Love God By Loving Our Neighbour
22/23 MAY 2021 | ALDERSGATE WEEKEND | TRADITIONAL AND PRAYER & PRAISE SERVICES
Bishop Dr Gordon Wong
Scripture Passage: 1 John 4:16-21 (NIV)
WATCH | SERMON (VIDEO)
READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary | John Wesley described a Methodist as one who embraces all common fundamental principles of Christianity. He renounced all other marks of distinction between a Methodist and other Christians who are true disciples of Jesus Christ. A disciple of Jesus is one who is committed to what Jesus says is the greatest commandment – love God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and to love your neighbour as yourself (Mt 22:37-39). All teachings of the Word should contain love towards God and mankind.
At their ordination, Methodist pastors are to take this vow to love God and their neighbours and go on to perfection. To John Wesley, perfection means to have the love of God and neighbour ruling our tempers and action. This vow should extend to all Methodists/Christians who want to follow the example of Jesus.
Love is also the central theme in the apostle John’s teaching. 1 Jn 4:20-21 states “ For anyone who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen…whoever loves God must also love his brother.” Jesus teaches that the second commandment to love your neighbour is like the first which is to love God (Mt 22:37-39). This means both are just as important. To love God is equivalent to loving our neighbour.
Paul sums up the entire law in a single command - love your neighbour as yourself (Gal 5:14). Paul stressed the practical aspect of loving God (who is invisible) by loving our neighbour (1 Jn 4:12,20).
All the above are summarised in the sermon title “Love God by loving your neighbour”.
Our motivation for loving is not fear of punishment since perfect love drives out fear (1 Jn 4:18). We love freely because God first loves us. Through John Wesley’s heart-warming experience, he has the assurance of God’s love which he could trust for his salvation and forgiveness of sins. The apostle John affirms that we know and rely on God’s love for us (1 Jn 4:16). We can love our neighbours freely without wondering whether we have done enough to be saved.
- Love God by loving our neighbour (1 Jn 4:20-21)
- Love without fear of punishment (1 Jn 4:17-18)
- Love out of God’s love inside us (1 Jn 4:,12,16,19)
When our hearts are strangely warmed, we can believe and rely on God’s love to spread outwardly to love our neighbours. We love God not just individually but also as a group. For example, go as a small group to visit nursing homes or foster homes. We can encourage and support one another in caregiving.
May we love God by loving our neighbour out of the love of God inside us.
(Sermon Notes by Woo Choi Yin)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
1. According to John Wesley, what is the character of a Methodist? In your own words, what does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ?
2. Read the scripture text (1 John 4:16-21). Having heard the sermon, what stood out for you as you read these scripture verses again?
3. As Methodists and as disciples for Christ, let us show perfect love:
“Loving God by loving our neighbour, not loving out of fear of God’s judgement, to love out of love of God Inside us.”
- Share what these 3 points mean to you personally?
4. “Let’s love God together by loving our neighbour together.”
- How can you show such perfect love?
- Name 2 ways you aim to do so.
- What is 1 way your small group / ministry group can do to be loving our neighbour together?
- Take time to pray for each other and commit your plans to God in prayers.