Summary: This sermon deals with God’s Love to us, Our Love to Him, and our Love to others.
BE GOD’S VALENTINE 2/10/03
We have just celebrated the Holiday referred to as Valentines Day. Some of you are still feeling the pain from the cries of your wallets. It is a time where people think of cards, candy, and flowers. It is a time when we show others that we care for them. I’ve sent valentines to people such as my wife, my kids, and my mother. I’ve sent valentines to friends and nieces and nephews. It is nice and needed to feel loved by others.
But it might surprise you to find out that this holiday started out as a day to remember a Christian martyr. You probably have heard the term, “Saint Valentines day”. This was a day called then the Feast of Saint Valentine. It was a religious holiday to remember and celebrate the life and death of a Christian martyr. This is before the world added the cupids and the other things to take the focus off the real reason of the day.
According to church tradition, Saint Valentine was a priest near Rome in about 270 AD. At this time the Roman Emperor was imprisoning Christians for not worshipping the Roman god’s. Valentine was arrested for performing Christian’s marriages and others say it was for helping Christians escape prison.
During the trial they asked Valentine what he thought about the Roman gods Jupiter and Mercury. Of course his reply was that there was only one true God, and that was our Lord Jesus Christ. So the Romans threw him in prison.
While I prison he continued to witness. He witnessed to the guards, the very one who cast him there. To most he received a deaf ear, but one of the guards had adopted a blind girl. The guard asked Valentine if his God could help his daughter. Valentine prayed that the girl would receive her sight and just as God did for Elijah at Mount Carmel, he answered Valentines prayer and the girl received her sight. I don’t know but I can only guess that this guard had cried out to the gods of the Romans with no response and God used this as an opportunity to use this to win the guard and his whole family to the Lord, 46 people in all.
When the Roman emperor heard the news that Valentine was still making converts in prison, he became furious and had him beheaded.
Valentine knew that he would get caught in his Christian activities. He knew when he was arrested that when he told the truth about the Roman Gods that he would surely be put in prison. He knew that if he continued to witness in prison that it would mean a certain death. But he chose to do it anyway. Why would someone allow themselves to be put in that situation?
I’ll tell you why. It was because he loved the Lord and his fellow humans so much that he was willing to risk his life to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. This puts a new meaning when you think of God asking you, “Would you be my next Valentine?”
It is easy to say that you would give your life to him but praise the Lord in this Country that is not put to the test very much. I heard a story about a group of Christians that were meeting in homes where Christianity was prohibited. One night the German soldiers came beating on the door and upon their arrival they lined everyone against the wall and with their guns pointed, they asked all who were not Christians to leave at once. Several ran for the door and the soldiers again stated that they were going to shoot all of the Christians and this was their last chance to escape. Others left and finally a few people stood against the walls with their hands in the air. One of the guards then locked the door. Then all of the soldiers lowered their guns and began to hug the very ones they had threatened to shoot. They explained to the ones remaining that they too were Christians. And that they had to do that because they could not take the chance of reviling themselves to anyone who was not willing to die for their beliefs.
What would you do? If some armed people busted in those doors and stated that they were going to kill all of the Christians. I know what I hope I would do. I know what Cassie Bernell did when asked that same question at the Columbine shootings.
So today let’s look at why we should be God’s valentines.
Knowing God through Love (1 John 4:7-11)
God loved us so much that He left beauty of Heaven to come to the darkness of this world. The other day someone was talking about the beauty of this world. They had seen the beautiful blue ski, and the earth blanketed by the pure white snow. I’ve seen the sunsets, I’ve seen the mist of the rivers coming up from the mountains, and I agree that our God is an artist. But it is us in our sinful flesh that makes this world dark. And even the prettiest of scenes doesn’t hold a candle to the place where Christ is. And yet He left all of that to come here for you.