Introduction:If I were to ask you each individually to give me a verse that concerns love, some may say First Corinthians 13, but most would even quote me John 3:16. That is American Christianity’s verse. We love to hear that God loves us. We see bumper stickers, billboards, signs, and car tags all around us telling us such. For the sake of the discussion, let’s all turn in our Bibles to John 3:16 and read together. I will be reading the NKJV which is in your pews. Let us also read verse 17.
Most, if not all of us, know John 3:16 and even 17 but do you know 1 John 3:16 and 17?
That will be our focal text this morning.
READ SCRIPTURE- This is the Word of God
Point 1: Best Translation is “Soul”
A. "Psuchay" Can be translated life but life is only part of the soul
B. Examples of "Psuchay"
a. Matthew 22:37 “all your soul” same word
b. Matthew 26:38 “my soul is sorrowful” same word
c. John 12:27 “my soul” same word used by John
Connective: Now we have set our standard for the best translation, but what exactly does the soul mean? Have you ever really thought of a definition of the soul?
Point 2: Definition of Soul
A. Psalm 103:1 “All that is within me”
B. Rational Self – Emotive Self – Sensate Self = Soul = All that is within me
a. It is the vital force that animates the body.
b. It is that place where life is found.
c. The home of the feelings, desires, affections, and dislikes. “The Inner Person.”
C. It is where pain is registered, memories are stored, annoyance is experienced, and where worry is contemplated. Inconvenience is of the soul and sacrifice is known in the soul.
D. Examples of Jesus registering in the soul:
a. (Matt 22:37) Remember Jesus said, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death.”
He registered this sorrow in His soul.
b. (John 12:27) Jesus said, “Now my soul is troubled.”
He registered trouble in His soul.
Connective: The soul is “all that is within” an individual. It is where all things are registered. Now let us first think of the American soul and then contrast it with the soul of a Christian, one who believes in the suffering of Christ.
Point 3: The American Soul
A. The soul desires pleasure, rest, and ease.
B. We have been conditioned to require convenience in every situation.
C. What did you all think about losing your power? We were very inconvenienced and we simply did not like it. We have complained and some, I’m sure, even went to drastic measures.
Connective: We have become accustomed to convenience, but is that what Christ would desire of us? Is that what Christ would demand of us?
Point 4: The Christian Soul
A. Scripture calls for us to lay down our souls for the brethren
= a life of grievance inconvenience in behalf of the church, death if needed.
B. How could we Repay God?
a. Shouldn’t 1 John 3:16 say, “By this we know love- that He laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for Him”? And shouldn’t 1 John 4:11 say, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love Him in return”? That would be the logic, but yet that is not what the Scripture says. There is a reason- 1 John 4:12 “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.”
How could we repay Him?
1. 1 John 4:12 No one has ever seen God.
2. Acts 17:24 God needs nothing.
b. And the rule of “Mutual Exchange” or “Reciprocation” requires that we repay in some way. Since no one has ever seen God and God needs nothing we must therefore love our brethren in return to God according to His command.
C. Paul explains his “laying down his soul” in 2 Corinthians 11. READ
He became sin who knew no sin.
The Father considered the soul of Christ to be the soul of all humanity.
The meaning of love is found only in Christ. It was His soul that experienced all of the wrath of God. It was His soul that bore all of our sins. Love is the unconditional acceptance of others.
John 15:12-13 Jesus says, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
If we are unwilling to sacrifice material goods for our brethren in their time of need then we are definitely not willing to lay down our souls for them and therefore the love of God is not in us.
As for my comments on verse 17: Love demands simple acts…
“He laid down His soul for us and we ought to lay down our souls for the brethren.”