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Well, good morning. So glad that you're here. If you have your Bibles turn to first John chapter four first John chapter four, and we continue our series walking through this book and just thinking about the idea of how to enjoy your faith for those of you that are parents you'll understand this, you know, there are things as a parent that we want to instill in our children. And so we, there are certain things that we say over and over and over again. Right. And for those of you that have several children, like we do, you know, when you get to the end, you're just like, you, you just tired of saying that.
I mean, you've said that so many times over and over and over again, you know, and I think like my older kids Hannah's here today, so home from college. And so they look at us with our younger kids and they're like, you're so much easier on them than you were on us. Well, we've given up, I mean, we're just tired. We just, we just can't, we don't have nothing else in us. And so we just kind of survive. And so, especially when you have the family, like our family y'all y'all know where this is going. That number six for us as a total different ball game than the other five were. And so we're trying to instill some things in Harper and she really just doesn't want to listen.
I mean, that, that's the bottom line. The, the other day, a couple of weeks ago now she was doing something. I don't even know what it was, but I was explaining to her that I was the boss and she was trying to explain to me that that's not the way that it is. And so I just to kind of roll my eyes at her and I said, I don't know what I'm going to do with you when you're a teenager. I think I'm going to send you to live with your sister. And she looked at me five years old. Now she's looked at me and says, well, you'll be old. And I'll be the boss. That's basically what she told me. So that's what we're dealing with.
Right? But even in spite of that, our goal and desire is there's things that we want to invest in them. There's things that we want them to, to understand. And some of them are really big things. Some of them are, may seem small and they can't stand them. Like for instance, one of the things that Wendy and I have tried to instill in every one of our kids is to show respect for adults and just say, yes, sir, no, sir. Yes. Ma'am and no ma'am. And so after a while you get tired of when they answer a question yup. Or Nope, which I can't stand either one of those that you're yes.
Ma'am and no you're reminding them over and over and over again. Why do we do that? We do that because there's things that we want to know that are going to help them as they grow, as they become adults, to be a part of society, to be what we would term as successful. And so just with that little example, the reason we do that is because if you can learn to show respect for people, and if you can begin to recognize authority, it changes everything about the way that you're able to succeed as an adult.
So we say to them over and over and over and over again, knowing that eventually, hopefully we pray to Jesus that it will sink in. Right. Well, think about that as it relates to God's word and at a specifically with John that through the power of the Holy spirit, there's a couple of the messages that he gives us throughout the book of first John, over and over and over again. And if you listen to every single one of the messages that we do in this series, and there may be some times that you are thinking, well, why are you going back to that subject once again?
Well, because that's the message. When you look at the book of first John above everything else, the one thing that he keeps coming back to over and over and over again, is this idea of love. One another, love one
Another. And in case you thought We were going to go on to something else today, we're going right back to that subject again. But I think it's going to be a little bit of a different slant, but think about the, the, the John in all that he went through in his life there at the beginning of ministry, I've shared this with you. Before that he was known when Jesus met him as one of the sons of thunder, he was a rough guy. He was all about revenge. He was all about getting back at someone if they got you about attacking and about destroying things. And Jesus taught him through a series of relationships and examples and illustrations and sermons and talks over and over and over again to what you're supposed to do is you're just supposed
To love one another. And at the End of John's life, as he writes this book, and as he travels around, that was his one central message over and over and over again. And so as we look at this again today, what I want you to see, don't just check out, all right, don't just check out and say, well, I understand that. And, and I know that, and you've already told us that, why are you coming back to that again? Because there's a reason if we believe that the Bible is in the inspired Word of God, then we need To stop trying to dance around things, or just find things to make us feel good. And then when you just study the word, allow the Holy spirit to speak to you. And what I would say to all of us today is there may be something about the same subject that we're going to talk about. Again, that God may show you in a little bit different way That may transform who you are that may transform your relationships and just smite along the way, help you to enjoy your faith in a much different way than you ever have before. So in chapter four, he goes back to the same thing. I'm going to read the whole chapter. I encourage you to go back and read it this week. But throughout at the beginning of chapter four, all the way to the end of it, there's two basic things he talks about. He comes back to the issue of what is real and what's not real. What is Jesus? And what is the anti-Christ those that are not true followers of Jesus, those that are distracting you and leading you astray. And he goes back through us, reminding ourselves again, of what is real and what really matters. And they jumped right back into this subject of loving one another.
And it's interesting that he uses the Trinity of throughout the chapter four, to really describe how you can, I, how you and I can love one another. And as we walked through this this morning, I want you to see these three different parts. And I want you to think of this practically, because if you were here with us two weeks ago, when we looked at the end of chapter three, it was the command to love one another. And the command is still here, but this time it's more of, here's how you do it. Here are the things. If we're really going to love the people that God has placed in our lives, if we're really going to be the people of God that reflect the love that he has for us, how is it that we're going to do that?
And so there's three things that we're going to walk through, just a few of the verses today that will help us. And I believe the application,
How you can truly love like Jesus. The first thing is this was That you and I must submit to the Authority of Jesus.
We must submit, or we must surrender to the authority of Jesus. Now, what that means is, is that we recognize that he's the boss and that he is in control. If you have your Bibles open to it, John look at verses two and three, look at what it says here. And these two verses By this, you know, the spirit of God, once again, it's talking about the difference between Christ and the antichrist, right? This is how you know, this is the spirit of the true living. God, every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh and is from God. And the essence of that means that he is God, right? Anyone that confesses that Jesus is God right, continue on with that, right. Go ahead and put that back up. There. It is where to go. There it is. All right. And every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God.
This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. So think about this for a minute. All right. He says that the way that you begin this idea or this mindset of loving light Jesus, is that you recognize that Jesus is the authority. And what that in essence means is is that you come to a place in our life where we are not based on our emotions, not on our experiences, not based on what we've been taught within our culture, not based on anything that anyone has ever done to us, but that we say that I choose to live my life under the authority of Jesus.
I'm going to draw a line in the sand and I'm not going back at it. It moves away from just going off of your feelings and you make a decision that Jesus is your Lord. Now that's what you do. When you become a follower of Jesus, you say, God, I know I'm a sinner. I know that I can't get to God on my own. And so God, I ask you to forgive me of my sins and God, I placed my life into your hands. When you place your life into someone's hands, that means that they are your authority.
And what it does is it changes everything because here's what happens in our lives. That all of us have the tendency based on culture, based on emotions, based on our experiences that we, even though we always believe in God, we can just kind of drift away, right? We just slowly begin to drift away from the things of God and the priorities of God. And we begin to rationalize and justify have justification for the things that we do in our life.
That don't line up with the authority of Jesus. When I was a kid, I grew up in, in mobile. And so we were about an hour or a little bit over an hour from the beach from Gulf shores, which was an incredible thing. And we, we love the beats even today, but as we grew up, anytime that we would go to the beach. And, and for those of you that are familiar with Gulf shores, when you come down the, the main road that goes to, into the beach, 59, when you get to the beach road right now, there's, the hangout is right there. And there's all these buildings and all kinds of stuff.
But when I was a kid, when you got to the end of that road, there was a huge public parking lot in for those of you that are old school like me, there was a McDonald's that was also there on the corner. I have no idea how that McDonald's inmate. Anyway, there was the McDonald's that was here on the corner and there was only one building that was right there. Now that building is still there, but you can't really see this much. Then it really stood out back then. And for those of you that grew up, like I did go on to the beach. You remember this building? It's still there. It's called the pink pony pub. All right, listen, you don't have to raise your hand.
Cause I know many of you have been in there, but you don't want to admit it. And Church all right, but the pink pony pug, and every time that we would go to the beach that we went to park ourselves out, right by the pink pony pub. And the reason was this, you couldn't miss that building. I mean, it was an ugly, it was an ugly building. It was right there, but here's what would happen as we, as kids would get out in the water and we would begin to play in the water. You know what happens when you play in the ocean? That if you're not careful, you look up and you're like a mile away from where you started.
So that the pink pony pub was like a reference point. You know that, Hey, don't get too far that we went with my friends, with their family. They would tell us, Hey, don't get too far down the beach. And this is your reference point. You always come back to this. You want to stay where this is so that you don't just drift slowly Away. Because when you were out There, you didn't know it, right. You just kind of out there playing and you look up and you're long a ways from where you started. That's what can happen in our relationship with Jesus. Maybe this happened to some of you that you've looked up and you know, you still love Jesus. And you know, you still want to follow him. But when you look at your life and you look at the things that you're doing in reality, you are a long ways away from where you start. It's not because you don't love Jesus. And it's not because you don't care. It's just because you've been ruled by your emotions. You've been ruled by the culture. You've been ruled by your experiences and you just slowly drifted away. So one of the greatest Things that we can do in order to be obedient to this loving light, Jesus is just make a decision today that we're confessing that Jesus is the Christ where we're drawing a line in the sand and saying, Jesus, you are my authority. Jesus, you are Lord. And whatever you say, I'm going to do it because I would imagine there's some of you that every week as we've discussed this issue of loving one another, there's people that have come to your mind and you are very, very resistant. You don't want to think about it.
In fact, you're trying to block me out right now, even as I talk about it again. But the reality is is, you know, Jesus wants you to love them. And what you Need to do is draw that line in the sand and say, Jesus, from this point forward, I'm going to do this simply because it's what you call me to do. It's not punishment. God knows you. God knows what you need. And because of that, he asked us, he calls us to just live under that confession. You see, because walking with Jesus is more than just at some point in the past, declaring that he is Lord. It means a daily lifestyle of coming back to the place, drawing that line in the sand and say, in Jesus, you are my Number two
Is that where to rely on the Holy spirit, we were to rely on the Holy spirit. Now this is an interesting section of scripture. And as we think about this, I want you to understand what John is trying to teach us about loving, like Jesus, about walking through this. Look at what it says in verses seven and eight verse seven says this beloved, let us love. One another for love is from God.
And whoever loves has been born of God and knows God, anyone who does not love does not know God. And that's not new information, right? We've been, we've been saying that over and over again. But look at this last phrase and the reason that we know that we're from God, that if we do love and if we're not from God, because we don't love. If we don't love one another is simply because in these last three words in verse eight, because God is love.
Now, If you have your Bible like a real Bible, right? Okay. And not, not one of those things on the computer, but a real Bible and you have a pen or something you ought to just underline those three words. God is love. It's who he is
Now. I don't know about you, but growing up in church, I heard this phrase all the time and it kind of confused me because I didn't really understand how God could be something that describes something that we're supposed to do. And that may not make any sense to you. It didn't make any sense to me. I have a weird mind. I understand that. But I want you to think about that phrase for a moment. What does that mean? That God is love. It means that when you think about love, you think about God, because that's who he is. Let me say it this way. There are people in your lives right now. When you think about certain things, you automatically think about them. There are people that, that when you know, we're getting into hunting season, right? And there are certain people that love hunting. And when you think about it, you think about that person because that's just the part. That's just who they are, right? There's some of you that your routine, because you're such a fanatic LSU fan, there are people in your life. They know where you're going to be. They know what you're going to be doing. They know who else is going to be around. They even know what you're going to be eating because that's just the part that's just who you are. Think about it in terms of the things that we send. One another, you know, the, oftentimes you may see something online through social media or whatever, and it's a meme or a video or something. And it just makes you think of somebody else. And so you send it to them, right? Because it reminds you of them. It's just, it's just who they are. What that also means is you can tell what people think about you, about the stuff they send you. All right. Anyway, that's another story for another day. But the idea is, is that we do those things because we know people and that's just who they are.
This idea that God is love just means that that's just who he is. You can't understand the true, perfect love without him. You can't give true, perfect love without him. It's impossible for us to understand really all that love means outside of who God is because he is the true definition of what love is.
You say, what does that have to do with relying on the Holy spirit? Well, hang on with me. All right,
Look back a few verses in verse four, look at what it says. And then I want to put these together. This is the little children you are from God.
You have overcome them talking about those that are not of Christ. Those are, that are not of God. You overcome them. Why? Because he who is in you
Is greater than he, who is in the world now. And the gospel of John, which is the same author, John
Describes the Holy spirit, which is to come right. He describes it. The Holy spirit that when Jesus ascends to heaven in the Holy spirit is coming in, Jesus loves the disciples. Know he, that he has the comforter, that he is your helper, that he is your God. He is the one that will bring you into all truth and do all knowledge. It's the idea that the Holy spirit is coming. So now when the book of first John, who we see that the, the, the Holy spirit has come and the book of acts the, the, the day of Pentecost, the Holy spirit comes.
And from that point forward, that when anyone gives their lives, they surrender to the authority of Jesus. The Bible teaches us at the Holy spirit that God himself takes residence inside of us. And so the reality is, is that the cause he takes residence inside of us. And remember that the Holy spirit is God, that that means that residing inside of every single one of us is the capacity to love as God loves not based on our own strength, but based on the strength of God, that is in the us, You and me. And so when we rely on the Holy spirit, what would you,
And what we were doing is the reminder that greater is he, that is in you. The Church the follower of Christ greater is he, that is in you than he, that is in the world. The world says, There's some people that are impossible to love. The world says that there's some people that don't deserve for you to Love them. The world says That you ought to seek other things, and you have to worry about yourself and not be so forgiving, not be so merciful, not give grace, not be so loving. That's what the world teaches us. But the reality is is that we can love those that are difficult to love. We can love those that have hurt us. The most, the reason we can do that is because greater is he, that is in me.
Then he, that is in the world. So you just come to a place where you just rely on the Holy spirit and listen, that sounds so cliche. And it almost sounds like a cop out, but I want you to understand what that means is that the, the Holy spirit is always working inside of you. And there are times when God calls you to do things and you don't really understand it. And you really can't wrap your mind around that. And what God wants you to do is once, once again, come back to the place you draw a line in the sand, God, I'm surrendering to your authority.
And based on what you asked me to do, I'm just going to start being obedient. And then I'm going to rely on the Holy spirit to do the things I don't know how to do. I'm going to rely on the Holy spirit to lead me in ways that I don't know how I'm going to get there. And I'm going to rely on the Holy spirit because he is in me. And that means that love is inside of me. And that I have the capacity to love in a way that I don't even know that I do not based on my own strength, but based on Jesus, that is in me.
And can I tell you something Then when you drift and when you start living by your experiences and your understanding of what the culture teaches you, you will live A defeated life and it is a miserable place to be.
But when You come to a place where we draw that line in the sand, and we say, God, you are my authority. I'm going to begin to walk in obedience. God gives you a strength. God gives you wisdom. God gives you the ability far beyond what you ever thought was Possible. You know why? Because greater is he does end you than he lives in the world. Rest in that, lean on that, trust that. And then finally, today chapter
Teaches us that were to follow the model of God. We're to follow the model of what God Has done for us. Now, Before I jump into this, let, let me, let me say this to you. There's some of you that need to hear what I'm going to say in this section, because the reality is that when you think about having a hard time loving, and when you think about people that you hate, The Person that you hate the most As yourself, And you don't feel worthy of the love that God provides for you, you don't feel worthy of even being able to do the things that God calls you to do, because you just feel so consumed with all the guilt and the shame of what you done in your own life. And so, as I talk about this last section, just real briefly today, I want you to hear this in a way, first of all, that this is how God feels about you. But then for those as followers of Jesus, this is the model that God calls us to be a part, as it relates to the other
One, another, he, here's what he says. Look at verse 10 In. This is love. And not that we love God, but he loved us. And he sent his son to be the propitiation for our sin. Now, first of all, before I go any further, how many of you were really impressed at the guy from Alabama could say the word propitiation, all right. I can't spell it. All right. Well, this is right. The idea. There's no way I can spell it, but I want to, I want you to understand what that word means. If you've never heard that before, but before we get to that word, look at what it says there again, it says that we didn't love God, but that he first loved us.
So the first thing within the model of God that you need to understand is this is that what we are to do is that we are to pursue love out of the character of who we are. We're to pursue love out of the character of who we are. God pursued you That long before You ever existed, God knew your sin. He knew the things you're going to be involved in, but he chose to pursue you. We see it in the story of the prodigal son, right? That God set out a way for us, for you and I to, to see a picture of his love for us, the father didn't wait for the sun to come back and to make him feel guilty of all the junk that he had done. The father was waiting for him. The father was anticipating him.
He pursued him. And if you're Struggling with hating yourself today, I want you to know that the God of all creation, the God that spoke the world into existence, he is pursuing you. He loves you with all of his hardens and the model that he establishes in that. And the reason that John sets that up, it's for you to not have to understand that. What would it look like if with the people that we struggled to love the most, if we just begin to pursue them, not wait on them, not fold our arms and say, well, I've done all I can do.
We're going to see what they do hide the I can't do anymore. As opposed to having that idea, that mindset, what have you. And I just constantly pursued them the same way that God pursues us.
You didn't first love God. He first loved you. So cool. We were to pursue love out of the character of who you are. But the second thing is, and don't miss. This is that we have to remove the barriers that you can control. What if you and I begin to pursue people in a way that says, I want to love them the way that God loves me. And then I'm going to remove every barrier that I can control. That would prevent us from having a great relationship. That's what God did.
God pursued you. And as he pursued you, he saw your sin. And because God's holding, God's perfect. He couldn't have anything to do with that, right? So he said, man, I love them so much. And I won. I love her. I want to love them the way with everything that I have inside of me. And the only way for me to do that is I've got to find a way to remove that barrier. And so he sent Jesus as the propitiation for our sins, which means he took our place.
He did for us. So we could not do for ourselves. He did not what he does deserve to have happen to him. But he went beyond that. Why? Because he thought more about God's desire to have a relationship with you than he did about the pain that it was going to cause him.
That's how God feels about you. What if you and I did that for others, we pursued them.
And as we pursue them, men, there's barriers that are there. And there's things that have caused that division. There's things that have caused that person to be one that is hard for you to love. And what if you said, God, I want you as a, as a walking obedience. And as I rely on the Holy spirit, God, I want to remove every barrier that I can control. They will cause that relationship to be more of what God desires. What if you and I began to do that now, I, I'm not living in a fairytale world.
I'm not telling you if you do those things, the boy is going to be perfect. And it's going to be a hallmark movie at the end of the day. I'm not telling you any of those things. I mean, who we want to watch a hallmark movie anyway, but anyway, that's also another message, but I'm not telling you that. But what I am telling you is that what Scott, that's what God calls us to do. And the people may not deserve it, but neither did you, neither did I, but God did it for,
So what are today? Those easy relationships and those difficult relationships and those people that we are living in the same house with and those people that we work with, those people that we come in contact with, what if our mindset was just simply to say, God, I'll make a decision today that I'm going to live my life. I'm going to draw a line in the sand and have the authority of Jesus. And to God as I do that, I'm going to recognize the greater is he, that is in me than he is in the world.
And because of that, I got, I'm just going to rely on you. I don't know how I was going to turn out. I don't know what the end result is going to be, but God, I'm going to stop worrying about all of the and buds
And got an, I am just going to walk in obedience and I'm going to trust you to do it. Only. You can do POD as it comes to people that you place in my path and that you put before my mind, you've got, I'm going to pursue those at the end, hardest to love. And I'm going to remove all of the barriers that I can. And then God, I'm going to trust you. Can't tell you something. If you and I can come to that place, it we'll begin to transform ourselves. It will. I promise you begin to transform some relationships and here's the greatness, right? That in the middle of all that, regardless of what the results are on this, this horizontal world that vertically God we'll receive, the glory in the gospel will go forth. And at the end of the day, isn't that what we're really all about it was about the gospel is about God being glorified through our lives. So let's make a commitment that we're going to love.
Jesus. I'm going to ask you if you would just pray with me for just a moment and just with your heads bowed and your eyes closed for just a moment. I just want you to answer two simple questions. Number one, what does God's saying to you today?
And then number two, what are you going to do about it? What are you going to do in response to what God said to you today? You take just a moment just in the quietness of this room. Just process those two questions with God. What did God say to me?
And what am I going to do about it?
Lord, you've heard the cries of your people all across this room and you know, their hearts. God would you begin to do what only you can do. Thank you for loving us, help us to love like Jesus. Now I'm going to ask you if you would just to stand at your feet and I'm going to read one more verse to you today, because what I would say to you is this.
Some of you, God just sent some things to you that you're scared to death about. You're not sure how you're going to be able to do, but I want us to put this one more verse up on the screen. This is verse 18 at the same chapter. Look at what it says. There's no fear in love, but perfect love casts out. Fear for fear has to do with punishment and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
Perfect love is seen in God, right? And so today you and I, we don't need to live in fear. We don't need to live with the, the, the fear of that. We're going to be punished because we're going to mess up again. Can I tell you something you're going to mess up again, but the great news about the grace of God is that perfect. Love it, casts out all that fear, fear from the ability to let God love you. And then fear from the ability to love other people.
Life is not perfect, but we serve a perfect God that has given us everything that we need. So let's, don't be slaves to that fear any longer let's don't allow it to keep us captive. And the confidence that we have is knowing that at the end of the day, no matter what else happens, that you are a child of God. You're a child of the key. And because he is perfect and because he loves us, we cannot lose.
So as we sing this song and just to close out our time together, let's use this, the place for us to draw the line in the sand, to no longer be a slave, to the fear that causes us to not trust Jesus and not to love others as we should and less be the people that God's called us to be. You are a child of God. Amen. Let's stand together.