Wednesday, March 29, 2006

March 26, 2006

John 15:13

Remembering Jesus: What kind of love?

Jesus demonstrated a “greater love” through SACRIFICE. What kind of love motivates someone to sacrifice themselves?

(Ill.) A man went to the doctor after weeks of symptoms. The doctor examined him carefully, then called the patient’s wife into his office “Your husband is suffering from a rare form of anemia. Without treatment, he’ll be dead in a few weeks. The good news is, it can be treated with proper nutrition.”
“You will need to get up early every morning and fix your husband a hot breakfast—pancakes, bacon and eggs, the works. He’ll need a home-cooked lunch every day, and then an old-fashioned meat-and-potato dinner every evening. It would be especially helpful if you could bake frequently. Cakes, pies, homemade bread—these are the things that will allow your husband to live.
“One more thing. His immune system is weak, so it’s important that your home be kept spotless at all times. Do you have any questions?” The wife had none.
“Do you want to break the news, or shall I?” asked the doctor.
“I will,” the wife replied.
She walked into the exam room. The husband, sensing the seriousness of his illness, asked her, “It’s bad, isn’t it?”
She nodded, tears welling up in her eyes. “What’s going to happen to me?” he asked. With a sob, the wife blurted out, “The doctor says you’re gonna die!” [Source unknown]

I. It is a love that MOVES THE MIND.

The Bible says: “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. [7] Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man 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.” [Romans 5:6 – 8]

A. This love understands the truth.

1. We are POWERLESS.

a. We are described as “ungodly.”

1.) Without God – knowledge or care.

2.) Without God’s principles in our lives.

b. We are described as “sinners.”

1.) Sins of commission (what we do) and omission (what we fail to do).

2.) Knowledge and volition (willful) NOT just mistakes.

2. This condition causes separation between God and people.

B. This love understands the need.

1. Our natural HOSTILITY is based on ignorance.

The Bible says, “For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” [Romans 5:10]

a. “Enemy,” in this case only works one way.

b. We do not know any better... It is the “sin nature” that keeps us in darkness/ignorant.

2. God “attacks” our hostility with His “greater love.”

II. It is a love that MOVES THE EMOTIONS.

The Bible says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” [2 Corinthians 5:21]

A. God exchanges the “worthless” for the “priceless.”

1. Sin is replaced with righteousness.

a. God takes the misery and guilt of sin away.

b. God gives the peace and confidence of righteousness.

2. (Ill) The credit card commercial where the person is paying for a toy boat and it grows to a full size luxury boat.

a. All the home-made and pretend righteousness is exchanged for real righteousness and its power.

b. What was marginal becomes central.

c. What was small is exchanged for the infinate.

The Bible says: “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” [1 John 4:10]

B. God provided an “atonement.”

1. An atonement is “amends for a wrong or injury.” [Oxford University Press]

a. It covers the sin. (Ill) Old Testament – the “mercy seat.”

b. It removes the sin. (Ill) Old Testament – Day of Atonement, two goats.

2. This payment satisfying justice gives us a sense of unpayable debt and ownership.

The Bible says: “You are not your own; [20] you were bought at a price.” [1 Corinthians 6:19b – 20a]

(Ill.) Alan Smith tells the story about two wealthy Christians, a lawyer and a merchant, who traveled with a group that was going around the world. As they were visiting in Korea, they saw by the side of the road, a field in which a boy was pulling a crude plow and an old man held the plow handles and guided it.
The lawyer was amused and took a snapshot of the scene. He turned to the missionary, who served as their interpreter and guide, and he said, "That's a curious picture. I suppose they are very poor."
The guide replied, "Yes, that is the family of Chi Noue. When the place of worship was being built, they were eager to give something to it, but they had no money, so they sold their only ox and gave the money to the church. This spring, they are pulling the plow themselves."
The men were silent for several moments. Then the businessman replied, "That must have been a real sacrifice."
The guide said, "They do not call it that. They thought it was fortunate that they had an ox to sell."

III. It is a love that MOVES THE SOUL.

The Bible says, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” [1 Peter 2:24]

A. We are motivated to “die to sins.”

1. The Bible says, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, [2] in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” [Ephesians 2: 1 – 2]

a. Once we were dead to God... now we can become dead to sin.

b. We no longer have to bow in slavery to the world or the devil’s power.

2. The Bible says, “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, [14] having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.” [Colossians 2:13]

a. The “sinful nature” kept us from Christ...

b. The “written code” opposed us and condemned us.

B. We are motivated to “live for righteousness.”

1. The Bible says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” [Galatians 5:1]

a. (Ill) Old Testament – slave freed from Egypt always wanted to go back. Willing to trade their freedom and the Promised Land for the wrong memory of the past.

b. Cannot allow ourselves to be drawn back into the darkness and slavery of the sinful nature.

2. The Bible says, “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” [Galatians 5:13]

a. Freedom can be used for good or ill.

b. Our freedom expects us to SERVE in love.

“To be a follower of the Crucified Christ means, sooner or later, a personal encounter with the cross. And the cross always entails loss. - Elisabeth Elliot

IV. It is a love that MOVES THE BODY

The Bible says, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. [17] If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? [18] Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” [1 John 3:16 – 18]

A. Real love imitates Jesus’ love.

1. We do not know “love” outside Jesus’ example.

a. The world has perverted the concept of “love” to the point were we can “love” spaghetti.

b. Jesus’ example becomes a template/model for how we are to love others.

2. Self-giving love for a greater cause.

a. You are more than body and your needs go well beyond the physical.

1.) Why are people with so much so miserable?

2.) It’s because the physical only goes so far.

b. You need to give to someone other than you.

(Ill.) During his reign, King Frederick William III of Prussia found himself in trouble. Wars had been costly, and in trying to build the nation, he was seriously short of finances. He couldn't disappoint his people, and to capitulate to the enemy was unthinkable. After careful reflection, he decided to ask the women of Prussia to bring their jewelry of gold and silver to be melted down for their country. For each ornament received, he determined to exchange a decoration of bronze or iron as a symbol of his gratitude. Each decoration would be inscribed, "I gave gold for iron, 18l3." The response was overwhelming. Even more important, these women prized their gifts from the king more highly than their former jewelry. The reason, of course, is clear. The decorations were proof that they had sacrificed for their king. Indeed, it became unfashionable to wear jewelry, and thus was established the Order of the Iron Cross. Members wore no ornaments except a cross of iron for all to see. When Christians come to their King, they too exchange the flourishes of their former life for a cross. [Lynn Jost.]

B. Real love is “with action and in truth.”

1. We can have all the sympathy in the world but...

a. That sympathy, without action, does not help anyone and does not satisfy our need.

b. Ultimately it is through our actions that we are judged.

2. The Bible says, “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? [15] Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. [16] If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? [17] In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. [James 2:14 – 18]

a. Dead faith is WITHOUT action.

b. Mountain proverb: “put up or shut up.”

(Fred Craddock) “To give my life for Christ appears glorious,” he said. “To pour myself out for others...to pay the ultimate price of martyrdom—I’ll do it. I’m ready, Lord, to go out in a blaze of glory.
“We think giving our all to the Lord is like taking a $1,000 bill and laying it on the table—’Here’s my life, Lord. I’m giving it all.’
“But the reality for most of us is that he sends us to the bank and has us cash in the $1,000 bill for quarters. We go through life putting out 25 cents here and 50 cents there. Listen to the neighbor kid’s troubles instead of saying, ‘Get lost.’ Go to a committee meeting. Give a cup of water to a shaky old man in a nursing home.
“Usually giving our life to Christ isn’t glorious. It’s done in all those little acts of love, 25 cents at a time. It would be easy to go out in a flash of glory; it’s harder to live the Christian life little by little over the long haul.” [Darryl Bell, Maple Grove, Minnesota, quoted in Leadership, Fall Quarter, 1984, p. 47]

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