May 13, 2018 – Love Is the Answer: Light of the World

 We have reached the concluding Sunday of our series, Love Is the Answer. We’ve been going through the letter of

1 John. In the past weeks we have looked at love through many different lenses. Love demonstrated through the

Trinity, Parent-Son-Holy Spirit. Accepting that God loves us as God’s children. Love as action, a self-sacrificing,

no-strings-attached kind of love, and all of this not by our own doing. We only know what love is and can be

because God first loved us. The natural response is for us love God back and for us to love what God loves. 


This week’s Scripture passage comes from 1 John 5:1-6. 


1 John 5:1-6 (The VOICE) 

     1 Everyone who trusts Jesus as the long-awaited Anointed One is a child of God, and

everyone who loves the Father cannot help but love the child fathered by Him. 2 Then

how do we know if we truly love God’s children? We love them if we love God and keep

His commands. 3 You see, to love God means that we keep His commands, and His commands

don’t weigh us down. 4 Everything that has been fathered by God overcomes the corrupt world.

This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith. 

     5-6 Who is the person conquering the world? It is the one who truly trusts that Jesus is

the Son of God, that Jesus the Anointed is the One who came by water and blood—not by

the water only, but by the water and the blood. 

     The Spirit of God testifies to this truth because the Spirit is the truth. 



Through this series we have talked a lot about the love the God has for us, but John also tells us that as followers

of Jesus, we love God. Is this a feeling that wells up inside us and comes gushing out? I must admit that I have

had those times when I have had overwhelming feelings of love, gratitude, euphoria for and about God. However,

as we talked about a couple of weeks ago in the Bible love usually isn’t referring to this transitory feeling that

can ebb and flow, come and go. Love is an action, activities that we do. Feelings of love can be the result of these



God loved us by sending his Son, Jesus. Jesus loved us by sacrificing himself for our sake on the cross. God

continues to love us by teaching us and transforming us to be more and more like Jesus.  


How do we love God? By doing what he says. One of the most dramatic scenes in the New Testament involves a

commandment from God. During the Transfiguration, when Jesus brings Peter, James, and John to the

mountaintop, he meets with Elijah and Moses. Peter as usual starts making suggestions. Meanwhile a bright

cloud covers the mountain, and a voice booms out, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.

Listen to him!” (Mt 17:5) 


We love God by listening, and really not just listening, but doing what Jesus told us to do. We entrust ourselves to

Jesus. We love God’s children, demonstrating the self-sacrificing love, agape, that he demonstrated to us. 


The problem is that when we don’t focus on loving and worshiping God, we turn to something else to fill that

space. When Moses went up the mountain for forty days and nights, the Israelites made the golden calf. When

they reached the Promised Land, they looked to the gods of the peoples around them. The Pharisees worshiped

their added traditions to the point where Jesus chastised them for holding them higher than the law. They did

it under the guise of honoring God, but really they were worshiping themselves. 


In our culture today, people worship celebrities, alcohol, media of all kinds (including TV, movies, music, the

internet). Some people worship their pets, politicians, creation or nature itself rather than the Creator, but most

of all people worship themselves. They are self-focused, narcissistic. I know this doesn’t include anyone here, of

course, but I’m sure that you have all seen it in one way or another. Wanting what we want when we want it,

now. What is one of the most popular things to post on social media? Selfies. I know a woman who changed her

profile picture so many times, sometimes multiple times in one day that Facebook blocked her ability to change

it for 30 days. Several years ago there was a TV show called Selfie. There is a level of narcissism and self-worship

in society today that rivals some of the worst times in history like during the height (or depth, depending on your

perspective) of the Roman Empire or Babylon.  


If that’s not bad enough, we can worship ourselves in other ways through pride and our independence and

self-sufficiency. The thing is that we were made to be dependent on God. When we go to anything else, it is

incomplete and ultimately unsatisfying. But, when we focus on God, it is a different story. 


Abiding in [living in, taking life giving nourishment from] God is what gives us life. Following Jesus is not

merely “religious fire insurance, which we take out [for] … our self-preservation. Just the opposite: Dwelling

in God’s love is the habitat for which human beings were originally created and, in Christ, are being re-created.

” (C. Clifton Black) 


Let’s look back to the Garden of Eden, the original place where God and humans existed together in perfect

harmony, before the huge mistake. There are no scenes before Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, but we

have clues based on what happened after. They heard God walking in the Garden in the cool of the day, and

God was looking for them. God expected them to be there to have fellowship, walk and talk together.

(cf. Gen 3:8-9) Through Jesus we can begin to have something more like that again. It all has to do with

love, God’s love for us and our love for God. 


I got the idea for this sermon series many months ago, and in the beginning I was searching on the internet

for a Ziggy pin I used to wear when I was a teenager. I don’t know if any of you are familiar with the Ziggy

cartoon strip, but this pin said, “Love is the answer, no matter what the question.” 


I’ve shared this with some of you already, but in the midst of this search, I came across a song from the 70s

by England Dan and John Ford Coley called “Love Is the Answer.” I knew this song well from my youth, but I

hadn’t heard it in years, so I clicked on it. 


As I listened to the song, I sang along with the familiar lyrics, and suddenly I started to feel the hair stand up

on the back of my neck. I started getting chill bumps all over my body. Many of you may have already realized

this, but this is a song about Jesus, the love he shares, and how we are lost without that love. We, children

of God, are foreigners in this broken world waiting until we get to go home. I was not a Christian when I

learned this song. I did not know the Bible. I didn’t understand the references. I was merely captured by

the beauty of the music and its lyrics.  


The music is so beautiful, but let me read you some of the lines from the wonderful poetry of this song: 


Name your price 

A ticket to paradise      

I can’t stay here anymore 

And I’ve looked high and low 

I’ve been from shore to shore to shore 

If there’s a shortcut I’d have found it 

But there is no easy way around it 


Light of the world, shine on me 

Love is the answer 

Shine on us all, set us free 

Love is the answer ( 


“Name your price // a ticket to paradise? The price is more than we could ever afford, and it’s already

been paid by Jesus. 


“I’ve looked high and low // I’ve been from shore to shore to shore // If there’s a shortcut I’d have found it.

In my life, I did a lot of exploring and searching before I became a follower of Jesus, more than that, as

someone who depends on Jesus, who is my hope, whom I have realized has redeemed me. I wasn’t looking

for a shortcut, but I looked in so many places, if there had been one there, I would have found it. 


“Light of the world, shine on me // Love is the answer. // Shine on us all, set us free // Love is the answer.

When I heard those words, it was like a thunderbolt. This is talking about Jesus! In John 8:12, Jesus says,

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 


The song goes on to list troubles that humans go through every day: 


  • And when you feel afraid 
  • When you’ve lost your way 
  • And when you’re all alone 
  • And when you’re far from home 
  • And when you’re down and out 
  • And when your hopes run out 
  • And when you need a friend 
  • And when you’re near the end 


The answer for all of these things could have been taken directly out of John’s first letter. “Love one another

… Love, we got to love. We got to love one another.” 


Light of the world, shine on me 

Love is the answer 

Shine on us all, set us free 




Love is the answer 



Categorized as Sermon