Summary: As February comes around, you will hear the phrase ’love is in the air.’ I tend to wonder, are they talking about love or lust? People today are kind of confused between the two and do not know where to draw the line. As Christians shouldn’t it be explodi
Opening introduction: video on LOVE.
Introduction: In today’s context most people get confused with love and lust and don’t even know where to draw the line. Some do have an idea and stand by engraving a line in stone to demarcate their extent and limitations. A key difference between love and lust is that lust only cares for itself (self love). Lust always focuses on an object to fulfill its desire. This object can be a woman, money, a car, a dress, fried chicken – anything. Lust has no room for love or compassion. Another key difference between love and lust is that love is completely unselfish. Love has compassion for the object of its affection. Christian love is "agape" love, a love that offers unmerited favor. Its affection does not expect anything in return. Lust is part of the material world attempting to satisfy one of the five senses. Lust’s sole aim is to satisfy the flesh. Love transcends the material world and is solely focused on spiritual things. Love’s sole motive is to bestow affection and compassion upon people and God. The key difference between lust and love is that love is God and selfish lust is not of God. Like truth, God is the source of all love. Anyone without love does not have God in him. Anyone with true "agape" love has God in him.
What has LOVE got to do with?
1. Why to love? [John 13: 34 – 35]
• To be identified as the disciples (followers) of Christ ~ We cannot now follow our Lord to his heavenly happiness, but if we truly believe in him, we shall follow him hereafter; meanwhile we must wait his time, and do his work. Before Christ left the disciples, he would give them a new commandment. They were to love each other for Christ’s sake, and according to his example, seeking what might benefit others, and promoting the cause of the gospel, as one body, animated by one soul. It was not in words but action.
Illustration: Our time in the Middle-East was spent more on loving Muslims who in faith could not identify with us but in deed wanted us to become a part of them. Though they did not understand the Agape love of Christ, but knew the language of love. From where does our love stem and who is the target of it? While loving others, it is not for us to receive the glory, but God alone. It is for the benefit of others (edification of the body of Christ). Are we doing it to gather the praise of people or to identify by being Christ’s disciples?
• God above everyone and everything ~ The love of God is the first and great commandment, and the sum of all the commands of the first table. Our love of God must be sincere, not in word and tongue only. All our love is too little to bestow upon him, therefore all the powers of the soul must be engaged for him, and carried out toward him.
• Neighbor as yourself ~ The Jewish teachers by “neighbor” understood only those who were of their own country, nation, and religion, whom they were pleased to look upon as their friends. It went beyond that. To love our neighbor as ourselves, is the second great commandment. There is a self-love which is corrupt, and the root of the greatest sins, and it must be put off and mortified; but there is a self-love which is the rule of the greatest duty: we must have a due concern for the welfare of our own souls and bodies. And we must love our neighbour as truly and sincerely as we love ourselves; in many cases we must deny ourselves for the good of others.
• Your Enemies ~ The Lord Jesus teaches that we must do all the real kindness we can to all, especially to their souls. We must pray for them. While many will render good for good, we must render good for evil; and this will speak a nobler principle than most men act by. Others salute their brethren, and embrace those of their own party, and way, and opinion, but we must not so confine our respect. It is the duty of Christians to desire, and aim at, and press towards perfection in grace and holiness. And therein we must study to conform ourselves to the example of our heavenly Father. Surely more is to be expected from the followers of Christ than from others; surely more will be found in them than in others.
Illustration: Richard Wurmbrand, who spent fourteen years suffering in a Communist prison, reminds all believers with less than ideal circumstances that “if the heart is cleansed by the love of Jesus Christ, and if the heart loves Him, you can resist all tortures.” He says, “God will not judge us according to how much we endured, but how much we could love.” The love of God demonstrated in the lives of his people is potent. Wurmbrand gives an example: