Summary: From 1 Peter 1:22, let's talk about the kind of love we are to have for each other, who we are to love, and then how this ties in with the emotions of love (Material adapted from Mark Copeland and David Riggs, So What? from John Piper of Desiring God)
“When he had said this, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship. After we had torn ourselves away from them,” Acts 20:36-21:1, NIV. Paul was determined to do God’s will but we see here the tender affection that these Ephesian Christians and Paul had for each other.
From Blest Be the Tie That Binds- “When we asunder part, it gives us inward pain; But we shall still be joined in heart, and hope to meet again.”
As Christian we should feel tender affections for each other, attachments to each other.
Told us last week that going to talk about the fruit of the Spirit and the emotions that come from those fruits. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,” Galatians 5:22, NIV.
Read the theme verse: 1 Peter 1:22
If we were an American living in a strange country like Tibet, and we were being hounded for being an American, and we heard that there was another American also in the same city, we’d seek him out. We’d cling to him as one who understood what we were going through. That’s Peter’s point, that those who are members of God’s family through the new birth must stick together, because we are aliens and strangers in this world.
Thesis: From 1 Peter 1:22 let’s talk about the kind of love we are to have for each other, who we are to love, and then how this ties in with the emotion of love
The Kind of love we are to have for each other
1. First, this love must be pure. Ties in with purifying ourselves
“Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off--for all whom the Lord our God will call.” With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”” Acts 2:38-40, NIV.
When we compare this with 1 Peter 1:22 we are struck by the fact that Peter is talking about obeying the gospel commands for salvation. When are our souls purified? At baptism. Now we do not save ourselves, only the blood of Jesus Christ can do that. However, when a person follows the gospel conditions laid out in the NT, when that is done, then a person can in that sense save himself.
To say that our love is pure is to say that Christian love has nothing to do with “using and abusing” another human being. Love must always be kept in the context of moral purity. Under no circumstances is our love to be a cover for sexual immorality. “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality...because these are improper for God’s holy people.” Ephesians 5:1-3. Shame that in our day the only love that people focus on is sensual or sexual love. Christian love is modeled after Christ who gave himself up for us. A sacrificial love.
2. Sincere- genuine. The old word is unfeigned = not faked; not put on or pretended. Have we ever been around someone that was syrupy sweet to our face but something about it wasn’t real?
Some time after she broke up with him she wrote this letter: "Dearest Jimmy, No words could ever express the great unhappiness I’ve felt since breaking our engagement. Please say you’ll take me back. No one could ever take your place in my heart, so please forgive me. I love you, I love you, I love you! Yours forever, Marie... P.S., Congratulations on willing the state lottery."
3. Deeply/ fervently/ earnestly- This is a physiological term meaning to stretch to the furthest limit of a muscle’s capacity. Metaphorically, the word means to go all out, to reach the furthest extent of something. The Greek word is often used about prayer, as when the people prayed for Peter when he was imprisoned in Acts 12. Here the word is translated without ceasing in Acts 12:5. To love deeply means we try to understand the other person. It means we will give the person the benefit of the doubt. It means we will take the effort to reach out to others. This kind of love does not happen by accident. It doesn’t happen automatically. Fervent love is not lazy love; it is not love when it is convenient; it is not mechanical. Love is a choice. When we first fall in love with someone the feelings are powerful. However, after reality sets in, love is a choice. Staying in love takes a commitment. Once we have made the decision that we have found the person we want to be with and commit to, the work begins. A big part of that work is making many other choices. Same is true of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Love is a choice.