1 John 3:1-10 (ESV)See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
Pastor Chris addresses our present societal division and dismay with a message on compassion and action. The Apostle John was eager to remind us all of the kind of love that comes from God. He uses this faith fact as a springboard to challenge us to practice righteousness – not for ourselves, but for others. Loving our brother is essential to knowing God’s love.
Chris orients us to this life theme: what is Jesus’ kind of love? In Luke 10, His response to a lawyer seeking to know how to inherit eternal life includes the command to “love your neighbor as yourself.” We can only truly know the love of God by following the way of God, loving our neighbor. In another teaching, Jesus share the parable of the Good Samaritan. Chris explains that we must act in love, not only in our hearts, but with our hands, money, and time.
Today’s injustices highlight the sin of a world without God’s love. We are called to be His example of love for those who have only known prejudice, sorrow, and pain. Many people, created in God’s Image, are in minority ethnic groups. One of our church family’s core beliefs is “Ethnic Diversity: We display the beauty of ethnic harmony consistent with the Kingdom of God. (Revelation 5:9).” In the words of civil rights author and activist, Dr. John Perkins, “God created only one race…the human race. Biblical reconciliation is the removal of tension between parties and the restoration of loving relationship.” John Perkins
What does it mean to love our brother especially when they are in pain?
- Move (Embrace Being Uncomfortable) “But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him…” Luke 10:33
- See (Pain and Hardship)“But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.” Luke 10:33
- Feel (Compassion and Mercy) “He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.”
- Sacrifice (Time, Listen, Money, Comfort) “And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” Luke 10:35-37
- Commit (“Casual” or “Committed?”) “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13:34
- See also, Mark 16:15
The Gospel: Jesus was MOVED by compassion, SAW us in our mess and pain, FELT compassion, SACRIFICED His life for us, and COMMITTED Himself to our ongoing care.
- How have you felt about the racial tension and injustice that has dominated the headlines recently?
- What do you suppose it means to “not love your brother” in 1 John 3:10? What is John getting at by focusing on loving others as evidence of righteousness?
- In what ways have you seen racial injustice around you, in your life? Have you seen it in church? At work?
- In our current atmosphere of racial division in America, how might the parable of the Good Samaritan apply?
- Consider how you respond to reports of injustice. Do you keep quiet? Do you share your thoughts with others? What might God be directing you to do differently, based on this week’s sermon?
- Ask God to show you how to see and listen to those who’ve suffered injustice. Think about how you can show love through compassion and sacrifice to help someone know God’s true love.