Summary: Defining and applying the love of God in the Christian.s life.
Love Is The Principle Thing
Mark 12:29-34 "And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments [is], Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this [is] the first commandment. And the second [is] like, [namely] this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love [his] neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God."
What is the strongest power in the universe? Is it nuclear fission or fusion? It is said that if man could fully unlock the power of controlled nuclear fusion, the power of the sun, he would have unlimited power to probe the uttermost recesses of the galaxy in which we live. Couple this with a viable superconductor and a second industrial and technological revolution of unimaginable dimensions would be possible. A cup of water could then provide the basic energy source to power a great city for a considerable period of time. We can only speculate on the ultimate impact of such power. Yet there already exists greater motive power than this. Paul spoke of it when he spoke of the power of the gospel; which is based upon the love of God.
What is really the greatest power in the universe? The power of love. In this time of terrorist threats, economic turmoil, political upheaval and social breakdown, what is the most powerful force that could be brought to bear to right the wrongs that exist in this world? An old song says it all. "What the world needs now is love." Not the mush sentimental sort written about in the romantic ballads of bygone days. Nor the erotic, sensual, sexually exploitative sort of so-called love that permeates so much of today's world of entertainment. An emotion that could more accurately be defined and characterized as lust rather than love. But what the world needs now is the love that has it source in God. What the New Testament terms agape love. A Godlike love.
This word agape is essentially a Christian word. It glows with a glory given it by the God of this universe. It is the word He chose to express His attitude toward those for whom He gave His Son on the cross. The most tremendous thing about this love is that God has made it freely available to all mankind. But He has especially given it as His gift to true believers Paul said this love is shed abroad in the child of God's heart by the Spirit of the Living God. He also characterized this love as the constraining or motive force that under-girds and lifts up the Christian as he lovingly serves His Lord by serving those around him. God has freely given it to us. "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind." (II Tim. 1:7)
Men throughout the ages have recognized this great power for good. The brilliant but egotistical Napoleon Bonaparte said, "Alexander, Ceasar, Charlemagne and myself founded great empires; but upon what did the creations of our genius depend? Upon force. Jesus alone founded His empire upon love, and to this day millions would die for Him." Love finds its highest example in the perfect life and sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. His is an unconditional love. A love freely given to and for the unlovely and unlovable. A love without strings attached. A love not contingent upon an expectation of reciprocation or reward. "But He commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Ro. 5:8)
One of the most defining aspects of this great love was the willingness of our Saviour to make Himself vulnerable for us. He who spoke this universe into existence opened Himself to all the horrible and awful possibilities of life among His rebellious creatures and a terrible and sacrificial death at their unloving and ungrateful hands. He willingly closed off all His options as He set His face toward Jerusalem and the cross. For you see, one cannot truly love while keeping his options open. To truly love, whether it is one's mate, family or friends, one must give himself without reservation and say, as our Saviour did, that he can be despised, rejected, hurt and destroyed, but he will still love until the end.