Today’s post is part of a series to help us take what we learn on Sunday into the rest of the week. These posts summarize the main points from the week’s sermon and include questions for continued reflection and prayer. The posts in this series are written by members of our church’s Adult Christian Formation team.
This past Sunday our service theme was “God Reveals Himself,” and Pastor Bobby preached on 1 John 3:4-24. The basic theme of the sermon was that Jesus offers us both a pattern and power to live a life that is exchanged for the lives of others.
1 John offers us an answer to the question “How do we know that we know the truth?” If our life has taken on a pattern of exchange for the lives of others, a pattern of love, then we know that we’ve been grasped by the truth.
The pattern of an exchanged life shows that we know Jesus. The righteousness that 1 John describes is not a private righteousness. In the Bible, righteousness is socially demonstrated, it is evident from how we relate to others.
If we lay down our lives for others, that makes clear that we have met the one who laid down his life for us. Even during his life, Jesus was constantly interrupted by others, and he gave his life to them by healing and serving them. If we truly know him, we will do the same.
This requires power for exchange, though. We can’t simply will ourselves into that kind of love. In John 3, Jesus teaches that everyone needs to be born again. That includes everyone, not just the people who look like they need to change.
The new birth is a gift from God that gives us hope. God can change the things about ourselves that seem unchangeable, the ways we resist being like Jesus and being the sort of people who can lay down our lives for others.
Questions for Prayer and Reflection:
- What did the Holy Spirit show you through this sermon and scripture passage?
- In your own words, how would you describe the principle of exchanged life?
- Have you experienced being born again? In what ways has that reality surprised you in tangible expressions of love for others that you might not have otherwise shown?
- Have you seen people who follow Jesus lay down their lives for others as a community?
- What reactions might people outside the church have if they see Christians giving their lives on behalf of others? Have you seen reactions like that?
- What in your heart is holding you back from laying your life down for others? Ask God to change your heart as necessary to make you more like Jesus.