Family service - 1 John 3:16-24

This is a family service talk by Heather Payne from the morning service on 7th February 2010.

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Family Service Feb 10

1 John 3:16-24

(PIC of heart)

What do we love? And how do we show it?

Think of the people or things in your life that you love and how you show that you love them? (Discuss with the people around you…)

Feedback (handheld mic)

Love is shown in our actions. It is all very well to say that you love something, but unless you show it, it doesn’t mean anything. I could say that I love Hull City, but if you know that I’ve never been to a Hull City match, worn a Hull City scarf or even bothered to look up where they are in the league, would you say that I love Hull City?

You would expect someone who really does love Hull City to show it in their actions, and go to the matches and wear the shirt etc.

When my baby niece was born, dad was so proud and loved her so much that he took a photo into the shop and got it printed onto a t shirt, so he could show everyone!

(Refer back to puppets and how Matt said he loved Pippa, but didn’t show it, so she couldn’t believe him)

In the examples you gave just now, we saw lots of ways in which you showed your love, to back up your words.

In the same way, God could say he loved us, but unless he showed us that he did, it wouldn’t mean anything.

But the brilliant thing is, that God has shown us!! Does anyone know how…? That’s right – in the famous words of John 3:16 that we sang just now, we see that “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son...” (PIC of manger/baby)

That was the greatest act of love the world has ever seen!

Because he sent his Son Jesus to earth for a reason. His mission was to bring people like you and me forgiveness and friendship with God.

He did this through dying on the cross (PIC) and taking the punishment our sin deserves, on himself. He literally laid down his life so that people who believe in him can be forgiven and be friends with God now and forever.

That’s what we read in verse 16 of our Bible reading today which comes from the disciple John’s first letter and which you can find on p… . (PIC)

 16This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.

So our first important thing to note is that God has shown his love for us by sending his Son Jesus. And that was the greatest, most astounding love anyone has ever shown. God himself dying so we can be forgiven.

If this is something you don’t believe can I encourage you to think about it?...

Other of us might be quite happy with this Bible verse so far: 16This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. We think yes, I know that and believe it, so I’m forgiven and can be God’s friend. Everything’s great!

But the verse doesn’t end there does it. It carries on: 16This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

What? Give up my life for other people who believe in Jesus?

That’s seems a bit much doesn’t it?

But if we really believe in what Jesus did and think it’s true, it will radically change the way we behave. Laying down our lives means putting our own interests aside and putting others before ourselves.


(VIP to NIP illustration on paper and camera)

We’ve already seen that real love shows itself in action,

So we are to love each other with actions; as John says in v18 (PIC)18Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

We’re to back up what we say we believe about Jesus by showing it in our love and care for one another.

Not easy.

We might not all like each other! But if that’s the case we have to ask God to change our hearts so that we can show love and care to even the people we don’t like much! 

And showing love to others isn’t just a good idea – God actually commands us to do it. And we see in V 23 what this command is:


(PIC) and hold up Explorers poster: This is God’s command: to believe in his Son Jesus and to love one another.

V24 tells us that God gives his Holy Spirit to those who believe in his Son. The Holy Spirit will change our hearts and instead of putting ourselves first, we will put God first and his commands.

But don’t expect it to be easy – remember (PIC)Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

Showing love for others is costly – not necessarily in terms of money, though that might be the case, but it may cost us in other ways. (PIC)

Time: giving up time to spend with people, Hospitality: allowing others into your home, Reputation: losing regard by associating with certain people,

Give actual egs.

So how will we show love to others this week? Maybe that’s something you can discuss and think about later.

But we know we don’t, and won’t, always get it right. (PIC of red cross)

Because of our selfish hearts we keep on loving ourselves more than others. When this happens, our hearts can condemn us, as John puts it. We can think things like, “Am I really a Christian? Judging by what I’ve just said / done / not done, I feel like I’ve failed.”

When that happens we have to come back to the facts:

(PIC) Did Jesus die for perfect people? No – he died for sinners.

(PIC) Is this failure too big for Jesus to forgive? – No - we can be forgiven for all the times we mess up.

John writes earlier in his letter that “if we confess our sins, that is, say we’re sorry for them, God is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins…”

If we think he can’t forgive us, we are making ourselves out to be greater than God. But v20 says:

(PIC) For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

So rather than trying to pretend it didn’t happen, if we admit the truth to God and ask him to forgive us, he will do this.

Then we get on with doing what God has told to do, which is – v23 –(PIC of poster again) to believe in his Son Jesus and to love one another.

So let’s help one another to do this.

Remember (PIC) saving faith acts.

If we do believe in Jesus, let’s be showing through our loving actions, that we have a king called Jesus.


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