2020-12-27 – 1 John 4:7-8 – Christmas LOVE
2020-12-27 – 1 John 4:7-8 – Christmas LOVE
Good morning everyone. It is so nice to be able to spend some time with you all in fellowship with the Lord. Thank you and God bless you for being with us today. I pray you had a wonderful Christmas Holy-Day. Albeit a little cold, it was nice to see a skiff of snow on Christmas morning.
We have been going through the letter-book of First Corinthians, written by the apostle Paul. But today’s topical message has to do with the subject of Love, more specifically that of Christmas LOVE. In that regard, you might recall that when we read through chapter 13 of First Cor. it was all about love. Paul wrote:
[SLIDE] “If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”
So again, Christmas Love is the topic today, and in that I pray you will clearly feel the love that Christ has to offer you during this precious Holy-day season.
Please turn now to 1 John 4:7, page 1084 in your pew Bibles, which is the Inspired, Infallible and Living Word of God. Prayer..
God is the Author of Love, and Jesus is God’s Love incarnate (or in the flesh). There was also a man who held the title of “the disciple whom Jesus loved” and that is the apostle John. He wrote the book of John, as well as 1st 2nd 3rd John and Revelation. In 1 John 4:7-8 He said, “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love, does not know God, for God is love”
There is nothing like the love of God, Amen? It is the most overwhelming thing and the most endearing thing I have ever encountered in my life. I frequently say that the Bible is one long love story to us from God. And in that, this small book of First John is really a great testimony of love. Love is the central theme as the word Love is mentioned 46 times in its 135 verses. If you ever need a good pick-me-up, or if you ever need to be reminded of God’s love, reading this book of First John would be a great way to start.
God’s love for us is truly an amazing thing to ponder:
It Is Unshakable – Although I can hardly comprehend it, I know I have experienced or felt God’s love in so many ways, and it brings me much joy knowing that I can never be separated from it. In Romans 8:38-39, Paul wrote, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”.
It Is Unending – In Jeremiah 31:3, God said “I have loved you with an everlasting love!” He is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last. He wrote my name in the Book of Life before time existed, before the foundation of the Earth was established. So God’s love for us is eternal. How amazing is that!
It Is Unselfish – God asks for nothing in return! He gives His love to us freely. However, God’s love should lead us to want to repent and turn back to Him in love – Rom. 2:4, says “God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance”, and 1 John 4:19 says “We love him because He first loved us!”
It Is Unmerited – It cannot be earned or deserved. His love is based on His grace! I like how Paul put it in 2 Timothy 1:8, “So don’t be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, or of me his prisoner. Instead, share in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God. He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began”. There is nothing we did to deserve God’s mercy and grace. We are truly blessed.
It Is Unconditional – It is not based on what we can or cannot do, it comes from the heart of God. Man can never reach a place when he will not be loved by God! God loved us first, and He loves us eternally! In Psalm 139 King David wrote, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go to the heavens, you are there: If I make my bed in the depths, you are there”. I love this verse because God has always been with me. When my life was full of joy and in the depths of my sorrow. I realize He was present even when I was mad at him. God’s love for me is truly unconditional.
Now at Christmas time, I am reminded that God sent His Son Jesus as a baby in a manger so that we would know Him personally. In that, Jesus experienced all that we experience here on earth, except for one thing, Sin. And Jesus subsequently took our penalty for our sin even though He was totally sinless Himself. Then He Stood In the gap for us. In 2 Corinthians 5:21 Paul wrote, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him!”
Jesus took our place and saved us from an eternity in Hell. That is love in action brothers and sisters. It is His death on the cross, that opened the door of salvation for every sinner who will come to God. 1 Pet. 1:18-19 says “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect”.
In Ephesians 1:7-10 it says “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth”. So you see it was God’s plan all along to save us through His Son Jesus.
This reminds me of that song we just sang, “Living, He loved me. Dying, He saved me. Buried, He carried my sins far away. Rising, He justified, freely forever. One day He’s coming. Oh glorious day, oh glorious day”, Amen?
That amazing grace and amazing love was amply gifted to us, and now God wants us to reflect His love onto others. He wishes us to demonstrate our gratitude to Him through our own lives going forward. When the love of God is present in the heart and life of a believer, it should naturally become apparent in our character in many different ways.
Love for the Name of Jesus: When a Christian hears the name Jesus, it should immediately get their attention. Around the world, people may say it in many different ways, Jesus, ‘Haysus’, Essa, Prabu, but when it is said, it should usher in an immediate connection for the Christian. That dynamic reminds me of that old song: “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus; there’s just something about that name. Master, Savior, Jesus, like the fragrance after the rain”; “Kings and kingdoms will all pass away, But there’s something about that name”. That’s what true love does to a person. When you love someone then you naturally their name.
Love For The Savior’s instruction: In John 14:23 Jesus said, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” That doesn’t mean you have to fully understand everything He said or even why He said it, but that He said it is good enough. The Bible is God’s gift to us, and if you love Jesus then you will want to adhere to His teachings. It may not come to you all at once, but as you mature in your faith, it is natural that we become more aligned with God’s will.
Love For The Scriptures: As Paul wrote to his protege Timothy “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work”. (2 Timothy 3:14-17)
Love For The Sanctuary: Heb. 10:25 says that Christians “should not be forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another and so much more as you see the day approaching”.
Christians should love coming to the meeting place, the church. This is your church brothers and sisters. God has blessed us with this Sanctuary so that we can enjoy each other. So that we can encourage each other along our path.
Love For Each other: 1 John 4:20-21 says, “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister”. And 1 John 5:1-2 reads, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands”. And John 13:34-35 says, “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”. All Christians should strive to love one another. For that is God’s will.
Love For Others: As Jesus showed love for others, we too should naturally take on that charge. And that is where the Great Commission comes in.
Right before Jesus ascended into heaven, He gave us that command. Matthew 28 Jesus said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” True Christians love others because God loves them and He chooses to use us to reach them for salvation.
Conclusion: All of these things are the fruit of what should naturally come out of our new Christian character. And if we want to show our appreciation for the Love that Father God demonstrated by sending His Son Jesus to die on the cross at Calvary for our sins; and if we want to show our appreciation for the Love that Jesus so well demonstrated while He walked with us, while He talked with us, and while he died for us, then we ought to be about praising His name, and be willing to let Him love through our lives to reach others for Jesus. I invite you to join me today as I ask the Lord to help me to love more like Jesus. Today let us choose to show our love for God by doing His will and showing His love to the rest of the world.
That is why we celebrate Jesus Christ’s birth at Christmas time. For He is surely worthy to be honored and praised, Amen?
In closing I will leave you with this last set of verses. Would you please rise with me now and read with me:
1 John 4:15-18
All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear.
God loves you dear church. As we close this year and look forward to starting the next, I pray that you know it and that you live it.
Let us pray and then sing together Amazing Grace.