Sermon of 1 John 3:16-24
The Resurrected Life, this series we are on through the Easter season, has brought us from 1 John 1 with our look at communion with God. Fellowship. The life of the Christian being one of connection and growth in this 2 becoming 1 flesh relationship. Becoming lost in the embrace of God’s mercy found in a body broken and blood shed for you. Immersed in his death for the sake of your life.
In the beginning of 1 John 3 from last week, we saw this description of the Christian as one who has been declared a child of God. That is a cliché we throw around without thinking about it, but if God has birthed us, a rebirth in Jesus, we have become his children. Born from above. A common Father. Common children. Made Sons. Sons of God. Meaning that regardless of your gender, God looks at you and sees his Son, i.e. – Jesus. So that our sin becomes his, the sins of others we hold in common laid on Jesus, and his beauty, his goodness, his righteousness becomes ours. The Happy Exchange is what Luther called it. This is part of where it comes from. Our sin, his goodness.
Now, as we continue on in chapter three of 1 John, we get taken on this trip through all the passages that talk about love. We like them, but they are dangerous.
1 John 3:16 – This is how we have come to know love – Jesus
But then we hear…We should also lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. In other words…DIE. Die to ourselves so that all the things we hold dear become worthless in comparison to our love for our brothers and sisters. Die so that we might be raised again in Christ. Raised in his love to love those bought by his blood. Love no being the emblem of romance or friendship but sacrifice. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer says, “When God calls a man he bids him come and die.” This is the place where the cross and tomb become the life of the disciple. Where Easter comes into focus. Cross and tomb becomes normative.
1 John 3:17 – If anyone has the world’s life; life-force; goods; things that make up life. Notice:
Why loving is so hard is that we don’t see our Jesus as crucified and raised. We need to see love as something other than friendship or romance. It’s why Luther tells us that the baptismal call of the Christian is one of daily death and resurrection. Daily drowning and being revived in Jesus. The more we die. The more the Gospel does it’s work, the Word speaking into our lives.
1 John 3:18 – love not in word or speech but in action and in truth
1. Not just say it, or talk about it. Do it.
2. Action? Christ, kill me. Let me die.
3. Love tied to the Truth – go back to 1 John 3:16; giving up of one’s life, can we do that?
1 John 3:19-20 – God is stronger than our hearts and knows all things
1 John 3:21 – Our confidence before God is tied to what He has done. Confidence being trust and certainty. Certainty not of some special doctrine as much as we know that our love is incomplete. That his love is perfect. And so when we fail, we can turn in confidence to him to ask, Lord help me. Grant me a crucified heart. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
1 John 3:23-24 – Now, be careful with this word, command. Don’t make it something else than what John turns it into – Trust in the name of Jesus and love one another. Trust that what Christ has done is sufficient for you. That the worlds goods are useless, and that our destiny as Christians is death in Christ only to be raised to newness. Trusting that as we make our way to this place, begging God to open our ears, our eyes, our hearts, God will do his work in us. For the Spirit is in you both to will and to do according to his good pleasure.