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October 11 | First John (BR)
Welcome Back! We're glad you've joined us today for our Sunday morning worship service! For more information about Istrouma, go to istrouma.org or contact us at info@istrouma.org.  

We glorify God by making disciples of all nations.
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October 11, 2020  | Jeff Williams
"Love Matters"
1 John 3:1-10

1 John 3:11-18
For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

Followers of Jesus should never be associated with...
       Murder
       Hate
       Indifference

1 John 3:23-24
And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

How I treat other people is a big deal to God.

How I treat other people is evidence of a life changed by God

How I treat other people is a choice not an emotion

1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

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All right. Well, good morning. So glad that you're here. If you have a Bible, it turned the first John chapter three first John chapter three. And for all of you that are worried, or we're not going to talk about it. All right. So the first John chapter three were going to jump right into it this morning. And I do seriously. I do want you to go back to the very first a day when we started this series. And I shared with you some things about John the author of the book of First John. And I want to go back to a couple of those today, because I think they're very, very important for where we're going to go in this message this morning and within the book of First John I shared with you that John wrote this book towards the end of his life.

And so somewhere between the ages of 19 100 as how old John was a, when he wrote this, and as you wrote, this book has had this journey one, whereas a, a, a really young man walking with Jesus, into seeing the differences of what Jesus made while he was all on this earth. And then John was a part of a team of people that got used to start the Church and to, to see God just do a movement that literally Hugh and I are impacted by because of the things that John saw him throughout his adult life.

And as you look at that period of time, what you find is, is that John changed dramatically when Jon was a young man, when Jesus first found him, it probably before then, John he was a, a fisherman. He was a little, for lack of a better way of saying he was a little rough around the edges. And he was a rough guy. He was a tough guy. And in fact, him at his brother were known as the sons of thunder. All right. Which meant that they would rather go in and destroy something and they would fix something. All right. And so everything that he did was a built on that month set, but as he spent time with Jesus, and as he gave his life to Jesus, does he surrendered to the mission that God had for him that over the years, what we see, and by the time we get to the book of First John, and as we look at history about his life, that he became not only known as the disciple that Jesus loved, but he became known as the one who understood this concept of loving one another.

He understood it may be better than any of the other disciples and is a testimony too. The difference that Jesus made in his life that he went from this God, that was rough around the edges that wanted to destroy everything to at the end of his life. As he traveled around from different churches in the region, he was carried because he was so feeble that he couldn't walk himself. He couldn't even a ride on an animal because he just didn't have the strength and his message. When he went from place to place a shared this with you on the first week was just simply three words, love one another.

And they would be upset with him because he wouldn't share more. Right now he wouldn't talk. Lorie is a sermon. He was just that short. And imagine how many of you all would be upset today? If my sermon was just three words, then we went home, but its not going to be so we're way past that and were just getting started. So anyway, that, that was his message. And they asked him, why is that all of that? You say, he says, because at the church to just get a hold of those three words, it would radically change the impact that we have in the world.

Love one of them. So would that in mind, we've already addressed this issue. In fact, Mike, on the second week of this series, he, he did, I did a great job as a part of the message talking about this issue of love and hate within the body of Christ in the way that we are to conduct ourselves as followers of Jesus. But in this section of John chapter, a first John chapter three, that the second half of the, of that chapter, he deals with this exclusively. And we're going to talk about this for the entire time this morning. And I want you to think about just this idea that Love Matters and I don't mean just love for God, but I mean love for one another.

And as we look at this passage, he's talking specifically about relationships within the body of Christ. But I believe when we look at scripture, there's no question there's application about our relationships with all of the people that God places in our life in this morning. I want you to think about this in terms of where are you in relationship to this idea or this command? It's not just an idea, right? To love one another. So we're going to look at a couple of different sections of this part of first John chapter three, and just looking just for a few minutes at what God says he was.

So the first John chapter three were going to begin to reading in verse 11. He says, For, this is the message that you have heard from the beginning that we should love one another. Once again, that was John's message. He knew the difference that it would make, but he also had seen the difference that God had made in his own heart. For that subject, we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him?

Because his own DS were evil and his brother's were righteous. It goes back to the story in Genesis, we see if Cain and Abel Cain killed his brother and it was all built out of this idea that he hated him, right? He says, Do not be surprised brothers, that the world hates you. Now, this doesn't seem to fit within the context that he's talking about. Relationship between brothers and these talking about what that murdered the other day. And then he jumps into this idea of the Do not be surprised when the world hates you. He's talking about the world.

Those that don't know Christ hating a, those that do know Christ that are followers of Jesus. And the essence of why they hate is because they don't understand is because they've never experienced the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. So he says, don't be surprised when they hate. And he's not saying this is a negative live on the world. He is saying that, Hey, this is just a reality. The reality is is that people without Jesus, people that don't know Christ they don't have any other choice because they've never experienced true love.

John also teaches us that God is love and that we are outside of knowing God, isn't it possible for any of us to really know the love that God talks about, then his word he says, don't be surprised when the world hates you because that's, that's just what they are. All that they know to do that it would is his next is we know that we had passed out of death and to live because we love the brothers. That's how we know that the evidence, the evidence of whether or not you are a follower of Jesus is whether or not you love the brothers.

You love other followers of Jesus. You love those within the Church Whoever does not love abides in death. Just that last word to say no, I'm from Alabama. I can read it. I know y'all can read it. All right. Whoever abides. Whoever does not abides. Whoever does not love. I can't read. I guess they do right? Whoever does not love abides in death. What's the word say death. No, no, no. That's a strong statement.

Isn't it? That if you don't love one, another Love is not in your hearts. Then you abide in death. How does the Bible describe death? Death is a, not just something that is physical, but it is spiritual. It means eternal separation from God, in essence, what he says. But if you don't love one another, then you're truly not a follower of Jesus. You really are not a Christian. You don't have a relationship with God. Now I'm not saying to you today, but if there's anyone that you Hate, then you're not a Christian.

No, John might be saying it, but I'm not saying it right. Okay. This is not me saying it. Oh, but he gives a very, I mean, just, this is a very powerful statement that we need to pay attention to you, that you can abide in love and have Hate and your heart looks at the next First. This is Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer. This is, I mean, I mean, he's not, this is not just a and encouraging self help talk.

Is that all right, everyone who hates his brother, you're a murderer. I mean, Jesus said the same thing in Matthew chapter five, right? A and a five, six to seven, the sermon on a mountain. He was talking about this idea of that Hate being equivalent to Murder and you know that no murderer has a turn of life abiding in him. No words. You can't be a murderer and be a follower of Jesus. That can't be a who you are. By this, we know love that he laid down his life for us talking about Jesus, right?

And so we ought to lay down our lives for the brother's is the equivalent of all of us understanding that if you recognize that Jesus laid down his life for you, that the result of that is going to be that you're willing to lay down your life for others and look at this next verse. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need yet closes his heart against him. How does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or in tol, but indeed.

And in truth, now let's stop there for a few minutes because it gives us some very powerful things that a statements about followers of Jesus, and that if you are a follower of Jesus, it gives us three different things that you should never be associated with. These should not be a part of your life. The first word is this is a Followers of Jesus should never be associated with Murder. Got it. It makes that a pretty clear, right? That Murder and in other words is a CIN.

You get that right? That's I don't think that if I have to go into too much detail about that, we all know that murder is a sin and we should not do that. And the good news at this point is most of us feel pretty good about ourselves because I don't think there's probably very many murderers in the room. Now, there may be a few. I mean, there's, there's no question in a room, the size of the, tell him what a, some of us have done a but for most of the most part, that's not where we are. And so there's a part of us. It's kind of feels good about ourselves cause of the cheque. I'm not that Wright, but the second thing as we go on this passage that we just read as the followers of Jesus should also never be associated with hate.

Then that gets a little more difficult. That is that there's probably someone's name that comes to your mind. As we, as I say, that, that you're struggling with right now. And the reality is is that the, that Hate is something that does Jesus very specifically in a sermon on a mountain or that he equated with. This is the same thing as Murder there's a reason why does that? We were going to come back to that in just a few here. He says, you can't hate your brother and say that you abide in Love.

I mean, to you, can't say that you are a follower of Jesus. If you are allowing that hate to be in your heart. Now, listen, understand this is not talking about the idea of the emotion of hate. We all have that at times in our life, but throughout the, all of us, chapter three, and even back into chapter two, he has this idea over and over again of the word abiding, right? And the word abiding means to do basically take a residence inside of, or to be at a home in eww. And for a while, what to Jon is talking about is for those of you that hate is like taking residents inside of your heart.

It is at home inside of you in is who you are. If you are so filled with rage and anger and bitterness and hatred and your heart towards other people than you need to evaluate whether or not you truly understand the grace and the mercy of Jesus, because John's argument is, but there's no way that you can understand all the Jesus is forgiven. You have, and you not be willing to show that towards the other people that God's placed in your life.

All of us have those individuals that get under our skin, right? Many of you have those individuals in your life. They've done you wrong. They have hurt you deeply. But the problem is is that we are looking at it through the lens of ourselves. Instead of looking at it through the lens of someone who's life has been changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. And when you honestly look at your life, when honestly look at my life, and I think what I've done to the heart of God, there's nothing that AMIA you could ever do to me, that would even compare to what I've done to Jesus Hate  Is, should not be something that is associated with a follower of Jesus. But then this is where it really gets tough in this passage is that we would just read it also tells us that followers of Jesus should never be associated with Indifference. He says, if you, if you see someone that's a need, I mean, how can you say that you're a follower of Jesus and listen, can not just tell you something. I'm just going to get in your business for just a minute. All right. That's the beauty of being in or around. Let me, I'm going to be gone soon anyway.

And so I just a whatever, I just want to, I want you to hear this clearly, because I do think this is a problem. How can you say that there's succeeded. There is someone in need and just do nothing. And the idea's not whether or not you have the resources to meet that need that. The idea here that is painted by John is that we are indifferent. We just don't care. If you want to push, this is a, a, a plane Alabama, Alabama, and we just don't give a rip. I mean, that, that's pretty much what he says and that if you feel that way, that listen, he equates that with the same thing as Murder.

And the problem is for many of us, we are so self absorbed. We have so much stuff that's happening in our own lives that we are consumed with, that we don't even care about people that are different than us. We don't even care about people that disagree with us. And in fact, sometimes if you think about the way that you view life and the way that you view people, anyone that is different from than you are, or anyone that disagrees with you, if we're not careful, we even find ourselves, we celebrate their demise that we, Edward Lee, we may say out loud that we are praying for someone, but in really were almost happy when bad things happen to them because were really just don't care.

In what John says is that don't you remember that Jesus laid down his life where you are. He laid down his life for you and the people that he laid down his life for him were the very ones that cost him to have to go to the cross. And you see for us what we need to understand that true, the loving one, another. It's not just a loving those people that love us. I mean, we all have family and close friends that we are closely tied to in connected too, that we would do anything in the world for a while.

I put the pictures of my family on the screen last week, I would do anything in the world for them. I love them. But what about the people that don't see things the way I see them? No. What about the people that don't believe the same things I believe politically?  No. What about the people that we see that they have a different viewpoint that have a different mindset, or they have a different, a, a standard about the way that they live in really well, oftentimes if I'm not careful because I'm not associated with him and because I don't see them on a regular basis and because I'm not connected to them and because they don't affect my life or affect my world, I'm not just don't really care in the heart thing about this in this passage, is that what John says is, is that if you're just indifferent in the eyes of Jesus is really no different than hatred is really no different than Murder. This is In the compassion of Jesus. It doesn't mean that what God calls someone else to do is what you have to go and do. That's their story. But it must matter when James talks about that pure religion is to care for the orphans and the widows. It doesn't mean that everyone has to have the same specific ministry to those groups of people. But if it doesn't matter, there's just this element of Indifference in you, that you really, you know, you just, you have to examine whether or not you truly know Jesus and listen, this is not a message of guilt or trying to scare you into thinking that you don't truly have a relationship with Jesus, but John's just being very honest about the reality that this is what makes the difference.

So in this first part of this section, he just of, of chapter three, he just simply says, listen, followers of Jesus, shouldn't be associated with those things and will talk at the end about it. If you struggle with any of those areas, we're gonna talk about how you get beyond that, but Murder hatred and the difference. So he says the same thing, a few different ways than the next few verses, but I want us just, just for the sake of time, I want us to jump to the very end of this chapter.

And in verse 23 and 20 For, he basically, he summarizes exactly what he wants us to understand. He says in this is his commandment. This is the commandment of Jesus. This is the commandment we see in the new Testament. And we see in the old Testament, here's the commandment. We believe in the name of his son. Jesus Christ. Now remember what that word believe means. Write the word believe is not talking about just mentally. It means that you are putting your whole weight upon God.

I put my life in your hands. God, I surrender to you. God, you are in control. Here's a commandment that you are to surrender to and believe in the name of his son. Jesus Christ. Jesus is Lord. And that means Jesus is my Lord. That's what it means to believe, right? And you are to love one another, just as he has commanded us. That's the commandment, right? All of life is built on those two things that were the love, the Lord, your God, with all of our heart, we surrender to him.

He is Lord. And we are to love our neighbors or say, if we're to love one another, Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God. And once again that you are resting in his authority and God is abiding in him as well. And by this, we know that he abides in us by the spirit of God, whom he has given us in an essence, when he says his, that the commands is a very clear in whether or not you have truly a URL abiding in God.

And God has a biding in you through the power of the Holy spirit. The evidence of that is what we see in our relationships by loving one another. So just real quickly as we wrap up D just, I want you to see three things that this past is teaches us, that we need to understand about this issue of loving one another. The first one is this is how I treat other people and is a big deal to God.

It's a big deal. You know, we categorize sins. Don't we, you know, the, the, the things that are embarrassing to us or the things that may be heard ourselves or her in our family, and we try to hide those. And we don't want to talk about those as a whole lot, because those are considered the quote, the big sins. But when it comes to the two thirds of the parts that we've talked about, people that you hate, or you can't stand, or if you laugh at someone who goes through a trial, regardless of who they are, you know, if you were indifferent about things and society of the things around us, those are things that oftentimes, if we're not careful about looking at our Facebook page, sometimes you know that we celebrate it, right?

But what we needed to understand is the secret sins that we would never want anyone else to know about that God sees this issue of hate. He sees this issue of Indifference on the same level is those. We need you to understand that this is a big deal to God. It's a huge deal. Number Tuesdays, how I treat other people is evidence of a life. This has been changed by God. That's really John's point.

Jon's not trying to guilt people into a, or trying to figure out whether or not they truly have a relationship with Jesus, what he wants them to see and understand. If you are a follower of Jesus, the evidence that your life has been changed, his, by the way, you treat other people around, you buy the love that you have for one another. That's the evidence. And the problem is, is that oftentimes what the world sees is not us loving one, another, some of the most amazing memories I have in my entire life have been in church, but also some of the most horrific, I don't remember as a senior in high school, on a Wednesday night, I sat in a business meeting in my church that was about to split right down the Biddle, all over the things that were surfaced in, worried about the gospel.

And I heard and saw people act in ways that were some of the nastiest, meanest things you could ever say to anyone. They said inside of a quote, worship center, going to tell you something that Church LA mean that, that was my goodness as the long time ago. That was 31 years ago. I didn't know. I could add, did you have 31 years ago?

Right? That's Church and that community has never been the same. There are people in that community that any time they hear of that Church 31 years later, or they might not have been there that night, but they heard, they heard how those Christians treated one another. If they heard, how have those followers of Jesus acted about things that had nothing to do with the eternal Matters.

And I believed it damaged the cause of Christ in that community 31 years, all because people got more consumed with what they wanted, then about having a kingdom perspective and truly understanding the grace of God and letting that play out in their relationship with one another.

Did you realize that the world knows more about what we're against than what we're For we talk about the cross of Jesus, but then we live in a way that doesn't reflect that how they treated people is evidence of a life. This has been changed by God man. Imagine if what gee, what Matt and I listen, I know so many of you in this room, I'm looking at your faces and I know the way you feel about what Jesus has done for you.

Imagine if the church of Jesus Christ could allow that mindset and that belief and that knowledge and that understanding to the played out in the way that we treat other people doesn't mean that we ignore sin. Does it mean that we don't have a conviction in standards? That just means that at the end of the day, what matters to us is truly showing the grace of God, by the way that we love one another.

And then finally, who, excuse me, how I treated the people. It's a choice. It's not an emotion. It's a choice. You say it was, if you don't know what they did to me, you're right. I don't Jeff you don't know how much that hurt me. Jeff you, you don't understand. And what they would they say are what they do or I'll let you're, right. I'm may not understand or understand the people that drive me crazy. I understand that.

Right. A but I may not understand what you've been through or what you're walking through, but what I'm telling you is, is that it is never, ever, ever going to be good for you or for the gospel going forward. If you allow those emotions to control you, how you treat other people's is a choice. When it was a kid, as the guest, I was nine years of age, my parents divorced, and it was a shock to me as a kid.

I, I didn't know you. No, I'm dumb a little kid. I knew it was wrong, but they're was it. And it was a very humbling experience, broke both of my parents. And I'm thankful to Jesus that even in that bad, horrible time, that most By both of my parents decided to run to Jesus, not away from it. And I'm eternally grateful for that, that their relationship never repaired.

I never got back together in terms of being husband and wife again, but they made a decision in their brokenness. They made a decision that they were never going to talk bad about one another in front of me and my sister. It listen to it. I didn't know it at the time, but there was a lot of bad things they could've said, right? But they made it for my entire growing up yours. I never heard my dad or one negative or bad about my mom. And I never heard my mom utter one negative word about my dad. And it wasn't because they didn't have the emotions.

They just were mature enough to recognize there was something bigger steak. There were something more important than a steak. And so they made a choice based on real life. Can I tell you something today for most of us in this room, in this and be included, I've had the deal with this all week long, write, you only have to do with it for a half an hour, right? But for most of us in this room, what we need to do is we did to make a choice to love the people that God has placed around us.

We did make a choice to love those people that are the most difficult for us to Love. We need to make a choice to remove hatred from our hearts and lives, and just begin out of the heart of what God has done for us to allow that to overflow in the way that we treat one, another first Corinthians 13 gives us the model now. Well, we normally read this at weddings and is a great application.

For husband and wife, that this has written to the church. This has written to the church that was struggling. Think about the choice in this passage. Love is patient. That's not an emotion right now. It makes us have emotions. When we have to be patient, right. Love is patient and kind, it does not envy. It does not boast. It is not arrogant or his roof or not rude. It does not insist on its own way.

It is not irritable or resentful. It does not rejoice at wrongdoing. There's that Indifference but rejoices with the truth. Love bears. All things, love believes all things, love, hopes, all things and endures all things. And I love the very beginning of verse eight. Love never ends .

He uses the word that love never fails. You will not be defeated. You can not lose by loving people. You cannot lose, even though you've think that they're getting the best of you and that they one, because you show mercy and grace, what the Bible teaches us, that when we truly love one another, when we make that choice, that we cannot

The loose. So, so what do you do today?You said, Jeff I know I'm a follower of Jesus, but I struggle with whether it's Hate or Indifference. What is it that I do? Just a couple of things real quick, and that I'm gonna pray for her. The first thing you need to do is you need to confess it as sin, stop making excuses for it. Stop rationalizing the way that you feel. And once again, I'm not minimizing. The pain has been calls to you, but understand this, that you're not responsible for what someone else has done to you, but you are responsible for a God by the way that you respond.

And so if there's either one of those Hate or Indifference, it's in your heart, just confess at this morning and say, God, I know of that. This is sin. Can I tell you something? When we stop making excuses and rationalizing our, seeing that is something powerful that God does in our hearts. So just confess it. The number two, you need to begin to pray for yourself. You, you need to begin to pray for yourself, pray that God would begin to change your heart. That God would make you into the person that he desires for you to be.

Because listen to this spirit of God has sent at the end of verse 24, that resides inside of you as a follower of Jesus. He is the one that can do the work. He's the one that has the power to do that so that you need to begin to pray and say, God, I pray that you would change my heart. God, I pray that you would change my mind. The number three for the person or the group of people, whatever it might be that you Hate, or that you're struggling with, that you just don't care about.

You need to begin to pray for them. You can't consistently pray for someone in God, not change your heart. That's what prayer does. Prayer. Our lives are hard with the heart of God. And that person that you Hate is a person that Jesus died for. That group of people that you don't understand, and you don't identify with, and you don't really care about them. That's a group of people that Jesus Christ gave his for them the same way that he did for you. And when you begin to pray for them, there's something that God does.

I listen to us. That's not cliche words that I want you to understand that you really honestly confess your sin, pray for yourself, pray for them. And then go back to the last point that we just said. And basically what you need to do is make the choice to begin to act in a way that is loving. How can you treat them? How can you respond to them? How can you as the, the end of this past, he said, indeed, in truth, First 18 told us that we are to love indeed and instru that you begin to do things in a way that showed the love of God.

Imagine the difference. If we, as a part of this, start a stream of family with take this to heart and begins to love one another, but going to love our family beginning to love the people that we work with begin to love the people that live in our community in a way that honors and shows a reflection of the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. If you remember on an Easter, I shared with you the two statements that have kind of captured me and kind of helped me walk through so many times, and that is the God loves you.

And there's nothing you can do about it. Imagine if this Church imagined, if this community imagine if those around us, we're to be able to say those same things about us, Hey, I love you. And there's nothing you can do about it. I love you. And there's nothing you can do to change it. I love you. And I'm willing to lay down my life for you because Jesus Christ has changed me.

And I want to be a part of his ambition of allowing the people around me to see and know that not only his, he changed me, but I want to show them his love so that we can change the world. Amen. Wait a minute. That's a pretty good or bad. Is it so often was we do this. I want to make sure that we do this today, just with your heads, bowed and eyes closed.

What is God saying to you today? Answered that question right now. And then what does God wants you to do about it? You take a couple of minutes and just answer those questions and I'm going to lead us and pray for us as we close.

God thank you for loving us. Thank you for giving your life for us. Thank you for showing us grace and mercy. We don't deserve it. God, I pray this week that you remind us of that. But I pray this week is I come in contact with people in my own world, but I prayed that the thought at the forefront of my mind will be the grace and the mercy that you have shown me in may. My actions may. My words may be my feelings, may my own decisions.

My responses By reactions may be just my countenance to be one that truly reflects the love that you show him for me and my love for other people. Just be the overflow out of that. God, I pray this morning for people that are struggling, guy with some significant struggles. God showed them that you were all they need.

God, may we be, as we sang a few moments ago, more like, jeez, No

 Lord. We love you. And we thank you that we can have the victory over anything that were struggling with today because of Jesus. And so we surrender all of those things that we struggle with into your hands. And we ask you to use those this week to truly love one another. And it's in Jesus name. We pray. Amen. Amen. Thank you so much for being here and as always, if we can help you with love, the previous is a pray with you and talking with you and a other than that, will we hope you have a great week and we will see you next Sunday

 

 

Direct download: IBC_20201011.mp3
Category:John -- posted at: 4:13pm EST