February 20, 2018

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LOVE - John 13:21-38

February 20, 2018

 

We are love ourselves more than anyone. Our love is actually selfish because we love others for what we can get out of it.

 

Has anyone here ever bought a dud? You’ve bought a product and it just doesn’t work. It’s broken Recently my wife bought a popcorn maker off Trademe. We went and picked it up. Set it up in the kitchen. Followed the instruction – put the butter in where was meant to go, the pop corn in and turned it on and waited. There’s always that 20 seconds before the popcorn start popping. All of a sudden smoke just started pouring out. It was broken, it didn’t work the way it was suppose to.  Today we are going to look at how we are broken. Out of our brokenness we can’t genuinely love people. This is why Jesus give us a new command and a new way to love.

 

Here the  disciples just witnessed a very surprising and confusing event of Judas being exposed as a traitor and leaving in a hurry. All eyes are riveted on Jesus. What will he say now? He says the time has come for him to be glorified. Then he explains he won’t be with them for much longer.

Look with me in verse 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

 

From this I want to focus on three things:

We are broken lovers   

Jesus gives us new way to love

The outcome new love is to be a witness to the world

 

We are broken lovers

Notice here that Jesus says a new Command I give to you

The Ten Commandments given to the Israelites are a standard that people must live by.  In one sense God’ quality control for his standard of love.  Jesus summarises this standard by saying - “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’[d] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matt 22:37

If the summary of the old commands is to love God and love your neighbour how is this commandment to ‘love others’ new? The command is new because there is a new way of doing it. There is a new way to love.  Why do we need a new way to love? Was the old not good enough? We know that the Ten Commandments where there to reveal to us the state of our hearts.

As broken humans we love our selves first. Even our love for others is based on our love for ourselves. Without knowing it our  premise for a relationship is centred on what get out of it. It’s a contract. When we enter into any sort of  relationship we have expectations. Its almost as if in the back of our heads - we think if I do all these things for you then in return you need to do all these things for me, when one person doesn’t hold up there end of a bargain, we  become frustrated.  

Now everyone needs to be in healthy relationships, and in good relationships people reciprocate, and it needs to go two ways. Here I’m talking about our primary mode or the way that we think about our relationships. Usually as broken humans we gravitated towards loving for what we can get back, our love is tainted with self interest.

Peter in verse 37 say, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Isn’t this our response? We think we are capable of loving God and those around us. Peter thought he was able to Love Jesus even to death.

Peter is like us. In our broken state we are only capable of selfpromoting love . We don’t love the way we were designed to. We are broken. Jesus said, ‘Will you really lay down your life for me?’ In self-preservation a few hours later Peter denies he even knows Jesus.

John15:13  "greater LOVE has no one than...laying down his life." This is exactly what Peter is claiming, great love for Jesus, but Jesus exposes Peter's inadequacy to love. You won't actually show great love to me Peter [this side of the cross and Pentecost] you will actually deny me!!'

The Ten Commandments God’s standard for our love sets a very high benchmark Hypothetically even if we could fulfil every single command we wouldn’t meet the standard because our motive would be wrong. What did Jesus say to the rich young ruler when he claimed to have fulfilled the Ten Commandments? Sell you stuff. Jesus knew that in his heart rich young ruler loved his wealth more than God or his neighbour.

His fulfilling of the commands was a self-righteous fulfilment. The rich young rulers attempt to fulfil the law gave him status, a sense of self respect, it was for self-gain. Was he really loving God with all his heart mind soul? Was he really loving his neighbour as himself?

We could perform great supernatural acts, we could acquire knowledge about the bible, we could have faith that could move mountains, we could dedicate our life to serving the poor and go through physical hardship but still not love like Jesus when he says, ‘Love one another. As I have loved you.’

Our selfishness means we are self-preserving and self-promoting. Our attempts to love end up being a ways to benefit ourselves.  So Jesus gives us a new was to love.

 

Jesus gives us a new heart and a new way to love

How is this way of loving different to the old way?

Love by abiding

Love through action

Love to a great extent

 

Abiding which brings wholeness.

Notice how Jesus describes how he will be in glorified in verse 31. ‘In him.’ Being in the Father or one with the Father is an often repeated phrase throughout the gospels. Why does Jesus say this before giving us this new command?

Jesus is describing his unity in the God head Jesus is in the Father, he is at one with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Out of this relationship Jesus loves us. This relationship is complete because God is fully complete and satisfied in himself. God in the Trinity, Father, Spirit, Son, doesn’t need anything outside of himself for fulfilment. Later in John Jesus as ‘As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.’ (John 15:9) How did Jesus love?

 

Jesus loved out of a complete, full relationship with the Father and the Spirit which means he loves us not for what he could get in return. Not out of a need to get something, he loves us out of an overflow. Romans 5:7-8 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

 

We had nothing to give back but he extend his love to us anyway. God’s love isn’t dependent on our love. He loves wholly out of a sense of completeness. This type of love is exemplified in verse

In verse 26. Jesus dipped the piece of bread and gave it to Judas, culturally this is an act of love and friendship.  Here is a man who is about to betray Jesus and hand him over to the Pharisees for a few coins, so that they could crucify him. How does Jesus act towards him ? He extends to him an act of love. This is God’s love, even when we hate him, despise him, are ready to betray him, he extends his love towards us.

His love isn’t dependant on the depth of our love or commitment towards him. And also he extends the same love to the entire world. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son…

So how do we love as Jesus loves us? How do we love not for what we can get in return?  First we must be abiding in Christ as Jesus is in the Father. I am the vine and you are the branches. He who remains in Me, and I in him, will bear much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:5.  We must be in relationship with Jesus and experience that wholeness and completeness this brings.

Apart from abiding in Christ just as he does in the Father we can do nothing. When we abide in him, when our lives are lived out of relationship with him we are able to genuinely love others.1 John

Our love then to one another is simply God’s love to us, flowing into us, and flowing out again.  

If you and I desire to love our fellow Christians and to love the fallen race of man, we must be joined on to the aqueduct which conducts love from this eternal source, or else we shall soon fail in love. – Charles Spurgeon

I don’t know about you but subconsciously I tend to keep score when it comes to relationships. It’s a little like a set of balance scales if someone is being difficult, or doesn’t reciprocate I tend to disengage in that relationship. If they start to give a little back then I feel like that relationship is worth investing in. That is loving out of a deficit, love out of brokeness.  I need to remember that I am in Christ, I am in the vine, I need to go back to engaging first in that relationship. I need to gain sense of fulfilment, and Joy, I need to actively abide. Then I can reflect Gods generous love, my love will flow from Gods love towards me

Awesome, so loving from abiding. Loving from being in a complete, whole relationship and loving out of an overflow. First point, second point.

 

Love through action

When we bought the popcorn maker the seller on trademe described  it as working well. There was only one way to prove it worked, to prove the claim made about it was true. Put it into action. Jesus loved through action.  We can make claims about love, but that’s not all Jesus is asking for.

Jesus’ command, ‘love one another: just as I have loved you’ (John 13: 34b) comes after he has washed the disciples feet. These words ring true: Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. (1 John 3:18)  When Jesus says ‘love one another as I have loved you,’ he isn’t asking for a verbal commitment like Peters disillusioned words that follow, but a genuine love, part of that is shown through action. Jesus’ actions of washing the disciples feet  provides a clear example for them to follow.

 

Loving through action is hard because like Peter as a result of being broken we love out of self interest. We elevate ourselves above others. This means we are naturally inclined to hold tightly to resources, time, and energy and use them primarily for self-gain.

When we experience God’s love in its fullness, when we abide in God through Jesus,  we are able to reflect Gods genuine love in action. We are able to follow Jesus’ example and take on the position of a servant which means elevating others above ourselves even when it’s inconvenient, especially when it requires sacrifice.

 

What greater example do we have than, God incarnate, taking of his tunic, (taking on the role of a servant), and washing the feet of his friends. In his humanness there are multiple reasons that could have stopped him. Firstly he is God, (status) secondly his crucifixion was near at hand – (they should be caring for him), thirdly he was hot and tired and he could just do it when it is more convenient.  A heart that has been transformed and has experienced Gods love overcomes these barriers and is moved to love others through action.

When we experience Gods love, - We are able to step off the self-imposed pedestal (of self-importance) and follow Christ’s example. His of loving others it is inconvenient and loving when it means when we lose out on something.

 

I enjoy reading books about people who go through extreme circumstance and watching how they deal with it. One particular book I’ve enjoyed is Dietrich Bonhoeffers’ biography.

Deitriech Bonhoffer was a pastor in Germany, The climate in Germany started to become more and more difficult for Christians. Bonhoffer was in the states, couldn’t stand the fact that Christians were suffering so he returned to Germany to minister. He was executed by hanging just before the world ended. We might thing great, what’s this got to do with us. Here is a man who loved his Christian brothers and sisters, he didn’t let self-preservation, safety or the comforts of America stop him from loving even though it cost him his life.

 

Now this is an extreme case! We don’t often have to make choices like this. For us it comes down to convenience, are we willing to love through when its hard. When circumstances are difficult, when it costs us something.

 

I encourage you to reflect, what are you willing to lose out on to be obedient and love like Jesus, how can you love when it is difficult.

 

Love to a great extent When Peter claimed he would lay down his life for Jesus. Why was Jesus’ response, will you really? Jesus knew the state of Peter’s heart which is the state of the human heart, our heart. We are broken. Jesus knew that Peter loved his life more that Jesus. In our broken love ourselves first, this means we aren’t willing to sacrifice for others. Later he would dedicate his life in ministry and die by crucifixion.

 

What changed in Peters mind and heart? He saw that Jesus was will to sacrifice himself and give his life, he experienced the depth of the love of God in Jesus on the cross. He realized that it cost God everything to secure his salvation.  

 

A couple of weeks back Ross talked about the significance of Mary pouring perfume to the cost of a years wages on Jesus’ feet. What did this show us? Her love for Jesus was so great the cost of the perfume was worth honouring Jesus.   But it is the feet of Jesus. He is worthy.  Honouring Jesus at such expense. She wants to do this, not to get, but because she has received love from God in Jesus Christ.

 

How do I grow to live and die for the glory of God. Within this idea, how do I live in obedience to God and love others to the extent he asks?

- Understand the price that Jesus paid for wilful sin to not glorify God.  

- Treasure Christ.

- Thanking God – reverse the sin of Rom 1:21-23

“In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.” 
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

Costly Grace is the treasure hidden in a field; for which the sake of it, a man will go and sell all he has. The pear of great price to by which merchant will sell all his Goods.

We have to understand the cost, we have to treasure Jesus. We have to live in Gratitude. Then the cost of loving sacrificially will seem so small in comparison

 

To what end - the world will know   [this point 3. explains it's effect]

Where I grew up in Asia, when we would go shopping there was always an abundance of fake brands. Manufacturers would do  their best to make products look authentic. There were always lots of tags saying this is a genuine product. Sometimes you were almost convinced. Others times it wasn’t hard to identify a fake.

When Jesus says - By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another," Jesus means, love confirms that your faith in me is real. 

If your love is genuine it shows your faith is genuine.

 

On Friday night I had a conversation with one of the youth. He was telling me about how he has a friend who says he is Christian but the way that he talks, and acts contradicts his behaviour.

We talked about how people will know he isn’t the real deal, or at assume he isn’t based on his actions. Jesus is saying if you love one another genuinely people will know that you are the real deal. If your love is the genuine product it comes from a genuine faith in Jesus. It comes from a disciple of Jesus.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. (1 John 4:7)  The characteristic of someone who has been given a new heart and been transformed by Christ is the capacity to love sacrificially, through action if  and not for self gain. The world will see that this love is different. It doesn’t come from a broken heart like theirs. It isn’t a contract, there aren’t two sides of the deal to hold up but it is a, generous, active and sacrificial love.

Why love? Because if you love you have  died to their old sinful self and is now a new creation. Of someone who is free to love sacrificially like God. This is only possible firstly by being transformed through the saving work of the Cross then abide in Christs and love out of an overflow

 

On each trademe profile there is a feedback section. People paste feedback about their dealing with you and your honesty about the products you sell. 

We have 97 positive feedbacks and 2 negative. We forgot to post some items we were selling.  This is peoples way of seeing who has integrity. Do you normally buy and sell products with integrity. Are you being authentic. No ones perfect but what is your usual mode of conduct. People will see that we are his disciples if we love like him.

In the same way when people see that we have integrity, that we love one another

When the world sees this genuine, free love they will see the outcome of hearts that are transformed by the power of Jesus work on the cross.

Through this all the world will know that we are Jesus’ disciples. The world will see that there is something different about the way that we love. It will be attractive to the world.

 

This week I encourage you abide in Christ by engaging with him in his word. Let you love for others flow out  a fulfillment from this relationship. I encourage you to reflect on your love, do you love for self gain. Are you willing to sacrificially through action. To what extent are you willing to love others. Remember Jesus example of loving when it required sacrifice, when it was inconvenient.

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