Home Media Sermons by Pastor Nicki Coertze Series 7. What's love got to do with it? . No 01 Introduction :- A New Commandment

. No 01 Introduction :- A New Commandment

WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?

INTRODUCTION - A NEW COMMANDMENT

Introduction to sermon series.

We have just come through a long 25 in total series on Experiencing the Power of the cross. I believe it is an extremely vital series and a series you should revisit and revisit either on the Web or when we make it available in book form, so that you can study it until the penny has firmly dropped. The question for me was, what next? There is so much I can preach on, but what is really of utmost value for Logos Community as we embrace the future together.

It is difficult to really consider a new series while busy with another one. Well, for the past 10 days I sat alone in the bush, just me, the Lord and the animals, and I prayed and studied and really just sought the Lord’s face as far as our ministry as a whole is concerned. Of secondary importance was what I would be preaching on next. However, what I need to preach on next became primary as nothing in Logos is going to achieve anything if we do not take this new series to heart. The new series sounds very simple: “what’s love got to do with it?” We all know this song well as it was sung by Tina Turner around 1984 and was also the title song for the movie on her life which was depicted in a film in 1993.

Before I give you the backdrop to my thinking, let me share my conclusion. I came away after 10 days of asking the question regarding Logos; “what’s love got to do with it?” I came to the conclusion which is summarised in one simple word: “everything”.

Now why do I mean “everything”?

Let me give you a backdrop to my question.

For 10 days I sat asking myself the following questions.

Okay, so Logos is quite a new church, but what future do we have ahead of ourselves, and are we actually necessary in the context of Polokwane? Are there not sufficient good churches? Now, we must put emphasis on ‘churches’ as by it we do not mean clubs, social institutions, gathering for friends and simply the like-minded.

I asked questions, like ‘why will people actually join Logos?’ We all know that people join for different reasons. Some actually join just because there friends are there, other’s join because of the programme, or the buildings are nice. Other’s join because they actually do like the preaching or worship. Other’s join because they have a particular need that they believe the group will meet best. Very few actually join because they agree with the doctrinal position. Maybe the best way to summarise it, is that most people actually join because their felt needs are met.

Then, I had to ask myself the question, namely: ‘what is going to keep us together’? Church family, I have grown up in the church. I have spent a solid 56 years in the life of the body of Christ, and I have watched church divisions from all angles. I have seen good people turning against one another and becoming bad people. I have seen members against members, pastors against members, members against pastors, members against their leadership and vice versa. I have seen worship teams wanting to kill one another. I have seen ladies ministries with all their good intentions becoming a battle front. There are many further sub questions around this question. How do we deal with one another, how do we deal with sinners, because let’s face it, we all have the ability to sin. What is our approach to the needy, because let’s face it some needy people join the church simply for hand outs, and when the hand outs are not there any longer or they do not need it any longer they leave.

As I contemplated on all of this, I realised that the only thing that will keep all of this intact is ‘Christlikeness’. So what does love have to do with it? Christlikeness sounds good, but where does Christlikeness find its outworking. I believe Paul is clear in Ephesians 5:1-2 (ESV) 1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” To imitate God, to be as Christ or to be Christ-like, according to Paul here is to walk in love. So ‘what’s love got to do with it?’ The answer is simple. It has everything to do with it.

I believe that a proper understanding and application of love is going to grow Logos, it is going to protect Logos and it is going to make Logos a unique light in the Polokwane community. I believe that if we love the way Christ loved we are going to make a difference in Polokwane like never seen before. This love will obviously start with our love for God, it will be seen in our love for our lost friends and it will bind us together with chords that cannot be broken. I believe we all need to put our thinking caps on for the next many weeks and come to a serious understanding on this topic we all might feel we know so much about, but do we really? Has the world’s definition and application of the word ‘love’ maybe not tarnished our understanding and application thereof?

So how are we going to approach this?

For the rest of this sermon, I want to touch on John 13:34-35 where this is introduced to us as a New Commandment. Then for the next few weeks after that I want to expound on 1 Corinthians 13 which is commonly called the Love Chapter of Scripture. Now next week we are meeting in the bush, so we will resume with this series on the 27th of October with a sermon entitled ‘Super Christian, or not?’

My challenge to all of us is to commit to this series with open minds as I believe the Lord through His Word wants to teach us much. This series in a real sense is a make or break series for the future of Logos. In Tina Turner’s song she says: Oh what's love got to do got to do with it? What's love but a second-hand emotion?

I want you to discover with me that Love is not a second-hand emotion, but it is that which is the clearest sign of Christlikeness, and vital for Logos Community, now and into the future.

So for today, just a few thoughts on John 13 and join me as we read in our Bibles:

John 13:31-38 (ESV) 31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. 33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Introduction to John 13:31-35.

It is the night before Jesus is crucified, they are eating together and Jesus reveals to John that Judas would betray Him. Judas leaves to organise the betrayal and the very next thing Jesus says to the disciples is in the text before us namely John 13:31 (ESV) “31 When he (Judas) had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.” Church family, this is it. That very simple word ‘now’ is the very reason the Son of Man has come into the world. This is the moment, feel the tension and understand what was coming. We know, because we have the whole story. Just think what is going through the mind of John, that Judas was the instrument for the betrayal of Christ, and yet Christ and God is glorified.

But then, in this emotionally charged moment, Christ is to make a very critical statement which is to His disciples and us. He turns to them in a loving way and says in verse 33 “Little children (teknia), yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.” And then this verse is followed by verse 34-35: 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Just think of what Jesus is saying to them. Up till now everyone knows you are my disciples because they see you following me around Judea and Galilee. You’ve put your life on the line by just being identified with me. But now I will not be here any longer for you to follow. Following my physical presence will not be the mark of your discipleship any more. So I give you a new mark. A new commandment. Love each other. Little children.

Have we got it? People will not know that we are Christ’s disciples because we are with Him, but because we love one another. So, “what’s love got to do with it?” Everything.

So what can we learn this morning from this text that we can apply?

Firstly; we must love like Christ loves.

Here is a simple lesson for us here at Logos today. Christ says:that you love one another: just as I have loved you…” What is interesting is that nowhere in all of John’s letters does he directly refer to the ‘love of Christ’. It is always the ‘love of God’.  It is God who loved us by sending His Son, but never the love of Christ per se that is mentioned. Paul often talks about the love of Christ, but not John. Look at the words of John in 1 John 4:10-11 (ESV) “10 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. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” In actual fact, John could have said here: “love one another as God has loved you…”

I believe that what John is actually doing is not to minimize the love of Christ, but he is maximizing the love of Christ, by simply implying that this Jesus who gave us the new commandment and told us to love each other the way he loved us — this Jesus is God incarnate. And John could not get over the truth: God was loving them there that night. God was loving them the next morning. Every act of Jesus, the Son, was an act of God the Father. John is not saying the love of Jesus is not important; he is saying the love Jesus is the love of God. So when the new commandment says, 'Love one other as I have loved you', it means: as God has loved you.

Are you starting to see the implications for us? If we are to love like Christ we are loving like God. In Matthew 5 Jesus is talking about our love that is to be different. In His Sermon on the Mount He ends with a very bold statement: Matthew 5:48 (ESV) 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

So ‘what’s love got to do with it?’ Everything. If we are going to see God work in Logos, it is going to be through people who love like God.

Secondly, love is the true mark of Christianity.

Look again at the words of Christ in John 13:35 (ESV) 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

People are not going to know that we are real Disciples of Christ due to some outward manifestation, or association or even spiritual greatness and maturity. We will see more about that in my next sermon, but for today I believe that to be a real disciple one has to be miraculously changed by the Spirit into a person with a new heart of love for the Father and for Jesus and for his followers and of course, even for our enemies.

Love is not an important aspect of Christianity, love is Christianity because God is love. Let me give you a few verses to highlight this.

1 John 4:7 (ESV) 7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” So, if you do not love you are not born of God.

Here is a hard one. 1 John 3:10 (ESV) “10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.”

Here is another hard one. 1 John 3:14 (ESV) 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.” Do you understand why this series is so important?

It just gets worse. 1 John 4:8 (ESV) 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” And worse. 1 John 2:9-10 (ESV) 9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.”

So, John in all these verses concurs with the words of Jesus. John 13:35 (ESV) “35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

All people will have good evidence that you are born of God and know God and are a child of God and are in the light and no longer in the darkness if you have genuine love for your brother. I am sure that by now you agree we need a series on Love.

Church family, love will confirm your faith. Can I say this Biblically? Well, look at the words of John in 1 John 3:23 (ESV) 23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.”

If you declare yourself openly to be a disciple of Jesus — your Saviour, your Lord and your Treasure — then your love for others will be decisive in showing that you are real. Are you a true believer? So, it is believing in Christ and loving one another. ‘What’s love got to do with it?’ Everything.

Thirdly, this commandment is new.

Why is this commandment called new, because surely it is stated all over Scripture that we must love one another? Leviticus 19:18 (ESV) is clear: 18…but you shall love your neighbour as yourself: I am the Lord.”

I firmly believe that what makes it new is contained in the following few words, ‘as I have loved you.’ Up to now the commandment was hanging in a vacuum, dependent on the individual and without an example, and it remained same old, same old. Never before had the Son of God come into the world and laid down his life for his people. That had never happened before. That the Son of God would lay down His life for us, is new. So is Jesus simply saying: If you imitate this kind of sacrifice in loving each other, you will be fulfilling the newness of this commandment, which is my example for you?

So Christ’s sacrifice becomes our ultimate example, as we are called to love in the same way He has loved us. Church family, I don’t believe we have really started loving yet as we ought to, and this series if for you and me. Jesus said it, and Jesus demonstrated it. John 15:13 (ESV) 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

This is not simple imitation as we will discover over the next few weeks, no it is participation and manifestation of who we really are. It is an outward expression of a real inward change.

‘What’s love got to do with it?’ Everything.

Conclusion.

We can go on this morning, but I think you get the message. A series on love is vital as the reason we love each other shows that we are truly Jesus’ disciples. This is only possible because we are grafted into the life and love of Christ. We love as he loved, because we love with his love. Some of us might even discover that we are not in Christ, that we are still in darkness, simply because we do not love but actually hate.

I trust that through this series you will hear Jesus calling: “Logos Community Church, or rather ‘my little children’, you are living in critical days in the history of Logos and South Africa, Love one another as I have love you, and Polokwane will take note. Lay down your lives for one another and as those who are dead to racism, love across racial and ethnic lines, love those who don’t seem to deserve your love. Love one another warts and all. Love the lowliest, love the highest in stature, love the weak and love the strong, love the old and love the young, love the rich and love the poor, love the holy and love the fallen sinner in your midst, because we know that love covers a multitude of sins.

I promise you today on the authority of God’s Word, that if we love like Christ, we will be a blessed church.

I present to you today true LOVE, which is not just a second hand emotion, but it resembles Him who is LOVE.

‘What’s love got to do with it?’ Everything!

Amen!

Logos Community Church: 13 October 2013