1 John 5:1-6

John 15:9-17

Love Is The Word

Easter 6  May 6 2018

 

            The Lord has risen!  Alleluia! He has risen indeed!

            During this Easter season we as a Church pay special attention to the resurrection of Christ and what it means for us as believers in our risen Lord and Savior. 

            What difference does it make in our lives that Christ has risen?

            What has changed in your liife because we believe in Christ — who died for your sins — yet rose again from the dead — offering you new life — a different way to live — a different way to feel about yourself — a different way to relate to others — a different way to relate to God?

            Christ has risen — and  it can make a tremendous difference in our lives — our families — our Church — our community — our world!

            Christ has risen — and our lives can be changed!

            Christ has risen — and our families can be changed!

            Christ has risen — and our Church can be changed!

            Christ has risen — and our community can be changed!

            Christ has risen — and the world can be changed!

            It can all happen — because Christ has risen!

            But — we have to let it happen! We have to let the risen Christ make a difference in our lives — then take the difference the risen Christ makes in us into the world.

            Christ has risen — and we can be His followers — His disciples. We can have a life-changing relationship with Him — let Him change our lives with his love —  then — we can go into the world and work to show His love to the world —  changing the world around us with the life-changing love of the risen Christ. 

            As a child I remember Dad coming home from work many days tired and weary.  Maybe he had been in the courtroom all day defending a client.  Or maybe he had been in his office all day trying to persuade couples who came to him for a divorce that they really can make their marriage work.  Or maybe he had been bogged down in paperwork all day. Whatever the reason — I can remember many nights him coming home — hoping that all was peaceful and he could take his mind off his work for a while — and — as he came in the door — he would look at Mom, myself, and my sisters and say: “What’s the good word?” What he wanted to hear was some good news — some words of love instead of antagonism. Most of the time one of us — and sometimes all 3 — would jump up — hug him — and say:“ I love you!” That’s the “good word” he would want to hear.

            You know — that word “love” is a powerful word. God’s love is so powerful that Jesus died — rose again — and reigns for us in heaven. God’s love is so powerful that it can change lives — it can change families — it can change churches — it can change communities — it can change the world.

“What’s the good word?” The “good word” is love. God’s love. God’s love that can change our lives — and can change the world. God’s love that promises us life here on earth that makes a difference — and life in heaven that is truly different.

            “What’s the good word?”  It seems like the world wants to know. There are so many people hurting — either physically or emotionally — who may be looking at us as a Church — a community of believers — and saying — “I hear you talk about the risen Christ — but what good has the risen Christ done for you — and what good can the risen Christ do for me?” It seems as if a weary world may be asking us the same question my Dad used to ask — “What’s the good word?” and hoping for the same answer my Dad hoped to hear

            The “good word” we have to share with the world is love. God’s love that can change lives.   Our love that shares that with the world. God’s love that promises a better life here on earth — and a blessed eternity in heaven. Our love that shares that with the world through our words and actions.

            What’s the good word? Love

            This word — love — is a simple word — and yet a hard one. It’s a small word — and yet — a big one. It’s easy to say the word — but is it easy to live it?  The world may be waiting to hear that word — love — but — how do we do it? How do we share it? How do we let the world know — and even experience — the life-changing love of God? How do we live our lives as individuals — and how do we structure our lives together as a church — so that we can all be ministers of our risen Lord — proclaiming His love to the world?

            Our Gospel and Epistle lessons for today can bring us to a new understanding of the love of Christ — the command of Christ to share His love with each other — and how we can share the love of God with the world.  The “good word” is love. The commandment of Christ is to share that “good word” with the world. But — there are 2 things you have to do.

            First — realize the “good word” is for you. The life – changing — future promising love of God is for you. Let it be yours. Let God — through Christ and the Holy Spirit — change your life.  Let your life be changed by the love of Christ.  Get to know the loving Christ — through prayer — through worship — through fellowship — through service — through getting involved in things that can make Christ real to you. Let God change your life.

Second — live your life as if your life has been changed. Get involved. Let people see the difference Christ has made in your life by the way you are involved with others.         Let people see the way Christ has changed you by the way you are involved with the Church — and involved with other ways that share the “good news” of Christ’s love with the world.

“What’s the good word?” God’s love

            Experience it

            Share it

            It’s much more than words. It means making a choice. Making a choice to love — even those you may not like. Making a choice to love — even those who infuriate you.

Making a choice to love — even those who take advantage of you. The love Jesus is speaking about here does have to involve our emotions.  We don’t like everybody.  Our emotional response to everyone is not love.  What Jesus is talking about here is choosing to love — even those we don’t particularly like. Our purpose as a Christian — a follower of our risen Lord — is to be a minister of love — showing His love to all people. And I’m not talking about simple acts of love here.  I’m talking about things that make us go out of our way to show Jesus’ love to others. 

            Jesus said: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life”

            In his New Testament translation The Message, Gene Peterson puts it this way: “This is the very best way to love — put your life on the line.

            Put your life on the line.       Love in ways that make you go out of your way —

whether its to work together with someone who may irritate you — or whether its to have patience and understanding for someone who may “rub you the wrong way” — or whether its to reach out with love to someone — even when you know you’ll never get something in return — or whether its taking time out a very busy day to do something for someone else.

            Christ not only commanded us to love — He also showed us how to love — and strengthens us to love.  Let Christ be your example.  Let Christ give you strength. 

            “What’s the good word?” God’s love. Make choice to experience it. Make the choice to share it. Make the choice to get involved. Make the choice to share the “good word” with the world. Amen.