Purposely Loving as Jesus Loved

Purposefully Loving as Jesus Loved       1 John 3:4-18

                          (Or, If You Ain’t Lov’n, You Ain’t Liv’n)

 

  1. Christmas is Giving – Our Christmas celebration involves giving and receiving gifts. It is just what we do at Christmas. Have you ever wondered, “Why?” There are at least 4 possible reasons why.
    1. The Reasons we give
      1. Wise Men Gave – Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh ( 2:11)
      2. God Gave – (John 3:16) His Son, Eternal Life, The Holy Spirit, Adoption, Forgiveness, Peace, a Family, and so much more.
      3. Nicholas Gave – The patron saint of children was a real pastor in Turkey, a place called Myra, in the 3rd or 4th century, who was known for his benevolent generosity. (Cp. Story of man with 3 daughters, and other stories with children)
      4. Constantine and Christmas – While we might like it, the most probable reason is that it was part of a pagan Roman holiday called Saturnalia. The birthday of the unconquered sun. The observance included feasting, parades, special music, lighted candles, decorating with greens and giving gifts. In the early 4th century (336) Emperor Constantine is credited with declaring Dec. 25th to be Jesus’ birthday and to continue the practices in Jesus’ name.
      5. Did you also know that there was a period of several centuries when people fought against observing Christmas? In the 16th and 17th centuries some countries like England made Christmas against the law. Even the Puritans in America deliberately made it a workday. It was against the law to bake plum pudding or mince pies this time of year.
    2. Observing Christmas by Imitating God (1 John 3:14-18)

   For most of us today, the issue is not why we give or observe Christmas; the issue is how we observe Christmas. This morning I want to tell you that God does want you to observe Christmas and to do so by imitating Him and loving others as Jesus loved you. This is the point of our text today.

    The first 3 verses 1 John 3 remind us that we are Children of God with the hope or assurance of eternal life because God kept His promise and sent us a Messiah. He was born of a virgin, descended from David, born in Bethlehem, at just the right time. Christmas is a time to celebrate the faithfulness of our promise keeping God. God gave us Jesus so we could be forgiven and adopted as God’s children and have eternal life in Heaven with Him. Until then, we are to be like Him. We are to Pay it Forward. We are to love people like He does, and did, and do it for Him.

  1. Christianity is Being Like Jesus – One of the things that scare me is the certainty that there are some who listen to me, who attend church, or maybe don’t attend church, who think they have eternal life, or think that they are children of God when, in fact, they are not.
    1. Love is our Mark (John 13:33-34). Love is our evidence of being Eternally Alive ( 14). If you ain’t lov’n you ain’t liv’n!
    2. Love is our Mission (1 John 3:11, cp. 19:17-18; 33-34).
    3. Some are Deceived ( 7:21-23; 5:21; John 3:3, 7); Nicodemus was religious. But it was religious people that crucified Jesus our Lord. James says it isn’t enough to believe in God (James 2:19).
      1. Still dead- separated from God ( 14 cp. Eph. 2:1-5)
      2. Hatred is a mark of the children of the devil ( 12-15)

That’s why Paul tells the Church at Corinth to examine themselves, cp. 2 Cor. 13:5; and Peter says this in 2 Peter 1:10, “Make your call and election sure”.  

    But notice that John tells us that there are 3 good indicators of whether a person really is a child of God. I don’t think he tells us so we can judge each other but to examine ourselves. Let’s notice:

  1. Christians want to be Pure as He is Pure (v.3) – That is, he or she knows that being a Christian means to receive Jesus’ forgiveness, knowing that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin, therefore, the Christian wants to stay clean. That’s why they do a regular inventory like Psalm 139:23-24. Our Lord Jesus taught us to pray the Lord’s prayer, “Forgive us our debts…” (Consider 1 John 1:9). Without excuses or rationalization, or justification, we let Him cleanse every area of our lives. We want to be clean of everything that Jesus died to forgive us of. We want to be pure because He is Pure. That’s what Repentance is all about and what Baptism pictures for us.
  2. Christians want to do Right because He is Righteous (v.7 compare vv. 4:10). Unless you have a Greek New Testament and know it’s grammar, you will have to trust me here, but if you look it up you will find it true. This is in the present tense in Greek. The present tense in Greek refers to present action that is continuous. What is happening now will continue to happen. This is habitual action. The habitual practice of one’s life. A true child of God will not habitually continue to practice what is sin, because He knows that Jesus died to forgive is of that sin and to free me from both the penalty and power of that sin. To continue to sin willingly, knowingly, after knowing what Jesus died to forgive me of is like spitting on the blood of Jesus. Make believers will continue in sinful habits and will make excuses and justify their reasons. They will do what they want instead of what is right. To practice righteousness is simply to do what is right. It is to do what God’s Word says, or what Jesus would do. It was characteristic of Joseph and it should be of us. Christians are not sinless, but they definitely should sin-less! In every situation, it should be, “What does God want me to do,” not, “What is convenient, or best for me.” It is to walk by faith, not by sight, trusting and obeying God regardless of circumstances or consequences. True children of God are always concerned with doing what is right with God.
  3. *Christians want to Give because He Gave (vv.16-18). Watch this scene from a Christmas Carol. This whole section from verses 11-24 refer to loving as God loves. If we don’t love as God loves, we don’t have the life of God in us or if we ain’t loving, we ain’t living. Sounds like a title for a good country music song, doesn’t it? You can be like Cain, religious, but not right with God. Cain hated his brother who was right with God and who sacrificed God’s way. When his own sacrifice was rejected, he said (basically), “You want a bloody sacrifice, I’ll give you a bloody sacrifice.” And He cut his brother’s throat. Make believers hate and John equates hatred with murder (v.15). Children of God want to love and give because God loved and Gave (John 3:16; Romans 5:8; 1 John 3:16; 4:9-10). This love and Giving is one of the three Principal commands of all Scripture ( 19:17-18; 33-34, Matt. 22:34-40; Luke 10:25-29; John 13:34-35). We have the ability to love like Him because His Spirit lives in us (Romans 5:5. (Loving God and Reaching the World are the other two.

*Aristides and Tertullian* (see Page 7)

  1. Do you remember what this love is? Love is seeking the highest good for the objects of my affection regardless of their worthiness or ability to repay. How many of us were worthy of God’s love? None of us. Who can repay God? None of us. WE were all losers, and we were all lost and we were all in the dark, but He gave us His life to redeem us and adopt us as His own. So how can we love like that? 3 Ways!

 

  • Christianity is Laying Down Your Life for Others Because He Laid Down His Life for Us. – How do we do that? 3 ways.
    1. Give Up Your Life – My life no longer belongs to me. Can you say that? My life no longer belongs to me. I have no right to it. My life is His. Jesus said that He lays down his life for His sheep (John 10:15-18) He lays it down for His friends (John 15:13) That literally means that He lays it aside like a garment. Paul says, “You are not your own, you have been bought with a price. (1 Cor. 6:18-20)
      1. 16:23-26 cp. Gal. 2:20
      2. 2 Cor. 5:14-15
      3. 12:1
      4. Charles Dickens wrote of this kind of love in A Tale of Two Cities, when Sydney Carton sacrificed his own life on behalf of his friends, Charles Darnayand Lucie Manette. Sidney’s last words were, “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”
      5. Maximillian Kolbe (see page 6 From Colson’s Loving God)

 

  1. Give From Your Life – There is a good chance that you and I won’t be asked to literally die so others can live. But every day we are called on to care for those who cannot care for themselves, for whatever reason. Perhaps it is a battle with poor health, or aging, a tragedy, a disaster, a poor economy. The reason isn’t the issue, the need is. (cp. the Macedonians in 2 Cor. 8, or the first Church in Acts 2 and 4. Do you see the word, “Ought,” in verse 16?” It implies obligation or indebtedness. Because God gave to us in our need with His grace, we are obligated, indebted, to give to people in need with what we have been given. One of the 5 principal reasons that God blesses us with stuff is to bless those in need. ( Scrooge- Turkey for the Cratchit family! – WATCH.)
    1. 15:7-11
    2. 2:9-10
    3. If you don’t know someone in need, there are wonderful organizations, like World Vision, Samaritan’s Purse, The Salvation Army, Angel Tree, The Council of Churches. New Hope, Nursing Home Residents, Your Local Rescue Missions, Orphanages and Children’s Homes, Lottie Moon, Missionaries, and more that are reaching out to those in need. God’s Children give from their lives knowing it is why God has given to them. Scrooge had a turkey bought and delivered to Bob Cratchit.

 

  1. Give With Your Life (cp. 25:32-40) Sometimes the way to love is to just be there. To visit the widow and orphan. To shake a hand or give a hug in a Nursing home. To call someone who is lonely, to give a word of encouragement, to open your home to people you may not normally think of having in. While your home is decorated and you have more food than you need, why not provide a dinner for people who may not have the ability to have a nice dinner. *Scrooge * would give with his life for Tim and the Cratchit family.
    1. Luke 14:12-14
    2. 58:6-8
    3. James 1:27
    4. That’s real Christmas giving. That’s what Christmas and everyday ought to be for Christ followers.

 

  1. 2 Questions
    1. Am I Really a Christian? – Do I want to be pure, righteous, and loving?
    2. Am I Really Giving? Have I laid down my life? Giving up my life. Giving From My life, Giving With My Life. Wouldn’t this be a great day to start?

 

Next Week (20th), Purposefully Sharing the Good News of Jesus

Christmas Eve. Purposefully Gifting God

December 27th

, Purposefully Seeking Reconciliation.