Simple Sermon

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Do me a favor, please.

Read this text:

1 John 4.7-12

7 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 Godís love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.

Did you read it? Good.

Now, answer this question: How have you been loved by God?

My assumption is answering that question wasnít too difficult, yea? Okay, I have another question. When was a time you were Godís love for someone?

Maybe this one was a bit more difficult, but I bet you answered it with some ease.

Now, re-read the text:

1 John 4.7-12

7 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 Godís love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.

 

You, beloved child, have a story to tell. What you did by answering those two questions was exactly what our youth did this past Sunday when they were asked to preach. They simply spoke from the heart about how they encountered the love of God on their mission trip. All of them mentioned how by entering into a relationship with the children of the reservation they were able to see the face of Christ. It wasnít in worship or in a bible study, or even in a church. Rather, they felt the love of God when they were playing, reading, and eating with the community of Martin, South Dakota.

They offered words in a simple sermon.

Loving oneís neighbor need not be a production or an extravagant experience like a worship service with a rock band or a large community event. Telling your story about the ways youíve encountered Godís love need not include words like Christology or sanctification. Rather, what both need is you.

Sunday made me wonder, how have we complicated this loving our neighbor thing? How have we removed the relationship part of mission from the life of our church?

Of course, this ultimately made me wonder, in what ways are we preventing ourselves from encountering the transformational love of our Triune God?

Sunday was simple. Loving God is simple. Now it is up to us to keep it simple, silly!

[Adam Quine, pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Lincoln]
 

 

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