Title:  The inconvenience of Love

Summary:  We should love others as Jesus did, which means allowing ourselves
to be inconvenienced as in the case of Nicodemus who came to Jesus at night,
and by being direct about another person’s need for God and not beat around
the bush.  Love should move us to self sacrifice for others.

Purpose:  To move the hearers to be more available and open to each other
about hurts and differences so we can be a close knit family of God

Text:  John 3:1-21

Scripture Reading:  John 13:34-35

1.  Letter to fiance from former girlfriend
	a.  I thought about it, we shouldn’t have broken engagement
	b.  All those things I said about your character was just emotions
	c.  Please please please take me back.  Love, Jennie
	d.  P.S. - Congratulations on winning the lottery!
2.  True Love?  Not!  
	a.  Many people don’t understand love today
	b.  Yet Jesus commands us to love one another as he loved us
	c.  Don’t you want to know about how he loved us?
3.  Text:  John 3:1-21 - Learn 3 things about love from him

I.  Love should move us to be inconvenienced (v.1-2)
	A.  Nicodemus came to Jesus at night
		1.  Maybe Jesus asleep, and had to wake up
		2.  No indication the Jesus was irritated
	B.  This sort of thing happened to Jesus quite often
		1.  Mark 2 - Jesus teaching at home with a large crowd
			a.  Some folks brought a paralytic
			b.  Dug a hole in his roof and lowered him in!
		2.  (Mk 6:31-33) - Feeding of 5000
			a.  Trying to get away by selves to rest awhile
			b.  People got there ahead of them
			c.  Disciples wanted to send them away for food
				- Were they really concerned about food?
				- Probably wanted to get away and rest
			d.  Jesus and disciples passed out food to 5000 people
				- They would rest later
		3.  Jesus was willing to spend and be spent for others
	C.  ILL:  I was a teen, girl in church in trouble with family
		1.  Kicked out, living in tent at city pond
		2.  Unacceptable situation, Dad met with her and parents
		3.  All agreed, she lived with us for about 6 weeks (with rules)
		4.  Made an impact on me - This is what we do for each other
	D.  May not seem like inconvenience in cases such a paralytic
		1.  If someone need housing, food, clothing, etc.
		2.  What if person came knocking in middle of night?
			a.  All he wants to do is talk about a spiritual thing
			b.  Be honest - would you be a little irritated?
			c.  Tell them to come back at more convenient time?
		3.  That’s not what Jesus did
		4.  Someone in spiritual bind, love moved to inconvenience

II.  Love should move us to be direct when we need to be
	A.  Jesus didn’t spend thirty minutes talking about the weather
		1.  Didn’t need to, Nicodemus came to him
		2.  First words of Jesus
			a.  Not about weather, not a big introductory speech,
			b.  But - You must be born again
			c.  He is calling for a radical change
			d.  Goes on to explain how Nicodemus needed faith in Him
		3.  What he said was direct, blunt, and most loving thing to say
	B.  Jesus never failed to deal with people’s greatest needs
		1.  May think he beat around bush at times
			a.  Like with the Samaritan woman
			b.  He started at different place with her
				- She had a different background
				- He was perceptive and sensitive
			c.  He didn’t avoid her greatest need
			d.  He confronted her with her greatest need, not water
		2.  Do you know what it means to beat around the bush?
			a.  Him-haw, eyes on floor, may never get to the point
			b.  Sometimes they may say, “what are you getting at?”
		3.  That’s not love
			a.  God not do this - For God so “loved” the world
			b.  Jesus came and confronted us with greatest need
			c.  He did not beat around the bush
	C.  ILL:  When in Air Force, person at church coming less and less
		1.  Found out he was living with his girl friend
			a.  No one ever said anything to him
			b.  Eventually, a couple decided to go and took me along
				-The guy had by then quit coming all together
				-Three of us went, the oldest was spokesperson
			c.  We spent 30 minutes in small talk
				- How were we going to bring it up?
				- After awhile, silence
			d.  Just before we left - Hope you come back to church
		2.  What causes people to beat around the bush?
			a.  One reason could be - lack of faith
			b.  ILL:  Child playing in street and car coming
				- YOu would snatch them out of the road
				- Not worry if they get mad, kick, scream
				- You have faith that they will get run over
				- You would not beat around the bush
		3.  Not loving to leave people in middle of the road
		4.  Note:  Being blunt and direct not automatically mean you loving
			a.  Some are downright mean
			b.  Depends on motivation, should be to prove you right
			c.  Jesus didn’t come to win argument, but to win people
	D.  Bring this closer to home
		1.  If there is a problem in the body, how direct are you with it?
			a.  ILL:  Cancer - “If I ignore it, it will go away”
			b.  ILL:  Marriage - “If we ignore it, it will go away”
			c.  Mt 5:24 - Leave offering an be reconciled first
				- Not later, but now, don’t beat around bush
			d.  Whether it’s sin, or just being mean, not loving to ignore
		2.  If a family or loved one not in Christ, how direct are you?
			a.  Jesus never merely tried to “influence”
			b.  Approached people differently, always got to the point
			c.  He didn’t ignore people in the road
		3.  Not loving to beat around bush, ignore, etc.
		4.  But they might get mad at me ... bring us to final point

III.  Love should move us to self sacrifice  
	A.  God so loved the world, ie: this is how he loved us....
		1.  He gave what was most precious to him
		2.  This much more than being inconvenienced at night
		3.  Jesus knew he would get blasted, but that didn’t stop him
		4.  He loves you
	B.  Question:  How far do I go for self-sacrifice?  Is there a limit?
		1.  John 3:16 to 1 John 3:16 - Lay down our lives as Christ did
		2.  If middle of the night, or if a need, we roll up sleeves
		3.  If someone is straying away, we snatch them back
	C.  ILL:  Batsell Barrett Baxter - Household name a few years back
		1.  Remember him as a successful minister on T.V.
		2.  Son became Atheist - God took Dad on the road all the time
		3.  God doesn’t want you to sacrifice your family
		4.  Not a choice between serving God or being good parent/spouse
	D.  Part of self sacrifice is for family
		1.  Prioritize - Putting God first, means family first
		2.  Self sacrifice does not mean sacrifice your family
			a.  Someone calls in middle of family night
			b.  Have a judgement call - what’s best for my family?
			c.  Will this really hurt the person if I don’t do this now?
		3.  Suggestion - Make ministry a family affair in you can
			a.  If a benevolence, involve kids
			b.  Bible study, involve family
			c.  Get to work and grow together
			d.  Kids get to see love in action
		4.  I took Shane on Bible study with me, he got excited about it

1.  Jesus loves you and gave himself for you (invitation)
2.  He wants you to love others - and gave an example
	a.  Love means allowing self to be inconvenienced
	b.  Love means being lovingly direct about person’s need
	c.  Means self sacrifice
3.  Have you been loving to yoru brethren?  To the lost?
4.  Life Group should be a good discussion, get where rubber meets the road

Questions for Small Group Discussion