RADICAL LOVE, RISKING ALL - PROVE IT

Radical Love

Prove it / 1 John 3:11–24

Message Title: Radical Love, Risking all

Radical -  a very different from usual or traditional - extreme

Just this week, another bombing happened in Manchester UK. Authority said it was done by a radicalized Muslim young man. UK is not in extreme alert. The fight to defeat radical Islam. Men and women who gave their life for the cause they believe.

What people would radically do for the love of work, hobby, interest, material things. What sports enthusiast would radically subject their body to attain their goal

Church history gives us an account of men and women who were radical for the right reasons. They did not take someone’s life but they gave their lives for the cause of the Gospel.

The Gospel is a radical message! Old preacher used to say the gospel should afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. (Mark Buchanan)

Mark believes there is a visible gap between the life Jesus offered and the life we’re living between the church Jesus envisioned and the church we see today.

What happened over the years? God meant his church to be both good news and bad news, an aroma and a stench, a disruptive force to whoever or whatever opposes the kingdom of God and the healing an liberating power to those who seek it.

What happened? When did start making it our priority to be safe instead of dangerous, business as usual instead of radical, nice instead of holy, cautious instead of counting everything loss in order to be found in Christ?

Jesus said,

Matthew 10:37–38 ESV Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

Luke 9:23 ESV And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

Jesus said, Love is our identity

John 13:35 ESV By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

What are you willing to do for love? Love for God? Love for others?

How are we to develop and practice a “Radical kind of Love” for others?

Big Idea of the Message: We must love others by being willing to lay down our comforts, our security, and even our own lives for them—just like Jesus.

 

1. TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER IS A COMMAND NOT A SUGGESTION

Yes! its a command not a suggestion.

1 John 3:11 ESV For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

This command is for all time and for all believers. Its never been a suggestion but a command.

Jesus summarized the whole commandment

Matthew 22:37–39 ESV

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

An old command

1 John 2:7 ESV Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard.

A new command

John 13:34 ESV A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

The command to love one another has not changed. People change, situation change but this command stays the same and will continue throughout eternity. The society, the culture we live in might change but to love one another is a command that will endure forever. We need to be constantly reminded of this command because we easily forget, easily overwhelmed by problems. We need to take seriously this command because to love one another is not an easy task. It is a command that require moving outside of our comfort zone. It is a command that require sacrifice and self-denial.

The purpose of the Law

Galatians 3:24 ESV

So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.

Matthew 5:17 ESV

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

The purpose of God’s command is more than a list of thing to do but just like the law, it points us Christ.

This command is not a burden

Many look at God’s command as a burden. Something to kill their joy and take life. God’s command is not to burden us.

1 John 5:3 ESV

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.

Jesus made an invitation to take his yoke upon us

Matthew 11:29–30 ESV

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Who is the most hardest person to love? The person in front of you! This is the person that gets into your nerve. This is the person that gets into your face. This is the noisy and inconsiderate driver, passenger, classmate, co-worker, street people, your kids, your wife, your husband, your parents, your brothers and sisters in Christ,… the list goes on.

We are commanded to love others as we love ourselves. How much do you love yourself? Enough to feed, cloth, take care, shelter, pamper, protect, vacation and the list goes on. It’s easy to read this command to others but its different when it comes to applying it to ourselves. To consider the interest and welfare of others before our own is not easy task, its RADICAL

Philippians 2:3–4 ESV

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Galatians 2:20 ESV

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

A warning: Don’t be like Cain

The author points to the story of Cain to help us define love and hate. Cain’s murder of his brother is an extreme example of hating—not loving—someone (3:12, 15). The author uses this story as a rhetorical device to make us cringe. No one wants to be categorized with this murderer! The author of 1 John emphasizes that love is not just a feeling: Deeds concretely define love

1 John 3:12 ESV

We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous.

Verse by Verse 1 John 3:12

John in this verse sets forth two representatives of two different spiritual families: the family of God and the family of Satan.  Cain represents the family of Satan and Abel represents the family of God.  These families stand in stark contrast to one another. 

1 John 3:15 ESV

Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

Verse by Verse 1 John 3:12

The origin of Cain’s sin came from Satan; it came out of his spiritual relationship with Satan.  The word “of” means origin, source.  The source of Cain’s behavior is in the Devil.  Cain did not become a child of the Devil by murdering his brother.  He murdered his brother because he was a child of the Devil.  His spiritual birth was of the Devil

Verse by Verse 1 John 3:12

What is the origin of spiritual rebellion?  It does not begin in man.  Love springs from God and hate originates in the Devil.  If you are in the grip of hate, it has a satanic source. 

A warning: The world will hate those who will obey this command

1 John 3:13 ESV

Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.

This is why non-Christians hate the confidence and conviction of believers who know where they stand with God.  They hate the grace concept because it violates their self-trust.  Non-Christians often love religion and morality but religion and morality without the grace of Christ. Pride often seeks to diminish those to whom we compare ourselves.  Others make us feel small so we seek to cut them down a notch or two.  As Abel threatened Cain, so also Christians threaten other Christians they deem more able, more talented, or gifted. 

Does your heart burn in anger toward another Christian?  You just cannot stand him.  Why don’t you call it what it is?  Hatred.  Hatred originated in the Devil.  May God draw our hearts toward Him and His love. 

The people around us are the very people that we need to be applying this command. This church is in no way perfect. We are all broken and if not for God we have no reason for existence. I am not perfect and so do you. If you go to another church you will also find broken people. Because we are who we are until we reach heaven, we need this command to help us not only survive in this life but also to thrive and prosper.

Joshua 1:8 ESV

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

 

2.  Our love for one another gives evidence to our faith

A person accused of doing something will not be proven guilty until hard evidence is presented. Our message series is entitled, “Prove it”. We cannot prove what we claim if we don’t have it. We cannot prove we love God if our life does not show it.

Our faith must start in Jesus - Believe in Jesus - them love others

1 John 3:23 ESV

And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.

God never meant this command to go by itself. It is not a command to simply fix our defects or make us look good. It is a command born out of our faith in God. Before we even attempt to love one another we need to make sure that we have obeyed the first command, “to believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ”.

Ephesians 2:8–10 ESV

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

What does it mean to believe in Jesus?

James 2:19 ESV

You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!

To believe in Jesus Christ means to put your complete trust in who is he is.

John 14:6 ESV

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Romans 10:9–10 ESV

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

Ephesians 2:8–9 ESV

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

As a result:

John 1:12 ESV

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,

John 3:18 ESV

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Our love for the brothers gives evidence to our faith

1 John 3:14 ESV

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.

1 John 4:7 ESV

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

1 John 4:21 ESV

And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

We love not because to gain something but to give evidence, to prove that we have already received God’s love, salvation in Christ that will enable us to love others. Only believers born of God are the only people who can express the kind of love John teach in his letter.

1 John 3:24 NLT

Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us.

Two things happen or result in our obedience to God: Evidence

a. We remain in fellowship with him.

b. The Holy Spirit lives in us.

1 John 4:15 ESV

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

Are you struggling to love others? Are you about to give upand disappointed that you are not getting any response from the love you show to other. Let the love of God be your motivation in loving others.

2 Corinthians 5:14 ESV

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died;

 

3.  TO LOVE LIKE JESUS DID IS THE ONLY WAY TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER

1 John 3:16 ESV

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

1 John 3:16 NLT

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.

The giving of ones life is the ultimate expression of love as opposed to the taking of life. As John wrote in his gospel.

John 3:16 ESV

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Jesus willingly gave his life for us.

John 10:11 ESV

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

John 15:13 ESV

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

It’s unthinkable for God to give his Son for us. For the creator to give himself for his creation. Through this expression of love, we come to know and understand what love is all about. It’s in the person of Jesus who willingly gave his life for us. Jesus’ path to the cross mark the selfless, self-giving way of life to which his followers are called. This is RADICAL love!

We might not be given the opportunity to lay down our life for others. To stop a bullet, a knife, an accident or persecution but material possessions help sustain life.

But we are presented daily with needs that are divinely appointed for us to meet.

1 John 3:17 ESV

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?

Our exposure to the needs of others is not an accident. When we are presented with a need of a brother, it is meant to help us practice love. If we have the means to help a brother who is in need, our heart and hands must be open to help. The reality is we don’t have enough resources to meet all the needs that comes our way, but that should not stop us from loving others. You just need to be open to God’s direction. John argued, don’t close your heart to the needs of others. Let God’s love flow through you to those who need it.

The true test of live is not one’s verbal profession of it but ones willingness to help others. To show love to others empowered by the love of Jesus Christ to us.

1 John 3:18 ESV

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

The Macedonian believers

2 Corinthians 8:1–5 (ESV)      Encouragement to Give Generously         

8 We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 2 for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, 4 begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— 5 and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.     

 

A Radical kind of love is what we need to express these days.

Church, I challenge you to take risk again. We cannot afford to play it safe. We live in a dangerous world.

Loving people is complicated. It can hurt. It is messy. Because of this, we tend to insulate ourselves from the very people who need our love. First John calls us to push past the fear of making mistakes or getting hurt. It calls us—Jesus’ followers, God’s children, and the Spirit’s vessels—to love others not “with word or tongue, but in deed and truth” (1 John 3:18).

 

The best place to start loving another is through our Membership Covenant

What it means to be a Member of Living Hope Christian Church

1. I WILL PROTECT THE UNITY OF MY CHURCH

…by acting in love toward other members

…by refusing to gossip

…by following the leadership and direction of the elders and others responsible for

 spiritual care

2. I WILL SUPPORT THE COMMUNITY LIFE OF MY CHURCH

…by attending faithfully

…by living a good life

…by giving regularly

3. I WILL SHARE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF MY CHURCH

…by praying for its spiritual growth

…by inviting the un-churched to attend

…by warmly welcoming those who visit

…by speaking to unbelievers about Jesus

…by participating in a small group

4. I WILL SERVE THE MINISTRY OF MY CHURCH

…by discovering my gifts and talents

…by being equipped to serve

…by developing a servant lifestyle

 

Discussion Questions:

1.    What is one thing that stood out to you from this week’s message?

2.    What does it mean to love “in deed and truth”? (v.18)

3.    What are God’s two foremost commands according to this passage (as well as the teachings of Jesus)?

4.    How is the Holy Spirit proof of our having the life of Christ in us?

5.    Have you ever experienced the world’s hating you because of Jesus?

6.    How can I pray for you?