This past Sunday, I preached on 1 John 4:7-12 at Grace Community Church of Seal Beach.
The prompt was “How do I help people know God?” The answer: Love evangelizes. Love is the engine of evangelism (we love because God loved us), love is the model of evangelism (God loved us while we were far off), and love is the means of evangelism (we show what God is like through our love).
At the end of the sermon, I shared a list of 10 practical ways to love evangelistically.
1. Love your enemies, even as God loved us while we were His enemies. (Sermon on the Mount)
Who are people you are “supposed” to hate?
2. Love people who are culturally different from you, even as Christ has made us one people. (Ephesians 4, Galatians 3)
Christ breaks down the walls of hostility between generations, races, classes, and other human divisions. How can I seek to build loving bridges in Christ with those culturally different from me?
3. Love people before they love you, even as God loved us first (1 John 4)
God didn’t wait for us to love him. How can I be pro-active in loving others?
4. Love your neighbors by meeting their needs, even as God has met our needs in Christ. (Good Samaritan)
What practical needs do my immediate physical neighbors have? How can I meet their needs, even as Christ met my needs?
5. Love people by praying for their healing, even as Christ has provided for our healing. (Sending out of the Seventy)
Who is sick in my life that I can pray with?
6. Love the widow and the orphan, because God loved us when we were fatherless and hopeless. (James 1:27)
Who in my sphere of influence is without a family or home? How can I invite them into an experience of family?
7. Love people enough to risk sharing your story of faith, because God has given us a story of salvation (Paul and Herod Agrippa)
How have you gone from “Far from God” to “Close to God”? How did the gospel bridge that gap?
8. Love people who have nothing to give you, because we had nothing to give God. (Luke 6:32-36)
Who are people you can love who have no status, finances, legacy, or renown to give you?
9. Love others by forgiving them, because we are forgiven (Parable of the Ungrateful Steward)
Who can you display God-like forgiveness toward?
10. Love others by keeping God’s commands, and showing them the goodness of God (2 John 6)
How do you need to refrain from coveting, slandering, hating, or ignoring your neighbor?