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October 26, 2003 AM


2 JOHN 1:5,6

INTRO: So often I have read that John was the apostle of love. There are even traditions of long standing which suggest that as a very old a weak man his greeting to brethren was simply, My little children, love one another. And it is true that two of Johns letters are filled with the subject of Christian love. I wonder, though, if the world generally understands that John was not writing of a sentimental, maudlin love. True, there was emotion in Johns writing, and his emotions did enter into his love for his brothers and sisters. But John went to another level when he wrote of Christian love. In this little letter so filled with his joy we find him referring to that love. And in my thoughts today I want to examine the joy of Christian love. There are two points of emphasis: loving God and loving each other.


A. Having doubts, wondering, not being sure are things which plague Christians

1. the unknown, the uncertain are things which cause us stress, strain

2. so, if we can know, we can be confident

B. 1 Jno 3:14 - We can know we are alive in Christ by our loving the brethren!

1. notice 1 Jno 7,11,20 for the emphasis on loving one another (2 Jno 1:5)

2. of course, Johns word is agape - this love may certainly include emotional warmth ... but it goes beyond that to seeking the good and welfare of others (even of those who might be enemies)

3. this love for one another is a selfless love

C. 1 Jno 5:3 - We can know we love God by keeping His commandments

1. this was the emphasis at 2 Jno 1:6

2. remember Jno 14:15 - If ye love me, keep my commandments

3. does our world talk about loving God without giving careful concern to conforming to His will? I am very much afraid it does

4. note 1 Jno 2:3-5 - just saying the words I love God is far from loving Him


A. Fear has a great effect on our lives, our minds

1. fear may be associated with the uncertainty, the unknown we mentioned

2. fear may be associated with authority figures

3. and there is a proper fear where God is concerned - Acts 10:35

B. But note 1Jno 4:17,18 - No fear of punishment, of the judgment

1. our fear of God should be awe, etc. - not fright

2. perfect love casts out fear of punishment because it knows it is keeping His commandments, walking as He would have one walk (so, 1 Jno 2:6)

3. Rom 8:16 - yes, we can have confidence because we can compare our lives with the life the Spirit reveals ... and see that we are conforming


A. Few joys can compare with that of selfless service

1. contrast? Some of the most miserable people on earth are the I folks

2. Jesus said, ...chiefest, shall be servant of all (Mk 10:44)

3. but service which brings joy must have the proper motivation! No ulterior motives

B. So, Gal 5:13 - by love serve one another

1. and note 1 Jno 3:16-18 - love looks to the needs of others ... and acts

2. unfortunately, the culture of which we are a part does little to encourage this

3. but love simply must take the initiative - seeking nothing in return ... following the loving example of Christ Who laid down his life for us


A. 1 Pet 4:8 - Here is one of the great secrets of strong relationships

1. first, one does not carry the baggage of the past

2. second, one does not demand from, but gives to the relationship

3. third, one values the relationship more than his hurt feelings

B. To what extent would 1 Cor 13:5 & 7 bear on this?

1. love keeps no running account of wrongs - this would certainly help

2. love believes the best about others - bears and endures - that would help

3. I suggest that most relationships are injured by inconsequential things than they are by sin - by the I feel things than by legitimate harm

4. remember Jno 13:35

CLOSE: Oh, there is no doubt so much more which could be said about the joy of Christian love. I certainly suggest that each of us more deeply explore this subject for its practical applications. And I suggest that each of us commit ourselves to a renewal of Christian love in our lives! We may be robbing ourselves of great joy!

Cecil A. Hutson

26 October 2003

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)