The Advent of Love

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Because the Father's love is a giving love, our love needs to be a giving love.

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Text: John 3:16
Theme: Because the Father's love is a giving love, our love needs to be a giving love.
Date: 12/09/2018 File name: AdventOfLove.wpd ID Number:
This is the second in a series of sermons on Advent. Every Sunday during the Advent season, we light Advent Candles that stand for a different Christmas virtue. Last Sunday I preached on the Advent of Hope. Next Sunday I’ll preach on the Advent of Joy. This morning, I want to preach on the Advent of Love.
We live in a society were so many other things pass for cheep substitutes of true, Godly, as-it-was-meant-to-be biblical love. If you would closely study the gospels, you would discover that each defines love in a particular way.
In Matthew's gospel we see that true love is a sacrificial love that puts the lives and needs of others before our own.
In Mark's gospel the writer sees true love as a life of service to others that examines the cost and is willing to pay the price of being a humble servant.
In Luke's gospel, the good doctor tells us that true love is a healing love. It reaches out to those around us who are hurting whether they are intimate acquaintances or even strangers and seeks their betterment.
Here, in John’s gospel, the apostle tells us that true love gives everything it has. It holds back nothing. Our great example is God Himself who "spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all" (Rom. 8:31). This kind of love is the essence, the core, the center, the focus, the hub of the Christmas story. Love permeates every aspect of the Christmas story: God so loved the world that he send his Only Begotten Son, and Yahweh so loved us that he deigned to become the Babe of Bethlehem — and later, as the man Jesus, to suffer, die, and rise again for us. Christmastime is a season when love of God and of our fellowmen fills us all, but the real challenge is to continue feeling and showing that love when Christmas is over so that it fills the entire year.
When John wrote, For God so loved the world, he was writing a truth that is for all classes of people. He wrote for all races of people, all ages of people, and all conditions of people. He presents Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the supreme, sovereign Lord God Almighty as our Heavenly Father. John wanted his readers to know that this Heavenly Father has given his only Son for their sins. John saw the love of Jesus as a love which gives. Let me share with you the lessons of this kind of love.


1. we live in a society where many people are suffering from what sociologists call compassion fatigue
a. a lot of people are just tired of constantly helping others in need, and repeatedly being asked to help others in need
1) they are tired of being compassionate toward others because they are, well ... just tired
2. the Apostle Paul recognized that even Godly people — Christian people — can grow weary because of constant ministry toward others
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Galatians 6:9–10, NIV84)
a. when Paul writes let us not become weary in doing good he know that weariness often comes with doing good toward others
b. in the same breath he encourages his listeners to not give up because there is a harvest the Christian will reap because of their ministry and service to others in the name of Jesus
c. we need to be willing to offer what is needed most — ourselves!
ILLUS. When I was growing up, my mother had a saying, “If everyone will do a ‘little bit’ more than their fair share, then everything will get done.” It's a code I've tried to live by in my own life.
1) that’s true in the home, the office, benevolent institutions, service organizations, and even the church — “If everyone will do a ‘little bit’ more than their fair share, then everything will get done.”
3. Christians must be actively engaged in ministry and must penetrate the institutions of society
a. that is what God’s love did
1) His love for His elect brought Him to earth
2) God invaded human history in the person of Jesus
3) as a man, He penetrated the society of His day with the gospel of the Kingdom
b. true love for God and true love for men demands nothing less
1) we cannot, we must not be like the box turtle — pulling our heads into our shells and hoping that someone else will deal with the problems, needs, and issues in the lives of people around us
4. personal involvement is the only way we are going to make a difference in the world in which we live
a. the question is, will we give our church and our community what it needs the most?
b. US!
5. there are a lot of Christians who are doing nothing for either their church or their community, but there are no Christians who have nothing to do


“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever Believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, NIV)
1. God gave us what we needed most — Himself!
a. God established a covenant with Abraham, but He knew that wouldn't be enough ...
b. God gave the Law to Moses, but He knew that wouldn't be enough ...
c. God gave the ritual sacrifices to Israel, but He knew that wouldn't be enough ...
d. God gave His word to the prophets, but He knew that wouldn't be enough ...
e. but in the fullness of time according the Scriptures, God gave us exactly what we needed most — His very own presence
"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:6-8, NIV)
2. God loved us so much, that He invested His own life in ours by becoming one of us in the form of His son, Jesus who is the Christ
a. He then expended great personal effort in teaching the people of his day about the Kingdom of God, in healing the sick, in ministering to the afflicted often to the point of exhaustion
b. ultimately He poured out His life's blood as a sacrifice for our sin so that we might know true forgiveness and redemption
1) this is how, according to Paul, God demonstrated His love for us
c. God loves us because He chooses to love us
3. true love cost God dearly
a. Christ died for the ungodly, according to the Bible
1) God’s love for us is due to Himself, not because of any worthiness on our part
b. when God decided to say I love you He laid aside his glory and picked up the dusty wrap of humanity and lived among us for 33 years
“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.” (Colossians 1:21-22, NIV)
c. the sovereign God of the universe is our supreme example of a love that gives selflessly
“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1–2, NIV)


1. true love is never cheep, because it will always cost us what we rarely want to invest ourselves
"Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others." (1 Corinthians 10:24, NIV)
2. if you are going to live in the service of others, you will certainly be pierced through with many sorrows
a. you will meet with more base ingratitude from your fellow men than you would from a dog
ILLUS. Mark Twain, who was not a Christian, understood man's real nature. He once quipped, “If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.”
b. when you minister to others you may well meet with unkindness and two-facedness
3. and if your motivation for this selfless service is love for your fellow men, you will be exhausted in the battle of life and you will be tempted to throw in the towel
4. but if the motivation of your service is love for God, no ingratitude, no sin, no devil, no angel, will hinder you from serving your fellow men, no matter how they treat you.
a. if you love Jesus Christ, you will serve humanity, though men and women treat you like a doormat
5. and why would any of us be willing to put ourselves through this?
“So ... whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God 33 even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.” (1 Corinthians 10:31-33, NIV)
a. true love always gives regardless of the personal cost


“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13, NIV)
ILLUS. To be a servant of Christ is not easy. A model of servanthood can be found in the example of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He was born in 1906 into an upper middle class family. As a teenager, he felt called into the ministry and became a respected scholar and theologian at a young age. Bonhoeffer had foresight, and knew that the Nazi party was an evil plague upon Germany and the world. He became a powerful voice of German resistance. Shortly before WW2 broke out, Bonhoeffer visited and studied in the United States. He was offered a comfortable teaching position at one of America's distinguished seminaries. But Bonhoeffer declined the offer in order to return to Germany to minister and to serve his own people. He knew that if he returned to Germany he was a marked man, but he returned anyway. I often wonder what I would do in the same circumstances facing certain death? But for Bonhoeffer there was no choice. He was a servant of Christ, no matter what the circumstances. He was arrested by the Nazis in 1943 and on Apr 8, 1945, after conducting Sunday morning worship for fellow concentration camp prisoners he was hanged. As he was being led away, he remarked to an English officer who was also a prisoner of war: "This is not the end, but for me the beginning of life."
1. true love always gives even at the potential cost of one's own life


“I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” (John 13:15, NIV)
ILLUS. On the night that Jesus was betrayed he and his disciples celebrated the Passover Seder Feast. After the dinner was over, Jesus did something very unexpected, but very much in keeping with his character. He took off his robes and wrapped a towel around his waste. Then he took a basin of water and a towel, and one-by-one he began to wash the feet of the twelve disciples. We pick up the story in John's gospel: "So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? 13 "You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 "For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 "Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 "If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them," (John 13:12-17) NKJV
1. Jesus told his disciples, "I have set for you an example to follow . . ."
a. and then he added his own commentary: "If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them,"
2. he was not talking about actually washing another's feet, but the attitude required to perform such a lowly act
a. the most important fruit of our union with Christ, is our willingness to sacrifice ourselves for those around us — beginning with those in the Body of Christ
b. Christianity is something which is meant to be seen
ILLUS. Francis of Assisi “Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary use words.”
1) there can be no such thing as secret discipleship, for either the secrecy destroys the discipleship, or the discipleship destroys the secrecy
3. the example that Jesus set for us to follow was that true love gives of itself
"And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave 28 "just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:27-28, NKJV)
4. our Lord's example of love was a revolutionary one
a. Jesus dismissed loving only those who love us in return
1) even tax collectors do that Jesus said
b. Jesus also maintained the love is not a feeling, but an action
5. the example of Jesus shows us that God’s love for us was unconditional — it even washes feet!
a. and this is how we must love others — Christians or non-Christians, friend or enemy
b. the minute we place a condition upon our love for someone else, we immediately enter into a merely human love and not the Christlike love we are commanded to live by
6. the real test of our faith comes when we give of our time, and efforts, and resources even to the stranger!
ILLUS. In 1928, a very interesting case came before the courts in the state of Massachusetts. It concerned a man who had been walking on a boat dock when suddenly he tripped over a rope and fell into the cold, deep water of the Atlantic Ocean. He came up sputtering and yelling for help and then sank again, obviously in trouble. His friends were too far away to get to him, but only a few yards away, on another dock, was a young man sprawled on a deck chair, sunbathing. The desperate man shouted "Help, I can't swim!" The sunbather, an excellent swimmer, only turned his head to watch as the man floundered in the water, sank, came up sputtering in total panic, and then disappeared into the bay. The family of the drowned man were so upset by the sunbather’s display of callous indifference that they sued him. They lost. The court reluctantly ruled that the man on the dock had no legal responsibility whatever to try and save the other man's life. In effect, the law agrees with Cain's presupposition: I am not my brother's keeper, and I have every legal right to mind my own business and to refuse to become involved.
7. non of us has a legal responsibility to help the stranger, a friend or even a brother in Christ
a. but if we are truly followers of the Lord, we will follow his example in faithfully giving ourselves
b. the moment we withhold our love for someone because of that person’s words, actions, looks, or personality — no matter how ugly or cruel he has been toward us — we have placed a condition upon our love for that person
8. true love encourages us to be an example of a humble servant


1. one day while on a journey, Jesus and his disciples came to a well by the side of the road
a. Jesus stayed there, while the disciples went into the next town to buy something to eat
b. while he was there, a women of a very questionable reputation and character came to the well to draw water
c. Jesus asked this lady if she would share a cup of water from the bucket she had just raised from the well
2. as she did so, Jesus looked at the ladle of water she had just drawn from her bucket and told her: "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." NKJV
a. Jesus, himself, is the water of live he was referring to
b. when we quench our spiritual thirst with Jesus, we shall know true spiritual satisfaction
c. the Bible calls that spiritual satisfaction being born again
1) as Baptists we like calling it getten' saved
3. that day at a well by the side of a dusty road, a woman got saved
a. she hurried back into town to tell her friends and family and many others came to Jesus and they also believed
4. the apostle John repeatedly tells us that Jesus came to give eternal life to all those who come to him
"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” (John 5:24, NKJV)
“And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:40, KJV)
5. if theses verses are true, how dare we have the audacity to proclaim that we love others while at the same time refusing to share the gospel story with them?
ILLUS. At the turn of the century, Alexander Whyte was a popular Scottish minister who pastored a large church in Edinburgh. He was known for his powerful sermons. A semi-regular attender of Whytes' church was a salesman by the name of Allen Rigby. He did not live in Edinburg, but his business frequently took him there. Rigby would often stay over on the weekends just to hear Whyte preach. Rigby also had the habit of inviting other businessmen to accompany him to the services. One Sunday morning he asked a fellow traveler to go to church with him. Reluctantly, the man said yes. When he heard Whyte's message, he was so impressed that he returned with Rigby to the evening meeting. As the preacher spoke, the man bowed his head and trusted Christ as his Savior. The next morning, as he was leaving for home, Rigby decided to stop by Alexander Whyte's home and tell him how his message had affected the other man's life. When Whyte learned that his caller's name was Rigby, he exclaimed, "You're the man I've wanted to see for years!" He went to his study and returned with a bundle of letters. Alexander Whyte read Rigby some excerpts all telling of changed lives. They were all men Rigby had brought to church to hear the gospel.
4. like the Samaritans who had been led to Jesus by the woman at the well, these men believed in Jesus because of the witness of Rigby
a. true love encourages us to tell others about our Jesus
Why did God come in the flesh? Because the whole world has been bitten by sin, and “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). God sent His Son to die, not only for Israel, but for all who would hear His calling and respond to Him by faith. How is a person born from above? How is he or she saved from eternal perishing? By believing on Jesus Christ; by looking to Him in faith.
On January 6, 1850, a snowstorm almost crippled the city of Colchester, England; and a teenage boy was unable to get to the church he usually attended. So he made his way to a nearby Primitive Methodist chapel, where an ill-prepared layman was substituting for the absent preacher. His text was Isaiah 45:22 — “Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.” For many months this young teenager had been miserable and under deep conviction; but though he had been reared in church (both his father and grandfather were preachers), he did not have the assurance of salvation.
The unprepared substitute minister did not have much to say, so he kept repeating the text. “A man need not go to college to learn to look,” he shouted. “Anyone can look — a child can look!” About that time, he saw the visitor sitting to one side, and he pointed at him and said, “Young man, you look very miserable. Young man, look to Jesus Christ!”
The young man did look to Jesus, and by faith he was saved, and that was how the great preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon was converted.
The difference between perishing and living, and between condemnation and salvation, is faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus could well have come to this world as a Judge and destroyed every rebellious sinner; but in love, He came to this world as our Savior, and He died for us on the cross!
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