The verse I want us to focus on today is found in 1 John 3:16: “This 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 would you and I sacrifice our lives for? Would concern of the unknown hold us back? Would fear of what might happen afterwards paralyze us? I am sure there are things for which people would give up their lives. Perhaps if our loved one, a child, our husband, or a parent were at risk, we might rush headfast into a dangerous situation and be willing to sacrifice our life.
But what about for strangers?
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German minister and theologian. During his life, Hitler was rapidly rising in power, becoming Chancellor and then President of Germany in August of 1934. As Hitler’s anti-Semitic rhetoric and actions intensified, so did the opposition of Bonhoeffer and a handful of other pastors, forming The Confessing Church. This church claimed allegiance to Jesus Christ above all else.
He tried hard to battle against Hitler’s evil ways with both religious action and moral persuasion, and when that didn’t work, Bonhoeffer joined the German Secret Service in order to serve as a “double agent”. Basically, he was supposed to be traveling around Europe collecting info about the places he visited when in reality he was helping to free Jews from the Nazi Oppression. In the end, he would soon be found out, sent to prison, and eventually hung with six other resisters in 1945. He was 39 years old. Before his passing, though, Bonhoeffer was a prolific writer and many of his works are still read today.
One of his quotes is;
“To be a Christian does not mean to be religious in a particular way, to make something of oneself-such as a sinner or a saint-on the basis of some method or another, but to be a man, a woman, not a “type of person”, but the person that Christ creates in us. It is not the religious act that makes the Christian, but participation of the sufferings of God in the secular life.” I believe he is saying here that we as followers of Christ should be grieved by the things that grieve God.
Have you noticed since you have gained more intimacy with Christ that you have also become more compassionate towards those in your path, especially the ones you see with great needs? If so, that is Christ In YOU!
As we look at this verse in 1 John 3, we see that this was written some 50 years after Christ’s death and resurrection. The young church in this book faced much opposition and persecution, and John penned this letter as encouragement to them, to assure them of their faith in Christ even amidst great adversity.
John’s message for us is simple: stick to the truth you already know—the truth of Jesus.
Here in our Ladies Who Love Christ Group, we have walked through a lot together already as we have studied The Word. And just as it has been since Jesus’ death and resurrection for thousands of years,
we have seen that following Jesus is costly.
Ladies, THE Things Of This World are Temporary—even our very lives—but if we belong to God’s family, we are assured of the hope of eternal life.
In this letter, JOHN draws a line in the sand:
Our world is divided between two groups: those who trust in Christ and those who reject him.
In the story of Bonhoeffer, the line in the sand was obvious, support Hitler or resist him. For us, it might be a little more blurry. In 1 John Chapter 1 verses 5-10 John tells us that we are either walking in the light or remaining in darkness.
LWLC, those of us who walk in the light and are children of God, WE have found TRUE LOVE! Are we now perfect!?! Absolutely not!! But WE ARE perfectly Loved by God! True Love is found in Jesus!
It is sacrificial.
True Love is messy, costly, AND it is focused on others.
Ladies, Jesus saved us for a purpose: To live out that costly love that we see demonstrated on the Cross.
That is why I want to remind us of this key verse:
1 John 3:16 “This 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.”
For Bonhoeffer, this command became literal. His Love for Jesus Christ trumped everything else, even the right to his own life.
What are you and I willing to sacrifice our life for?
How will we abide in Christ, living out His purpose for each one of us today?
How will we demonstrate the incredible display of Love we see displayed on the Cross of our Jesus?
LWLC Mini-Teaching for Thursday, 2/15/18 Joan Walker Page
Blessings and thank you for stopping by the Ladies Who Love Christ Blog. We hope to see you around the group soon!
Founder, Ladies Who Love Christ