The Church: Love or Hate Relationship 1 John 2:7-11
I.Introduction We have been working through the book of 1 John the past several weeks. What is this book about? Knowing for sure if you are really following Jesus. It is like God is the head coach and He is using this book to let you know if you are really on His team. Let me say this: if you hear what God is saying and you are like “Dang, I’m not on His team”, then there is still hope. God is saying to you “wake up!”and put your trust in Me and be a part of my team, the church! If you are a part of God’s team, the church, then praise Him for that tonight!
What is a love/hate relationship? Staying with someone that you say you love, but outwardly it shows that you hate each other. How? You always argue with him. You bad mouth her to your friends. You always talk about how he does you wrong. You always talk about how she gets on your nerves. They don’t want to leave each other, but they also don’t want to change. Essentially it is this: you say with your mouth that you love the person, but your actions show that you hate that person.
If someone is a follower of Jesus, then there is no such thing as a love/hate relationship with Jesus or the church. If you love Jesus, then you will love the people He died for and it will show in how you live. If you are not following Jesus, then you can say “I love God and I love His church”, but your life will show that what you say is a lie. This is what these verses are all aboutAre you in a love relationship with the church OR a hate relationship? It is one or the other- not both. II. The Command to Love (vs 7-8)
Lets read 1 John 2:3-4. If someone does not follow God’s commandments, they are a liar. If someone follows God’s commandments, then it shows that they love God. John starts these verses by telling us the commandment of God- to love one another. This is the song that God has been singing throughout the whole Bible. You may be thinking God has a lot of commandments, it is not just to “love one another.” But then Jesus steps on the scene and says this:
“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets are based on these 2 commandments.’”- Matthew 22:37-40
What is Jesus saying? Jesus is saying that every command that God gives His people in the Old Testament is centered on that person loving God and loving other people. Check out the 10 commandments:
Do not commit adultery (do not cheat on your husband/wife/do not look at another person with sexual thoughts). If you break this commandment, how does this show that you do not love God? How does this show that you do not love other people?
Do not testify falsely against your neighbor (do not lie). If you break this commandment, how does this show that you do not love God or love people?
If we don’t love God and don’t love people, we are not going to keep these commandments. John knows that these are old commandments that this church has already heard. However, he points out that this old commandment is new because of Jesus. Jesus also gave commandments. He said this in John 13:34
“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” Illustration: Think about a remix. It is an old song that has been re-recorded with a new beat, and maybe some new lyrics. However, the message of the song does not usually change. God’s song throughout the whole Bible has been that we are to love God and to love people. Now Jesus steps on the scene and drops some lyrics that say He has been the only person to ever love God and love people perfectly. So the old commandments have been perfectly carried out by Jesus. If Jesus fulfilled the old commands perfectly, then we can now follow His new command to love as He has loved. When you love others as Jesus loved them, you are fulfilling the old command by following the new one. Same old song with some new lyrics
Check out verse 8. Do you see where the author says, “the darkness is disappearing the the true light is already shining.”? The writer of this book does something amazing! He reminds the church that the darkness is passing away, meaning that each day they are one day closer to being in heaven with Jesus, where there will be no darkness at all. No sin anymore. (Romans 13:11-12, 1 Thess 5:4,5) Jesus is the true light that is brightly shining in heaven, but also shining in the hearts of His people. If you know Jesus, then that is where you will be one day. GLORY! So, John says that since this a promise from God and since your heart has been changed by this
Light, then love one another as Christ has loved you, because this shows that you are truly a follower of Jesus. If you don’t love as Christ loves you, then you don’t know God and you hate the church.
III. The Hate Relationship (vs 9, 11)
These are some lyrics from a rapper, who is a Christian, named Stephen the Levite. Here is what he says about people who say they love the church, but really show they hate it by their actions:
We live in the days of the consumer, shopping is a coveted skill and bloggers write reviews up No one commits, people leave when they choose cause ain’t nobody tryin’ to be tied down with too much Labor only lasts as long as their passions, cats dip, sayin’ they feel bad with no sadness They want the good stuff without the attachments, like friends with benefits of the ecclesial fashion Playin’ the church like girls that you date then, You criticize her like your Seinfield or Satan (explain) You sit in the back, makin’ your accusations But you ain’t willin’ to aid in her sanctification (hypocrite)
These are heavy lyrics. Maybe you are here and you would say, “Of course I don’t hate the church! That would mean you that you definitely hate God!” But check out these lyrics again. They are all about people who come to church, say they are a part of the church, but do not ever commit to loving the church as Jesus has loved them. Jesus was so committed to the church that He died for her! These folks are walking in darkness because often times, they think that the church is the problem and do not realize that their own hearts are the problem.
Let me ask a question for you to consider (don’t answer out loud): Could this be you? If you would say no, what makes you so sure? What are some ways that we can hate the church? -
Don’t commit. These folks may show up every Sunday, but they never serve or invest in the people that Jesus died for. They do not commit their lives to the
church. Instead, they commit 2 hours a week to hear sermon, and the rest of the time is for themselves. -
Gossip. You find yourself talking a lot about what you think the church needs to do better, bad mouthing the church to your neighbors, being over critical of the pastors, and talking to everyone about what church members are struggling with. The problems may or may not be real, but you would rather gossip about them instead of trust Jesus and commit to grow and change with the church
Be fake. (Think about these questions in your head) Are you really struggling right now? Do you think that nobody can understand your hurt and pain? Are you continuing to fall back again and again into the same sin? Are you angry? Depressed? Now, what will you say when someone in this church asks you, “how are you doing?” If you are the person asking the question, what will you do if someone actually tells you what is going on? When we are fake, what we are saying is that we love the darkness. We don’t want our friends to see that we are sinners, in desperate need of Savior. On the other hand, if you ask someone how they are doing, do you really want to take the time to disciple them and counsel them towards Jesus? Just questions to consider
Don’t give. Don’t just think of money. Think about food. Think about your time. Think about your car. Think about the gifts God has given you. Are you in a position to advocate for people to get jobs? If we see all that we have as from God, then we see all that we have as a way to glorify God. Check out Acts 4
Don’t pray. How often do you pray for Matthew’s Table? How about our pastor/ wife and family? Do you tell others how they can pray for you? When we don’t pray, it is like we are saying, “God, I can do this on my own!”
Checkout verse 11 again. Notice he says that a person who is living and walking in darkness is LOST. They are blinded by the darkness. One interpretation (ESV) says that this person “does not know where he is going.”
Check out vs 9 notice that this person says “I am living in the light”, but they actually hate the church. They think that they are okay and that the problem is with other people, but the problem is that they are blind to their own sin
How do you know if you hate the church and if you are blind? Look at your life do you have a plan? Do you know where you are going?
Share my story of being in PT school and not having a local church being in a bad relationship
Jesus has a plan for the church. He knows exactly where His church is going. And guess what? He is leading the church! It is not like He has plan and is not sticking around for it to be carried out. Jesus’ plan is for all different types of people to know and love Him. How is he going to accomplish this- through the church. He commands the church to love others as He has loved them together, as a family, and to teach others to do the same. Lets examine our lives if we hate the church, what we are saying is, “God, I don’t want to be a part of your plan. I have my own plans.” But, if you want to be a part of God’s plan, then you will love and commit yourself to the people that God is using to accomplish His plan.
IV. The Love Relationship (vs 10)
Question: If you are dating someone, or have dated someone before, what was it like when you first started dating that person? What did you do? How did you feel? What did you say?
Have you ever thought of the church that way? People you enjoy being around and people that you miss/think about when they are gone? People you want to talk to often. People that you want to share your life with. People that you want to spend the rest of your life with. Here is what this does not mean: -
Everyone is the same (Allison- classical music, Zach- raps, Nikki- loves literature/writing, Sterling loves making films, Ricky likes basketball, Daniel Graves likes underwater hockey, exc..)
Everyone gets along all the time we are a family because of Jesus, but we are still a family of sinners. We hurt and fail each other often
This means that the church is made up of different types of people who sin against each other all the time. This relationship should not work- unless, we are united by Someone stronger than our sin and our differences. What unites us as a family is Jesus. Consider this: -
We are not the same as Jesus Jesus is God and we are not; Jesus is perfect and we are not. Jesus has never sinned and we sin all the time
We don’t get along with Jesus Jesus tells us to love one another as He has loved us, and we don’t. We push away Jesus’ love for our own comfort and for our own control. We don’t want Jesus to control our lives, we’d rather do what we want.
V. Conclusion But on the cross, Jesus Christ is murdered for people who are not just different than Him, but for people that hate Him. Why would He lay down His life for us? It was NOT just to pay the penalty for our sins and so that we would be forgiven- even though that is important. It was so that He would create a people (the church) who love one another the same way He loved us! Jesus died to make you a new person! To love the church means to first look to Jesus’ broken body on that cross and see that you need Him in your life. This type of love calls you to turn away from your sin and place all your hope and trust in Jesus. This means life change. You can only be in a love relationship with the church if you are in a love relationship with Jesus. If you don’t have that in your life right now, cry out to God and beg Him to show you the beauty of this love. If you are a Christian, and you feel far from the Cross, and far from a love relationship with Jesus, beg God to bring back joy to your heart and create in you a deeper love for Him and for His church. Check out verse 10: In the Bible, stumbling means to turn away from following Jesus. But God says that when you are loving the church like Jesus loves, you will never turn away from Him. Why? The church is the way God shows you His grace! It is the way God shows you that you are in His family and that you belong to Him! It shows you that God will never leave you or give up on you. The church is God’s way of keeping your eyes focused on Jesus and keeping your feet moving towards God’s purpose in your life, and not your own dreams. When we commit to loving the church, we are committing follow Jesus’ commandment to love one another as He has loved us!