Summary: The importance of loving one another. Not just fellow Christians.
Love = Choices and Actions
If you could sum God up in one word, what would that word be? Would it be Almighty? Would it be Omnipotent? Or possibly Creator?
Any one of these would be a legitimate answer. You see, He is Almighty. He is omnipotent. He is also the Creator! But the word that I am looking for is Love! I am sure that everyone here today would agree that God is indeed Love!
Think about everything that he has done for you out of love. Think about all that he has done for all of us out of love! He has done so much for me that I could not even begin to list everything! My life, my family, this church. But most of all, His son, Jesus Christ!
One of the biggest responses of people that we share the plan of salvation with, is that they cannot understand how he can forgive the despicable things that they have done. How can anyone forgive a murderer? An adulteress? A thief? A liar? The things that people could never forgive? And it truly is amazing at how he can forgive like this! But none the less- he does forgive them all! He does it because of unconditional Love!
He unconditionally loves you, you, you and me! Each and everyone of us!
Just what should be our response be to this Love? Just how should we react to this powerful gift of Grace that God has given us? What does he want our response to his eternal love?
The first thing I want to do is to clearly define just what love is. What this love does for us. What it does for others. What it does for the Church.
A survey of 8,600 people from congregations in 39 different denominations measured their `love quotient’. The conclusion - growing churches are more loving to each other and to visitors than declining churches. Loving churches attract more people regardless of their theology, denomination or location.
Love is defined as a strong affection, desire or devotion. So why is it exactly that we say things like, “ I love my wife’s asparagus?” or “I love watching football!” Should we really use a word o f this magnitude for such ‘things’? Like the Dallas Cowboys? Vegetables?
I think that somewhere we have diluted the true meaning of this beautiful word. So, this morning, I would like to go to the authority o f love, God, and his word to clearly define the true meaning of Love.
Let’s open our bibles to the book of Corinthians. Chapter 13 is known as the love chapter. Beginning in verse 4 and to the beginning of verse 8. We read, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. It is not proud, it is not rude. It is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, it always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres. Love never fails.”
Now that is a very tall order, wouldn’t you say?! Love is patient. Patient means to have hopeful forbearance. To have endurance. Staying power. Love is not self-seeking. Love is something for you. It is sacrificial. You give without any expectations in return.
If you truly love someone, you will trust them no matter what. Your love never dies. It lives for ever. In fact in verse 13, we are told that it is the greatest of all!
It is so hard for us as humans to love as God has loved us. He showed us what is called as Agape Love. Perfect Love. A love without flaw. Pure and never ending.
I am guilty, as are most people of not sharing this unconditional love with others. Oh sure, we can love those that we know and have become used to. To those that are of like thinking and status as ourselves. But what about the others? What about the guy that stands on the corner panhandling for alcohol money? What about the mother that leaves her 4 year old child in the car while she prostitutes for drug money? What about the man who strikes his wife out of anger when she wants out? What about those Muslims that took the lives of over 5000 people on September 11th? Would Jesus love these people just as much as us, his people? I think that we all know the answer. I say emphatically yes!!! He came to save the wretched and the poor. The sinners. You see, all sin is the same in the eyes of God. He loves you no more or less than those people.
You know, a few weeks ago, I was on the panel for a murder one trail. They started with 300, then by the time they whittled their way down to 35, they finally released me. I am sure you are familiar with the defendant in the case. Jason Doty. He was accused of killing a Security Guard so that he would receive special powers from Satan. Doty is both a Satanist and a white Supremacist. He was is a cold blooded killer that was responsible for the death of at least 3 humans.