Summary: It is God’s powerful love, shown through our lives, that brings us to love one another as we should. How does this happen?
Central Church of Christ
February 18, 2000
HOW GOD’S LOVE BECOMES OUR LOVE
In this three part series of messages we have talked about:
*God’s incredible agape love – and the way he loves us in spite of our weakness, mistakes, inadequacies, and failures.
*God’s love was shown very clearly at the cross – exposing the incredible depth of love that He has for us in sacrificing his son in our behalf – righteous for the unrighteous.
*Today we want to see what John wrote that tells us how this incredible love actually comes to be a part of our character.
It isn’t always easy to love one another – and for some it is a struggle. “The love that Christ commands is not easy, even for people who are blessed with great natural warmth of heart. And it is not impossible, even for those of us who tend to be crabby and short-tempered. For Christian love is not a vague feeling of affection for someone. It is rather a condition of the heart and will that causes us to seek the welfare of others—including people we don’t particularly like, and even people who have done us wrong.” Louis Cassels. If there is any over-arching characteristic that Christians are to have, it is love.God’s love makes our love look puny! His eternal ever-forgiving love appears gigantic next to our small efforts at love.Yet God calls us to love each other – and to love others – even our enemies. How is it that this incredible unbelievable love of God can become our love?
I. GOD’S LOVE MUST COME FROM GOD!
A. The agape love of God is unnatural! It is not the result of a pleasant spirit! 1 John 2:5-6 “But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” God’s love is made complete in us when we obey his word! “What we love we shall grow to resemble.” Bernard of Clairvaux. 1 John 4:7-8 “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” Love is not a warm fuzzy feeling, it is a decision! That’s the kind of love God has – not the fuzzyness that overlooks sin – the decision to love and forgive sin! I John 4:17-19 “In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.” “Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.” C. S. Lewis. This love is not afraid, because it not based on the performance of the one who is loved. It is love for the sake of love, not for the sake of the one loved – or the lover!
B. How can we ever adopt God’s kind of love as our own? “There is only one being who loves perfectly, and that is God, yet the New Testament distinctly states that we are to love as God does; so the first step is obvious. If ever we are going to have perfect love in our hearts we must have the very nature of God in us.” Oswald Chambers. The Love of God is ours through the work of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38-39 “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." Romans 5:5 “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Galatians 5:22a “But the fruit of the Spirit is love…”