Here is another bit of my sermon this weekend that didn't make the cut.
Is the gospel true in your life group? Don’t you want it to be? Don’t you want to be a part of a community where agape is active? Don’t you long for the gospel to be true in your church? The gospel happens when you walk in the light of a love that lays down its life. Do you want to impact the world for Jesus? Lay down your lives for one another, because that doesn’t happen in this world.
Several weeks ago, Andy Sieberhagen led the staff in a devotional where he took us deep into the mind of a long-term, overseas missionary. It was a terrifying experience! He told us that people go overseas because they believe that the Christian community they’re experiencing at home is worth giving to others and worth dying for. Friends, your life group and your church are only worth dying for if you are already laying down your lives for each other.
Dear friends, let us lay down our lives for one another, because this whole concept of laying down your life comes directly from God! And anyone who lays down his life for his brother and sister has been born of God and knows God.
Do you want to see God work in your life? Walk in the light of a love that lays down its life. Do you want to know God more? Lay down your life for your brothers and sisters. You can’t love God if you refuse to lay down your life for others.
What’s truly amazing is that when you walk in the light of a love that lays down its life, this whole thing that Jesus called us to actually works. It really works. Forgiveness happens, and you are set free from the cycle of victimization. Grace happens and relationships are restored and strengthened. Laying down your life for each other really does make you able to lay down your life for God.
I know that each of you wants to love God with all of your heart, but you can’t love God if you don’t love your brothers and sisters. You can lay down your life for your brothers and sisters because God has laid down his life for you.
What are you holding onto? What sin, what offence, have you not let go of? Who are you refusing to forgive? What right are you laying claim to that hurts others? What demands are you making of others—your friends, your family? Where are you refusing to die? What word is God speaking to you right now? Money. Shame. Hobbies. The Boat. Power. Free Time. Sleep. Where is God calling you to walk in the light of a love that lays down its life?
Jesus didn’t just walk in the light of a love that laid down its life, he is the light of love that laid down his life. Consider all that has been forgiven of you. Consider how patient he has been with you. Does that make you grateful? Does that make you want to sacrifice everything for him? Whoever sacrifices everything for God must also sacrifice everything for his brother. So how will you walk?