Summary: This sermon shows that true love for God is more than words; it takes actions.

Loving God

During the month of February, we’ve been talking about love. Two weeks ago, we talked about the fact that real love is not passion, but real love is a promise and a commitment. And we saw that kind of real love between a husband and wife through the story of Hosea, who loved his wife and continued to love her even though she was unfaithful to him. He loved her enough to bring her back into his house and forgive her of her unfaithfulness. And we saw how the incredible love of Hosea for his wife is a picture of how God loves us. Even though we fail in our efforts to love God, He still loves us and sent His Son to bring us back into a relationship to Him.

Then last week we looked at our responsibility as Christians to love one another.

James 2:8(NIV)

8If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right.

1 John 3:11(NIV)

11This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.

And Jesus said, very clearly:

John 15:12(NIV)

12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

For the Christian, loving each other is not a suggestion; it’s a command of Christ. If we want to have a relationship with God, then loving one another is not optional. John the apostle said:

1 John 4:7-10(NIV)

7Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Yesterday we celebrated Valentine’s Day. On Valentine’s Day, we do things that reveal our love. We send cards with messages of love to those we care about. We buy candy for that special someone. We send flowers to the one we love. And that’s all good, because we show our brothers and sisters in Christ that we love them in the same ways.

We treat them right to show them how we feel about them. We invite them to eat a meal with us. We share with them. We put their desires ahead of our own. We go out of our way to help them if they have a need. We don’t lie to them, or steal from them; we don’t call them names or run them down in front of other people.

It’s pretty easy to tell by the way we treat others whether we love them or not, isn’t it? You can see it through our actions.

But what about God? We say that we love Him with our words. But how do we show Him that we love Him?

Can we show God how much we love Him by Church Attendance?

Some might yes to that question. Many say that we show our love for God by being in His house to worship. And there’s some truth in that. After all, we’re told not to neglect meeting together.

Hebrews 10:25(NIV)

25Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

But too often, our attendance is spotty. And when we do come to church, our eyes are sleepy, and our minds are anywhere but here. Our hearts are heavy and our souls aren’t focused on God. So sometimes, our church attendance doesn’t show that we love God.

Others might say we show Him we love Him by studying His Word. Paul told Timothy:

2 Timothy 2:15(NIV)

15Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

Studying God’s Word may be an indication that we love Him. But Jesus said:

John 5:39-40(NIV)

39You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, 40yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

We may read our Bible, but we sometimes fail to apply its teachings. And if that’s the case, we’re not really showing our love for God.

What about prayer? Shouldn’t that show God we love Him?

After all, the Bible says:

1 Thessalonians 5:17-18(NIV)

17pray continually; 18give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Yes, God wants us to pray. But sometimes our prayers are said with the wrong motives. If we’re truthful, most of our prayers are for our benefit and not God’s. We ask Him to bless us, to give us stuff, to make us well, to get us out of trouble. Most of our prayers are more about us than about God.

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