BRUTAL LOVE SERIES (Part 1of 6) Pastor Barry Bruce/ The Gathering Church
What’s Love Got To Do With It? 1 Corinthians 13, 1 John 4:8-9, John 13:34-35
In 1967 the Beatles sang All You Need Is Love and added a hand holding anthem to the Hippie movement. In 1984 Tina Turner slapped that hand with her #1 hit and screamed out What’s Love Got To Do With It? Her Chorus said:
Oh what’s love got to do, got to do with it
What’s love but a second hand emotion
What’s love got to do, got to do with it
Who needs a heart
When a heart can be broken
Quite a different tone from The Beatles earlier hit:
[Chorus:] All you need is love.
All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.
Biblically speaking The Beatles were mostly correct. “Love is all You Need” and therefore it has everything to do with life and living, but the brand of love is what makes it a second hand emotion that breaks hearts. What is love? There are a thousand bad examples and false definitions in this world, but there is only one that is true. In a world of false definitions Jesus stands true and He calls us to follow.
The Apostle Paul defines true love in 1 Corinthians 13. If we put our name or any other name in place of the word “love” in that passage (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a) it just doesn’t work. None of us measure up, but the name of Jesus substitutes that word perfectly. Jesus is the author of true love, in fact the Apostle John said: Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8 Love is the very reason why “God sent His own son.” 1 John 4:9 Jesus came down to demonstrate real love to a loveless race, God’s love. Jesus came to us to define love in “deed and truth” 1 John 3:18, and Jesus didn’t end His demonstration of love on the cross. That demonstration is to continue into every generation until He comes again, and that demonstration is meant to be lived out daily in His followers. Or did we all forget His command in John 13:34-35?
Love is a verb, so in this series I intend to illustrate the six actions that make the love of Christ so powerful, not forgetting that He calls His followers to these actions too. No one should ever leave one of these messages saying “well, I’m only human. God can’t expect for me to love like that”. He commanded us to love just like that, and if we follow Him we will. He puts His Spirit in us who follow and that will change the way we do everything. John 14:26-27 So don’t make excuses and don’t be afraid to love!
God Came Down John 1:1-5, 14
At the very beginning of Christ’s love there is humility. The Apostle John tells us that He who made all things became flesh and came down to us. Real humility is not just in the act of coming down to another person’s level. True humility is coming down to that level because you desire it no matter what the cost. Humility defined is a modest or low view of one’s own importance; however, God never had a low view of His own importance. He knew exactly who He was and the mission He was undertaking when He came down to man. That is even a greater humility. Knowing who you are and choosing to make that of no consequence as you love another is God’s love in action.
God Washed Dirty Feet John 13:1-17
You would think that God just setting His feet on earth was a great humbling, but Jesus actually went lower. He got on His knees and washed feet, even His betrayer’s feet. He went even further. He went to His death at their hands. He went even further…He descended into hell to take the keys of hell and death from the Devil (Revelation 1:18). God’s love is brutal — humble to the extreme!
To Hell? To say that Jesus only went into the grave denies what took place from the time of Jesus’ death to His resurrection. It also denies Jesus words. Jesus declared that He would be in “the heart of the earth” for “three days and three nights” (Matthew12:40). A grave is not “the heart of the earth.” Paul confirms that Jesus “descended into the lower parts of the earth” (Ephesians 4:9) and we know that Jesus’ body wasn’t even buried in the earth. His body was laid in an above-ground tomb (Matthew 27:57-60). Paul could not have been speaking of Jesus’ body. It was Jesus’ soul that went into “the lower parts of the earth” — to Hell. (Hebrew: “Sheol” Greek: hades, ig. the abode of the dead. . . for both the righteous and the unrighteous). Hell (once divided by a great gulf: Luke 16:22-26) was the place where all souls went at death to wait: the righteous for the redemption of Christ and the unrighteous for His eternal judgment (Revelation 20:11-15). The body went into the grave and the soul went to “hell”(the righteous to“Abraham’s Bosom”/ “paradise”). After Jesus “ascended” and led the Old Testament saints to Heaven, the only abode of the dead that remains in the earth is the place of eternal torment—Hell. Since Christ has now come, anyone who dies in Him is immediately present with Him (2 Corinthians 5:8).
How Far Will We Go? Philippians 2:1-8, James 4:6b–10
The Apostle Paul presented the church with a challenge to be humble like Jesus, but remember this challenge is a command of Christ to His followers (John 13:34-35) and not a suggestion. In essence Paul says: “has Christ ever done anything for you?” If your answer is yes then Paul says: “Make my joy complete” and show His love to others by being humble. If we are to obey the command of Christ to love then we must begin by being humble. How far are you willing to go in demonstrating your appreciation for what Christ has done for you? How far are you willing to go to obey His command to love others? Is Jesus your Master? Are you His servant? Well, since Jesus said “no servant is greater than his master” then what should keep us from being humble towards others but the Devil himself? No wonder the scriptures say Pride goes before destruction (Proverbs 16:18). Let’s not make light of our arrogance and sin. We cannot be saved without humbling ourselves before Jesus in repentance and we cannot love without humbling ourselves before others. Change that laughter into mourning and let’s humble ourselves!