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Summary: If we go back 50 years to 1967 a song was written that is still popular and people of all ages have heard it and still know the words. The Beatles wanted to write something that would speak to people of all nations. So John Lennon wrote one.

ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE

John 3:16

If we go back 50 years to 1967 a song was written that is still popular and people of all ages have heard it and still know the words. The Beatles wanted to write something that would speak to people of all nations. So John Lennon wrote the song ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE. It was used in a commercial on the 40th anniversary of the song. For diapers. The brand LUV; they make diapers by the way; used it in an ad program in 2007. They sang all you need is LUVS.

When the song was written, America was heavily involved in the war in Vietnam and so the phrase ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE became very popular. Probably because (1) it was the Beatles. If John and Paul sneezed it would become a gold record. (2) It was just a very simple message. And sometimes that is exactly what we need.

In the gospel of John, chapter 3 and verse 16 we find the most simple, yet profound verse in the Bible. We even see it in the end zone at a football game. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but shall have everlasting life.” I think this verse was given to those of us who just need to know the facts… we need something simple. But it is also so profound.

The word John used here is the Greek word agape. It is very different. We know about brotherly love. It’s what friendships are made of. There is eros and that is what romantic relationships have. But agape is different. Agape love is love that has no conditions. No restraints. Does not matter if someone loves us back.

1. Real love is always a copy of the Father’s love for us. In life we often look for a model, a mentor; someone who can help us become better at what we do. Two years ago I started the practice of meeting with about 12 other pastors once a month. We pray together, we share a meal together, we encourage each other, but mostly we learn from each other. As the scripture says, Iron sharpens iron and so we all walk away more effective.

Now every one of you should be meeting in a small group to grow. We are going to put that out there as a priority in 2018. It’s exactly what Jesus did for 3.5 years with the disciples and he still expects us to do the same thing. Jesus knew he could accomplish more with 12 than 100. Small groups matter.

2. Love is a gift that demands a response. . There are many ways you can show someone that you love them. We can simply say it. We can show it in how we speak to someone. We can show it through our actions. But I think we would all agree that love demands a response. If we love chocolate, we eat it. If we love things, we buy them; we even collect them. God loved you and me so much that He did one thing. He gave. Real love is not complete until we give it away. God gave Himself. God stepped out of heaven and gave His life for you and me. Why? Because love prompts us to give. In fact and this is #3.

3. Real love is not complete until we give it away. For God so loved the world that He gave.

You are never more like God than when you give or when you forgive.

So real love will never be complete until you give it away. We often measure someone’s love for us by the size of the gift they give. By how much they spend. But that is not always the right way to measure a gift. A gift that really shows love is not necessarily one that costs a lot of money but to really show love it must cost us something personally. It might cost us a lot of time because we made something. Now it may in fact cost a lot of money so it empties our bank account…. You can show someone how much you love them by doing that but I don’t think it’s wise. It might cost you some tears because the gift is simply hard to give away. It’s personal, something you have had for years and it’s hard to give away.

Ever bought a gift for someone and then thought, hmmm I like this? In fact I like it so much I think I‘ll just keep it. I can imagine that happens more than we think. Because we just don’t want to give it up. I have to wonder, did God ever hesitate? I mean this was His only son and He decided to give Him up. The word only begotten means unique; one of a kind. This gift was unique. No other gift like it. It cost Him more than any other gift could cost. But His love for us was so great he just couldn’t hold back. There was no hesitation; but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t difficult. That is what makes it such a special gift.

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