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Summary: I preached this on Valentine’s Day but this could be preached at anytime

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Love Letters Written in the Sand

John 8:3ff

Introduction

The title of a once popular song also fits a story in the New Testament.

I. She Didn’t Understand the Difference Between Love and Lust.

A. Many in our time do not understand the difference.

B. We even speak of “making love” when we are really talking about lust.

C. To miss that distinction is spiritually fatal (and often fatal to marriage as well).

II. She Didn’t Know the Similarity Between Romantic Love and Spiritual Love.

A. She didn’t know that love can be given but can never be bought or sold.

B. She may have been a prostitute. This would explain the riddle of why they didn’t bring the man if they had indeed caught her in the very act. If so, she thought love could be sold.

C. As love cannot be sold, so it cannot be bought. Gifts can express love, but they cannot buy love. Sometimes parents try to buy love. Knowing they are neglecting their children they heap extravagant gifts on them. Sometimes husbands and wives try to buy love.

D. Love is only true love if it is given—freely given. True love is not given in response to anything. After all, Christ loved us when we were unlovely.

E. As love must be freely given, so it must be freely received.

F. It is unfortunate that we have only one word for love in English, but our understanding of divine love can help us understand all other loves including romantic love and family love.

G. This means that even the love of romantic attraction should have also some element of agape love; that is of divine love.

III. She Came to Know the Difference Between Physical Love and Spiritual Love.

A. If it is important to know the spiritual element in romantic love, it is also important to know the differences between them.

B. She may have met many men, but she had never met a man like Jesus.

C. He loved her with a spiritual love that demanded only that she sin no more. Our human love sometimes demands too much.

D. He forgave her when others condemned her.

E. Even romantic love requires forgiveness.

F. Spiritual love demands that we forgive others as we have been forgiven.

Conclusion

Sometimes it seems a handicap that we have only one word for love when the Greeks had four. But it has one advantage: we can move freely from thinking of human love to meditating on divine love.

Illustrations

Love is its own reward. Hate is its own punishment.

There is more pleasure in loving than in being loved.

Love makes us act from outward compulsion, but love makes us serve from inward compassion.

We may begin to love at first sight. We must continue to love at first slight.

There is a song titled “Love Is a Many Splendored Thing.” To too many people love has become a many splintered thing.

A man said that his father had deserted their family when he himself was just a child. He said that he grew up with great resentment toward his father. Then the father became gravely ill. Every day after work the son would go by his father’s apartment and care for his most basic needs. He said, “In serving him I came to love him!” While most often we will serve because we love, sometimes we will come to love because we have served.


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