The Church – A Community of Love

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Reference: John 13 v 34-35

Notes from sermon preached 23 August 2009 – “A  Community of Love”

Today we are considering church as a community of people love each other – a community of love: John 13 v. 34-35.

1. Love –  the Definition

The three most common words used to describe love in the Greek language are “eros” (romantic and sexual love), “phileo” (brotherly love, friendship) and “agape” ( the word used to describe the giving,  sacrifical love that God modelled for us in Jesus) The command to men to love their wives in Ephesians 5 v 25, the command in John 13 to love one another and the statement that God is love in 1 John all use the word “agape”. So when we are talking about love today  we are talking about the  need to show to one another the same sacrifical love that God showed when he sent His Son, and that Jesus showed when he  willingly went to the cross. What a challenge!

2.Love – The Priority

In John 13 v 34-35 Jesus shows us that it is by the way we demonstrate love to one another that others will know that we belong to Jesus. Similarly, the famous passage about love in 1 Corinthians shows that  whatever we do for God, unless love is that driving force behind it, it is all for nothing.

3. Love  – the Practice

So what does a community of love look like? How do we put this caring sacrifical love into action? Five points for our consideration:

a)      Serving – Jesus points us in John 13 to the need to serve one another by taking the lowest place of all. Do we see that amongst us?

b)      Encouraging. Hebrews 10 v 24-25 shows that one of our main reasons for meeting together is to encourage one another. How do we respond to the challenge to look to encourage each other constantly. Does our conversation reflect the command from Ephesians to  speak “only what is helpful for building one another up , according to their need”? (Ephesians 4 v.29)

c)      Hospitality – not a strong point for the average Englishman. But God wants us to be constantly looking for ways to share what we have with others. How do we respond to the challenge to “offer one another hospitality without grumbling”? (1 Peter 4 v.9)

d)      Praying –love always looks to do what it can for someone else. There is nothing you can do that is more important for someone else than to pray for them.

e)      Reaching Out – the second greatest commandment is to “love you neighbour as yourself”. We will then seek ways to do the very best we can for all people. There is nothing greater that you can do for anyone than to give him to opportunity to respond to the love of Jesus.

4.  Love – the Example

The challenge from John 13 v. 34-35 comes ringing down the years to us. To love one another “as I have loved you” represents a huge challenge to every believer. Similarly the beautiful story of Ruth gives us an example for us all to follow. Ruth’s loyalty and commitment to Naomi is among the most beautiful statements of love ever made.(Ruth 1 v.16-17) Are we , like Ruth, those who genuinely give undying love to those around us?

5. Love – the Encouragement

Although all this seems impossible to all of us to live up to, the great news is that God has put his love in our hearts; (Romans 5 v.5). Let’s allow His Spirit to fill us and to enable us to live the kind of lives that he wants. Then all people will know that we belong to Jesus.

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