Summary: Love of God is essential for us to love others.
Text: “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
When you think of the word “love” what comes to your mind? Perhaps you think of a personal affection for another person. This person could be family or friend. Maybe you think of having a very close association or intimate relationship with a particular individual. Maybe you are an animal lover and you think of the strong feelings of fondness you have for your dog or your cat.
Some of you might have a strong liking to play cards, put puzzles together, exercise, eat, shop, watch movies or a host of other things. You might use the word “love” to indicate your strong affection to do these things.
If you are in love with someone you are devoted to that person. If you love to play certain games, skydive, water ski, roller skate, bowl, there is a very good chance you are devoted to these activities.
The word “love” has many synonyms. Words like fondness, affection, cordiality, devotion, adoration, tenderness, endearment, passion and desire, illustrate different degrees of love. The meanings might vary slightly, but they are all related to the word “love.”
When John wrote this letter, he said, “Dear friends, let us love one another” (I John 4:7). As Christians, we are to love one another. Do we love everyone? I venture to say that we do not. Could we love everyone? I believe we could love each other if we really wanted to because to love is a choice.
If we truly love one another, our love will show. You might ask how our love will show forth. Paul answers that question for us when he said, “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, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (I Corinthians 13 4-7).
What is the source of our love? Our love “…comes from God” (1 John 4:7). So then, God is the resource or the basis of our love. God demonstrated His love for us when He sent His Son into the world. Jesus was not the originator or founder of love, but He did show the world the love of His Father.
God’s love is expressed in the Cross of Calvary. His love was brought to focus when Jesus was nailed to the Cross. Mankind was lost and the only way man could be redeemed was for His sins to be carried to the foot of the Cross. John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
God extended His love for the benefit of each man, woman, boy and girl. His love was not centered upon Himself, but was intended to reach out to everyone who would accept it. In doing so, man would be redeemed and would have the opportunity to spend eternity with the Father.
There are times that we love others because we expect to get something in return. God did not need anything from us, but we did need all He would provide because we could not save ourselves. Man had made the mistake of disobeying God which brought sin into the world. This disobedience by Adam and Eve meant that every person born after that time would be born with a sinful nature.
It is a fact that we all have a sinful nature, but the nice part is God loves us so much that His plan was to give all of us a chance to confess our sins, accept His Son, lead a new life and spend eternity with Him in His kingdom. When we accept Jesus as our own personal Lord and Savior, The Holy Spirit comes to live within our heart and in turn gives us the ability to love others as God loves us.
“Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7). I believe everyone loves and everyone wants to be loved. If we know God and we know that God loves us, we will follow in the footsteps of His Son Jesus Christ. Everything Jesus did, He did in the highest degree of love.
Jesus said to us, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). We all have people who do not like us or do not agree with us for some reason. Some people will try to harm us in some way, but we are not to retaliate in the same manner.
Jesus says to us, “If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” (Matthew 5:39-42).