17th January 2024
Read - (1 John 3:16-20 focus v17-18)
Message (Alan Burke)
Did you hear how ‘Sir Howard Davies’ and if you’re not sure who he is, he’s the Chair of NatWest and he said that it’s “Not that difficult to buy a home”. Ok I know that he makes pennies compared to most people with his experience but the amount that he earns is mind boggling when compared to the median household income in Northern Ireland. According to the NI Executive figures for 21/22 that was £28,939 and Sir Howard earns £750,000 a year, that is almost 26 times more and of course buying a house on that kind of money isn’t going to be a problem. There are many days I deal with people who if they were given just 0.1% of Sir Howard’s salary that is £750 it would be life changing.
There is a reason why I start like this, but before we get into that remember what we ere told in v16, how we know what love is because of Christ Jesus and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. The thing is for most of us we are not going have to lay down our lives unless NI goes to the dogs even more than it has but what is being emphasised is that we are to love in a way that will be sacrificial, just as our saviour Jesus Christ showed a self a self giving, sacrificial love we to are to show that love in our lives, it is a love that transforms us, from death to life, from hatred to love a love that means we give up our self will, our self interest, the times when it is costly, the countless little opportunities that we have.
As John continues he builds on this by speaking of how that sacrificial love will be seen and says; ‘If anyone has material possessions'. We all have material possessions that are much more than the shirt on our backs and if we have material possessions and see our brothers in need but have not pity on him the question is how can the love of God be in him. But the opposite is true, that if we have material possessions and see our bothers in need and have pity on him then the love of God is in us. What this means is that where we can in the opportunities that are presented to us by God that we do not ignore the needs of others.
There is an emphasis for the church among those who are within it to show love by acts of mercy, in practical ways, where there is need. We all play a part in this as individuals but also as the church. Where there is need if we can we are to help and to show the love of God here in this place, that love is to be giving up of our self will, self interest, there is times that it will be costly and it will hit is where it hurts the most, in our pockets and it is the task of us as individuals as well as a congregation to do show mercy as necessary, often done quietly without the left hand knowing what the right hand is doing. For us as individuals is there someone who is amongst us that we see that there is a need, where we know we can help, that we could made a difference in that persons life. Are we willing to help our brothers and sisters, using our finances for the benefit of others, those things that we fill our houses with that we no longer need.
What makes this so hard for us to do is that we have bought into the lie that is sold to us by this world, by advertisers, by this western materialistic society that what we have will make us happy but it wont, instead we should be those who are seeking to invest in eternity, how can we give up those things we do not need to provide for believer who lack, who are struggling.We are to be a people who love not only when it is easy but when it is hard, when it is costly. Loving those who love us is easy, when it is reciprocal it knows little cost to us but we are to be those who love no matter how we are responded to, we are to love our brothers and sisters. Sir Howard might be out of touch with reality and earn a measly £750,000 but I know the reality for many is a struggle and in the Church for our brothers and sisters we should be those who love one another as we have been loved and that will be seen in our lives.
Q 44 What doth the preface to the ten commandments teach us?
The preface to the ten commandments teacheth us, That because God is the Lord, and our God, and Redeemer, therefore we are bound to keep all his commandments. (Luke 1:74–75, 1 Pet. 1:15–18)