Summary: According to writers it is the one topic that everyone wants to hear-being sung about-never goes out of style-always matters. In fact the Beatles wrote that all you need is love. Nothing else.
“All you need is Love”
1st John 4: 7-21
It would be virtually impossible to determine the number of love songs that have been written across the years. Lionel Richie wrote endless love. The Bee Gees wrote how deep is your love? Whitney Houston sang I will always love you. Google says it cannot offer a number of love songs ever written because by the time you counted them the number would be completely obsolete. According to writers it is the one topic that everyone wants to hear-being sung about-never goes out of style-always matters. In fact the Beatles wrote that all you need is love. Nothing else.
But larger than all that the apostle Paul wrote that these three things matter. Faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is love. We find the word love mentioned over 500 times in the Scripture. And over 20 times in the passage we’re reading today.
First John 4:7-21
The word John uses over and over here is the word agape. And it is one of several words used in the Scripture to define love. One is eros. It is romantic love. The kind we talk about often at Valentine’s day. There is phileo. It is brotherly love. We join the words adelphos and phileo to form Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love. Then there is the word agape and that is what John uses here. Every single time. It is love that has no restraints. No conditions. Does not matter if someone loves us back. The writer John is believed to be the same one who gave us the gospel of John, one, two, three John and also the amazing book of Revelation. His insight, his death, his passion speaks to us through this passage. Look with me at what John has to say about real love.
First of all real love is always a copy of the father’s love for us. In life we should look for models, examples, mentors who can help us become better people. Once a month I meet with 12 other pastors in this area for three hours to pray together, study together and to hear the teaching of pastors whom I greatly respect. Pastors who have grown in areas where I am still lacking. Because none of us have arrived and we all need the example of others and we will all benefit from the example of other disciples/believers/teachers. To his we meet together each month, iron sharpens iron and we all become better leaders.
Now every one of us should be meeting with a group of believers on a regular basis. Their influence rubs off on us and ours on them and together we grow. It is what Jesus did for 3.5 years with the disciples and he still expects us to do the same. And this is why. There is a simple formula here in this 2nd point.
2nd, Real love is not complete until we give it away. Look at these 3 truths with me. (1) Real love begins with God. John reminds us in this passage that God is love. He defines God in three ways in this little book. God is love. God is light. God is spirit. These are not simply attributes of God. They actually defined who God is. And real love begins with God. Verse seven.
(2) Real love validates our relationship with God. Love is what makes our relationship with God legit. Verse 8.
(3) Real love is what God uses to connect with his people. Verse 9. This is how God showed his love among us: he sent his one and only son that we might have life. You see for over 1500 years as the Old Testament was being written down we see God making connection with his people through his prophets.
• Hosea teaches us to love even when someone is unfaithful.
• Jonah teaches us about God’s love for us even when we run from him.
• Amos describes how he lived among a group of people who had no love for their neighbor and points out to us why we simply cannot live that way.
We then see a period of 400 years-a time between the OT and NT where no Scripture was written and suddenly Jesus breaks on the scene. Time shifts from BC to A.D. all because that was the day that love took over. God clearly determined that preaching was not enough; simple words would not suffice. It was time for Jesus because love is best displayed in a person.
John shows us an amazing truth here. God’s love was made complete when he connected with you and me. And not until. That’s what John says. Verse 12. That doesn’t mean his love was imperfect. It doesn’t mean it was flawed in any way. It simply means there was so much of it that it naturally overflowed into the creation of man. And when God created man it was not long before God said it is not good for man to be alone. And man said amen!