Mayor Gerardo Balmori
The Salvation Army
Love is a very popular idea in today’s world, it’s on everyone’s lips. Songs are sung, books are
written, and films are made all about love. But, we often forget that love is a truly Christian idea. It
is seen in its fullness only in Christ. Love originated in the mind of God, John says that “God IS
love”. But what the world calls love is extremely different from what God in Christ revealed love to
Love is used 180 times in the New Testament so it must be an important topic, it must be
something that God wants us to grasp, so:
I. What is love?
Look at Verse 7 & 8 – here we find the origin of love.
John begins by telling us that Love comes from God, and the person who doesn’t love, does not
know God. It is difficult to understand this statement until love is defined. So, what is love?
Webster’s dictionary, defines love as a “strong liking for someone or something, or a
passionate affection for another person”. Verse 7 though says that love is from God, well God is not
of this world, and Webster’s definition of love involves objects of the world using the word
“someone or something”.
A man fell in love with an opera singer. He hardly knew her; his only view of the singer was
through binoculars - from the third balcony of the opera house. But he was convinced he could live
"happily ever after" married to a voice like that. He didn’t even notice that she was much older
than he was, nor did he care that she walked with a bit of a limp. Her soprano voice would take
them through whatever might come.
After a whirlwind romance and a hurry-up ceremony, they were off for their honeymoon together.
She began to prepare for their first night together. As he watched, his chin dropped to his chest.
She plucked out her glass eye and plopped it into a container on the nightstand. She pulled off her
wig, ripped off her false eyelashes, took her false teeth out, unstrapped her false leg, and smiled at
him as she took off her glasses that hid her hearing aid. Stunned and horrified, he gasped, "For
goodness sake woman sing, sing, SING!"
So straight away we see that the problem is evident, love is from God, and therefore a human
definition is not sufficient enough to describe love.
In modern English, love is one word that has many meanings but if we look at the original New
Testament Greek we can see what type of love John is talking about. In Biblical Greek, words for
love include philia, eros and agape.
Phileo is friendship and it means brotherliness or companionship. – This is the love that we
would have between best friends.
Eros (not found in the New Testament) means sexual desire, this is where we get the word
Agape is godly love, unconditional and totally unselfish.
In other words Eros is all take, phileo is give and take, Agape is all give.
All through this section the word for love that John uses is agape. It’s not sentimental love, it’s not
sexual, and it’s not social love. It is a supernatural love that the Holy Spirit can put in our hearts,
and only the Spirit of God can make it real to us. In other words it’s the love of God.
II. Why are we to love?
1. It’s a commandment – Old and New
Lev 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou
shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.
So the old commandment was to love each other in the same way as they loved themselves.
However Jesus then put a different slant on this commandment and said in John 13:34 A new
commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one
2. Because God loved us.
You heard about the old farmer whose friend said about him: "That Fred loves His wife so much,
he almost tells her!" One of the huge differences between the kind of love we offer each other and
God’s love is His moves Him to act. We give Him plenty of reasons not to love us!
But, He showed the greatest act of love there could ever be. Look at Verse 9: Christ’s death on the
cross for you and me is the greatest love that anyone can have.
• Before Jesus came He already knew who would hurt Him, who would betray Him, and who
would deny Him – and He loved them.
• Jesus knew the name of the man that made the crown of thorns for Him, but Jesus says I love
you so much that I am going to die for you.
• The soldier who beat Him till His face was swollen and He could barely see out of His eyes, He
says I love you.
• Those that took the time to nail Him to the cross, He says I love you.
• The man that yelled at Him telling Him if He was God to get down off the cross, He said I died
• The soldier who pierced His side he says I did this for you, I love you.
• Those that have hated Him and say I want nothing to do with Jesus He says I love you.
We find it hard enough to love someone if they even look at us funny, can we even comprehend the
kind of love that God had for us to send His Son to go through all of this pain and suffering for us.
Jesus tells us in John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his
friends. The sacrifice of one’s own life for another is the greatest act of love, or Agape that can be
From the days before vaccines comes this story: Johnny’s sister was dying of a disease that he had
recovered from. The Doctor said to Johnny, “your sister needs your kind of blood to make her well.
Would you be willing to give your blood so that she can live?” – Scared – but agreed, blood taken –
silent – when do I die?
Only then did the doctor realize the extent of the child’s sacrifice. Johnny had offered his life to
save his sister; Jesus declared that there is no greater love.
Laying down your life for a brother or sister can also be done through servanthood, dedicating
your time to help someone in need, or even listening to someone when you don’t really feel like it.
Because God is love and because God has loved us, we have God’s love to give.
But notice the nature of this love. God doesn’t love in response to our love for Him. God loved us
even though as a human race we were totally opposed to Him.
When Christ appeared on the earth the majority of people rejected Him, even when He performed
miracles amongst them, He fed them and healed them and raised them from the dead and all they
could do was cry out for His execution.
Jesus Christ submitted Himself to the execution so that the very people who wanted Him executed
could be forgiven.
God’s love knows no limit. It’s a love that forgives over and over again, without warrant, without
keeping score, without retaliation. Do we have that kind of love?
If we’ve been born of God, if we’ve experienced His Agape love, we need to love others in the same
III. How are we love?
Do you want to see love acted out? Then look at 1 Corinthians 13, the "Love Chapter" of the Bible.
Those beautiful, familiar words are practical words, too. Because what Paul is saying is, "This is
how "agape" love acts. This is how it behaves.
Paul says, "Charity suffereth long." That means that I don’t get into a hurry with you if you don’t
do things the way I would like for you to do them. I’ll wait. I’ll wait for things to change. I’ll wait
for those edges to be knocked off, & I hope that you’ll wait for me in return.
"It is kind." I wouldn’t say anything unkind to you because you are the object of my love, and the
important part of my love is to make sure that you feel loved.
I won’t envy you. I won’t boast about myself. I won’t become proud, because I am more concerned
about you than I am about myself, I am not easily angered, I won’t keep any record of wrongs. We
should all tear up our lists and throw them away and start anew with each other.
Love doesn’t delight in evil, but it rejoices in truth. Love always hopes, & it always perseveres.
Most people who pass out heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, who give roses, who send valentines
& expressions of love have no idea what real love, God’s love, is all about.
Love is more than words; it’s your actions more than your emotions. So, how do you love those
who don’t show you any love? You love them as Christ loved us, your actions will show your love
IV. Who are we to love?
To dwell above with saints we love, That will be grace and glory,
To live below with saints we know, Well that’s another story.
If we love those who love us, or if there is a selfish motive in our loving them, or we get something
in return for our love then there is no value in that. It is easy to love those that love us.
The Lord Jesus said, “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the
publicans the same?” (Matt 5:46) – The publicans (tax collectors), who were despised in these
days, had the ability to love those who those who showed love to them.
Even lost people can love, so we as Christians need to raise the standard and set the example to the
world of what love really looks like.
The rule for us all is perfectly simple. Let’s not waste time wondering if we "love" one another; act
as if we do, not to show everyone how great we are at loving others but to give God the glory
because that kind of love could only come from Him.
John says that, “We ought also to love one another” he is not talking about some cheap sentiment.
Jesus said, “If ye love me keep my commandments” (John 14:15). If you really love Him keep His
commandments. “This is my commandment that ye love one another, as I have loved you.” (John
15:12) How can we not have love for Christians down here and still claim to love God?
1 John 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his
brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? Jews hated Gentiles;
Gentiles Hated Romans Both loved God!!!!
If we find it difficult to love other believers how can we have the love we need for the lost to get
them the Gospel and lead them to the Saviour?
Let’s stop trying to please the world and let’s preach to the world. Forget what the world thinks of
you, the important thing is what does the world think of Christ? The world could do with seeing
His love in us.
The NT says there are two responses to being loved by God. The most reasonable response is to
love Him in return. Jesus said, the highest calling God puts on your life is that you love the
Lord your God with all your mind and heart and soul and strength.
The second response is that we love other people, especially other Christians. When we put our
trust in Jesus Christ, love became our heritage. If we said, “I believe in Jesus, but I don’t
want to love my brothers and sisters in Christ.” It’s just as bad to say, "I believe in
Jesus but I don’t believe He’s God’s Son."
If this is the case, John says, how can you claim to know the God of love?
If we are to love at all times then our love has to be unconditional.
The wonderful thing about being made God’s children is that He gives us His Spirit to enable us to
be like Him, and that likeness is shown most clearly in our love for others. So, as we love one
another, God lives in us, and His love is perfected in us.
May that be the nature of our life together and our witness to the world around us.
Do we have an agape love for people? That’s what Christ wants us to have so we can show the love
of God to the world through our love towards others.