I want to begin with the flow of the text and build on our message from last week.
I also want to ask you a few questions about how well you have lived your life and how you personally deal with imperfection yours and others.
The 3 questions from last week:
- What does the Scripture say we will have on the day of judgement? (confidence)
- Why will we have that kind of confidence? (we will become like Him)
- Where is that kind of confidence developed? (among us community)
The question I ask today is how does that eternal confidence grow?
text 17-18 Perfected in love – Being Perfected in love is a process
text 19-21 Through people– People are in your life for a purpose
text 5:1-5 Passion for His presence -Passion for God’s presence prepares the heart to obey
Let me ask you – Can you remember doing anything absolutely perfect for the first time? How do you deal with imperfection — in yourself and in others??
- Did you tie your shoes perfectly the first time?
- Do they ever still come untied?
- Do you beat yourself up?
Driving? Cooking? Pumping gas? Kissing? Tooth paste in the tube? Driving a car? Friendships? Relationships? Marriage? Raising kids? Cooperation on a team? Loving God?
How about your relationship with God? Being perfected in love means your growth is resting in His love for you.
Have you ever been so worn down, frustrated, freighted and impatient with your self in your growth with God that self doubt begins to talk to you more than the Word and the voice of the Lord?
God is infinitely patient with your process of being perfected in love.
God even allows your failures to build dependence upon Him so you glory in Him and the cross abouve your imperfection.
I. Being Perfected In Love is a Process
Divine dance: God is the leader we are clumsy at first.
Fear has to do with performance and performance has to do with punishment. The cross cancelled your performance for Christ’s obedience and eliminated punishment because He took it for you.
Vocabulary here perfected implied in the tense is a process.
The relationship of love keeps us on the journey.
A Prayer: I Have Fallen Lord by Michael Quoist
I have fallen Lord, once more, I can’t go on. I’ll never succeed. I am ashamed. I don’t dare look at You. And yet I struggled, Lord, for I knew you were right near me, bending over me, watching.
But temptation blew like a hurricane, and instead of looking at You, I turned my head away. I stepped aside while you stood, silent and sorrowful, like the spurned fiancée who sees his loved one carried away by the enemy.
When the wind died down as suddenly as it had arisen, when the lightening ceased after proudly streaking the darkness, all of a sudden I found myself alone, ashamed, disgusted, with my sin in my hands… this sin that I selected the way a customer makes his purchase, this sin that I have paid for and cannot return, for the storekeeper is no longer there. This tasteless sins, this odorless sin, this sin that sickens me, that I have wanted but want no more, that I have imagined, sought, played with, fondled for a long time; that I have finally embraced while turning coldly away from you, my arms outstretched, my eyes and heart irresistibly drown; this sin that I have grasped and consumed with gluttony.
It’s mine now, but it possesses me as the spider web holds captive the gnat. It is mine. It sticks to me, it flows in my veins, it fills my heart. It has slipped in everywhere, as darkness slips into the forest at dusk and fills all the patches of light. I can’t get rid of it. I run from it the way one tries to lose a stray dog, but it catches up with me and bounds joyfully against my legs.
Everyone must notice it. I’m so ashamed that I feel like crawling to avoid being seen. I’m ashamed of being seen by my friends. I’m ashamed of being seen by You, Lord, for You loved me, and I forgot You. I forgot You because I was thinking of myself and one can’t think of several persons at once. One must choose, and I chose…
… And Your voice and Your look, and Your love hurt me, they weigh me down more than my sin.
Lord, don’t look at me like that. I am naked. I am dirty. I am down, shattered, with no strength left. I dare make no more promises. I can only lie bowed before You…
And the Father’s Response…
Come, child, look up. Isn’t it mainly your vanity that is wounded? Do you think there is a limit to My love? Do you think that for a moment I stopped loving You? But you still rely on yourself. You must rely only on Me. Ask my pardon and get up quickly. It isn’t falling in the mud that is the worst…
God even permits our failures to build dependence upon Him.
II. People are in your life for a purpose (verses 19-21). All people are either a testing ground or a shaping ground.
Gnostics phantom Jesus and phantom faith. John says no, look around, God’s tools are sitting right next to you, not a mystical philosophy but rather a living spiritual community.
Three major ways people are shaped (perhaps a 4th):
10 second test do it right now… on how people are actually shaped into the image of Christ
John says we can not live in hate. The love of God and the love for God pushed hate out of our life…like frost heaves (moves) the stones of the new England soil out of the ground.
Josh McDowell hated his father for the abuse and the shame he brought on the family. When Josh accepted Christ as his Savior, a powerful love consumed his life. He described how it affected his feelings for his father:
“God’s love took that hatred, turned it upside down, and emptied it out. I looked my father in the eyes and said, ‘Dad, I love you,’ and I really meant it.”
And later more stones were heaved regarding hating the man who sexually abused him…
The third statement that increase our eternal confidence verse 5:1-15
III. Passion for God’s presence prepares the heart to obey.
There is a connection between belief, born (again), love, and obedience.
DNA: Become who you really are. We become who we adore (worship) more than anything else.
Our obedience is an overflow of who we are connected to and what we have received from Christ.
John says become who you really are become who has captured your heart
Adoration is the center for all diving activity. Adoration trumps disciplined obedience all the time.
Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee…
Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away; Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!
All Thy works with joy surround Thee, earth and heaven reflect Thy rays,Stars and angels sing around Thee, center of unbroken praise. Field and forest, vale and mountain, flowery meadow, flashing sea, Singing bird and flowing fountain call us to rejoice in Thee.
Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blessed,
Wellspring of the joy of living, ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother, all who live in love are Thine; Teach us how to love each other, lift us to the joy divine.
Mortals, join the happy chorus, which the morning stars began;
Father love is reigning o’er us, brother love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward, victors in the midst of strife,
Joyful music leads us Sunward in the triumph song of life.
“I do not want you to more committed to Jesus Christ, rather become more devoted.” –John Piper
William Temple on Worship…
“To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God. All this is gathered up in that emotion which most cleanses us from selfishness because it is the most selfless of all emotions – adoration.”
Bringing it Home To SBF
1. How are you processing your process of being perfected in love?
Self doubt wars? Beat yourself up?
Or, receiving rest?
2. How are you growing in your loving peopel?
Any frost heaves? fresh encounters with God forces hate to the surface?
3. Are you hungry for more of Hid presence?
Songs we sing He hears and is responding. Are there some open hearts and open hands to receive?