Love Again, John 13:24-35 & 1 John 4:7-12
Preached by Guest Speaker Pastor Joseph Kim (SRC International)
In this sermon, Joseph Kim gave a personal testimony about his experiences being a missionary. Through that, he teaches us how to experience the love of Jesus by loving others.
Loving others is hard. It involves being in a relationship with another person who has character, feelings, and thoughts. If you want to make this mutual relationship work, you must be concerned about the thoughts and feelings of the other person. This requires sacrifice and sensitivity from both people in the relationship.
In John 13:34, Jesus gave us a new command – to “Love one another.” The focus here is not just on love but also on “one another.” In this passage, Jesus was about to be arrested and crucified. His main concern was the community of His disciples and to have them experience His love even after His departure. To experience that love, He asked them to love one another, and if you do that, “I will be present in your relationship.”
Sometimes, though, the love our non-Christian friends live out appears to be more authentic than the love of Christians. They sacrifice and give up their own personal comfort for our well-being. Reflecting on that and sharing a time when he was persecuted for his faith, Joseph Kim realized that Jesus didn’t say, “Just love one another.” He said in John 13:34b, “love one another just as I have loved you.” We need to be the example of what Jesus asked us to do in the community.
Looking at the 1 John passage, we read that it is not that “We loved God,” but it is that “God loves us” (1 John 4:10). So much so that He sent His Son to the cross. John seems to be saying that “the Unchangeable being, God, has become the changeable beings; he has become you and me, in order to save us.” And then Jesus, who has become one of us, became the atoning sacrifice for our sin. To emphasize the importance of Jesus’s love, John uses the Greek word, ‘agape’ in every word for love in this passage. The only way to live out the agape love is for the love of Jesus we have experienced to flow out of us into our community.
In 1 John 13:11-12, the Apostle John tells us that we need to love one another and that if we love one another, then God lives in us, and His love is perfected in other works. In other words, when Jesus is present in our love, anything is possible because Jesus will make our imperfect love perfect.
Joseph Kim then closed the sermon with an account of a missionary in Tibet. Caleb was struggling, and Joseph ministered to him. Caleb soon was teaching Chinese at a Buddhist Seminary. But was kicked out after several years due to sharing the word of God with the students, of which many refused to go onto the temple after graduation. But six months later, he was back. Why? A student leader had a very severely infected ankle. As they were saying goodbyes, Caleb dropped to his knees and started sucking the pus out of the student’s ankle and spitting it out. The school was stunned, but something amazing happened. The student said – “Teacher, I am seeing something…I am seeing something. Are you God? I am seeing God in you.”
No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us – 1 John 13:12
Read John 13:24-35 and 1 John 4:7-12
• Why is loving others so hard? What does Jesus and the Apostle John say about loving others in these passages?
• Share a time when you or someone you know was persecuted for their faith. What did you learn from that experience? Is there something that you (or they) would have done differently?
• Reflect upon a time when you saw someone who sacrificed for others, when you “saw God in them.” What was the sacrifice? How was God honored? How could you apply that lesson in your life?
• How can your DNA group pray for you?