We live in a time when it is easier to stay in touch, but people are still starving for a personal touch.What’s the solution to our increasing loneliness? A loving relationship with Jesus and through Him a loving relationship with one another. Jesus invites us to follow Him and belong to His family. In the gospel of John, Christ gave a new commandment to His disciples to love one another just as He loved them, demonstrating their heart for each other. As His disciples, we can follow Christ’s new commandment and have a heart for each other.
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Thanks for listening to the podcast from gary combs in the preaching team at wilson community church in wilson, north carolina. Check us out on the web at wccnc.org for more and now here’s the sermon.
All right, good morning. We’re continuing this series entitled heart how heart change leads to world change and we’re in part two of the series today and in this three week series we’re really unpacking the character traits of what a disciple, the kind of disciple that christ wants us to make, and we’re leaning heavily on the great commandment to do that. Last week, we talked about heart for god, and today we’ll be talking about heart for each other
some years ago, oh, when our church was just getting started, we did several weeks of bible study on what is the church and what is the purpose of the church, and we were renting a little space over on tarboro street called the Bowles office building, and we had some rooms there, and, well , we’re on these bible studies every week we would look up another verse, and there are literally hundreds of verses about the church in the new testament. Every time we found a verse, we would talk about it, and we would put it on a white sheet and when the sheet was full, we would tear it off and tape it to the wall. By the end of this bible study, the whole room was papered in answering the question, what is the church, and what is its purpose and so forth? There were just so many verses. But what we found out was in this lengthy study there are really two passages summarized all the other verses of what’s the purpose of the church, what is the church? And they are called the great commission
in the great commandment both of these coming from the voice of jesus the great commission, where jesus was talking to his disciples, and matthew chapter twenty eighty said, go therefore, and make disciples make disciples of all nations , baptizing them in name of the father, and of the son of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all that i’ve commanded you. And behold, i am with you always to the end of the age that’s the great commission.
And then the great commandment is we’ve been following in mark these past two weeks mark, chapter twelve and you shall love the lord your god, with all your heart with all your soul, all your mind, all your strength, and the second is this you shall love your neighbor as yourself, there is no other commandment greater than these. So the great commission, the great commandment it’s a good summary of what is the church and what’s that supposed to be about what’s the purpose of the church and so our purpose statement here at wcc comes out of those two great scriptural passages and a purpose statement explains why your church or why anything exists but in this case answers the question why the church exists
Wilson community church exists to make disciples of jesus christ where’s that come from the great commission who have a growing heart for god, expressed in passionate worship and generous giving. We talked about that last week. This week we’ll talk about the second feature heart for each other expressed in authentic fellowship and devoted discipleship. Next week we’ll talk about this third character trait a heart for our world expressed in intentional evangelism and sacrificial service
A sort of way for you to remember this. And i want every member to be able to say this if somebody says, hey what’s what’s unique about your church what’s your church about say well, wcc exists to make disciples of jesus christ who have a heart for god heart for each other and a heart for the world that’s easy to remember, right, but more than that it’s something that we’re called to do it’s good to remember but more importantly it’s good it’s even better to do it.
So last week, as we said, we focused on having a heart for god. This week we’ll focus on that second quality of disciple that christ would have us make disciples who have a heart for each other now we live in a time when it’s easier than in any other time to stay in touch wouldn’t you agree? It’s easy to stay in touch but surprisingly we are starving for a personal touch. So with all the social media and all those smartphones and everything, we have easier ways to stay in touch but we’re feeling more alone.
Rebecca harris in her article the loneliness epidemic says this modern life is making us lonelier, and recent research indicates that this may be the next biggest public health issue on par with obesity and substance abuse. A recent review of studies indicates that loneliness increases mortality risk by twenty six percent. Social pain is as real a sensation for us as physical pain and research has shown loneliness impacts our health in a greater way than smoking or obesity we were made for relationship and loneliness contributes greatly to the level of health that we have in our lives here’s the problem though it’s not getting better were becoming more and more lonely
in her article in psychology today caroline beaton says this we’re getting lonelier a recent survey found that the number of americans with no close friends has tripled since nineteen eighty five zero is the most common number of confidants reported by almost a quarter of those surveyed. In other words, twenty five percent of people surveyed when they are asked, who do you confide in who’s, your close friend? How many close friends they said, zero i don’t have anybody i don’t have anybody. Likewise, the average number of people americans feel they can talk to about important matters has fallen from three to two since nineteen eighty five. So in nineteen, eighty five americans responded, i have three people that i can trust with important matters in my life. And now those who have those kind of friends say, i have two people like that what’s the solution to our increasing loneliness, what’s the solution, i believe it’s christ, i believe it’s jesus,
i think one of the main reasons we are so lonely is that we don’t have a relationship with god we are separated from god , and we were made for him. We were made to be in a relationship with god and here’s what i see as i look at the scripture that if we get that vertical relationship right, so that we’re right with god through jesus, because jesus makes us right with the father. If we’re right with him then he gives us a new heart so that we want to be right in our horizontal relationships with each other and so that’s what we’re going to be talking about today how christ wants us to have that right vertical relationship so we have a heart for god
we started talking about that last week and now we’re going to lean more into having that heart for god now he wants us to have a heart for each other we’re going to be looking at john chapter thirteen today looking at a new commandment now last week we focused on the great commandment and all three of the previous gospels matthew mark and luke they all talk about the great commandment but uniquely in the book of john we find him talking about a new commitment because jesus told his disciples i want you to love one another as i have loved you and i believe this morning we can have that kind of love we can have that kind of heart for each other that only christ can give
as we look at the text today i think we’ll discover three steps on how to have that kind of heart for each other so let me read the text it’s in john chapter thirteen just a couple of verses and by the way the setting here is significant this is the night of the last supper and it’s the night before jesus would would be taken to that kangaroo court, where he would be sent to the cross, and crucified and buried in the next twenty four hours. So just picture it like that, that this is so important to jesus, that these are among his last words to his disciples before he was crucified a new commandment i give to you that you love one another, just as i have loved you, you also are to love one another by this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you love if you have love for one another and this is god’s work amen
looking for three steps on how to have a heart for each other here’s the first step, receive a new heart, receive a new heart from christ in order have this ability to keep this new commandment we need a new heart to do it you want to do the new commandment gotta have a new heart takes a new heart to keep the new commandment now what’s new about this commandment. Then we study last week that that the lord had said, the great commandment is to love god with all your heart also, you might know, strengthen the second is like unto it, love your neighbor as yourself, what’s new about this i mean, after all you go back to leviticus and there it is in the book of leviticus chapter nineteen you shall love your neighbor as yourself i am the lord and then jesus as we’ve mentioned last week says you shall love your neighbor as yourself what’s new about the new commandment oh it’s new it has a new focus and it has a new dynamic and a new character because instead of saying love your neighbor as much as you love yourself he says love one another as much as i have loved you that’s new that’s new as a new focus and a new quality for love the focus is new in that it’s not just any neighbor not just anybody but one another now
who’s one another it’s people who have a new heart people who are christ followers that’s your one anothers, your one anothers are the one anothers seated around you we hope that the people here by and large although we might have and we hope we have people who are here seeking the lord today and before this service is over today i believe that if you’ll say yes to jesus you’ll get a new heart today we want you to have a new heart jesus wants you to have a new heart but the one anothers are for the people seated in this room people who have a new heart so that’s the new focus love one another
and then the new quality as i’ve loved you that’s the new quality that’s more than you love yourself love others as i have loved you that’s new that’s brand new here it’s no accident that this is the night before the night before he was betrayed and crucified he is saying i love you this much he goes watch this as they crucify this was how much i love you i love you this much like this is how i want you to love one another if we think about the quality trait of this love we would first look at the verb agape because that’s what he says agape one another as i have agaped paid you now i got basic greek words some of you look at me like i’ve never seen that word i heard that word well it’s a greek word and it speaks to a specific kind of love the greeks were more specific in their language than we are in the english language we throw the word love around at everything i love my dog love chocolate and i love my wife and i look we love all kind of things and we just got that one word that we overly exercise but the greeks were more precise they had the word eros which is where we get the word erotic which means sensual love the word phileo which is conditional love it’s where we get the name for the city of philadelphia brotherly love but it’s a conditional kind of love you because you’re pretty i love you because you’re my brother i love you because you’re it’s it’s based on the condition that could change and then my love would change because the condition has changed that’s phileo and that’s really the highest form of love that the world can achieve absent christ but agape is god’s kind of love god it’s unconditional love it’s the kind of love that says instead of saying i love you because of it says i love you in spite of i love you warts and all because christ has poured out his kind of love into my heart he’s given me a new heart and now i have that kind of love the love of god for one another
now listen when you put christ first in your heart and you give him your first place of love so that you love him above all material things but also above your girlfriend your boyfriend your spouse your children how can i do that? here’s how if you give him first place it’s like when he gives you that new heart he gives you a bigger heart it’s expanded so there’s room to love others there’s room to love and even the love you have for your family will be greater than you ever have before.just as i’ve loved you now how has christ loved? Well, first of all, he loved incarnationally that’s a theological word that means in the flesh. In other words, he didn’t love us from a distance he didn’t call down from heaven shouting hey, i love you all i hope you’re all doing okay down there now. He didn’t do it like that here’s what he did. He was born unto the virgin mary. And he grew up and walked the dusty streets of this world. And he took on our sin and our shame, and our suffering. He became one of us he loved us incarnationally and he loved us relationally he spent time with his disciples.
He called them not to follow a philosophy or a religion but he says, come follow me, follow me personally here’s the most significant part of his love that i want to touch on right now this quality of his love of sacrificial he died for us he died in their place that’s the part you know he talked about this before and john chapter fifteen he says this is my commandment that you love one another as i have loved you greater love has no one than this that someone laid down his life for his friends he’s given them a tip right there how about the lay my life down for you and i want you to love one another with that kind of love sacrificial love that’s the kind of love he’s talking about but there’s there’s no way that we can love like jesus loves with a new heart we need a new heart
we talked about this last week jeremiah told us we have to admit that the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked who can know it which you admit that you see before you can get a new heart you have to admit that you need one my heart i’m a sinner i don’t have the kind of love that jesus is talking about in my heart so you have to confess that you see god wants to give you a new heart god spoke to you ezekiel he said this i will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you he wants to do that he wants to give you a new heart how how do you get it how do you get this heart transplant this new heart this heart filled with agape love well peter writes about it he says is in your hearts set apart christ as lord what does that mean it means to say look jesus here i am i want you to be lord of my life i want you to be master if you’re not accustomed to using lord master i want you to be boss i want you to be the pilot i want you to be in charge i give you everything i give you all that i am you get first place on the throne the control center of my life you know what he’ll do to give you a new heart he’ll give you a new heart a new identity born again in him that’s what he wants to do this is a wonderful kind of love it’s an amazing love
i’m reminded of the lyrics from a chris tomlin song i’m forgiven because you were forsaken i’m accepted you were condemned i’m alive and well your spirit is within me because you died and rose again amazing love how can it be that you my king would die for me amazing love i know it’s true and it’s my joy to honor you you are my king jesus you are my king what wonderful lyrics what what amazing love he has you see in his sacrificial mission his sacrificial love expressed he gave his life for us have you made jesus your king ?
I believe that there are people here this morning that are here checking out the claims of god you’re thinking about it i don’t know if someone invited you or it’s just it may be one of your children said you know they had a question about god or something maybe you googled us online and you want to try that church out maybe that maybe they’ll scratch that itch that i feel today i don’t know what you’re going through but i know this we all need jesus we need this new heart he made us for himself and so we have this mission statement i’ve told you the purpose statement the purpose taped statement explains why we exist we exist to make disciples who have a heart for god, heart for each other and heart for our world but what’s our mission statement our mission statement describes who were after and what we offer those that were after who is jesus after he says i’ve come to seek and to save those which were lost? What did he say about his shepherding style? He says i’ll leave the ninety nine to go after the one maybe you’re the one today are you the one so that our mission statement focuses on that come as you are and be forever changed by the love of jesus that’s our mission statement come as you are and be forever changed by the love of Jesus come as you are church but not just that come as you are and be forever changed church by the love of jesus church that’s the kind of church we are so it’s going to be a little messy around here people it’s going to be a little chaotic because the rich and the poor are going to come together the black and the white and the red the yellow are going to come together the old and the young are going to come together those that have broken marriages and broken hearts and on and broken homes and those that are struggling with addictions and those that have just got out of jail and those who have recently been or still are homeless come on, come on in. Come as you are it’s gonna be messy but there’s no requirement that you need to pre clean up yourself before you come in here. Come on in but no apologies. We want to see you with a new heart we want to see you be forever changed by the love of jesus amen and that’s the kind of church we are and that we want to continue being more and more and more now if you’re unsure what messy and chaotic looks like show up next week for KidzFest and you will no longer misunderstand what i mean by that. that’s the kind of church we want to be
have you made jesus your king setting him above all others in your heart? That’s how you get a new heart and so you receive a new heart
secondly, as a result of having a new heart, he wants you to belong to a new family, and christ belonged to a new family. You can’t keep the new commandment without a new heart, and you can’t keep the new commandment without someone and others to practice on. So you need to belong to the one anothers. Now there’s a bunch of one anothers i’m getting to that you belong to a new family, he says. I want you to practice this new commitment on your new family on the one anothers if god says something once it’s important, don’t you agree? We have to listen to everything he says once. If he says it twice, we should underline it and pay particular attention, but if in two versus he says the same thing three times, he probably really, really, really, really means it because in these two verses, he says, love one another three times. Love one another as i have loved you love one another and by this people will know that you are my disciples because you love one another he said it three times he really means it now i was looking it up and i saw that one another occurs in the bible over one hundred some two hundred times i lost count so then i asked somebody how many times does it occur in the new testament and they said fifty six so you can check it out i’m not sure if it’s fifty six then i thought, well, maybe somebody else has counted so i went with that i hope it’s fifty six because that’s what i told you it’s at least fifty six in the new testament but you can’t practice the one anothers unless you have a new heart and unless you belong to a new family that you can practice it with because the one anothers are one anothers with new hearts so that you can practice this new love of christ on one another
the bible’s not satisfied just to leave it to you to figure out what it means to love one another as christ has loved you but tells you all kinds of ways that you can love one another so now let’s go through those fifty six are you ready no maybe not all fifty six, but let me give you a taste.
Romans twelve sixteen live in harmony with one another romans fifteen seven therefore welcome one another as christ has welcomed you second corinthians thirteen eleven comfort one another agree with one another live in peace galatians five thirteen to love serve one another ephesians four thirty to be kind to one another tenderhearted, forgiving one another as god in christ forgave use first thessalonians five eleven therefore encourage one another and build one another up wegot a twofer out of that one james five sixteen therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for one another. Another twofer right there first peter one twenty to love one another earnestly from a pure heart from a new heart first. First peter four nine show hospitality to one another without grumbling. And when you show hospitality to one another, don’t grumbling Well, i guess now i have to do this now show hospitality without grumbling there’s a whole bunch more, but you can’t practice any of them without one another for that person. Maybe it’s been you recently, who says, i don’t really feel like i need to go to church and be part of that you know that i can praise jesus and worship him with my podcasts and my own worship music, you know i can sit at home, i can watch pastor gary he’s got that online now i can lay in my bed watching between my sock feet. Yeah, but you can’t obey the one anothers we put the podcast there because maybe you were sick or maybe you’re out of town or maybe here you’ll share it with someone far from god it’s not there so you can skip church because the church is not the steeple of the church it is the people and the people that follow god are the one another’s you’re supposed to be loving, we’re supposed to be loving and we can’t do it unless we hang out with one another it’s true.
And what about them hypocrites you say? Well, you’re hypocrite too, so go join the club if you find a perfect church, don’t join it, you’ll mess it up. Peter probably said this it’s not in the bible, he probably said he said he probably said something like lord jesus, i’m happy to follow you, but do i have to hang out with james and john? I’ve been having a fit with those boys ever since i was young, i’m sick of them and i don’t know if he said that or not, but we say stuff like that if you’re going to follow jesus, they’ve gotta hang out with you you gotta hang out with the simon the zealot who won’t stop posting stuff on facebook about politics you can’t practice the one anothers without being together love one another just as i have loved you and i’ve loved you sacrificially and i have loved you relationally I came to be with you
romans twelve ten love one another with brotherly affection outdo one another in showing honor okay so we’re gonna have a competition it’s called the outdo one another and showing honor competition no you please you go first. In first service i couldn’t remember the little furry creatures in the cartoon you know somebody carried it up to me and told me because i forgot again chip and dale remember chip and dale that cartoon to look now after you no please you go first you know that’s very biblical we should outdo one another in honoring one another
ephesians two nineteen says you’re no longer foreigners and outsiders but citizens together with god’s people and members of god’s family god wanted a family he sent jesus as his invitation that god god loves you and he wants you to love him back he wanted a family and he wants you to be his children and the only way to be part of this family’s to receive his son jesus who gave this sacrificial love this incarnational love because here’s what he did incarnation because what we mean is he took on our situation so he took our sin he took our separation from god and he took our death that’s what belonged to us he took that and on the cross he offers his righteousness his relationship with the father and his eternal life if that’s what he offers us the great exchange you can’t beat it there’s nothing like it he says i invite you into this i want you to be part of my family
i remember when my son stephen was saved and baptized and on the way home from church i remember looking in the rear view mirror which is how fathers who are driving cars look at their children he’s sitting back there he’s looking at me and i said son you’re no longer just my son from now on you are my brother you’re still my son but you’re also my brother and i started explain that to him he thought was so amazing that spiritually speaking now that he’s a member of god’s family that we’re not just father and son but we’re also brothers in christ hey brothers and sisters how you all doing you’re my one anothers you have to love me you don’t have to like me, but you have to love me and i have to love you because you’re my one another
if you’ve ever been on a mission trip to africa with me, you’ve heard me and my wife sing this at every church i’ll take a guitar, i’ll do it without a guitar right now, although it sounds so much better for having guitar beloved, let us love one another for love is of god and everyone that loveth is born of god and knoweth god, he that love not knoweth not god for god is love so beloved, let us love one another first, john four seven and eight you have a need to belong we have it in us but there’s a brokenness because many of us aren’t right with our father and as a result then we’re not right with others see because if you’re out of whack in your vertical, you’ll be out of whack in your horizontal but if you get that vertical right and then you get that new heart and you have this desire to be righting every other relationship
he that is reconciled us to himself now gives us the ministry of reconciliation so that we want to be right with everyone and we want them to be right with god and one another so here’s some ways to belong one get a new heart become a christ follower here’s a second way having done that get baptized put on the wedding ring because that’s what baptism is like it’s like saying i’ve said i do to jesus now i want the whole world to know what i have done join a community group we have community groups some churches call him other things small groups that meet in homes,
the book of acts says that the habit of the early church was they met from house to house and in the temple courts. And so this is our temple courts meeting during the week we have people meeting in houses all over wilson county in nash county and others we have people meeting at different houses, you need to be in one of those groups we sit knee to knee with a cup of coffee, we tell each other the truth and we learn scripture together and we sharpen one another, and where we practice the one anothers i invite you to look at your card if you’re not in a community group , express your interest and we’ll help you get connected so you can practice your one anothers if you haven’t joined our church if you’re from out of town, then pick one where you live that’s preaching the bible and be a joiner get in there use your gifts but if you are local and you’ve been attending here go to our next membership class sign up on the connection card attend the next membership class plug in man so that you can practice your one anothers now you don’t have to sing with me but you do have to love me and we have to love one another
here’s a third step follow a new focus with christ so get a new heart receive a new heart belong to a new family follow a new focus verse thirty five he says by this all people will know that you are my disciples that we love one another as christ loved us now we do all kinds of things to be open to visitors and we’ve got signs out in the cul-de-sac and and we’re on the website and all the stuff we’re letting people know to make it easy to come to church and letting people know about us . let me tell you this if we would fully embrace the idea of loving one another as christ loved us, we wouldn’t need to do that stuff in fact we could build a ten foot barbed wire topped fence around our church and people would be climbing over it to get in here if we fully embrace the idea of loving one another as christ has loved us because the world would say, i’ve never seen anything like that this kind of sacrificial incarnation all relational and more than that this truth telling kind of love, where they love each other so much that we share the truth with each other you see that’s really love that’s tough love it’s not syrupy and and sweet no it’s tough and it’s strong love the kind of love that jesus, because jesus he died for us and he was relational and incarnational in his love toward us. But he also gave us his truth. He loved us enough to tell us the truth.
Look what it says in ephesians four fifteen we will speak the truth in love growing in every way more like christ, who is the head of his body, the church see, i think that talks about discipleship, that’s the kind of love that sharpens each other so we have a heart for each other we’re going to sharpen each other we’re going to sharpen each other with the truth
he says by this kind of love the world will know that you’re my followers, my disciples and you know, how are we to grow up in christ what’s god’s goal for your life that you grow up to become more like christ and what’s his method of doing that he gives you the holy spirit to do the work in you but he also gives you one another to sharpen you
the book of proverbs, it says as iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens another well, that doesn’t include what that looks like when sparks fly and cut from time to time and it hurts a little bit to get the rough edges rubbed off, but we need each other to stay at the table i know you get your feelings hurt from time to time, but don’t push away from the table, learn to stay at the table and practice the one anothers this is god’s plan to make you more like jesus in colossians three sixteen let the word of christ dwell in you richly teaching and admonishing one another we’re supposed to be discipling one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in our hearts to god there’s one verse right there in colossians three sixteen that you can’t practice alone at home you have to come together to do that to be obedient to that to sing songs and disciple one another we gotta have some one anothers around here hebrews ten twenty four says let us consider how to stir up one another man the bible is full of those to love and good works
remember earlier after the first song we recognized those who have completed the process that we call life on life discipleship in every case we had the person who had decided to invest in another person handing the certificate to the ones that they had invested in where did we get this idea from jesus that’s how he made disciples life on life not in a school room setting but one person with one person it in the way they need to hear it in their unique setting and not just the content but the love of relationship is the channel or the means of this this is us being obedient to second timothy 2:2 and the things you’ve heard me say in the presence of many witnesses and have entrusted to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others
what’s the purpose of the church make disciples what kind of disciples disciples who have a heart for god heart for each other and a heart for the world are you that person who has now received a new heart and as a result you belong to a new family would you accept the new focus of what god has for you he wants you to see the church is not over there somewhere and it’s you know i got but that’s not the church that church that’s just a cinder block there next to you this is just the building in fact it used to be a movie theater you’re the church we’re the church and what are we supposed to be doing making disciples first you’ve got to be a disciple to make a disciple but then once you’ve said yes to that you’re to be a disciple maker will you make a decision today to do that? what kind disciples are we making disciples who have a heart for each other how you are going to do that? You’ve gotta have a new heart you’ve got to receive jesus as your lord and savior he expands your love for others he gives you that agape love and then he makes you want to share his love with others he gives you a sense that you want to belong that you want to be a member with one another and then he makes you want to share it so that you have a new focus will you say yes? Will you say yes to this call that christ has for you when you love one another as christ has loved you
let’s pray lord first, i just want to thank you for jesus, father. Thank you for jesus. Thank you. That he came and and he demonstrated your love for us while we were still sinners he showed his love. He showed your love for us. It was an incarnation of love. A relational love. It was a discipling truth telling kind of love, a tough love, but yet a tender love lord, i pray for that person right now that that needs that wants that desires that the holy spirit is knocking on your heart’s door right now saying, let me in, i want to save you. Would you say yes to jesus right now, right here See, you don’t have to move but you do have to make a commitment to give your heart to christ. Would you do it right where you are?
Dear lord jesus , you pray with me right now as long as it’s your desire that you want to do this, that it’s faith that you’re placing christ dear lord jesus, i’m a sinner. I need a new heart. Would you come into my life right now? I believe that you died on the cross for my sin that you raised from the grave and live today come and live in me forgive me of my sin. Make me the kind of person you want me to be. Give me a new heart and make me a child of god. I want to be a member of god’s family. If you prayed that prayer right now, believing the lord will save you, who will give you a new heart, others are here and you have that you have that new heart. But you’ve been hurt by someone in the church or you’ve allowed yourself to get sideways with someone, and you’re having a hard time reconciling. Would you remember that we are called to an unconditional love? So would you remember right now that we’re called to forgive one another as god has forgiven us in christ jesus? Would you repent right now so that you can obey to love one another, commandments that are given to us that have a new heart we lift all this up to you now in jesus name Amen.