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God has a very different definition of love. We see it in his character when he became a man and took the punishment for our sin in our place. The challenge then is to practise love with the help of God’s Holy Spirit.

Dan: (00:00)
Hey everyone. Welcome to Training for Life Redeemed. I’m your host, Dan. I’m sitting here with my father, David Jackson. We are continuing to look through the first letter that John wrote to the churches that were out in the area of, you know, where Ephesus and Colossi are. It’s part of Turkey. He’s addressing an issue that’s going on here. The churches are kind of splitting, one group is walking away and setting up their own new church. And so John is really addressing the Christians that are still there at the church that he’s kind of set up, I guess, what was at least highly involved in to address this. Now, Dad, we’ve been working through the book generally, kind of systematically. Today is going to be a little bit different. We’re going to be following the theme of love today. Yep. So we are starting midway through chapter three, and then we’re going to jump to halfway through chapter four as we do this episode. If you want to look at your Bibles as you’re listening or anything like that, Ben, please feel free to do that. So, dad, can you start by giving us a good definition for the word love that’s in here? Because most people will think of either, you know, sexual love or family love. What, what love are we talking about here?

David: (01:11)
Yeah. This is countercultural love . It’s, yeah, I think it’s the exact opposite of what of the way we use the word love. We use the word love pretty much to say I enjoy, so I love my job. I love my dog. I love my new car. I love chocolate biscuits. I love my wife. Yeah.

Dan: (01:30)
All things that make me feel good.

David: (01:31)
All the things that make me feel good. And it’s all about me. Whereas biblical love is exactly the opposite. I was very privileged to listen to a sermon by a fellow called Jay Adams half a century ago. when we were newly married, he preached a pass, preached on the Ephesians five passage about, husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for her. And that’s the definition of love. It’s, total commitment to another person, at whatever cost. so they, they’re the object. They’re the, they’re the main game. He described it as, you know, loving somebody who is unlovely, unlovable, unloving. You know, it, it’s a, it’s a commitment that doesn’t look for a reward. Mm-hmm. , it looks to the good of the other. Yeah. And that’s exactly the opposite of the way I think we use the word.

Dan: (02:31)
Yeah. I think the, the idea too of it being about the good of the other. Yeah. if you’re a parent and you’re listening to this, you’ll have a kind of more of an idea of what that means,

David: (02:40)

Dan: (02:40)
To be committed to something that, you know, or someone who doesn’t necessarily make you feel good all the time. . Yeah. But you are committed to them and for their good. So even though what you’re doing, they’re not enjoying or, you know, it’s not what they want, but it is for their good. Yeah. And you as the parent, have that kind of greater sight. And I think that’s part of what comes into this too, is when John talks about loving your brother and, you know, God loved us and all those types of things, they’re, he’s actually saying, yeah, God wanted what was best for you, not necessarily what you wanted. Yeah. and it doesn’t always feel good, but it is what you need, to really make you more like Christ essentially and bring you into new creation. All those things that we are looking forward to. And so then when Paul, well Paul, when John starts to talk to the church here, Dad and says, you know, you guys need to love one another. Jesus loved us. God loved us through Jesus, Jesus abides in us, therefore love abides in us and we abide in love. It’s just this kind of lovely little dance if you

David: (03:39)
Feel totally immersed of

Dan: (03:40)
Words that goes on where you’re just like, so God is love and Jesus is love, and we are love and we are in love and . Yep.

Dan: (03:48)
What do we do with, like, it’s, I, I feel like as I read it, I’m kind of like, well sure John, like we should love one another and we should be committed to each other. Yeah. And helping each other to become more like Christ. You know, it’s about for the other person’s good and me giving up stuff to help you become more like Christ and know where is that more evident If you have, you know, two Christians getting married and they’re like, you know, you really do need to get better Yep. , because suddenly all your sin is exposed. so what, what is this going to look like? How, how do you, I dunno, bring all this stuff together. Cuz there’s elements in here that talk about how we perfect God’s love, which or something like that. . Yeah.

David: (04:32)
There’s, there’s a sequence. So you, you’ve got this wonderful statement that God is love. Yeah. And that, that is God is love in, I think in Greek it’s four words and all of a sudden you’ve just exploded your understanding of who God is. and it’s far more complicated than, oh, he’s a nice guy and he looks after us. Yeah. If God is, if he is love, not just He does love, then he is love is his nature. So take, stop and think about God before there was anything other than God. Hmm. How do you be God is love. If there is nothing other than God question who is he loving? And the answer is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Yeah.

Dan: (05:19)
All loving each other. It

David: (05:21)
It you. And this changes our whole understanding of who God is. He is not some individual being that is living for himself alone because God is three persons in one God and they are held together in unity by love. everything that he does creates designs is an expression of his character. And so when we tell him to go jump in the lake, we do the opposite. We become selfish, we replace God with me. And then what’s God’s response to that? He takes human flesh steps into the world, takes the punishment that I deserve. Hmm. And why did he do that? Because his agenda is love. And in order for that love to work, he has to bring us back onto God’s side, love us, and then teach us how, how to love one another. And the end result of that is you have this lovely sequence in one John, God is love.

David: (06:20)
He sent Jesus into the world to love us by dying in our place and taking the anger of God. Mm-hmm. and then love is perfected in us when we do it. Yeah. With one another. So that transforms the culture. You go from, he, he contrasts Cain and Abel, Satan was a murderer from the beginning. So right at the beginning, you say no to God, next thing you know, your kids are killing each other and you whoa. Jesus comes into the world, dies in the place of the murderer and brings us back onto God’s side where we can get it right again. And that’s why we’ve called this whole thing training for life redeemed. We’ve got a redeemed life now we’ve got to learn to do it. Hmm. And the first part of that is that means I’ve got to love these people . And sometimes that’s hard.

Dan: (07:10)
Be very hard. Yeah.

David: (07:11)
Very hard. Adams used to tell a story, which I, you know, doesn’t do the rounds. Much couple came in for counseling with their minister. They made the mistake of coming to Jay Adams who doesn’t muck around. and the husband, they’re saying, you know, they’ve described their terrible marriage and all the horrible things they’ve done to each other. And so it’s all got to end, end of story. And he says, well, you both believers in Christ, how does this work? You know, two believers, you’re supposed to, you’ve been loved, you’re supposed to love. I can’t love her. He says, and Adams says, you know, there’s the command. Husbands love you. I can’t love her, is my wife. Oh, well let’s go to this Bible passage. Love her is your neighbor. She’s your nearest neighbor, Na na. I can’t do that. Can’t do that. Can’t stand up. that’s no good.

David: (08:05)
How about this one? Love your enemy. Doesn’t leave you a lot of wiggle room for getting outta that one does it? it’s a com And this is the other thing. It’s a command. It’s not a suggestion. Hmm. And if you call Jesus Lord, you obey it. Yeah. It might not be fun. It might not be pleasant. It might not be attractive. Yeah. But it changes the world. Yeah. and that’s, that’s the agenda that God has when he sends Jesus into the world, is to create a place where we learn to be according to God’s character. And we put back all of the stuff we broke.

Dan: (08:45)
Yeah. And it’s a called love. Like it’s not a call to like everyone . You know, you have to like the person that you’re loving.

David: (08:53)
that comes later because love changes people.

Dan: (08:56)
It does. Yeah.

David: (08:57)
Yeah. Yeah. I like the stuff in here where it says, love casts out fear. Hmm. And I think, you know, we live in a generation that is full of fear. I mean this week illustrates it perfectly. You’ve got three people in Queensland who are conspiracy theories living in fear, and they’ve surrounded their house with, they’ve gone into the bush, done all the survival stuff, put all their panji pits or whatever, you know, and the police come on the property and they shoot two young people dead. And their next door neighbor who comes to put out the bush fire because they’re afraid. And you go into that world, Jesus stands there and takes the bullet so that people like that who are still alive, they aren’t, can get life back. he, he’s here to turn a hateful world, a selfish world, a scared world into a world of peace.

David: (09:55)
When I was in, I worked in a special school for a while and a lot of our kids were, they had been violated physically, sexually, all sorts of ways. And they were scared little rabbits. and you end up with some pretty violent kids. So for a few years there it was, there was nothing to have to wrestle a kid to the ground so that he would be safe and the person next to him would be safe. there were some pretty terrible things happening. But you look at that and you go, all right, here is fear. And if you’re afraid, that produces violence. If you’re frustrated, that produces violence. If you are just enjoying violence, it produces violence cuz it gives you pleasure. That’s the definition of a bully. And you go, let’s put love into that thing and see whether that, see how that transforms and the Holy Spirit goes to work and does that.

David: (10:52)
So John’s group are in a terrible place. All of their, a lot of their friends, their members of their church have ripped into them, told ’em they’re all going to hell and marched out of the church and spat the dummy big time. How do you respond to that? Can you still love them when they’re being so unloving to you? And that’s the challenge. and John’s writing to them to say, you may have your doctrine right, and you may be, you know, obeying God and everything else try. You got to obey God in this one love. Mm-hmm. And you go, oh, .

Dan: (11:32)
And he says, you know, Jay Adams thing with a husband and wife too. You’re like, I was waiting for you to say, and then he took him to this verse where it says that if you don’t love, you’re a liar and you’re actually not a Christian. That’s right. . And he’s like, you know, this whole thing about, you know, God is love. He saves us. God shows his love. He loved us so much, he said he one only son type thing. And then he also loved us so much that he came and abides in us. Yeah. And when it talks about, you know, we abide and love and love abides in us. We have the Holy Spirit, we are empowered to be able to Love

David: (12:03)
We can do this as Christ. Yeah. We can do this. We can, you might have to grit your teeth, but yeah. , we can do this. And it is so transformative. you know, I, my personal growing up, was in a, yeah. In a place where very loud and very angry words were said, and actions followed. And so you learn to be aggressive. you learn to, you know, get in there and, and deal with it. But it’s amazing when you stand there and you look somebody in the eye and you say, oh, you know, I’m not going to raise a hand against you. I’m not going to hit you. I love you. do what you got to do and just watch the impact of that. it, it’s, it’s the gospel that brings that peace and the Holy Spirit that drives it home. Sometimes , sometimes you just get a punch in the face, but . But

Dan: (13:07)
Jesus said to do that too.

David: (13:09)
Well, yeah. That’s your best shot. Go

Dan: (13:14)
. Well, that beats us to the end of this episode. If you would like to come and grab the study notes that go along with this episode, you can head over to training for life 96. We hope that you also hit the subscribe button. Come and join us again next week. We’ll finish off John, next week. We’re going to follow another theme. This week was Love. Next week is like theology and bring in, you know, your head knowledge and stuff together with your hands and your heart and your attitude and all that kind of stuff.

David: (13:38)
Let’s put the package together.

Dan: (13:39)
Yeah. So come and join us next week as we finish off. John. Have a great week.