Growing in Love

1Jn. 2:5,6/ Jn. 12-15

Intro: We saw in our study Last time that a defining mark that a person Knows God & is walking in fellowship w/ God / Life marked by love !

  1. Love is the natural by product of a person who is in love w/ the Lord !
  1. In Matt. Ch. 22 Jesus was asked the Question Greatest Commandment ? Response in v. 37-40 / incredible & insightful

Jesus said to him, " 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' "This is the first and great commandment. "And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself. '

"On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."

C) In His response Jesus was narrowing the 10 command. down to 2 -.

Jesus was saying - I will make it real simple for you /

    1. love God w/ all your heart soul, mind and strength & Love your neighbor as yourself ! Focus on these 2 things & everything else will fall into place !

Cc) The thing the bible points out for us is this the 2nd command is really the by- product of the 1st

    1. if you love God w/ all your heart you will find that He will be working in you making you a person who naturally loves others

D) Exactly what John is saying here in V.5,6 when he says But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

  1. If you are keeping the Commandment to love God / the love of God is going to be perfected or completed in you -
    1. God is going to be working in you to make you a person who is more loving / a person who is giving / more others centered than self centered
  1. Work he does in you by the H.S. / Rom 5:5 - "The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit
  1. And you find that you begin to take on the Characteristics of Christ / begin to walk as He walked ! Look at people the way He did !
    1. Natural by product of walking w/ Him ! Being submitted to Him!

 

But wait a minute one might say if love is to be the natural fruit coming out of the Christian who is abiding in Christ -

A.) Why is there so much judging that goes on in Christian circles? Why can gossip be a problem in church?

1.) Youíd expect those things from people in the world - but shouldnít we be different?

B.)Why is it that a person can go to a church for a year or more & feel like no one has reached out to Him?

1.) Why is it that a person can be out of fellowship for weeks and never get a call?

C.) Talked w/ a guy who was out of fellowship - 2 week turned 6 months (very active in his church) - no call

1.) Why do things like that happen? Why do cliques get formed in Christian circles?

D.)Now we could simply answer - human nature: people are people - people are not perfect! All true

1.) I think the problem is deeper

I think many Christians have never understood the process of abiding and fruit bearing that we see taught by Jesus in the gospels - especially - John's - A) I want us to focus on this the rest of the morning to see how we as a church & we as individuals might be growing in our love !

B) 4Things I want us to see that are found in Johns gospel beginning in Ch. 12/ where we have the teaching ! Turn Ch.12 read v. 20-22

Scene : Final week of Jesus life prior to His Crucifixion / He is w/ His disciples in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover

  1. Ch. 12- 17 final teachings / Powerful / insightful / where Jesus taught about ministry / about service / about fruit bearing it all comes together here!
  1. Greeks who came to worship at the feast / say we wish to see Jesus ! Come to worship God & desire to see Jesus / True worship is about !

1) Talk to Philip who goes to Andrew / together they go to Jesus / notice His response V. 23-28

Now this is the 1st time Jesus has ever said the hour has come that the Son of man should be glorified

  1. He begins to talk to them about His death / about discipleship & fruit bearing

by using an illustration from nature

  1. Jesus was a master teacher / one thing I like & try to practice was the way He used illustrations
    1. Spurgeon said A sermon without illustrations is like a house w/out windows ( so true like a window the illustration brings light in )
  1. Jesus was a master : He could said once again Iím telling you that you need to deny yourself pick up your cross & follow me
    1. But instead He gives this illustration from nature which revealed a truth about His own life / which would also need to be true of His disciples
  1. And also us if we are going to be those who are growing in & bearing the fruit of love !

 

Here we see the teaching: Jesus used the image of a seed to illustrate great spiritual truth - no fruit w/out death no victory w/out surrender

  1. For Jesus this meant the cross / He was the 1st seed to die / as He fell to the ground / leaving the glory of Heaven / became a servant / & Savoir !
  1. Also application here for us/ God's children are like seeds. They are small & insignificant, but they have life in them - God's life

C) But that life can never be fulfilled unless we yield ourselves to God and permit Him to plant us. That means death

Cc)In and of itself a seed is weak and useless; but when it is planted it "dies" and becomes fruitful

1)And If that seed could talk, it would no doubt complain about being put into the cold, dark earth.

Dd) But the only way it can achieve its goal/ purpose is by being planted.

D) Same is true for us / we need to be planted ! We need to die ! Die To self / Focus on my needs, my wants - die to selfish ambition

1.) die to the fear of making myself vulnerable so that God can use me

  1. We need to die to the fear of being hurt - or walked on / seen so many Christians crippled by those two things
    1. Lani (welcome to the ministry)

Gal. 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

E) Like the seed we need to be planted! Where? In Christ the soil we are to be buried in is Christ Himself / water we are to receive is the water of His word !

1) Our desire needs to be like that of John the B. when he said I must decrease that He might increase !

 

When the seed is buried in the ground it is covered / no longer seen

A)Covered by the dirt / watered & receives nutrients from the dirt & the combination of the watering & the dirt causes the seed to sprout roots

B) After some more watering stem comes out / later grows into a tree / later bears fruit / now here is what is really intriguing to me

    1. The seed is never seen again / only the fruit which resulted in the seed being planted in the ground !
  1. That is the work that God is seeking to do in each one of us as He seeks to conform us into the image of His own Son ! Rom. 8:29
    1. that any good that comes forth from my life / any love / any compassion/

isnít because I am a great person

  1. But because Jesus is living in me / & as I die / buried in Him / watered by his word / get into word / word gets into me
    1. The result will be fruit that reflects Him!
  1. greatest compliment we could ever receive is like said of Disciples Acts 4 They could tell that they had been w/ Jesus!

1) Who can people tell that you have been w/ ? Where are you Planted?

 

If we are going to be those who are bearing the fruit of love it Begins w/ dying to self / allowing the Lord to lead /

A) To direct & to plant you in areas where He wants you to bring forth fruit

  1. Note the contrast: loneliness or fruitfulness, losing your life or keeping your life: serving self or serving Christ Pleasing self or receiving God's honor

C) Most of us have seen the bumper sticker which reads 'Drive carefully -- the life you save may be your own.' A guy by the name of Frederick Buechner made an interesting comment about that sticker when he said That is the wisdom of men in a nutshell. Be concerned about saving your own life !

"What God says, on the other hand, is 'The life you save is the life you lose.' In other words, the life you clutch, hoard, guard, and play safe with is in the end a life worth little to anybody, including yourself; and only a life given away for love's sake is a life worth living.

So the teaching that Jesus gave was the key to having a fruitful life is in following Christ example: die! die to self; die to my need

B) But this can be a struggle w/ our flesh - which naturally wants to please itself! What do we do? Well Notice what Jesus did V.27

C.)Here he says my soul is troubled/ Now Jesus didn't have a sin nature - but he was flesh! Here we see Him Troubled in humanity w/ what He knew was ahead

    1. What do? Father glorify your name! That's it!

Cc) That is the answer You purpose in your heart in every situation / in all your relationships / in all you do to glorify the Father ! Father you be glorified in Ö.

    1. In every situation - Father you be glorified - if that means I die - great!
  1. A lot of talk today & concern for my own personal happiness / & people are doing own thing going completely against word / demanding own rights
    1. Because they want to be Happy !
  1. But this might come as a surprise to some / God doesnít want you to just be happy He wants you to be holy
    1. In fact happiness follows holiness / and at the root of holiness is this desire to glorify God in everything you do/ everything you are involved in
  1. To purpose in your heart / in your mind In this situation Iím making a decision to glorify God !
    1. That God would be blessed by Your decisions & your Obedience !

 

Now sometimes people say Iím struggling w/ my feelings in this situation but I am praying for God to Change my heart !

  1. In reality theyíre saying I am not ready to die to self & put aside my rights / my way /I deserve to feel this way but Iím praying for God to change my heart !
  1. Guys that is not how it works /not true repentance to change your mind/ to change your direction /
    1. here is the key ! You change your mind - Purpose in your heart to glorify God & Then God will change your heart !
  1. You change your mind / direction & Then God can change your heart !
    1. But many reverse this saying Iím Praying changes my heart / then Iíll change my mind God

D)So there's the teaching! Bearing fruit begins w/ dying - being buried in Christ Planted in Him & watered and nurtured by Christ!

1) Like Christ I desire in all things to Glorify God ! Now turn Ch.13

Here we see an example: John 13 - scene - last supper - Jesus being a good teacher exemplifies what He taught a few days earlier in washing feet!

Wiersbe : Jesus was the Sovereign, yet He took the place of a servant. He had all things in His hands, yet He picked up a towel Lowest Job / gross

A) Jesus humbled Himself & became a servant to set example for the 12 & us!

Washing feet was a servants job - but he takes form of servant - washes feet!

During the American Revolution a well dressed man in civilian clothes rode past a group of soldiers repairing a small defensive barrier. Their leader was shouting instructions, but making no attempt to help them. Asked why by the rider, he retorted with great dignity, "Sir, I am a corporal!"

The stranger apologized, dismounted, and proceeded to help the exhausted soldiers / Found out later the well dressed man was new commanding officer !

B) Jesus our commander & Chief showed us the way of leadership is to become a servant ! F.B. Meyer once noted:

I used to think, that God's gifts were on shelves one above another and the taller we grow, The easier we can reach them.

Now I find that God's gifts are on shelves one beneath another and the lower we stoop, The more we get.

Jesus taught He desires to be the greatest must be the servant of all!

John Brodie, former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, was once asked why a million-dollar player like him should have to hold the ball for field goals and points after touchdown. "Well," said Brodie, "if I didn't, it would fall over."

  1. Washing feet involves humility, it involves service,
    1. I think it also involves a willingness to not focus on the dirt on someone

else's feet unless Iím willing to wash them!

Cc) Being the seed planted means I will wash feet!

D) Real practical - use the gifts that God has given you to love others

1) Bake a pie - bring a dinner - fix a car - write a poem take a person shopping - buy lunch

E) invite a new family over for dinner - give someone a call who hasn't been around - pray!

    1. Whatever need the Lord puts in front of you / whatever opportunity you have to reach out & to use the gifts given you to love others

F)See a need usually God is making it known to you so that you can be a part of the solution !

So there's the example dying means washing feet! Using your gifts to love others by humbly serving them expecting nothing in return

A) Notice v. 13-15 Challenging for us !

B)When I here Jesus speaking about dying to our flesh & loving the way that He does washing feet / I think - that sounds great !

    1. But at the same time I think that impossible / I could never Love like that ! True we canít

  1. But Praise the Lord He has the answer ! Ch. 14 :15-21
    1. Jesus says I will send you the helper ! helper = come along side of you and help you
  1. I donít know about you but I need a lot of Help !
    1. H.S. = Power / Not just imitation but impartation ! H.S. in me working in me making me a person who loves !

E) Glove : W/ out the Spirit we are limp & lifeless / but when the spirit comes in, He can do all things through us. Empowers us

    1. W/out Him we are as helpless as a limp glove./ But w/ Him = Power

F) Jesus said I will give you the H.S. to come along side & help To give us boldness to step out - in faith to take a chance in making us vulnerable

    1. In / With / upon

So How can we be those who are growing in Love?

  1. Begins 1st w/ dying / dying to self / being buried in Christ !
  1. Seeking to follow Jesusí example by the power of the H.S. as He works in us !
  1. But here is the final thing we need to see is this transformation doesnít take place over night !
    1. I donít go from being a selfish self centered person to an others centered loving person overnight !

D) There is a process What is the Process ? Jn. 15: 1-11

 

Here Jesus described the Christian life in connection w/ a vine: He is the vine we are branches

B.) The only way we as branches are going to be able to bear fruit is if we abide in Him/ Abide = to continue w/ / key to fruit bearing

    1. Great illustration - We are branches need to stay connected
  1. The branch that becomes disconnected from the vine - shrivel up & die

becomes fruitless

  1. But if it stays connected to the vine - it naturally brings forth fruit - no straining - no effort! Natural result of abiding !

 

So we see this Process that the Lord is working in us / a process that involves Pruning

  1. Lord comes in & cuts away areas of my life that are overgrown / areas where self has began to creep in or refuses to die !
  1. The Father comes w/ His clippers & says Rob that needs to go ( Denise & Pruning) sometimes that Pruning process can be painful!
    1. If that branch could talk sure cry out no not the clippers !
  1. But the result whether you are talking about a tree or our lives is more fruit!

Also a watering process as we abide in His word / watered again we find that we are bearing much fruit !

  1. I think there is a real connection between Jn.12& Jn.15 / both passages are talking about bearing fruit

1)Jn. 12 is the beginning Die / be buried / planted in the Lord

  1. Jn. 15 is the Process / different analogy -Vine / Stay connected / the minute we get out there on our own we become lifeless shrivel up & die ! No fruit !
    1. Stay connected we bear much fruit !

 

Perhaps You are here today & you realize somewhere along the line you became disconnected ! Out there on your own !

  1. Perhaps there is an Area where you havenít died - an area where you need to say Lord be glorified !

B) Before you leave today the Lord wants you to deal w/ those things