Summary: We are called to love the way He loves with the loves He gives.
1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
Our world is desperately in need of love, and this is the defining attribute of the Christian life.
• It is the first attribute of the Fruit of the Spirit because that is the most vivid expression of the character of Christ.
• Paul says, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels… If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge… and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” (1 Cor 13:1-2)
I want you to remember this tag line:
“We are called to love, the way He loves, with the love He gives.”
(1) We Are Called to Love
The spiritual vital sign that can tell us how healthy or mature we are as Christians is love – love for God expressed through our love for people.
• 1 John 4:7 “Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”
• If God is love and He dwells in us, then the outflow of such a life is a life of love.
• That’s why Jesus says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35). That defines us!
But the Scriptures go beyond just loving in general.
(2) We Are Called to Love the Way He Loves
There are kind and compassionate people around who do really love others.
• But the Lord calls us to love the way He loves - John 15:12 “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
Jesus made that distinction. Matt 5:43-48
43 "You have heard that it was said, `Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
To put it in another way, we are called to love “supernaturally”.
• To love naturally means I love those who love me, I love those I like, I love those I can get along with, I love the charming and the beautiful …
• But God’s love has no favourite and no condition. It is radical and sacrificial.
It is not just loving others above self, but loving others beyond self.
• It is unconditional. But how can this be possible?
• It is possible because God has made us partakers of the divine nature. (2 Pet 1:4)
(3) We Are Called to Love the Way He Loves with the Love He Gives
We are called to love because we’ve been loved. 1 John 4:19 “We love because He first loved us.”
• 1 John 4:7 “love comes from God.” Rom 5:5 “… God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit….”
When Jesus spoke to the Father (in John 17:26), this was what He said: “I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
• The love the Father has for the Son is the same love God showers upon us today!
God deposits His love in our heart, and calls us to release it.
• God has not called us to do something unreasonable or impossible. He calls us to love because He has given us that love.