Dear SanLo Community, an update for the week of November 26, 2017…
Thank you Pastor Eric for the message from 3 John 1-15, “REAL LOVE.” In John’s final letter, the Apostle writes to his beloved friend, Gaius, about genuine and real love. John sees it in his friend and the church. John expresses what real love looks like, what genuine love ought to be like for every Christian, every follower of Christ. What does real love look like?
Real love walks with the Lord. (vv.1-4) John uplifts his friend Gaius who is walking in the truth and in the Lord. John praises him that the truth of the gospel exists in his life. He hopes that they are in good physical and spiritual health. John’s intent is a genuine care for the people. In verse 3, John goes on to praise them for their commitment to the truth. They have great fidelity and steadfastness to Christ and His commandments. John is overjoyed to find them deeply rooted in the truth of Christ and commitment to the gospel. These are the things that he has been teaching them throughout the letters of John. He is excited to see his people deeply in love with the truth and with the Lord because he knows that their love is an extension of their love with Jesus. The same is true for us. We can’t completely love others without God’s love. God reminds us that true love is only found in Him. Real, complete, and satisfying love comes from our Maker. Let us always center ourselves on His love. Let us be rooted in the love of our Savior.
Real love gives beyond reason. (vv.5-8) Here John praises the church for their generosity. The early church was the center for missionary outreach. It had to be in order for the church to grow. This church was willing to not just give financial support but they went above and beyond the call of duty to give, support, and host missionaries and they didn’t expect anything in return. This means they didn’t take anything from those outside of the Christian community. They didn’t want the name of Christ to be seen as something one could profit from. They wanted to keep the integrity of the ministry intact so that no one could discount God and the church. They gave beyond reason. That’s the type of love God calls us to as well to give beyond our normal, beyond our own reasoning, and beyond our own ability. This season of Christmas giving opens so many great opportunities for us to give like Christ gave to us and to show the world His real and extravagant love.
Real love is selfless, not selfish. (vv.9-12) There is a swift change in this letter where John focuses and addresses Diotrephes, who is an influential man within the church. His issue wasn’t doctrinal but about his personal pride in that he wanted to be in control of the church. John calls him out in verse 11 and says imitate good, not evil. Don’t copy or mimic this man, but copy Demetrius. John’s approach brings out the truth in a loving way. John praises the church in verse 5 and 8 for its hospitality then praises Demetrius in verses 12 for his good testimony. Then John encourages Diotrephes to take a look at these generous believers and at Demetrius, to copy and intimate this man of good reputation and testimony, who is rooted in the love of Christ and grounded in the Truth. It is natural to be selfish (like Diotrephes) but it is supernatural to be selfless (like Demetrius). That’s why we need Jesus. We need to look at Jesus and the cross of Christ where we find the most selfless act of all. Christ gave up His life to show us true love. He gave up His heavenly home where He had a perfect relationship with God the Father to be hammered with wrath and sin to save us and to show us real love. God’s love is real and it removes our selfishness and fills us with His powerful love in order that we might lay down our lives for others just like He did for us. Let us be selfless, not selfish.
Real love appreciates others. (vv.13-15) John can’t make it to see the church and his friend, Gaius, so he expresses his love and thanks through this letter. There is a rich and deep desire to see them up close and in person. John greets them with, “Peace be to you,” a peace blessing of hope to his fellow coworker in Christ, Gaius. There is this tight knit bond and brotherhood that is expressed here. This is the same call for the church to love, cherish, honor, and appreciate one another in the name of Christ. The church is never a perfect place and never will it be until we all get to our heavenly home. However, God deeply desires for us to live out the real and true love given to us by Jesus. We are to express that love in tangible and significant ways. God has written to us over and over again, His pursuit has not stopped. His love has never waned. His love continues to chase after us. We can see that in His Word as the word for love is used over 450 times in the Old Testament. The word for love in the New Testament is used over 286 times and just in the letters of John, 50 times. Over and over and over again the Bible is a love letter from the Maker of the Universe. And it’s finished off by the love of Christ upon the cross of Calvary, where God says, “I love you enough I’d die for you.” John penned it so well in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” This book is about one thing…God saying, “I love you, I love you, I love you!” What is your response? Is it thank you, God? Thanks be to God!
Thank you to Eddie Brock for sharing about how people express love. Flowers, hugs, sweets and gifts are great ways to express our love to another, but after a time, the gifts wither or break and are temporary. The Bible tells us several ways to show love: Walk in the truth – to be honest with others; Give beyond reason – being generous without expecting anything in return; Put others first - examples of this are those in the military, police, firefighters and parents; Imitate good, not evil; Love appreciates others – we should be thankful to others and let them know it.
Praises and Prayer Requests:
Frank Nakasone gave a GROW SANLO update: 1) Currently in the process of working out an Exclusive Right to Negotiate (ERN) with a perspective buyer for our existing church facility with the Elders first getting approval from the congregation before making any commitment to sell. 2) Also in the process of getting financial loan pre-approval and potential costs to relocate to inform the congregation for approval before making any commitments. 3) Praise God for $317,018 given so far toward the first stage goal of $500,000 by December 31, 2017 and the October 2018 goal of $1.5 million. Thank you to all who have prayed and contributed toward this, it is very encouraging so see such support and progress.
12/1 7:11pm B.A.M. – Guest Speaker, Pastor Hector Padilla of Faith Fellowship
12/2 8:30am Mission Prayer
12/2 9:30am-1pm Winter Vision Planning meeting (8-9-10)
12/2 Craft Day leaders debrief
12/3 12:30pm Christmas Program rehearsal
12/5 10:00am 55+ Caroling at Umenoki and J-Sei Homes
12/6 9:30am Women’s Bible Study Christmas Potluck Brunch
12/8 5:30pm Christmas Program rehearsal
12/9 10:30am Christmas Program followed with reception (Kathy Masuda)
12/13 9:30am Women’s Bible Study Movie Day – Invite a friend!
12/16 10am-4pm Young Adult Christmas Party and Lunch (Nathan Masuda)
12/24 5:00pm Christmas Eve Candlelight Service (English and Japanese) & Potluck Dinner
Have a thankful week as we reflect on His love,
Stan, for SLZJCC