2015-03-13 - Love
The Love Series, Part 1
A few weeks ago, we talked about how our ultimate purpose might simply be having a relationship with Christ, and we boiled it down to two simple statements: Be with God and be like God. It has since dawned on me, one day as I was praying, that there is one word that could be the key to it all – love.
Isn't it our love that drives us to be with God? Is it our love that drives us to want to be like God? Why do you spend time with your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse …? L-O-V-E. I have heard it said many times before, but the real way to spell love is T-I-M-E. Isn't it our love that brings us together, and the lack thereof that tears us apart? God says it is by our love for one another, that the world will know us. The two great commandments are to love God, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Love is the key to it all. So tonight, we will look at love and purity. What is purity of love? It is love that is not self-seeking, but seeks only to serve others, whether it be God or our fellow man. Tonight I want us to focus on answering two questions: whom should I love and how should I love them? First I want to look at the words of Jesus found in Matthew.
From these two commandments – we see three people to love.
First and foremost is God – we are to love God with every fiber of our being. It’s not God first, and then anything else as a close second; no, God should win so clearly that it looks like the others aren’t even in the race for your affections. Not even in the stadium …
Next is a bit tricky – love neighbor as yourself. Therefore, you have to love yourself in order to love someone else. How do you feel about yourself? Are you your biggest fan? If not, why not? You must love yourself, before you love others the same way you love yourself.
Third is our neighbors. Who is your neighbor? A neighbor is anyone you ever meet. With the internet and all our new technology, our neighborhoods are ever-expanding. If you were hungry, would you eat? If you were thirsty, would you get yourself water? Yes, we naturally take care of ourselves – it should be natural, likewise, to meet the needs of others – Good Samaritan story
So how do I love God, others, and myself? Evidently, Paul pondered this question, as did so many others. John and his writings ooze with love – somewhat funny considering he was originally a hotheaded "son of thunder". The gentle elder spokesman of the church was once the guy who asked God to strike down another group of believers, for not doing things their way. Nevertheless, Paul pondered it and wrote an explanation of love to the church at Corinth.
1 Corinthians 13:1-8a
1 Corinthians 13 shows us three ways we love others.
Verse 1 begins "Though I speak". We first show love with our words. What does this look like? It does not look like negative gossip that's for sure.
Verse 2 mentions prophecy, knowledge, and faith. Prophecy is speaking on God’s behalf, or in other words, understanding God’s message for others – preaching the word of God. Understanding mysteries can best be explained like this. Who here knows what normalized database tables are? Yeah that’s what I figured … I’m the only one with that mysterious knowledge. I understand something that many other people may not, because of how my brain is wired. I need to share that knowledge with coworkers, and it does me no good, if I don’t lovingly share it and use it. Then the verse speaks of faith – our belief system. This is a definitive knowledge that our God is much bigger than anything and everything, and whatever the situation is, he is in control and can get us thru it. All of these things speak of mental-type things – what we know understand and believe. So in this we see that we also love with our thoughts.
Lastly, verse 3 speaks of things like feeding the poor and sacrificing life and limb to reach others. These are active things. We do these things because love is expressed in our actions, also.
How do we love? With our words, thoughts, and actions.
Now, the rest of these verses serve to guide our words, thoughts, and actions. Here is a list of steering words from those verses, that guide our words, thoughts, and actions to love.
Lastly, we see in the beginning of verse 8, that love never fails. Love doesn’t quit. Love isn’t an emotion. Love isn’t a feeling that comes and goes. Love is a choice – a willful decision to commit eternally to something or someone.
Next week, we will continue these thoughts on love and discuss love and dating.
Until then …
All scripture references from NKJV (New King James Version) unless otherwise noted