Dec. 12, 2021
Rediscover Christmas: Love
1 John 4:7-21 & John 13:34-35
i. Advent means coming or arrival.
ii. Advent looks back in celebration at the hope fulfilled in Jesus’s coming, while at the same time looking forward in hopeful and eager anticipation to the coming of Christ’s kingdom when He returns for His people.
b. Rediscover Christmas – The Attributes of Christ Captured in the Story of His Birth.
i. Peace: Genuine & lasting peace only comes through faith in Jesus.
ii. Hope: The confident expectation that is rooted in the one who is 100% dependable—Jesus—not in ourselves or our circumstances.
iii. Love, Joy & Jesus
2. The Christmas Story—Building Bridges
a. Jesus’ Birth Bridged the Old & Young
i. Zechariah and Elizabeth
ii. Mary and Joseph.
b. Jesus’ Birth Bridged Heaven & Earth
i. Mary and an Angel
ii. Joseph and an Angel
iii. The Shepherds and the Angels
c. Jesus’ Birth Bridged Jew and Gentile, Poor and Rich
i. The Shepherds and the other cast members—they were lowly and poor
ii. Magi—they were likely astrologers or rulers, noble and wealthy
d. Reactions to the Christmas Story
i. To us, it may seem like a motley crew of characters.
ii. To them, it was undoubtedly blasphemous that the Messiah would be so lowly and associated with the full spectrum of unclean humanity.
3. Love United
a. Christ is love embodied.
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.
God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.
1 John 4:7-16
i. Demonstrating Love
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.
1 John 4:9 (ESV)
ii. Reconciling Love
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 4:10 (ESV)
iii. Saving Love
And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
1 John 4:14 (ESV)
iv. Unconditional Love
But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.
b. Love defines and propels us.
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
We love because he first loved us. Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.
Love empowers us to cross the divides—cultural, spiritual, political, and racial divisions.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”
i. The story of the Good Samaritan. (Luke 10:30-35)
ii. The example of God choosing the Apostle Paul to reach the Gentiles. (Acts 9:15)
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.
1 John 4:18
a. If I love God, I will love others like God loves me.
i. Listen Attentively
ii. Encourage Daily
iii. Demonstrate Kindness
iv. Live Generously
v. Pray Faithfully
b. Rediscover Christmas this year by rediscovering the overwhelming, all-encompassing, all-welcoming love of God.
c. Where can you build bridges this coming week instead of walls?