Sermons

← back to list

Feb 14, 2021

John: The Divine Balancing Act

John: The Divine Balancing Act

Passage: John 13:21-25

Speaker: Matt Petty

Series: The Twelve That Changed The World

Category: Sunday Sermons

Keywords: truth, love, john, gospel, good news, disciples, loving people, the twelve, truth in love, caring for needs

John | The Twelve | Matt Petty | Burnt Hickory We look at John this week as we continue to study the twelve who changed the world. We learn that truth without love is nothing more that brutality and divisiveness and it will never represent the heart of Jesus. We need to have absolute love for people when sharing the absolute truth with them. We see in Ephesians 4 - “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” This shows s that truth is supremely important, but so is the way to deliver that truth.

For all of you students that are out there, if you are catching us from some ski slope out in the Rockies, we don't even like you. But for all of us that are here, we love you guys. Happy winter break to the students. Happy Presidents Day for any of you presidents out there. And most of all, Happy Valentine's Day to my bride right over here in the pink sweater, Melissa Petty, love you. I am in trouble for that one. I would tell you that right now listen, if you got a copy of Scripture, I want you to turn with me to John, the 13th chapter, John, the 13th chapter. If you've been around the last couple of weeks, you'll know that we are launched into a series for the next couple of weeks on the original disciples, on the apostles, on the 12 men that changed the world. And literally these guys, that's not hyperbole, they literally changed the world. They brought Christianity to the common man, they spread it throughout the region. And the reality is a lot of us are here today because of the foundation that these guys laid for us. And what we've said so far, just to catch you up, if you haven't been able to be here is that these guys were not superheroes, they didn't swoop in, they didn't have any superpowers that on one side, that's oddly disappointing, because we want them to be that. But on the other side, we see them as really and truly ordinary people just like you and just like me. And that's exciting. Because when we get to look at their lives, we can grab hold of them, and we know that we have been called in the same way that they had been called. We looked at their walk with Jesus, we looked at their calling, we looked at how God walked them through this process of just sanctifying them and leading them to holiness. And ultimately God wants to do the same thing for us. Why? Because they were ordinary men, called by Jesus to impact the world. And that's exactly who we are as believers in Jesus, we are called by Jesus ordinary people to impact the world for Him. Last week, we jumped into the first of a couple of these guys that we're going to really look at closely. And we looked at the apostle Philip, last week, the apostle Philip, the administrator, or the logistics coordinator of the group, and he taught us an incredible lesson last week, and that is that we don't have to have all of our answers. We don't have to have all our questions answered. And sometimes Philip told us last week, that sometimes this Christian life to those on the outside, it just doesn't make sense. You know, for those of us that are box checkers or type A people we really related to Philip last week, because we feel like in order to make a step or to do something, we have to filter it through our pros and cons grid, or we have to be able to answer every question. But Philip said, Look, that got me in a lot of trouble with Jesus. And all he wants us to know now is sometimes in our walk with Jesus, we have to step in order to know that we're walking in faith. You know, the more educated we get, the more we feel like faith doesn't play a whole lot of a big part of our lives. Because we feel like we should be able to explain everything away. But Jesus says no, no, sometimes you just have to trust who I am. That's what Philip taught us last week. And he taught us that sometimes we step into moments of salvation that we don't know all the answers. Or we may even step into meeting people's needs or trusting the promises of God or becoming those people who carry the message. And look, we're not going to have all the answers. And look, that's a relief. It's a relief, because that's too much pressure.

We got to step in faith. Well, this morning, we are going to step into the life of one of the inner circle. The inner circle, one of the disciples that knew Jesus the best. You know, anytime you look at Jesus's life, you will begin to notice that Jesus's life can really kind of be defined with these concentric circles that are drawn around him the biggest circle would be kind of the crowds that anytime that the Bible mentions the crowds or they, or the multitudes and that's really and truly just the people that kind of know Him at a glance maybe even have heard Him teach or know what is going on. And inside of that circle would be the bigger group of disciples, not necessarily those that are closest, but just those disciples that are that are on the peripheral, or those people that know who He is, maybe trust Him, but they're not part of the next circle, which is the 12. The 12 are the ones that we're looking at in this series. They're the ones that Jesus appointed as the head as His Messenger, specially gifted on the way out of being transformed for Jesus. But this morning, we're going to look at one of the three. One of the three, and we're going to look at the Apostle John, this morning. The Apostle John absolutely in that definition of the three of the smallest, but I would probably, and this is just me speaking, I would probably go as far to say, as that the Apostle John was probably the closest to Jesus. He was the one that absolutely had a heart connection with Jesus, and we get to see it all through the Bible, and we get to watch how his life makes a difference. You know, the more I study the Apostle John, and the more I just dig into his life, the more I realize, just like with Philip, last week, the more I realize that I relate to John's struggles. I relate to some of the morphing and transforming and then the discipling that Jesus did in John's life, and I find myself looking at John's early years, particularly going man, I can feel that moment. But if we're looking at John's life, I think what I'm learning the most about John, is that John was a master at what I'm going to call this morning, the divine balancing act, the divine balancing act. And here's what I mean by that. I look at John's life and I can see that John takes hold of two absolute truths in his life, and he holds them in balance, and he stays on the wire. Now, for some reason, I'll let you into a little secret of myself. I love extreme tightrope walkers. I don't know why I love them. It's just a weird deal about me. I love the adventure. And I'm not talking about those guys down at Callaway gardens that have a net under them. I'm not even talking about those weird circuses when you don't know what's happening all around you. I'm talking about the guys that are on TV that set up a wire across the Grand Canyon from building to building across the Niagara Falls. And they hop themselves up with those weird little shoes on that wire and they put their lives on the line. I don't know why I love them. I love the extremeness of it. I love their dedication to their craft. I even love that at any moment. They could plummet to their death on national TV. I mean, I I don't know, maybe that's weird, I'm not sure. But I just love their passion. I love the fact that most of them are from like generational carny families, I got this weird thing for carny families that I think it's just a weird culture that we just need to discover a little bit more, but I love how they grow up. If you start reading, you're going to go home and read about them. I love how you start reading about them and as soon as they start to like wobble and walk, they put them on like lines on the carpet or lines in their garage. And then by the time they're like one and a half years old, they're already up to like two feet on wires. By the time they're three, they're already above their heads walking in their garages. And then as they grow into life, the reality is it just becomes second nature to them. It becomes part of their life. I love how they train their art form. I love their confidence. I mean, let's just face it. If you're going to wear one of those suits on TV, you got to be a pretty confident individual in yourself. I love their confidence that they get out in the elements and they walk on these little bitty wires balancing themselves across. Well, not too long ago, I read a biography by one of these guys named Nik Wallenda.

Now Nick is a seventh-generation wire walker. I mean, you want to talk about being born with nothing else you can do. This kid was born, Nick was born to walk on wires. He wrote a biography. If you want the name of this called, "Balance, a Story of Life, a Story of Faith, Family and Life on the Wire." That's his biography. And he defines in this kind of part of their life and here's where I want to make this connection. He says that the most amazing things about people that do what he does is not the showmanship, it's not all that stuff. He says I quote, "The most amazing thing is the fact that we have mastered the art,” catch this "of being fully in control of ourselves." Now, let me just pull this around spiritually for a minute because that's the Apostle John's message to us. You see, the Apostle John, live this life. And I'm kind of the more I study, the more I'm thinking about the Apostle John. I'm like that's the Apostle John, he lived in this moment and I'm kind of envious because here's the deal physically, I might go out of this place today and step off the curb and fall. That's just how not good at walking in a straight line I am. But spiritually, I'm just like you guys. There are moments of my life where I feel like I'm balanced. I feel like I'm doing this thing, right. But then there are moments in my life where I feel like I'm falling off the wire ither one way or the other. You see, the Apostle John, if you study his life, from the early moment of his calling to the late moment of the Apostle John, absolutely speaking wisdom in our lives, he would say this to us, he would say there's two words to live in the balanced life and that’s love on this side and it's truth on the other side. It's truth. And it's love. It's truth, and it's love. And what John does, and what we're going to see in John's life this morning, is John brings both of these things together, that at some point in your Christian walk, you're going to feel like they're mutually exclusive. And he puts them together on the wire of balance that says this, when you walk in full truth on the rails of love, you will live the calling that God has on your life and listen, you will show others the love of Jesus. He does this for us, and he puts on a masterclass for us in Scripture. In fact, I don't know in your mind when you think of the Apostle John, I don't know what you think. I don't know what that image is. If you've spent a lot of time reading in the New Testament, you'll know that the Apostle John wrote the Gospel of John, much of what we know about John comes from his Gospel, he's writing to the church he wrote and gave us and, and one of the interesting things about that is he never even mentioned his name in this he has like this code language for himself, we'll see in just a minute. But in our minds, we have this image of the Apostle John, and I want to walk through a couple snapshots from his life this morning, and then make a couple points.

I want us to see a couple of pictures of John's life from his Gospel because I think you're going to see what I believe is one of the closest human beings to ever connect with Jesus. And I want us to see a few pictures of his life. The first one is in John chapter 13. John chapter 13 is the Last Supper Jesus has come to Jerusalem. He has proclaimed that He's about to die, He is giving the disciples some last messages and walking them through some last words, He washes their feet. And then Jesus predicts His death. And I want us to catch up with the story right here in John chapter 13;21, it says this. It says "Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified. Very, truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me. His disciples stared at one another at a loss, to knowing which of them he meant." Verse 23, "One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved," now, pause right there for a minute, that's John's code language of when he talks about himself in the Gospel of John, he doesn't pump himself up. He doesn't say, look at me, I am the apostle, he always points it towards Jesus and says, All I am is a person that Jesus loves, we could learn something from that, right? "One of them the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to Him. Simon Peter, motioned to this disciple and said, asked him which one he means." Verse 25, gets a little weird, "Leaning back against Jesus. He asked Him, Lord, who is it?" Who is it? You know, here's what's happening. If this is your only view of John, you're probably falling into a lot of the Renaissance riders and a lot of the Renaissance pictures of John, they're sitting at the table. Actually, they're not even sitting there reclining at the table. The table would have been about two feet, maybe off the ground, their legs would have maybe been under it, they would have been on one arm, and John is right next to Jesus. It's a foreshadowing of how close that they were. And then Peter looks over at John. Now Peter is normally the guy that talks, normally the spokesman for the group challenging Jesus, but Peter is showing us right here how close John and Jesus are. And Peter goes, Hey, John, I need you to ask Jesus who is he talking about right here. And what does the Bible say? It gets a little weird in this moment. It says John kind of snuggles up into the chest of Jesus. That's the language that it is. It's a little bit weird, but, hey it's another culture, we aren’t judging. And he kind of snuggles up against Jesus looks into Jesus's eyes and says, Hey, Jesus, which one? Which one? And Jesus receives this question. What are we seeing right here? We're seeing that Peter realizes, yeah, you know what I might be close to Jesus. But this guy named John, he is a specialist of Jesus.

Let me ask you something. Are there moments in your life, when you come into the spot where you're meeting with Jesus, that you feel like you can just gaze into the soul of Jesus, and you have a connection with Him like that? John is showing us this is incredible. And Peter is recognizing and speaking of John and Peter, I want you to go me to John chapter 18. John, Chapter 18. A few chapters later, Jesus has been betrayed, he has been given over to the Roman authorities, they're leading him into the courtyard of the high priest. And now Peter and John are following after Him moving with Him, and they get to this courtyard for this illegal nighttime trial. And we get a glimpse of John at the High Priest house, and its amazing glimpse, in fact, let me read it to us, John 18:15 it says, “Simon Peter and another disciple," that's John, "were following Jesus. Because this disciple," isn't talking about himself, "and John was known to the High Priest. He went with Jesus into the High Priest courtyard, but Peter had to wait outside the door. The other disciple who was known to the High Priest" that's John, if he would just call himself john, it would really help us. "Came back, spoke to the servant girl on duty there, and brought Peter in." Look at verse 17. "You aren't one of this man's disciples too, are you? She asked Peter. He replied, I am not." This is crazy. Why? Because whose devotion is not on trial right here? John's right. Nobody in the courtyard asked John, Hey, John, are you one of those Jesus followers? Can I tell you why? because they knew that he was. There was no question that John was a follower of Jesus by the High Priest, and by the rest of the High Priests families. You say, Matt well, how is that? Little history for a moment right here. John's family, I love this. This is not Bible. This is just history. John's family's Zebedee, that's the dad and his sons, James and John, they were the official fish producers for the High Priests family. They provided fish they were fishing business, right? And catch this, over the course of after John met Jesus to the time that John was at this moment at the courtyard, every time it seems reading into the text, it seems that every time John would go to the High Priests courtyard that other people would start realizing that there was a special closeness between John and Jesus. Let me ask you this when people meet you, when people hear you, when people have conversations with you, do they realize that you are a follower of Jesus? Or do they have to look at you like Peter right here and go, Hey, are you one of those people? I love this. You're seeing a glimpse into John's life. Why is he so special?

You're seeing right here that Peter recognizes the closeness of Jesus and John, you're seeing right here that even other people extra biblical, not even believers in Jesus, look at this guy named John that walked right into the courtyard and knew that he was a follower of Jesus. But it gets even better. The third snapshot of John is John at the crucifixion. John at the crucifixion later on in John chapter 19, one chapter over. John, Chapter 19, we see a glimpse of john at the crucifixion. You say, well Matt, why is that a big deal? It's a big deal, because of this. Most scholars believe that John was the only disciple at the crucifixion. He was the only disciple, you say well Matt, why would they say that? Well, the Bible doesn't realize, or the Bible doesn't say that anybody else's, there hasn't been one church historian or one church father that gave any account that at all that there was any of the rest of them there and I guarantee you, if you would have been there and you were writing, you would have probably written about this event. But who was there? John, why? You say, well how do you know that Matt? Look at it in John 19:25. It’s not me. It says this, "Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother." This is Jesus talking about, "his mother, his mother's sister, Mary, the wife of Clovis, and Mary Magdalene." That's a lot of Mary's doesn't matter right now, Jesus mom and a lot of Mary's verse 26, "when Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple in whom he loved" there it is, again, there's John, standing nearby. "He said to her woman, here's your son. And he said to the disciple, here is your mother. From that time on his disciple took her into his home," into his home, what just happened right here? Jesus is on the cross, under the weight of the sin of the world, He is still concerned about his mother to the point where He looks out over the crowd, He realizes the closeness of connection that He had with John, and He introduces his mother to John, why? Because even Jesus realizes how close they were together.

Let me ask you something. Do other people see your closeness? Does Jesus feel your closeness? Do people that are closest to you know how close you are to Jesus? I love this. Because John, the Apostle John shows us what it's like to be fully devoted to being on the wire of life and following Jesus, loving Jesus and this was a special close relationship. I love John because I mean, not only do we see this, but we also see that John wrote 1 John, 2 John, 3 John. John wrote the Gospel of John, John wrote Revelations of Jesus, the last book of the Bible. And in all of these writings, John gives us a glimpse into his personality into who he is, and into his struggles and his character, he shows us who Jesus is, he shows us a glimpse of the end times he shows us how it is being in the inner circle life of Jesus; he shows us what it's like to be a best friend of Peter in the first 12 chapters of Acts. But we also just get to see that John lives a long, drawn out life for the cause of Jesus, John didn't get martyred, like the rest of the disciples, even Jesus told him that he was going to live a long life and other people are going to dress you one day, that means you're really old. When that begins to happen, he lives this long live, and he becomes the last standing apostle of Jesus. And at that moment, when the rest of the disciples have already died, that is when God gives him 1 John, 2, John, 3 John, Revelations and the Gospel of John, all of those books were written somewhere around 85 to 90 AD. So, when we're reading the words of John, we're reading them through the lens of a seasoned apostle, that have walked with Jesus for a very long time. And his voice was a large voice in the church. And in fact, more than anything, if John were with us today, John would say, hey, I need you to get onto the wire. And I need you to balance truth and love, truth and love, because the fact is, that balance of truth and love is what John grew into his whole life. You know, if John, were with us today, he would have two thoughts for us, if he were kind of looking back at his whole life as an apostle. If he was looking back at his whole life starting as a fisherman, knowing Jesus personally, he would have two thoughts or two keys to live the fully balanced Christian life. And number one, he would say this, he would say never back down from the absolute truth of God's Word. He would look at every one of us in this place and he would look at everybody he ever met, and he did through the Bible and he would look at us and say, never back down from the absolute truth of God, no matter what culture says, no matter what your friends say, no matter where the government is, never back down. In fact, if you were this week to look at every writing that John gave us, you will see that he has a zeal for the truth of God's word, you'll begin to see that even the style that John wrote in was, incredibly black and white. It was incredibly polar. It was incredibly cut and dry. And in absolutes, you know, some of the other biblical writers Paul, it's his heart and you're like sometimes you kind of get into their stuff and you're like, well it could go this way. Or it might could go that way. Not John. John would just pretty much punch you in the mouth with the truth and then go tell you another truth. It's how John operates. I love his writings because they're kind of sporadic and he jumps all over the place in different topics, but all of it wrestles with truth, even the Gospel of John.

We see that John says to all of us, you're either in light, or you're in darkness, you're in life or death, Kingdom of God, kingdom of Satan, you're a child of God or you're a child of Satan, John says. You're bearing fruit or you're fruitless, you're obedient, you're disobedient. You're living for God, or you're living against God, that is this gospel just gives us these incredible compare and contrast. But in his letters, he goes even one step forward, and he says, Look, you're either walking in line, or you're walking in the dark, he says. There really is no in between. You're either up God, or you're up the world. And I love this. Do you know why? Because John never softens the truth. He never softens the truth to which all of us if you're hanging in this church, you're like, well, amen. We love the truth of God. All right? You're not going to make it here, unless you do. I just promise you go find another place. We love God's word. We love it, every sentence, every period, every meaning it all mean something. And I just want you to feel that this is a theme of John's life. The absoluteness of God's truth made a huge difference. In fact, 1 John 5:13. It's kind of the summary verse of 1 John. John says this, "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God," listen this, "so that you may know that you have eternal life.

That's some authority, right? It's not like, yeah, you might, if everything shakes out just right, you know, what if the world turns? No, he goes, man, I'm writing this to you. So, there is no question. This is true. This is true. But John would say, Look, you're not just born into truth. You're not just born into it. And he would want us to know that. The truth is hard. And truth takes work. In fact, I think John kind of shows us there's four things to make truth, a major part of our heart. And the first one is, is that you and I, we have to study the truth. You know, you're not just born knowing the truth. In fact, you're born following after the other way. John would look at us and go, you've got to study it, you've got to know it, you've got to learn it, you got to press it into your mind. In fact, he reminds us in John 8:32, that Jesus said, Jesus says you will know the truth and it is the truth that will set you free. It's not our attitudes. It's not all of that, it is God's word. The truth is what is going to set your life free. This is 2 Timothy 2:15, where it says, "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed," who does what? "who correctly handles the word of God. John would say, Look, you're not born, being able to stay on the wire and always follow truth, you're born falling off. But he also says not only learn the truth, but he also says, you need to meditate on the truth. You need to meditate. Now, this is not some weird transubstantiate meditation. This is the fact that you have put something into your mind. And now it needs to be pressed into your soul. That's what it means to meditate on something. It means I learn it and now it is pressed into my life to the point to where it saturates my soul. That's what King David who was a master of this meant when he says in Psalm 1, "Blessed is the one who does not walk instep of the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law," you can say truth there, "of the Lord, and who meditates on His law, day and night." And then he says, that's what's going to make you firm. You see, John would tell us, if you're going to stand in truth, you got to learn it, you got to press it into your soul. But number three, he would say this, you got to walk it. You got to walk it. It's one thing for us to have truth here. And it's another thing for it to be pressed into our souls.

But listen, it really doesn't make a difference until it hits these things in our feet. It really doesn't. And this is where I believe a lot of our disconnects come from. I believe that we're educated well beyond our level of obedience. And I believe a lot of the times what is pressed into our soul never gets walked out into our feet. But John says, look, you got to walk the truth, even in those areas of your life that are secret areas. You got to walk truth out, in fact, listen to what he said in 3 John verse 3. He says, "It gave me great joy when some believers" this is John talking, "came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it." Look at verse 4. I love this from the elder statesman. He says, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth" walking in it. You see truths should guide our decisions. It should guide everything that we do in our lives. But then he said number four, it doesn't just happen to us. We also have to teach the truth to others. We got to teach the truth to others because what good does truth do if we're not consistently pressing it into other people's lives? This is the making a difference part of who John was. And listen, John did this. John lived this, he walked with Jesus for three years. Towards the end of that he began speaking out in His name. In the book of Acts, those first 12 chapters, we see John being a part of the cause. We also see John later on in his life at the church that Paul planted in Ephesus. Paul planted the church of Ephesus in about 52 AD, but John stepped into the church of Ephesus in about 65 AD, and pastored that church for almost 30 years. John spoke into that church, he preached to that church, he taught at that church, that's where God gave him, later in life. That's where God gave him the letters of 1, 2 and 3 John, that's where God gave him Revelations and the Gospel of John when he was teaching at this church. In fact, one of John's early mentors named Papias, one of his early mentors was a Papias of Hierapolis. And in 100 AD, this is incredible, one of John's biggest mentees said this about John.

This is so good. He said, "John was a living and an abiding voice, for God's truth. He was the last contributor to the divine revelation, and he was the last to add to the record that God wanted written to Scripture." You want to talk about a legacy of truth, John, and that was written in about 180, somewhere right around there and John was already known as a proclaimer of truth. And he would look at me and he would look at you today and say this, never back away from the absolute truth of God's word, no matter what else tries to derail you stay with truth, to which all of us would probably give the okay I got it, amen. But then he would say, Wait, that's only half the balance. He would have said, Look, never back down from the absolute truth. But number two, he would tell us always, here's where it gets hard for some of us, express the truth with absolute love for people. With absolute love for people, what does that mean? That means this, if you cannot back the truth up that is in your heart, you will never be able to express it for someone else unless there's love. What does that mean? That means the truth of God's Word always is pressed on the rails of love. And this is what John would have to do. John would have to look at you and look at me and go, hey, look, I'm sorry. I didn't always live this. I didn't always live this. In fact, he struggled in this. Remember John, what was John before Jesus found him? He was a fisherman, right? He was a fisherman. Now, look, fishermen, especially during this age, were not exactly known for their lovey-dovey attitudes. They weren't exactly known for their tender ways. Don't think when you hear John is a fisherman, that he's like your grandpa in a flannel and a john boat. Think Captain Sig on the Deadliest Catch. That's a little better idea of who John was. Now, John was born a fisherman into a fisherman's family with a rough personality. You say Matt, how do you know he had a rough personality? You can see it in Scripture. Every other time that the Synoptic Gospels, that's Matthew, Mark, and Luke mentions John, normally, it's not in a good light. We see him in Mark chapter 9:38, it says this about John. It says, "Teacher, said John, we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop because he was not one of us. Do not stop them, Jesus said." There are other people out there that love us. John’s like give me the word. I'll take him out right now. That's what John's saying. You say, well, how do you know? Well look at Luke, chapter nine.

Luke, chapter 9:51-56. This is an incredible picture of how zealous John was for truth. Listen to this, "As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. And He sent messengers on ahead who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for Him." This is like this little miracle crusade. "But the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?" Jesus turns, you just see Jesus. He's like ahhh, no. "But Jesus turned, and he rebuked them, and He and His disciples went to another village." I mean, John, John's a rough dude. He doesn't like people who are serving Jesus that are not in his circle. And he for sure almost wanted to go all Elijah on these people, right? He wanted to call fire from heaven and destroy a whole city, just because they wouldn't invite Him in. But look, before we get all judgy on John. I feel like a lot of us once we meet Jesus, this is kind of our attitudes to outsiders. We kind of look at him and we're like I just don't understand why you don't love truth and I'm going to keep punching you in the mouth with truth until you get the truth. Jesus is like you don't get it do you? The truth has to be with love. They have to exist in the same. I love this roughhewn amazing, colorful guy named John, that wouldn't back away from any confrontation. In fact, he probably went and looked for them. He's so aggressive. He could be so intense. But I want you to see what happens here. Jesus tempers it. He's like look, if you're going to be on the wire, you got to love truth. Don't back away from truth.

But you got to do it in love, and you got to walk love out. You see, Jesus taught him an incredible principle here. And here it is, number one. Truth without love is nothing more than brutality and divisiveness. And it will never represent the heart of Jesus. Never. That's what John learned in Luke chapter 9. John walked away from this. I'm convinced that John walked away from this conversation changed. When you look at John's life, James and John were called what the sons of thunder, right? Why? Because they want to call fire down lightning literally on a city. I think in Luke chapter 9, John moved from being this crusty fisherman into son of thunder. But I believe at this point, he also moved into the apostle of love. Do you know that every single time that the early church replies or refers to the Apostle John, he has always referred to as catch this, the Apostle of love? It's Valentine's Day, right? The Apostle of love. Why is that? Because at this moment, where John stepped into realizing that life is living on this edge of truth and love, and love and truth. And I'm going to remain balanced in this moment, because that point is where God gets glory, and I can reach my full potential of knowing Him. And listen, John's writings show us that he got this.

He understands it. 2 John 1:5-6 says this. It says, "And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command that you walk in love." What did John do? John is showing us that everything that we do and say, yes, fully love. Yes, fully truth. And yes, we walk it in balance of life. Listen to how John says that Jesus says it. Jesus ties it together in John 15:12, "This is my commandment that you love one another as I've loved you." So, you must love another by this, everyone will know that you are my disciple. This crusty guy that wanted to call down fire from heaven, 80 years later in his life looks at me and looks at you and says, Hey, the command that means the most to Jesus is that we love. Did he ever give up truth? No, no, he never gave up truth. But he put it on the rails of love. I think that's an incredible lesson for me in you. Why? Because most of us, we probably fall over here in truth. We fall over here in truth. But let me tell you this, second principle; our ability to love is shaped by our experience of receiving love. Our ability to love is shaped by our experience of receiving love. What does that mean? That means that we can only give love in the way that we have received love. You know what this means? This means that the only reason John could give love is because he watched love in the name of Jesus. He watched Jesus give love. He watched Jesus, the ultimate sacrifice of love. He watched and was mentored by Jesus, and then he was able to give love. Listen, if you are struggling, loving people, I'm going to make a pretty pointed comment right here. It's probably because you're struggling, being loved by Jesus. So maybe, maybe this week, you need to pull back a little bit. And you need to fall back in love with who Jesus is. And you need to as John would tell us, just lean up into Jesus's business a little bit and find the maker. Find the maker, 1 John 4:19, right? We love. Why? Because he first loved us.

John's life was on the line. It was on the balancing line. Love and truth, love and truth and listen, we can do them both together. And when we do God's name, is receiving glory. Lord Jesus this morning, I just asked you, Lord Jesus, to help us step into the divine balancing act. To where we holy with zealousness and absoluteness hold to your truth. But God we live it out in the context of love.

Lord Jesus, I realized that there are people that are inside of my voice today that can't express your love. Because they're not sure if they have it or not. Lord, I would say to one of those groups of people that today can be the day of your salvation, today can be the day that Christ steps into your life and forgives you of your sins and becomes your Savior, becomes your Lord and becomes the giver and Sustainer of Your love.

Lord Jesus, if there are people that are here today that need to surrender their life to you, I just pray that they would pray this prayer right now Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner. And I know that I need you to forgive me of my sins. Lord Jesus, I give you my heart and my life today. Come into my life. Give me your love. God if that's people's hearts in this room and if people just uttered those words in their spirit to you today, God all I can say to them is Welcome to the Kingdom you had been saved, you have been set free, you have been given life and you are now a child of God being fully loved.

And now I just say to them enjoy the love of Jesus. But God, I know there's others that know you, Lord Jesus, that have fallen off the wire. God, I pray that today our prayer in our hearts will be God help me balance, truth and love. God stop me from saying truth. If I'm not willing to back it with love.

You know, with your heads behind your eyes closed this morning, I just want us to sit in this for a moment as the band gets ready to play. And I'm just going to ask you today if you gave your life to Jesus today, I just want you to fire the app up in just a minute and I just want you to let us know. Hey, I follow Jesus today. There'll be a number on the screen you can text. But today if you are a believer, and you feel like you've fallen off this wire, in this next moment, I just want you to ask God to shower you with His love with His truth so that you can get back on the wire to walk it extremely, in his name.

Lord Jesus bless this moment of decision. It's in your name. Amen.

Let's stand and sing.