Summary: What is love? There are many definitions. Using the letters of love here is a definition that is biblically based.
Rev. Dr. Michael H. Koplitz
John 3:16 "For God so aloved the world, that He bgave His 1conly begotten Son, that whoever dbelieves in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
What is love? Remember the days when you could go into a book store? Actually, you still can. "Books a Million" has a store in East York. Maybe the better question is when was the last time you were in a book store? Years ago or perhaps decades ago? Instead of driving to a store of brick and mortar, I get on the web and enter "amazon.com." Thousands of books right on my fingertips. So, go to amazon.com and search for the word "love." I searched, and thousands of books and other items were displayed in the search results. Love is something that humankind has been fascinated with since the beginning of our species.
There are several constants in the Universe. For example, the speed of light is constant at 186,000 miles per second. There is the one we learned in High School. Think back on that for a moment. [Pause] It was PI, remember 3.1416. I could stand here for the next hour and list the number of numeric and physical constants in God's Universe. Let us chat about one of these constants. That constant is love. God created the Universe because He wanted to love us and for us to love Him.
So, what exactly is love. Thousands of philosophers have tried to explain and define love. If it was an easy constant to define, there would not be so many books about the subject. There are twelve words for love in the Hebrew language, and in the Koine Greek of the Bible, there are 15. That might explain why it is so difficult to pin down precisely what love is. Let us try to enlighten ourselves this morning by exploring what love is, especially love for the church.
I am going to do this with you by examining each letter of the word love. The first letter is "L." This letter represents "loyalty." Jesus said that He came out of love for us. His love is always available to us. Jesus is loyal to us. In our times of darkness, it is Jesus who brings the light of God to us. He constantly reminds us that God loves us and wants the best for us. Unfortunately, it is human intervention that can block the loyalty that Jesus offers to us.
Unfortunately, many people, including Christians, do not understand that the loyalty that Jesus has for us is a two-way street. We are supposed to be loyal to Jesus. What does this loyalty look like? For you folks who are here in church today, it starts here. You are here to show your loyalty of love to Jesus. We offer prayers and songs because we want Jesus to know that we accept Him as our Savior.
After seven years, you have picked up on the fact that I do not use the words worship service. This time together is not a service. We do not come together because of some obligation. Our hearts are drawn to be with other followers of Christ. We are here at a time of thanksgiving. Instead, I use the words worship celebration. Our time together is a celebration of Christ's love for us. It is not an obligation but rather a willing expression of our loyalty to Jesus. God determines what is in our hearts by our words and actions. God can see our loyalty to Jesus when He sees us coming to church to offer our worship and thanksgiving.
The "o" is for offering. Now do not get too excited because the word offering is much more than just money. Let us be honest about tithing and offering sermons. People do not want to hear them. I know that, and you know that. We do not like being told what to do, even if it is biblical. There I said it. Unfortunately, the church operates in a materialistic world, and money allows the church building and staff to exist.
Giving a tithe to the church is just the beginning. How can you show your love for Jesus Christ? It is much more than just dropping a check or cash in the offering plate. It consists of offering you time and talents to the church. Ask yourself how much time do you give to the church. One hour on Sunday is not enough. Let me add that your offering of time to God not only includes church time but also includes your time that you spend reading and studying your Bible. How many hours a week do you spend in the word of God?
There are so many things that you can offer to God. The most significant offering that God gave to us was Jesus Christ. Jesus was born to die for us for the eradication of sin. We believe and have faith in the acts of Jesus' death and resurrection to forgive sin. That the main "thing" that God gives to us. Wow, that is one incredible offering. So what are you giving to Jesus in return? Ask yourself that question.