Retro Love: Bring It Back!
June 10, 2012
1 John 2:7-11
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
7 Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. 8 [a]On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining. 9 The one who says he is in the Light and yethates his brother is in the darkness until now. 10 The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
If you love something, set it free.
If it comes back, it was, and always will be yours.
If it never returns, it was never yours to begin with.
If it just sits in your living room,
messes up your stuff,
eats your food,
uses your telephone,
takes your money,
and never behaves as if you actually set it free in the first place,
you either married it or gave birth to it!
The more I’m involved in church work, the more convinced I become that many people have forgotten the basics of our faith. I don’t feel so bad, however, when I read the book of 1 John, written sometime in the latter part of the 1st Century, because then I realize that the problem is not something new to us; but was epidemic in the early church as well.
Listen to people around you, listen to the television and the radio, and listen to preachers far and wide, and you will get a dizzying array of opinions, facts, and suppositions on the Christian faith. Some have even turned our faith into a get rich quick scheme, though I’ve never figured out quite how to achieve that myself!
The real test of Christianity isn’t how much you give. God’s not looking at how many days a week you in church. It doesn’t matter if you are a Baptist or a Presbyterian, or even if you are one of those dreaded “non-denominational” types. What matters is your faith, and the basis of our faith is love.
Now before you start bringing out the pitchforks and tar, hear me out. If our faith is based on Christ, then our faith is based on love because Christ is love. Christ is love in person! If we are to understand the very bedrock basis of our faith, then we need to understand love.
Is It Love
ill and Steve are discussing the possibility of love. “I thought I was in love three times,” Bill says.
”Thought?” Steve asks. “What do you mean?”
”Three years ago, I cared very deeply for a woman who wanted nothing to do with me,” Bill says.
”Wasn’t that love?” Steve asks.
”No, that was obsession,” Bill explains. “Then two years ago, I cared very deeply for an attractive woman who didn’t understand me.”
”Wasn’t that love?” asks Steve.
”No, that was lust,” Bill replies. “And just last year, I met a woman while I was on a cruise. She was gorgeous, intelligent, a great conversationalist and had a super sense of humor. Everywhere I followed her on that ship, I would get a very strange sensation in the pit of my stomach.”
”Well, wasn’t that love,” asks Steve.
”No. That was motion sickness!” Bill replies.
Christ taught love. Chris showed love. Christ embodied love. Let’s find some Retro Love.
Love: What’s Old Is New
7 Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard.
Have you ever noticed that “Retro” is in? Fashions rise and fall in favor in a bit of a cycle. Things that are popular today are things society tossed aside 20 years ago. Now I don’t know about you, but I’m sure some of the 70′s fashions should never ever see the light of day again!
Some of the most contemporary trends in art and design center around taking old style designs and giving them new modern lines. The phrase “There is nothing new under the sun” really has more meaning these days. Just look at the box office. The biggest hits in recent years have been nothing more than remakes of old classics. That’s heartening to me, because I’m fast becoming an old classic myself.
John calls us back to basics today, he tells us to return to the basic commandment of Christ and that commandment is love. Indeed, love has been part of God’s plan throughout eternity. Look at what God has to say in:
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
4 “ Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
Love is one of those silver threads weaving the Bible together from beginning to end, and characterizes both the God of the New Testament as well as the one of the Old. God *IS* love!
There is no question that Christ intended for us to love. He told us Himself often enough! Love is not new, love is not old, love is timeless.
If you “Google” the word love, and you have to be very careful doing this, you will find all sorts of websites, several million to be exact. Here are some examples that you will find:
I love Dogs.com
I love Cats.com
I love Cheese. Com
I love Lucy.com
True Romance Dating Service.com
The Love Calculator.com On this site you type in your name and your mates name and it gives you the odds of your relationship lasting. Beth and I got 39% by the way.
If you use Google as your yardstick you find that love is entirely a human affair. You will notice that God is removed from the equation. Today, I submit to you that God cannot be taken out of the equation because he *IS* the equation.
Love is retro! Let’s bring it back into style by our actions.
Love: Christianity In Action
. 9 The one who says he is in the Light and yethates his brother is in the darkness until now. 10 The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
A preacher and an atheistic barber were once walking through the city slums. Said the barber to the preacher: “This is why I cannot believe in a God of love. If God was as kind and loving as you say, He would not permit all this poverty, disease, and squalor. He would not allow these poor bums to be addicted to dope and other character-destroying habits. No, I cannot believe in a God who permits these things.”
The minister was silent until they met a man who was especially unkempt and filthy. His hair was hanging down his neck and he had a half-inch of stubble on his face. Said the minister: “You can’t be a very good barber or you wouldn’t permit a man like that to continue living in this neighborhood without a haircut and a shave.”
Indignantly the barber answered: “Why blame me for that man’s condition? I can’t help it that he is like that. He has never come in my shop. I could fix him up and make him look like a gentleman!”
Giving the barber a penetrating look, the minister said: “Then don’t blame God for allowing the people to continue in their evil ways, when He is constantly inviting them to come and be saved.
John 13:34-35 (ESV)
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
Jesus told us, and John reminded us, that Love is doing. We have to take action for love to really be love. Like that barber, it’s not sufficient to simply blame someone else, we need to make our love a verb.
Let me share with you a few quick ways to actively show this love:
- Be devoted to one another (Romans 12:10)
- Accept each other. (Romans 14:1-5)
- Be kind to one another. (Ephesians 4:2)
- Be honest with each other. (Ephesians 4:25)
- Be encouraging. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
- Walk in holiness together. (1 John 1:7)
We, as Christians, must not just love in word, we must love in deed. It’s no longer enough (as if it ever were) to simply talk about how we love God’s creation. It is time we started showing it. Love is an action of purpose, of intention. Love is something we do because we want to do it.
Robert Louis Stevenson, author of books such as Treasure Island, when young child, one evening was looking out front window of house fascinated by lamplighter coming down street, lighting old fashion gas street lamps. Called to nana, “Nana! Come quickly! There’s a man coming down the street punching holes in the darkness!”
Love, true love, Christ-centered love, punches holes in the darkness and never should be unfashionable.
Retro love: Bring it back!