Damariscotta Baptist Church
Saturday, August 18, 2018
Growing personal relationships with God and community

10/01/17 Sermon - He Loved Us First

“He Loved Us First”

1 John 4:17-21

The author of 1 John continues to dwell on what occurs and what happens when we really understand and comprehend what God’s love is all about. Remembering what we read last week and continuing on the same line, we need to wrap our brain around what it means that God is love.

Remembering, it is not this kind of warm, fuzzy, feel kind of good type of love, but a love that gives of everything you have to make sure all is right with the one you love, kind of love.

Today’s verses begin, with what the New International Version translates as This is how love is made complete among us” but Eugene Peterson translates the Greek verb more closely by stating, “This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us,”

Can’t you just picture that?

That phrase is so descriptive.

When something or someone has “run of the house” what image comes to mind?

I think of when Lydia was two years old, the first child, I think we had baby things in every room of our home, and wherever she went, pretty much I went. She somehow took over our lives and “took run of the house.” How quickly and instantly having a baby changed our lives.

It wasn’t long before I couldn’t remember “not” having her in our lives. That is the concept the author is trying to get across. God’s love is made complete, when we can’t think of any other way except through God’s love. And when we live in God and God lives in us, and the love that exists around us has run of our house.

The author goes on to say that we will be free of worry on Judgement Day, which means we are standing in the world identical to the manner in which Christ stood in the world.

What exactly is “Judgement Day?” The Judgement Day mentioned here is the day when Christ returns and questions us to decide if we are in Christ, or not in Christ. The day we will be judged for our sins. This is the day when the rubber meets the road and we are asked, “Why should you be allowed in heaven?”

When our lives here on earth have Christ in them, we will have boldness to stand on the day of judgment, and say “Jesus, my Savior, gives me the right to enter heaven.”

There is a sense of a close enough association with Christ that allows us to have such boldness. When Christ lives in us, than we have the boldness of Christ, and certainly Christ stands without fear before God.

In fact, the author continues in 1 John  “There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.”

There is no room in love for fear - We just described that when we are fully in God’s love, it has “run of the house” which means, there is no room in love for fear.

Well-formed love banishes fear.

So what we are striving for is “well-formed love” one in which we give up every room in our house.

Fear is crippling, a fearful life, one that has a fear of death, fear of judgement, is one not fully formed in love,

To me, this means, when fear exists, then one or more of the rooms our house, or our life, is not allowing God’s love to have “run of the house.” We have closed the door and not allowed love to come in. So let’s go back to my analogy of Lydia as a 2 year old having run of the house. In essence, she pretty much did have run of the house, but there was a few months while she was growing up, that Val and I rented a room in our house to a friend who had nowhere to stay. He rented the room for a minimal fee and he shared the rest of the house with us. He shared the bathroom, the living room and kitchen and backyard. While he was living with us, he kept the door to his room shut and locked so that Lydia, and Val and I could not get in. When we lock up spaces in our lives and we don’t allow love to get in, we entertain an option for fear to reside. Wherever love is not allowed in, fear takes over. Yet, there is no fear where love resides. When love completely takes over, fear doesn’t fit in.

And this type of love doesn’t come from us, in fact, first it comes to us, God loved us first. And when we recognize this and accept God’s love, we are able to love others.

The author reminds us at the end of this passage that we may say we love God, but the proof of that statement will be seen by how much we love our brother and sister. If we don’t love the person we can see, then how can we believe it when someone says they love God, that they cannot see.  It is much easier to say you love God because that is regarded as a personal relationship and who can dispute it. So God has made it impossible to hide, because we are commanded to demonstrate our love for Him, by loving each other, something we can see, which can be demonstrated.

Again, Eugene Peterson makes it clear in his translation,

 

“The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both.”

 

Jesus put it this way, in Matthew 5:23-24

 

23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you,24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

 

God is more pleased when you get it right with your brother or sister, than if you bring Him a sacrifice of praise or resources.

Today, we have the opportunity to do just that. Make it right with our brother and sister before we accept the opportunity to share in communion, and participate in the visual representation of our acceptance and gift of love from God through remembering what He has done to demonstrate His great love for us.

It is at the Lord’s Supper, where we are reminded of the love God first showed us, and where we can rid ourselves of the fear that binds us. Where we can begin to mature in the love that we have for God, by asking for God’s love to assist us in loving our brothers and sisters.

“The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both.”


The Lord’s Supper.