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Posts Tagged ‘1 John 4’

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

We are talking about loving one another today and we are looking at 1 John 4:7-11. But I want to begin with a different passage. Turn if you will to 2 Peter 1:12-15. Peter has just spoken about several godly qualities, culminating in brotherly affection and love. He says, “Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.”

Well, in the same way, a good part of my job in standing up here Sunday after Sunday is not to teach you new things, but to remind you of what you already know and to encourage you and to stir you up to do what you already know. Can you imagine what the church worldwide would be like if we all did what we already know! If you want revival, if you want spiritual renewal this is the place to start. Put into practice what you already know – the Spirit is waiting for us to get on board.

The call to love one another

As our text says so simply, and to the point, “let us love one another.” And even though we have heard and know this message, I would remind us again this morning sisters and brothers, “let us love one another.”

The writers of the New Testament constantly remind us of this call to love:

  • 1 Peter 1:22 – “love one another earnestly from a pure heart”
  • 1 Peter 4:8 – “Above all, keep loving one another” earnestly”
  • Hebrews 13:1 – “Let brotherly love continue”
  • Philippians 1:9 – “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more”
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:10 – “But we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do this – love one another – more and more”
  • Galatians 5:13 – “through love serve one another”
  • Romans 12:9-10 – “Let love be genuine. . . Love one another with brotherly affection.”
  • Romans 13:8 – “Owe no one anything, except to love each other”
  • 1 John 3:16 – “we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers and sisters”

All these calls to to love should lead us to ask –

What does it mean to love?

Our passage in 1 John 4:9-10 helps us with this. It says “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the *atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

We see from this passage that love acts for the good of another. God acted “so that we might live.” God acted, not to tear down or harm us, but to help and bless us; to give us life. We also learn that love does this even at great cost. These verses tell us that God “sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice” for us; his “only Son” – v. 9. God sacrificed for us. He gave up what was most precious to him. It cost him. And finally, love takes the initiative. God didn’t wait for us to love him first. That wasn’t going to happen. Despite our lack of love for him, “God sent his Son” – v. 9, v. 10.

And we are to emulate this love that God displays toward us in our love for one another. As v. 11 says, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” We also are to act for the good of one another – not to tear down or harm each other, but to build each other up and to pour life into each other. We also are to love each other sacrificially, and not hold back when it requires our time, our patience and our commitment. And we also are to take the initiative to love even if our brother and sister doesn’t seem to love us. To cross boundaries and to reach out to them. We are to love other just as God has loved us.

Let me end this morning with –

An encouragement to love each other

Not because we don’t have love, we do. I see it in how we care for each other in difficult times. And I see it in how so many give of their time and talents to serve so that our congregation works and even thrives. I encourage you this morning, because we all need to grow in our love. And perhaps, if any have set love aside so that your heart is cold and hard towards another, I encourage you to allow God to come in and give you a new heart full of love for one another; a heart that is warm; a heart that is soft and sensitive.

Let us love one another when we have disagreements or fail each other. This means going to the person we have a problem with, as Jesus teaches us in Matthew 18:15. Now judging by our practice this is not a popular teaching, because hardly anyone practices it. But it is still God’s will and his servants choose to follow him. “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone.” And we are to do this not to blast the other person, but to work things out and be reconciled; the goal is restored relationships.

This means not going to other people instead, in order to slander or gossip or tear each other down. Rather as Paul says in Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Do your words give grace?

This is what love means when we have disagreements and fail each other.

Let us love one another in bearing with each other. We all have weaknesses, personality traits that can rub someone the wrong way, differences of opinion and so forth. And these can all lead us away from each other. Love, however, binds us together despite our differences. Paul says in Colossians 3:14, “And above all . . . put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” And remember 1 Corinthians 13:4, 7 – “Love is patient and kind . . . Love bears all things.” Love puts up with a lot because we care about each other and want the best for each other.

This is what love means in the midst of our differences.

Let us love one another by welcoming each other.  Paul says in Romans 15:7, “Welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you . . ..” Paul says this to Jews and Gentiles, two groups that were very different and had a history of animosity and hatred in many cases. In the same way, whatever different groups we come from or different backgrounds we have – Christ has welcomed us all to come to him. And if he has done this for us, we are to do it for each other – even if they are from a different race or are poor or rich, or are rural or urban, or if their politics are different. Just as Christ has welcomed us so we are to welcome them and embrace them as brothers and sisters in the Lord.

This is what love means when we come from different backgrounds and different places in life.

And so, in all these ways and more, sisters and brothers, “let us love one another.”

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