Love – that’s not just a word, not just a feeling, not just an emotion. Love is an order, a directive, a commandment, from God. God says we must love!
Jesus says that if we truly love God and our neighbor, we will naturally keep the commandments. This is looking at God’s law positively. Rather than worrying about all we should NOT do, we should concentrate on all we CAN do to show our love for God and others.
1 John 4:8
8 Anyone who does not love, does not know God, for God is love.
The Spirit of God is the Spirit of love. The new nature in the children of God is the offspring of His love.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith
Christian character shows the fruit of the Spirit, and this character comes from within. The Spirit seeks to transform us into Christ’s likeness….
However, there are two types of spirits in the world today: God’s spirit of Truth and Love; and Satan’s spirit of error that teaches lies:
1 Timothy 4:1
4 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
Teachers sent by God will speak from God, and God’s children will recognize them. Satan’s workers will speak from, and depend on, worldly wisdom. And worldly wisdom is not from God.
Matthew Henry says:
“The true sheep (believers) recognize the voice of the Shepherd (Jesus). The true sheep also recognize and love one another. Satan is a divider and destroyer; Christ unites people in love.”
Love of God has been poured out into the believer’s heart.
5 … because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 6 While we were yet weak, in due time Christ died for the ungodly… 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 How much more then, being now justified by His blood, shall we be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, how much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by His life.
Paul is saying if God did all that for us while we were His enemies, how much more will He do for us now we are His children!
Since God filled us with His love, we, as Christians, are to share that love with other believers as well as those who have not yet found Christ. Love is the greatest of all human qualities, and it is an attribute of God Himself. It involves unselfish service to others; it gives evidence that you care.
Faith is the foundation and content of God’s message.
Hope is the attitude and focus.
Love is the action.
When faith and hope are in line, you are free to love completely because you understand how God loves.
1 Timothy 1:5
5 Now the goal of this command is love from a pure heart, and from a good conscience, and from sincere faith.
If you are receiving the love of Jesus Christ through faith, then you will have a pure heart and good conscience to love others just as Jesus is loving you.
8 Owe no one anything, except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not give false testimony, You shall not covet,” and if there are any other commandments, are summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love works no evil to a neighbor. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law.
Paul is saying that our love for our neighbor is revealed in what we do rather than what we say. You can talk about love all you want, but if you commit any of these acts against your neighbor, you have no love for him. If you have no love for him, then ask yourself, “Do I love God?”
Keep in mind the definition of neighbor has nothing to do with street addresses or geography. So, who is your neighbor?
Jesus answers this question with a parable of the Good Samaritan:
30 Jesus answered, “A man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing and wounded him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 By chance a priest came down that way. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to that place, looked at him and passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34 and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine. Then he set him on his own donkey and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day when he departed, he took out two denarii, and gave them to the innkeeper and said to him, ‘Take care of him. I will repay you whatever else you spend when I return.’36 “Now which of these three do you think was a neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”
Jesus really changed the question “Which of these three was a neighbor to him who fell?” to “to whom can I be a good neighbor for the glory of Christ?”
It is not a matter of law, but love. We need to love everyone, even our enemies, and even those we don’t know…
While as Christians we live under to law of the land, we also live under a much higher law as citizens of Heaven, the law of love. In fact, love is the fulfillment of the law, because love from the heart enables us to obey what the law demands.
Where there is love, there will be no murder, dishonesty, stealing, or other kinds of selfishness.
It is often difficult for us to love those who reject the Gospel and ridicule our faith. We must defend our faith, but do it with love. This love comes from the power of the Holy Spirit and we can reach out to all the world with that love!
Faith in Jesus gives us strength and that is the strength that gives us love, His love. It is His love that will conquer the world.
8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
All three members of the Trinity are involved in salvation, thus love. The Father loved us so much the He sent His Son to bridge the gap between us. The Father and the Son send the Holy Spirit to fill our lives with love and to enable us to live by His power. With all this loving care, how can we do less than serve Him completely!
The love of God, given to us, will never end, this same love will never fail….
1 Corinthians 13:8
Love suffers long and is kind; love envies not; love flaunts not itself and is not puffed up, 5 does not behave itself improperly, seeks not its own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; 6 rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. 8 Love never fails.
There’s a great song we have sung at church called:
One Thing Remains
And it’s higher than the mountains that I face
And it’s stronger than the power of the grave
And it’s constant in the trial and the change
This one thing remains…
Your love never fails, never gives up
Never runs out on me.
In death, In life, I’m confident and
covered by the power of Your great love
My debt is paid, there’s nothing that can
separate my heart from Your great love
This one thing remains…
Your love never fails, never gives up
Never runs out on me.
More people are won through love than through arguments. The Christian who is walking in love is the best citizen and the best witness. If you are walking with the love of God in your heart, people will notice…
The following verses will explain why, as Christians, we must obey God’s commandment to love…We must love for our Savior’s sake…
11 Furthermore, knowing the time, now is the moment to awake from sleep. For now our salvation is nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us take off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave properly, as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in immorality and wickedness, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts.
We reach the highpoint of these verses: from fear, to conscience, to love, to devotion to Christ. “Our salvation” is nearer in the sense that Christ’s coming for the church is nearer today than ever before. By “salvation” Paul means the total blessing that we will have when Christ comes again – including new bodies and a new home.
Like Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount, Paul considers attitudes as important as actions. Just as hatred leads to murder, so jealousy leads to fighting and lust leads to adultery. When Christ returns, he wants to find His people clean on the inside as well as the outside.
How do we “put on the Lord Jesus Christ”? First we identify with Christ by being baptized. As it says:
27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
This shows our solidarity with other Christians and with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This does not mean you will lose your salvation if you don’t get baptized. You can never lose it! It’s just that if you are baptized then you are showing fellow Christians you are one of them, one of the family.
Second, we exemplify the qualities Jesus showed while He was on earth (love, humility, truth, service). In some sense, we role-play what Jesus would do in our situation. If you’re in a spot and not sure what to do our what to say, just ask yourself, “What would Jesus do?” Pray, read the Bible, ask another Christian, but always try to do what Jesus would do.
We must also not give our desires any opportunity to lead us to sin. Avoid situations that open the door to gratifying sinful desires.
Christians belong to the light, not the dark. They should be awake and alert, behaving as those who have seen the light of the Gospel. No Christian wants to be found in sin when Christ returns!
Remember, the day of salvation is at hand!
Warren Wiersbe said:
“The last days will be days of lawlessness. It will be increasingly difficult for dedicated Christians to maintain their testimony. Governments will become more opposed to the Bible and to Christ, until at last the Man of Sin welds the world into one great satanic system to oppose the truth.”
Because I believe we are living in the “end days” it is that much more important that we truly love the Lord as He has loved us, and to love others as we are commanded to do. Love is the power given to us to bring others into the fold to be prepared for our eternal life with Jesus Christ and escape the darkness and separation from God that non-believers will face.
Love of one another can guarantee that.
1 Thessalonians 5:2
2 For you know perfectly that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
We must all be ready to receive Christ when He comes. Because the love He has given us and the love we have given others, we can be ready; through God the Father and the Holy Spirit. We must always be prepared to meet Him, because we don’t know when He will come….
Luke 12: 40
40 Therefore be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
We are saved by faith, not works. But love for others and for God’s forgiveness is complete. Here’s a great example
36 One of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. So He went to the Pharisee’s house and sat down for supper. 37 There, a woman of the city who was a sinner, when she learned that Jesus was sitting for supper in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment, 38 and stood behind Him at His feet, weeping, and began to wash His feet with tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head, and kissed His feet, and anointed them with the ointment…
The Pharisee was kind of taken aback by this. A sinner touching a prophet! How dare she! Jesus responded about true and complete forgiveness:
“Do you see this woman? I entered your house. You gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. 45 You gave Me no kiss, but this woman, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with ointment… 47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little loves little.” 48 Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
Because of her faith in Jesus and the display of love for Him she was forgiven everything, once and for all.
Because faith expresses itself through love, you can check your love for others as a way to monitor your own faith.
God is love. We will see the Love He has for us and that same Love is what we need to be sharing today. We need to share with other believers and to those who don’t yet know Christ.
1 John 2:15-17
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 The world and its desires are passing away, but the one who does the will of God lives forever.