Following God’s Heart (P&P)

December 4, 2022 | Prayer & Praise Services

Rev Gladwin Lee
Following God’s Heart (P&P)

December 4, 2022 | Prayer & Praise Services

Rev Gladwin Lee

Scripture Passage: 1 John 3:10-18 (NRSVUE)


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SUMMARY | What is the mark of a Christian?  Love for one another!  This evidence is visibly seen through our practical acts of service and love that the world around us can see.  Abel’s sacrifice to God was by faith, while Cain’s sacrifice was not.  God’s rejection of Cain’s sacrifice was meant to teach him to approach God by faith, but he was so enraged that he murdered his brother Abel.  Although Cain knew God and served Him, he was evil.  Cain did not love his brother.  Therefore, those who hate, remain in spiritual death, while those who love, enter spiritual life.

Turning from Cain to Jesus, we can follow God’s heart like Jesus did.  His love expressed through service is

1. A Proof that we are children of God – Our loving service demonstrates that we have experienced God’s love and understand what it means to serve one another in love.

2. A Proclamation of God’s love – Love one another just like Jesus did.

God expects us to live consecrated lives for Him, rejecting the passion of the flesh.  Unfortunately, we are bad news to the world who hates us.  The world does not share our values; hence, the Apostle John told us to expect hostility.  It can be a shock to us when fellow Christians join the world in criticising the church.  Loving others can be dangerous, just like how Jesus died. 

Why should we serve when there are Christians who bite the hand that feeds them?  How do we follow God’s heart when there is danger of feeding a fellow Christian who hurt us?  LIT with love!

1. Learn the mind of Christ

We may not understand the mind of Christ or why God does certain things.  1 John 3:16 said Jesus laid down His life for us.  He did not love blindly.  Jesus loved with eyes wide open.  Jesus knew what was wrong with the world, so He came to act according to God’s truth, to heal our world.  Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 16:21 that God’s purpose was for Him to suffer and die.  Despite being a follower of Jesus, Peter had not fully understood the Good News that will require Jesus’ sacrifice.  The mind of Christ that Jesus invited us to learn will clash violently with our culturally informed ideas of how to do God’s work.  It is different from the ideas of the modern world:

  • that encourage us to be influencers and to have many followers.  Jesus calls us to follow Him only.  He wants us to shift from focusing on people to focusing on the Father.
  • that encourage us to be first – the leader, but Jesus calls us to be the servant – the last.  He calls us to be humble.  He prioritised being a life giver, instead of fleeing for His life.  While the world fights for power, Jesus calls us to give up control and to lay down our lives.
  • that being successful is important and to accumulate wealth.  Jesus asks us to suffer for Him, serve the weak and the marginalised.  He prioritised sacrificial love over temporal discomfort.  In Matthew 16:24, Jesus told His disciples to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Him.

2. Intentionally open our hearts

1 John 3:17 questioned how God’s love abides in a brother who can provide yet closes his heart against another brother in need.  God wants us to intentionally open our hearts to love others.  Fear has the power to close our hearts.  A closed heart is a sign of the absence of God’s love.  We must open our hearts for compassion for one another in our church community.  To open our hearts is to be concerned about the well being of the people in need.  As God reveals each need, we need to act on the truth with compassion.  Opening our hearts does not mean we act mindlessly.  In the process of opening our hearts to those in need, we are also opening our hearts for God’s love to dwell in us. 

3. Touch them with our love

Love is practical:

  • Time – We can offer our friendship, ask questions, and discover what their world looks like.  We can offer our time if we are curious about the other person.
  • Treasures – Use our financial resources and influence to help someone in need.  God has blessed us comfortably with housing, food, and clothing.  Money is good only if we use it as God has intended us to.
  • Talents – We are all blessed with the gift of different talents.  John Wesley wrote that there are no works that produce excess merit.  We can never do more than our duty because everything we have belongs to God.

God wants us to learn the importance of giving and serving.  Let us open our hearts to follow God’s heart to serve a dangerous Christian this week.

(Sermon notes by Honey Vreugdewater)


  1. In 1 John 3:16, the preacher highlights that the mind of Christ can view things with a different perspective from our culture. In what ways have you observe this tension between the mind of Christ and our prevailing thoughts?
  2. In 1 John 3:16, service is a mark of love. What prevents you from opening your heart to serve?
  3. What are practical steps that you may take in the coming week, to open your heart to people in need?
  4. Read 1 John 3:17-18 The preacher suggested 3Ts (time, treasure and talent) which we can steward to serve and other others. Who is someone that God is inviting your to open your heart to serve? Share how you would touch this person this week.
Wesley Communications Team
Posted by Wesley Communications Team

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