Living Like Christ: Love

I John 4:7-21

Doctor: I have some bad news and some very bad news.
Patient: Well, might as well give me the bad news first.
Doctor: The lab called with your test results. They said you
have 24 hours to live.
Patient: 24 Hours! That’s terrible! What could be worse?
What’s the very bad news?
Doctor: I’ve been trying to reach you since yesterday.

This morning we will be talking about love.
Similar to the first week of our series when we discussed
holiness, love is not only something God desires from us, it’s one
of His attributes.
As a reminder, this series is called Living Like Christ.
The goal is for us to examine our life and model it after our perfect
example, Jesus Christ.

I John 4:7-21

God Calls us to Love One Another

I noticed something as I studied the text.
It begins with an exhortation to love one another and ends with a
commandment to love one another.

Two weeks ago we talked about being holy just as God is holy.
When God calls us to love, He is calling us to be like Him.

The first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God
with all of your heart, with all of your soul, and with all of your
mind. The second is to love your neighbor as yourself.

Tommy Lea, in the Broadman & Holman commentary wrote this:

The greatness of the divine love for us leaves us with an
incentive to love one another. Our practice of love for one
another provides evidence that God’s love for us has
attained its goal.
Lea, T. D. (1998). The General Letters. In D. S. Dockery (Ed.), Holman concise Bible commentary (p. 649). Nashville, TN:
Broadman & Holman Publishers.

God’s desire is for us to love others just as He loves them.
In John 13:35 we read, “By this all men will know that you are
My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

God Demonstrates His Love to Us

John writes the phrase “God sent His Son” three times in these
verses.
Each one gives a different demonstration of God’s love.
The first time is in v.9 “By this the love of God was manifested
in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world
so that we might live through Him.”
This verse epitomizes our entire series, Living Like Christ.
God demonstrates His love by sending His only Son so that we
can live through Him.
So We Might Live Through Him
Jesus gives us abundant life.
Jesus gives us eternal life

This should remind us of Paul’s words from Romans 5:8 “But
God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we
were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Christ came to die so that we might have abundant life on earth
and eternal life in heaven.

The second verse that shows God’s demonstration of His love is
v. 10. “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved
us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
To Be the Propitiation for Our Sins
You may or may not be familiar with this term, but it refers to the
act of appeasing God and satisfying His wrath. The point is that
God sent Jesus to the cross where His blood was shed to cover
our sin. God’s wrath was poured out on His own Son so that we
could be back in right standing with Him.
The third verse that shows God’s demonstration of His love is
v.14. “We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the
Son to be the Savior of the world.”
To Be the Savior of the World
When the angel came to Joseph and was telling him about Mary
being pregnant by the Holy Spirit and for him to not be afraid to
take her as his wife, he promised that she would bear a Son and
His name would be Jesus and He would save His people from
their sins. This was God’s plan from before the foundation of the
world. Jesus’ purpose is to be the Savior of the world.

God Equips us to Love One Another

I want to read vv. 12-13 “No one has seen God at any time; if
we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is
perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He
in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.”
Did you notice that conditional statement?
If we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected
in us.
When we become believers, He gives us the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit takes up residence in our bodies. He is there to
guide, to convict, to comfort, to encourage. He abides in us.

You may recall from John’s gospel the description of Jesus
promising the Holy Spirit. “I will ask the Father, and He will give
you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is
the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it
does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because
He abides with you and will be in you.” John 14:16-17
Those who abide in God are able to love like Him.

Those who abide in God are able to love like Him.
Listen to this story:

A Salvation Army worker found a derelict woman alone on
the street and invited her to come into the chapel for help,
but the woman refused to move. The worker assured her:
“We love you and want to help you. God loves you. Jesus
died for you.” But the woman did not budge.
As if on divine impulse, the Army lassie leaned over and
kissed the woman on the cheek, taking her into her arms.
The woman began to sob, and like a child was led into the
chapel, where she ultimately trusted Christ.

“You told me that God loved me, ” she said later,
“but it wasn’t till you showed me that God loved me that I wanted to
be saved.”
Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 519). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

It’s not enough to tell people about God’s love. Through the power
of the Holy Spirit in us, we have to love them like Jesus does!

APPLICATION

Love Like Christ
Jesus is our perfect example.
He loved the least of these, he ate with tax collectors and sinners.
He loved the ones the world hated.

We are called to love like Christ.

God loved us first.
John mentions it twice
Not that we loved God, but that he loves us…
We love, because he first loved us.

Even when we have trouble loving people, take heart, God has
given us His Spirit so we can love them as He loves us.
The good news is that God perfects love in us so we can have
confidence in the day of judgment.
When Jesus separates the people like the sheep and the goats,
which will he say to you?
Depart from me or well done my good and faithful servant.