because you allowed me to love them for you. And may you be glorified as the result. We
humbly pray in Jesusí name. Amen!
Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman