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Extending the Boundaries 3. The Mission

Extending the Boundaries 3. The Mission

Key Text: 1 John 4:7-19

Tonight we will be extending a personal boundary that will be probably the hardest boundary to extend. It is everything that holds us back with being absolutely committed to the hope of the gospel.

Tonight we are going to get back to the mission; which is the gospel! What is the gospel? The gospel is simple; God loves us so much that He died so that we could be His again!

The background and focus of the gospel is founded and fundamentally His love!

The Bible fundamentally is a story of God’s love and pictures God’s love for us in Christ on the cross; and it is love like we don’t understand. It is love that does for the offending party, it is love that is expressed in action and it is love is etched in the hearts of everyone on the planet; unfortunately it is love that we simply do not understand nor express to each other in real terms.

We read something of this in 1 John 4:7-19; lets read…

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19 We love because he first loved us.

This is the wonder and power of the Gospel; love! I was listening to Craig’s message from last week; and I was struck by what he said concerning the true nature of the Gospel. The gospel is that God takes me as I am and does everything for me to save me from my sin (in this I own my brokenness, I own my problems) and then tells me in love that I am different now because of what has been done. In this I am freed by love.

The acceptance of grace lets me live naked and honest before God and should enable me to live naked and honest before people; because it is not about me it is about Him who died for me. He accepted me, He frees me and therefore I now live in Him!

And all this boils down to something profound; I am loved! God so loves me that while I was still a sinner Christ died for me!

It is in this that I live! I live in the fact that it is His love for me that freed me from my sins; not my ability to live up to His standards, but rather His ability to do for me what I could never do.

This is why John can say with such confidence whoever does not love does not know God and likewise whoever loves is born from God.

Why? Because…

Love reflects God Now we need to justify this; not everyone who feels the emotion of love; who says they have loving feelings or who even expresses some level of love is from God. No John is justifying the nature of love that is shown; it is agape love; divine love!

Agape loveis love that goes beyond the self to embrace the offending party and love them!

Church please hear this this evening; God loves you; He is passionate about expressing that love to you in profound and deep ways.

The scandal of the gospel is that God loves us in our sin. Do me a favour (and this might be uncomfortable, but, right now think on the thing that you are most shamed about; think about the secret sin that you carry around with you… have you shamed yourself enough? Or are you trying your best to hide yourself in case someone can see on your face what that sins and shame is; well God sees that! He knows you in that point of disappointment with yourself; he sees you in that dark moment that causes you such pain and self-hate and HE LOVES YOU!

God loves you so much that He sent His son to die for you so that that shame and guilt could be dealt with!

Faith connects you with that love; we believe that Christ is enough even for those deep sins and shame!

This is why John can say those who know God love, because they have experience true love in grace!

Therefore we need to

Live in Love in order to Live in God This is the mission people; to live in the love that God has poured out on us in Christ Jesus.

I believe if we can learn to live opening and fully in this love we will be more impactful in the world that we find ourselves in.

John states;

. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19 We love because he first loved us.

The world is convinced that God hates them. We need to commit ourselves to the mission of telling people that because of what Christ did on the cross there is no more fear there is only love!

God so loved the world that He gave His only son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.

Church there is no fear in love; there is no condemnation to those in Christ; we need to live in this! And we need to preach this!

This does not mean that we underplay the dangers of sin, rather we in love become the helping hand to each other and the world to find freedom from their sins. And I believe that when we live in the love of God and find fulfilment in that love that we can find freedom from our sins!

I am more and more moved by the knowledge that God truly, deeply and passionately loves me, in spite of my past! And He loves me so much that He is guiding me to a glorious future in Him!

Church this is our mission; we are to be witnesses of this great love of God!

The amazing thing is that we are so quick to condemn ourselves in our sins, and to condemn others in theirs. The irony is that that condemnation drives us further away from love and in turn drives us deeper into our shame and destructive behaviours.

I believe we indulge in our sin because we are desperate to connect and desperate to feel love. So we run to things that give us the illusion of love and connection but leave us empty and even more in shame and pain, and so we go back more and more.

For example; we feel like we are unworthy of love so we chase after false significance like the pursuit of nice things or money; because we believe that these things will give us what we need in order to be loved. The problem is that they cannot and in fact all it does is cause us to live behind a mask and we feel less worthy of love and so we run deeper into those problems.

All of us here older than three have a mask on. Because we believe ultimately that the unmasked me is unworthy, or disgusting or reject-able. We spend so much energy trying to live up to the public image that we have created and this leaves us exhausted and empty because it is not really us.

God shows us that while we were still sinners He died for us. Can I put it this way; God loves you without the mask on. And guess what He sees you without your mask on and He still loves you.

This gives us the courage to live more and more unmasked and as we live more and more unmasked we discover that we have inherent worth and people through Agape love do and can accept us; and therefore we long to live in that unmasked state.

The power there is in that unmasked state we discover that the sinfulness that we so long for when we live hidden has no draw; we see its emptiness; because we discover the wonder of being known and knowing others (we discover that love is more powerful than being liked).

This gives us the emotional energy to overcome even the most shameful of sins, because we discover that those shameful sins are only there because we are trying to taste real love.

And Once you have tasted real love you will not drink deeply of the fake love of sin!

This is why Scripture calls us to come and taste that the Lord is good!

So church our mission is not some arbitrary desire to grow our club, or convince people of our truth. It is not to impress people with our ability to be good.

Our mission is profoundly simple and profoundly impactful; our mission is to share the love of God in Christ Jesus.

Our mission is to invite people to live in the love of Christ; a love that takes them where they are and says you are worth to fight for; you are worthy to die for.

Have you engaged that? Have you realised that God values you so much that he literally died for you! The call then is to come to Jesus in that shame and no longer hide behind your supposed strengths to stop fighting to prove yourselves, but to come as you are and receive the love of God.

You might be saying but you don’t know what I have done, to which I reply God knows intimately what you have done and says to you I died for you, you are forgiven, you are loved.

You might say I don’t deserve love, Jesus’ outstretched arms prove that you do!

God loves you; deeply; richly and forever. All that is required is to confess who you are (to own up to it) and then to accept His love.

To trust Him to love you; that is faith!

If we want to be used by God and extend our influence/our boundaries we have to live in the knowledge of God’s love.

So let us live in that love; let us express that same naked love for each other, let us do all we can to bring down the masks and live in the open and powerful love that God calls us to live in.

And let us commit ourselves to the mission; to make the love of God known!

Let’s pray.

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