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May 19, 2024

Complete Love

Complete Love

Passage: 1 John 4:7-8

Speaker: Matt Petty

Series: Blessed Assurance

Category: Sunday Sermons

Keywords: heaven, church, faith, jesus, god, praise, sermon, christian, bible, christ, gospel, hope, sermons, peace, love of god, jesus christ, lord, christianity, relationship with god, bible study, god is love, trust god, love god, what is love, study the bible, assurance of faith, jesus love, bible teaching, blessed assurance, christian motivation, jesus loves me, burnt hickory worship, burnt hickory baptist church live stream, experience jesus, live a life of love

Love is the proof that God’s presence is truly in you and that you are a part of God's family. Scripture teaches that God is love, and love cannot be separated from God. In our sermon today, we explore the idea that true love always results in action. We see this through Jesus’ love for us. We, as true believers, live lives that show the love of Jesus to others. As we continue this bible study through 1 John and explore blessed assurance, we learn that fully embracing the perfect love of God will drive away all our past, present, and future fears. Is your life reflecting the true love of God towards others? Have you fully embraced the perfect love of God? Do you need to encounter and know God today? If you’ve got questions, we are here to offer support, ready to answer them and pray with you. As always, you can take the next step in your faith journey by visiting burnthickory/next.

Well, good morning, church, and happy last week of school. I thought I'd get a little more out of that than I did. but that's okay. Happy last week of school, I know. you know, when you're young, everyone says, man, just wait till you're old. And just watch how fast the weeks go. Listen, they were right. they were right. Whoever they were, they were right. Because I feel like. I feel like I was just standing here, getting ready to pray over a new school year and getting ready to launch everybody into a new school year. And here we are walking in the summertime, walking in the summertime. Now, let me say this about summertime, and then I'm going to move on. I promise. if you are new to Burnt Hickory, if this is kind of like your first season of Burnt Hickory, or if you are just a Sunday morning Burnt Hickoryian if you're just a Sunday morning person, let me say this about summer. If you are looking for a place, a time, and a way to connect to this church, especially if you have kids, especially if you have students. Summer is the time to do it. There are so many events. There's so much stuff. There are so many activities that are all built around discipleship, community, and connecting your kids. You are really doing yourself a disservice by just coming to hear this guy. All right. Just coming to hear this guy jump in and get involved. You say, Matt, how do we do that, man? There's like QR codes. There are websites, there's even a phone. Did you know this? There's a phone. If you call the church, somebody answers it, and they can talk to you about all the stuff. And we'd love to have you do that all right. Summer is an amazing time. 


All right, well, let's jump into the word, and we're going to jump back in, with the apostle Paul in this series that we're just calling blessed assurance. Blessed assurance. We're what we're doing is we're walking through a few of the major passages in the book of First John. First John. And what we've been doing is simply kind of looking over the shoulder of these first-century churches and what we would call modern day Turkey. And watching John the Apostle John give them this message of assurance, this message of salvation. Now the Apostle John, at this moment, has watched 55 years of the church. He's watched it come and go and come and go. And he is a little bit concerned with where it is. And he's given them this apostle ministry kind of message toward the end of John's life. And he's concerned. Why? Because there's this group of people that are preaching a false gospel. They are leading people astray and are actually doing more harm than good to the church. And because of that, the church kind of got mad at them, and they got mad at the church, and they broke off from the church and they're no longer there. John writes this letter to those who are still there to give them assurance of their salvation. So, John is telling them what true salvation is. Well, how can I know that I have salvation? How am I sure that I'm walking in there in this salvation that God has offered? 


Now, I've said this every week, and I'm going to say it every week in the series. John is not writing this letter to be like a downer, and he's not writing it to to kind of press into them and be mad at them. He's not writing it as a rebuke to them. John is writing this letter to encourage them and to tell them, that if you're here in this, there is still time for you to know that you know Jesus. And it's an incredible letter because what John does through it is he walks through the series of tests that we can use to see even today, if our faith is real. He walks to this series of tests. He starts in the in the first chapter by really kind of showing them that Jesus does want us to know, man, I don't know what kind of church you grew up in, but Jesus wants you to know where you stand with him. He doesn't want to hold you out there to kind of make you doubt. He wants you to know him. He wants you to know that you know him and to fully experience what he said in chapter one: his joy and his fellowship. That's what that's what he wants for your life. In chapter two, John looked at us, and he said, listen, you can know that you know God if you're chasing the things of God, right? But we also said on the other side of that, the reality is, is that many of us are chasing the things of the world. And if the theme of our life is chasing the world and not chasing God, John says, listen, that is a problem, and it's a test of what's really going on in your heart. 


Last week, John kind of threw at us this challenge of, the test of kind the in times test. And, John looked at us like, hey, listen, the end of times is coming, and we, as believers in Jesus, we can tell if our faith is real, if, if we're people who are living like we're in the last days. And living pointing to Jesus and living in the full Spirit of Jesus and leaning in the truths of Jesus. So John has given us a series of tests for us, even today, to be able to look at our faith, to know that we know that we know that Jesus is ours. Well, today, John is going to circle back to one of his favorite topics. He's going to look at one of his favorite topics. About a year and a half, maybe two years ago, we did a whole series through the life of the disciples. And what we said about John is that John is known as the apostle of love. I think that’s a great title, right? I mean, Thomas got the little shaft. He got the end of that deal being Doubting Thomas. John is known as the apostle of love. And today, we're going to look at the topic of love that John hits all the way through his writings. And John is going to say today the importance of what love is and the fact that love is one of those things that we look at in our lives as a test, as a litmus test to see where our faith is. 


Now, John weaves love into so many texts, and in fact, if you read his gospel, the Gospel of John, it is all about the love of God that he has for us and his command for us to love him and to love others. And what John is going to do today in First John, because it is all about love too, is he's going to show us that love is, in fact, a test that we can use to see if our salvation is real. All right is real. We're going to be in first John chapter four today. First John chapter four. Now, if you were here last week, I can hear it already. Matt. We finished in chapter two last week. How are you jumping over a whole chapter? Let me tell you how I'm doing that. I'm doing that because I looked back and I've already used five verses out of chapter three, and I'm going to reference chapter three earlier. And John talks about love all the way through chapter three and most of chapter four. And we only have so many weeks. All right. That's why I'm doing it. John talks about love everywhere, but his writing style also is a writing style that will introduce a topic and then just kind of circle back around to it. He'll introduce a new topic, he'll circle back around to it. He would have failed English 101 miserably, right? He just doesn't stay on topic. All right? He keeps reminding us of things. 


So, actually, I think it's the Holy Spirit that wants to keep reminding us because he knows this about us. A lot of us have a love problem. We have a love problem. Now before we get to first John four, if you're finding that I want to do something really quickly that can just tie in, why love is such a big deal to true believers. Alright, why is that such a big deal? If you remember right in Genesis chapter one and in verse 26, let me read you what God said. I'm going to tie all this together. God said this in Genesis 1:26. God said this. Then God said, let us make mankind in our image and in our likeness. Now, at a glance, looking at that, you're like, Matt, what in the world does that have to do with love? Well, this is obviously the creation account, right? And what God says here is incredibly important. But the reality is, is sometimes we mistake what God is trying to say right here. When God said, let us make mankind in our image God did not say when he said that I'm making mankind in the physical image of who I am. Okay, so that is not a physical attribute statement. I mean, how many of you, I mean, if we're really being honest with each other, how many of you grew up when you heard, let's make mankind in my image, you thought, well, well, yeah? That's why God made this thing, right? That's why God made it. How many of you, as a middle schooler stood in front of the mirror flexing, right, going, yeah, God made this in his image, right? But that's not what he's talking about. When God said, let us make mankind in our image, the statement points to the fact, listen, this is important that God made us at a soul level like him. At a soul level. And that God, listen, that God is shaping us, that God makes us into a being that is like him, that is intended to be in relationships like God. That's what he meant there. 


He's not saying I'm creating the specimen of the human physique right, like him. Why? Because God doesn't have, God the Father doesn't have a human body. God, the Spirit, doesn't have a human body. So that wouldn't have even worked. But when God said, let me make men in my image, what he's saying is I'm creating mankind to be in relationships, to be in a loving relationship like I am. Now, now, now, don't go down the rabbit trail too far because this will just blow your mind up. But think about God for all eternity. He has been the Triune God, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. In this interpersonal relationship with each other that is fully loving, that is fully consistent, and fully together. And when God says, I'm creating man in my image, he said, I'm creating man with the capacity to be in relationship with the capacity to think as I think with the capacity to love like I love to be loved as I love. 


Now, this is huge. Why? Because no other being that has ever been created on this planet has this capacity. This separates us. We are God's magnum opus. We're the key to creation. Why? Because God put His Spirit inside of us with the ability to love him back and the ability to love other people. Listen, listen, I got news for you, your labradoodle does not love you as God loves you. I know he's the center of your Christmas card, but it's not it, right? It's not it. God did not make him in his image. This debunks every evolutionary claim that there is because God created us in his image to relate to him and to relate to others like none other. We are created to have the capacity to love others and to love God, to be loved by others, and to be loved by God like no created being ever in existence. 


Now look, you don't even have to be a Christian to realize this. You don't. I mean, think about it instinctively. We know this is true. Why? Because the basis of every human heart is the desire to be loved. It's the desire to be loved. It is the human heart desires love more than any other thing in creation. That's why there are so many movies about it. There are so many songs about it. There are so many plays and shows. That's why we're all about doing what? Finding true love. We want to be loved. We want to have perfect love. And love is the constant theme of humanity. Why? Because God made us in his image. Why? Because God made us like him. Why? In First John chapter four, verse eight was tied together because of this. Because God, check it out on the screen, is love. He's love. Now, I know that this is not like this is not like bullet point deals. You have to think about this a little bit. But God said the constant thing of Scripture, the constant thing of humanity, is love. Why? Because God created us like him, and he is love. He's love. He's so much love that he put this desire and he hardwired. You know this about yourself. He hardwired the desire to be loved inside of you. It's inside of you. You can't argue with that. It's there. And here's the great part about it. We had God's full love, his complete love, his uninterrupted love all the way through Genesis chapter one and all the way through Genesis chapter two. But then came Genesis chapter three. Right then came what? 


Then came sin and entered into the world. And what did it do? It stole the love that God wanted us to have for him. The understanding, the full fellowship with him. And he stole it from our lives and introduced a counterfeit love into our hearts. This false love walked into mankind. And now love has been a battle ever since. I think that's a country song, but you know what I'm saying? It's been a battle in our lives ever since. And this counterfeit love promises much, it looks flashy, it has a little bit of commitment, and it wants to steal, kill, and destroy you. I promise you the love that the world has to offer will not fill you. It will leave you empty. It will walk away from you when you need it the most. And it will never be the eternal love that God says he is. And he gives. He is, and he gives. But the real love of God. Here it is. It's eternal, and it's complete. And God, he wants you not only to know that love, but he wants you to walk in that love. And he wants you to show that love. And believers that love is available to you, through the name, in the banner of Jesus Christ. And it's the legacy of who God is inside of us. It's his love, and it's the only thing. 


In First John 1:4, that will make our joy complete. So if you're looking for love, if you're searching for love, that's another song. If you're looking for complete love. And let me just remind you, it only comes from God. It only comes from God. Listen, let your spouse off the hook because he will never be able to do it. Let your wife off the hook. He won't. She will never be able to do it. Humanity will never give you this love, but God has it, and God is love. And God offers this love. And to live in it and to show others what God says is one of the biggest ways you can tell if you know Jesus as your Lord. Now I know that was one of the biggest introductions you've ever had in a message, right? One of the biggest ones, but it sets us up to just be able to walk through this text of why love is so important. Because God is love, and God has given us His love, and God has commanded us to love. With that being said, first John chapter four. If you haven't found it by now, give up. All right, it's going to be on the screen. All right, here it is. Here it is. Here's. All right, let's watch this test of love. 


First John 4, starting in verse seven. Here's what he says. He says, dear friends. Dear friends, can you just hear that older statesman, the apostle John going Hey, hey, hey, son. You need to hear this, all right? You need to hear this. It's also him swapping topics. He's just been talking about the Holy Spirit, and now he's about to talk about love. Remember, John is old. He can talk like this. Joseph can say, hey, sonny boy, listen to me. Listen to me. All right? So what he said, dear friends, let us love one another. For love comes from God. From God. Now, stop right there. Because two times in half a verse, love has already been mentioned. And this love that he's mentioning right here, let me explain it for a minute. This is the highest form of love. It is agape love. It's not like eros love, like intimate love. It is not phileo love. That kind of brotherly kind of love. It's not that kind of fist bump. I love your truck, or I love Georgia Bulldogs, or I love the weather. That's not this kind of love. This is the deepest level of real, sacrificial, affectionate soul intimate love. This is complete love. You're going to see that over and over again. And this is the love that we see most of the time through the New Testament in the scriptures. It's a love that describes Jesus's love for us. Jesus is the love of the Father, the Father's love of all of us. It's a love that we are called to have towards other people. It's a love that God has for us, but it's also a love. I just kind of want to let you off the hook. It's also a love that only comes from God. What that means is, is that if you don't have Jesus, yes, you can love people, but you cannot agape love people because this love is a gift from God and is a display of God. It has been placed in our souls from God. 


You can't conjure this up to kind of do this on your own. Try as hard as you want to, but true love comes from God. By relying on the Spirit and Him moving in you, it is a sign that you know God. It's a sign. And remember, it's a fundamental sign of walking with the Lord. Now, write this principle down, and then we'll flesh it out. Here's what that means. That means if you have a love problem, you really have a God problem. Why? Because they can't be separated. If you have a love problem, you really have a God problem because those two things cannot be separated. This is why you spent five minutes walking us all the way back to Genesis. Why? Because this shows us that God is love, and God is the one that places this love in us. Now, if you have a love problem, here's what that means. It means either A, you are not intimately walking with the Father, and in your spirit, you're struggling as a believer in Jesus, and you're in this season of struggle in your life. Or B, which is the one that John leans mostly toward in his text here. Either that or you just haven't, quite frankly, surrendered your heart to Jesus, and you haven't allowed him to take your heart of stone and give you his heart. 


Church it’s that simple, that it is surely something for all of us to think about. Why? We cannot separate God from love. They can't be separated. In fact, look at verses seven and eight. Let's just kind of keep going because John clears it up a little bit better than I do. Watch. Here's what he says. He says this in verse seven. He says everyone who loves that's agape love. That's pure love. Watch what happens. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. John. Now, now pause there. Because what is John? John is the master of contrasts light and dark, life, and death. He does this a lot, right? Watch what he says after that sentence in verse eight. But also, whoever does not love does not know God. Why? Because God is love. Okay, John said it again. Here's the sign that you know God. And the sign is that you love God and that you love people. It's pretty clear. All right. It's pretty clear. But John doesn't think it's that clear because he keeps coming back to it over and over and over again, right from different angles. But John is pushing us to grasp here and apply here that God and love cannot be separated, but also write this second principle down. He's also saying that love is the proof and the evidence that God's presence is truly in you and that you really are part of the family of God. That's what he's saying at the baseline level of what he's saying here. 


He's saying that, listen, you can have all the Bible studies you want to you can do all the work you want to. You can memorize all you want to, but at the end of the day, it is how you love God and how you love others that will determine if you really are God's child. To which most of us will say that. I kind of get that right. I get this idea that love is what gave me my salvation. To which that's true. I mean, it's 100% true. What is the love of Jesus being a sacrifice for your sin when you were separated from God, when he came, when he walked, when he died, when he rose, and when he offered you to live through his love and through his sacrifice? You were separated from God, and sin caused a gap that you could not give back to God. But Jesus’s love gave you the opportunity to get back to him. I can hear you going, Matt. I know that love is the key. I get it. 


Salvation is from the love of God. It's a gift. We don't earn it, I get that. But here's the problem in that that's not what John is saying here. What John is saying here is, yes, that's true. Obviously, the love of God and the love of Jesus gives you salvation. But where John is leaning in here and in this whole book is this idea of not what gives us salvation, but how do we know we have salvation? We've said this every week. How do I know that I have it? How do I know that I'm really there? Because here's what he knows. You can say it all you want to. You can write a card, you can walk in the aisle, you can pray a prayer. But at the end of the day, the proof, John says, of our true salvation is how we love, how we love. In fact, go back to John chapter three, verse 14. I told you we were going to get back there. Watch this. Watch what he says. He says that we know that we have passed from death to life. That's talking about salvation. How? Because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer. And you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. This is how we know what love is. Jesus Christ laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. Church, loving others is that serious. It's that serious. It cannot be separated out of a true believer’s life. Why is it such a big deal? 


I'm going to go back to it again. First, John chapter eight, first John chapter four, verse eight. Here it is. Whoever does not love does not know God because God is love. He's like, now let me teach you something right here. This is important. This is one of, if not the only, place in Scripture where God is identified as one of his attributes. You say that's kind of heavy. What do you mean by that? Here's what I mean by that. Do you realize that the Bible never says that God is joy? He never says that, and now does say that he gives joy. The Bible never says that God is hope. No, no, never says that. It says that he gives hope. Right? And he's hopeful. The Bible never says that God is grace, but he gives grace. The Bible never says that God is peace. It never says that God is peace. It says that he gives peace. But look here. 


Look at it closely. What did I just read? It says that God is love. He is love. Not not that God is loving, although we know that he is throughout the context of all the Bible, right? It says that in other places. Here, it says that God is love. John is not saying that love is the only attribute of God. So don't take that today. But what he is saying is that the essence of who God is is love. It's love. To which makes so much sense if you think back through all of time, doesn't it? If you think back to the Old Testament, what did God show most? How much he loved us. If you think about all the stories of Israel, what happened after they turned their back on God? It was always about his love for them. Man, if you go back, it makes so much sense, even when you look at the greatest commandment for us to live our lives as little Christ. Right? Mark 12 verse 30 says, love the Lord, your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, with all your strength. The second is this love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these. 


So it's all about love. We don't talk about this enough, but it's all about love. It's all about self-giving, self-sacrificial love. It's not, and listen, if that is not at the core of who we are, there is no way that God is in us. You know what that means? You can do all the Bible studies you want. You can teach all the life groups you want. You can put all the sounds in your yard if you want. You can have the biggest Bible, and you can wear the best clothes. But if you are not loving people, you don't know, Jesus. That's what it says. And he keeps on saying it. I mean, he constantly goes back to it and back to it and back to it. In fact, watch what he says in verse nine. He says this is how God showed his love among us. He sent his one and only son into the world so that we might live through him. He said this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us. And he sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. So, Matt, what does that have to do with anything? It has everything to do with anything. Why? Because God showed his love by sending Jesus as the sacrifice for my sins and your sins. 


Now, that in itself is incredible. But this also shows us another principle that we need to grab onto, and that is this. You can write it down. True love is not always just a feeling, but true love always results in action. You say, Matt, how do I know if I'm loving? You are acting, you are moving. John here, though, uses the most extreme example of love that has ever been shown to the planet. Right? John says, look, God's love is so big and so important that God did the unthinkable. He said after mankind rejected him, God could have just struck us down. He could have killed everything on the planet and started over. But he didn't. What did he do? Out of his love? Out of his love, God sent Jesus to do what? To be the penalty for my sin. To take my sin on him. 


Then, just listen to this part of the Trinity literally came and walked on the earth. Jesus, the King of Kings, died for unrepentant traitor me. He died for me. The creator died for the creation. And he didn't have to do it. No, he chose to do it. Why? Because God is love. And God loves, right? For God so loved the world that he gave his only son. Why? So that I can have grace? Yes, but also he did it to give me an example of how I'm to live. You do know that when you read every single account of Jesus, he did it? Yes. Not only to show the power of God but also, he did it secondly, so that I may have an example of how to live my life and how to walk in the things that God has given me. 


So, write this principle down. It is that this is a great thing to think about. Jesus’s life perfectly showed us love. And listen to this. True believers now live their lives to show the love of Jesus to others. I mean, after all, isn't that what being a Christian is? Christ in me? Isn't that what it looks like for me to live in the shadow of Christ? If I'm not walking in what is the primary essence of who he is, then how in the world can I call myself one? That's John's point. And when we put love on display to the world, it is a sign of what God is doing in us. 


So listen, if you have a God problem, or if you have a love problem, you've got a God problem. Jesus is the example. But I want you to keep reading because I want you to watch what happens when we begin to love. Verse 11. It says this dear friends, since God so loved us, we ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, watch this: God lives in us, and his love is made complete in us. That's what I want from my life, and I think it's what you want for yours, too. So, I want the complete love of God in my life. Verse 13. This is how we know that we live in Him and he in us. He has given us the spirit, and we have seen and testified that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. Verse 15, if anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we now know and rely on the love that God has for us. Here it is again: God is love, and whoever lives in love lives in God, and God is in them. Once again, the sign that we know God, the sign that we've been born of God, the sign that God's love is made complete in us, is that we acknowledge Jesus as Lord. We walk in the spirit, and we love like Jesus loves. But I can feel the tension, man. Matt. Why? Why do we keep harping on this? Here's why. Here's one of the things that is so hard about Christianity and following Jesus. 


There's no, like, written assessment to tell you if you're a Christian or not. Hey, have you ever realized this? There's there's no, like, test. I can hand you to go. Hey, hey, hey, listen, if you fill this out, I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt. If you know Jesus or not, there's no certificate that gets you there. There's no walking down an aisle to get you there. So, John pauses in this moment and says this. He goes. He goes, Matt, take out a notebook. I'm like, okay, John, what do I do? He goes, Matt, let me ask you a question right here. Get your pen out and put a check mark if this is you. He goes, Matt, do you acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God? And I'm like, oh yeah, yeah, yeah, John, I do. I'm checking that one out. He would go, okay, man. Do you have you do you know that you have surrendered your life to him? And I'm like, oh yeah, yeah, John, I have done that. I've given my life to Jesus. And then John goes, okay, Matt, are you loving God? And you love others? And then I go, okay. Yeah, John John's, I'm not perfect at it, but I think I'm there. And if I can check those boxes, here's what John would say to you and to me. He said, hey, quit worrying about it. You're his. Let me just ask you this. And I don't know. It's true. I'm just asking it as a question. Has there been a moment in your life where you're like, I'm just really not sure that I'm His? John would say, you don't have to worry about that anymore. I'm giving you the test. And this test will bring you confidence. 


You say, man, what does he say? I'm glad you asked. Look at verse 17. He says this is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence in the day of judgment. Watch what he says. In this world, we are like Jesus. Man, are you like Jesus in this world? There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. Do you see that? The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates his brother and sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they cannot see. And he. Verse 21, God has given us this command. Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and their sister. Now, with that in mind, here's what I want to do before I give you the last principle: I just want to show you that if you have a love problem, you have a God problem. If love is the proof that we are, his love is always in action. Jesus is the ultimate example of love. And here's the last principle that will tie all this together. Here it is. Fully embracing the perfect love of God will drive away your past, your present, and your future fears. And if you're writing this on a piece of paper, put a little comma and then just say, and let me rest in him. Because ultimately that's what John's doing there. Why? Because how do we know that God saved us? We rest in, what did we just read? In what he has done for us. We look towards the second coming. We rest and live out of our family position as a son and daughter of the King, and we love other people. Listen, believers, this does not rest on you. It rests on you walking out the love that God gives you. 


So, let me close this section by asking this question: Here it is. How's your love? I know it's a weird question. I wanted to say how your love life is. But I thought that might be a little bit weird, right? But how's your love? Do you find yourself struggling to love people? That means there's a God problem somewhere inside there. Do you find yourself not being drawn into other people's lives and showering them with the same kind of love that God has for you? And that means there's a God problem going on in there. Either you've kind of just broken some fellowship with God, and you're struggling as his child, or quite frankly, it just means that you've never walked into his promise. Do you find yourself being spiteful first but only loving when you've been given a reason to love? And that's a God problem? Do you find yourself wanting to spout out first and only love when it's easy? That's a God problem. We love because he first loved us. We don't love because the object of our love deserves that love. We didn't deserve it when he gave it to us. We love because God first loved us. But man, somebody needs to hold him accountable. That is not your job. Your job is to love. Why do we love? To show them what Christ wants to do in them. Why? Because God is love. 


We're going to close the message up a little bit differently today. As you walked in. You received the elements for the Lord's Supper today. And we talked a lot about Christ and his love for us today. And I can't think of a better way to point towards the love of Christ but to finish this message with this supper, with this remembrance moment. The Lord's Supper is a time when church people from the time of Jesus's crucifixion paused in their lives and looked back to exactly what Christ has done for us. And today, as we do that, I just want you to to ask yourself the question and my loving like this? Or am I walking in this? Or do I have a love problem? At the end of Jesus’ ministry, he pulled up in the upper room, and this is Paul's account of what happened as Jesus showed his disciples what his love was looking like. He says this. The apostle Paul in First Corinthians 11. He says, for I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you, the Lord Jesus. 


On the night that he was betrayed, he took the bread and gave thanks, but he broke it. And he said, this is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, after supper, he took the cup, saying, this cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me. Verse 26: for whenever you eat this bread, and you drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. Verse 27: for then, whoever eats the bread and drinks the cup in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and the blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat the bread and drink the cup. Paul is remembering the moment that Jesus pulled his disciples aside and said, hey, listen, when you celebrate this moment, it is all about my love. It is all about my sacrifice. It is all about what I've done for you. And now what I'm telling you, Jesus, has to do is you do this to commemorate and to remember the supreme, complete love that I bestowed upon you. You also do it to anticipate the day that one day we share this meal with Christ at his banquet table, and we do this to participate in the Body of Christ, in proclaiming to the world the what? The love Jesus had for us. I can't think of a better day to celebrate this than talking about love. Why? Because for 2000 years, believers like you and believers like me have come together at this moment. All of us have given our lives to Jesus. This meal is only for people who have surrendered their hearts to Jesus and who have been saved by Jesus. It's not a Baptist thing. It's not a Burnt Hickory thing. So don't take that. But it is a Christian thing. If you have not given your life to Jesus, this is not for you. It’s for the family. But if you're part of the family, this is for you to remember the love and to point your life in the direction of love. 


So, for the next couple of minutes, here's what I want to challenge you to do. I want you to look back at your salvation at that moment when Christ's love burst into your soul, and you gave your heart to him. I want you to examine your life right now. I want you to ask yourself, am I living in and under the name, in the banner of the love of Jesus? I want you to thank Jesus for His sacrifice. I want you to partake in the elements, then. You take the bread and you tear it open and take it on your own. Remembering the body of Christ that was offered for you. And then you turn it over, and you take the juice. Remember the blood of Christ that was sacrificed for your sins. And then, lastly, I just want you to find encouragement that we don't walk love on our own. We walk it under the banner of Jesus. So, in just a minute, I'm going to pray over us. And when I'm finished, worship guys are going to come. We're going to have a time of reflection. And then, as you take this on your own, at your own timing, feel free to join in worship after that, and I'll come and close this back up when we’re finished. 


Lord Jesus, thank you, thank you, thank you. Though we were yet sinners, Christ, you died for us. Oh, thank you for that love. Thank you for the fact that you didn't have to, but you chose to. And now, today, Lord Jesus, we celebrate what you've done for us and what you're doing for us. Thank you, Lord Jesus. It's in your name that we give you this next couple of minutes. 


Amen, Amen. 


You partake on your own and then join us in worship.

Follow Along with the Message

Complete Love

May 19, 2024

Genesis 1:26
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…”
1 John 4:8
…because God is love.
1 John 4:7
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

PRINCIPLE: If you have a problem, you really have a God problem; they cannot be separated.

1 John 4:7–8
7 …Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

PRINCIPLE: Love is the proof and evidence that God’s is truly in you, and you really are a part the family of God.

1 John 3:14–16
14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. 16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
1 John 4:8
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Mark 12:30–31
30 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
1 John 4:9–10
9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

PRINCIPLE: True love results in action.

PRINCIPLE: Jesus’s life perfectly us love, and “true believers” live their lives to show the love of Jesus to others.

1 John 4:11–16
11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 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 4:17–21
17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 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. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

PRINCIPLE: Fully embracing the perfect love of God will away all your past, present, and future fears.

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