A sermon for the Watford church of Christ

Love is not something God does – it is something he is
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love…And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” (1 John 4:8, 16 NIV11)

  1. Exegesis, John 13.34-35
    ““A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”” (John 13:34-35 NIV11)
    A. New — love one another
    Lev 19.18 / Mark 12.28-34
    “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbour as yourself. I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:18 NIV11)
    “One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”“Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.” (Mark 12:28-34 NIV11)
    New ‘law’ from new Moses
    New command for a new people on a new Exodus, release from slavery
    New command for a new life (resurrection life), not just a new order of things
    “New” (kainen) implies freshness, or the opposite of “outworn” rather than simply “recent” or “different.”’ Expositors
    B. As I have loved you
    Leviticus command – love others as love ourselves. Christ is now the way….
    We do not assess the quality of our love by our own definition of what it means for us to love people
    We don’t assess the quality of our love by the way other people are loving us.
    We have a quality of love set by Jesus not by a human.
    John 13.1; 15.9, 13
    Also 1 John 3.16
    Foot-washing: Wash sins away; willing slavery to one another’s needs
    Community culture, not just individual – WBC translation — ‘if you have love among one another.
    C. Everyone will know
    A different ‘law of attraction’
    Authenticates the Gospel (illustration of something that authenticates something)
    Evidence of true transformation, not just believers or moral people — world needs hope for transformation, not improvement
  2. Workshop
    10 minutes to discuss one of three questions in small groups – on handout
    A. What are the main barriers to loving one another and how can they be overcome?
    B. What does it cost to love one another, and what will help us to willingly pay the price?
    C. What are the potential benefits/blessings to this congregation if we make deliberate efforts to obey this command?
  3. How To Grow
    Proper view of God
    We are not able to love one another because we do not have our minds filled with an accurate vision of God. Willard
    Jesus – his vision for the church (not ours)
    Everyone knows everyone. It is not a little church with ambitions of becoming a big church. It has no agenda but to love one another and help each other better serve the Lord. It manifests the fullness of the church because in its life Christ and the Spirit are directing our attention to the Father. Highfield

Conclusion, Romans 5:6–11
All inspired by God/Jesus’ love for us….
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (Romans 5:6-11)

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

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“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm