This sermon was preached by my Dad, Jerry Trammell on 9/19/2004. It is entitled, “Love.” I’m doing a series based somewhat on three sermons that he preached, this being of them. I will give his version now, my version, Lord willing, next week.
1 Peter 1:21-2:3
1 Peter 1:21-25 NLT – 21 Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory. 22 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart. 23 For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. 24 As the Scriptures say,“People are like grass;their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. 25 But the word of the Lord remains forever.” And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.
1 Peter 2:1-3 NLT – 1 So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. 2 Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, 3 now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.
INTRO: I want to draw your attention to verse 22 of my text. Here Peter says, “Now you can have sincere love for each other as brothers and sisters because you were cleansed from your sins when you accepted the truth of the Good News. So see to it that you really do love each other intensely with all your hearts.”
What a tremendous statement and admonition Peter gives here in this verse. He in essence is letting us know that we cannot love like we should without knowing the Lord Jesus Christ. He, in this verse, is letting us know that the ability to love others sincerely comes as a result of accepting the Good News of the Gospel, which is that Jesus Christ is both Savior and Lord. And through that acceptance we have come to know the great lover of our souls, and we have the ability to love others, with an “intense love with all our hearts.”
For a few moments I want to preach to you from the subject of, “Love.”
1. I believe that my text clearly reveals that the basis of our love is found in Christ.
The love that Peter is talking about here in my text is not a natural love, it is a supernatural love that comes as a result of knowing Him who is love. The ability to love others, as we should, comes because His love has been shed abroad within our hearts. If your love is prejudiced where you love those that you click with, but do not love those you don’t click with, then I question how deeply your experience in Christ actually goes. If you are this way, then your love is more of a fleshly nature than it is of a divine nature.
I read a story not long ago about a woman who was in a serious automobile accident. She had suffered several broken bones, as well as severe burns over two-thirds of her body, because the car she was driving had exploded into flames on impact. She was scarred over much of her body. Before the accident, she had been a very beautiful woman, but now she was disfigured because of her scars. During this ordeal, while she was still in the hospital her husband walked out on her. She gave this testimony. She said, “her husband walked into the hospital room and just stared at her for a long time, and then uttered, ‘Your not the woman I married”‘. She said he left, divorced her and shortly afterward he married someone younger, and more beautiful.
That is a sad story. I believe it was obvious that her husband’s love was based strictly on the carnal and fleshly nature. His love didn’t go very deep.
Human love says, “As long as you stimulate me, as long as I can be proud of you, as long as you’re beautiful, I will love you. But if you change, my love for you changes.”
Oh, Church, that’s not the kind of love that Christians are to have toward one another. Our love is not to be based on the carnal, as Christians, our love should emanate from Christ within us.
1 John 4:8,16 states, “God is love.” It was God’s love that sent His only Son to die for us on a cruel rugged cross. It is His love that found a way to redeem us. It is the love Christ had for us that caused Him to humble Himself to give His life. It was God’s love that raised Him from the dead, and it will be God’s love that will raise us up to live with Him forever. And church, it should be no surprise to us that when He lives within us that He calls upon us to love others even as He loves them. After all, it is He who is loving through us. And if that love is not there, then something is wrong with our relationship with Him.
It is impossible to love sincerely and deeply until we discover the fountain of love that is found only in Him. It’s sad, but to often people in this world, including Christians, love on the basis of what they see rather than on the basis of the Lord’s presence in their lives. How tragic it is when someone accepts Christ, and through that acceptance receives within themselves the very power of God’s love, but yet they choose to treat others in a manner that is not worthy of God’s love. We need to realize that the love of God is not born of perishable seed, but of imperishable.
Peter, in my text, encourages us to, “rid ourselves of all malicious behavior and deceit.” He said, “Don’t just pretend to be good! Be done with hypocrisy and jealousy and backstabbing.”
Listen friend, God grants us the provision of His love, but we are responsible for the exercise of it. When we come to know Christ the love of Christ is shed abroad in our hearts, but then it is up to us to exercise what He has so freely given to us.
I think sometimes Christians are afraid to allow the love of Christ to flow through them to others like they should for fear that someone may hurt them by taking advantage of them. But the truth is you can never lose by loving like God loves.
Mother Teresa once said, “I have found a paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no more hurt, but only more love.”
Its in expressing God’s love that we are able to experience deeply the heart of God. Oh, there are times when others will take advantage of the love that we show them. There will be times when we will get hurt because we have tried to love unconditionally like Christ does. But while we may experience some pain when others hurt us, if we will just keep loving them, in the end we will have the ultimate joy of knowing we have been a channel of God’s love as well as the recipient of it, and that will mitigate any pain we may go through because of being made vulnerable because of the love we show.
2. Church, realize because we are recipients of Christ’s love, we have been called and commanded to love like He does.
The second commandment is, “love your neighbor as yourself.” In John 13:34 Jesus said, “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” In Matthew 5:44-48, Jesus said, “Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He send rain on the just and on the unjust, too. If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
As Christians, you and I are called to love like Christ Himself loves. Have you done this? Are you exercising the love that you received when you accepted Him? I wonder how many churches and Christians have ruined the testimony of God’s power and His love by their constant bickering, and gossip, and their unforgiveness toward one another.
CONCL: Because Christ dwells on the inside of us, we now have the ability to have, “sincere love for each other as brothers and sisters because we were cleaned from our sins when we accepted the truth of the Good News. So let’s see to it that we really do love each other intensely with all our hearts,” like we should.