Summary: God demonstrated His love for us on purpose. Can can we in turn love Him and others on purpose?
Loving on Purpose
December 22, 2002
As we continue our series of “living on purpose”, today’s topic is “loving on purpose”.
We’ll be focusing on a verse that is well known to most of us. (John 3:16)
16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 (NLT)
Of all the verses in the Bible, this one is probably the one that communicates God’s love to us more than any other.
God sent His Son Jesus to earth to be born as we read about earlier. But even as He sent Him, the purpose of His life was so that He could die for us, in our place, so that we could have eternal life.
We give gifts to those that we love at Christmas, but no one has even given, or will ever give a better gift than God gave when He sent Jesus. And no one will ever love us more than God loves us.
Illustration: The "W" in Christmas
Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience. I had cut back on nonessential obligations - extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending. Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.
My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a six year old. For weeks, he’d been memorizing songs for his school’s "Winter Pageant." I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’d be working the night of the production. Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher. She assured me there’d be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation. All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then. Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise.
So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats. As I waited, the students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song.
Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as "Christmas," I didn’t expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment - songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer. So, when my son’s class rose to sing, "Christmas Love," I was slightly taken back by its bold title.
Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads. Those in the front row- center stage - held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song. As the class would sing "C is for Christmas," a child would hold up the letter C. Then, "H is for Happy," and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, "Christmas Love."
The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter "M" upside down - totally unaware her letter "M" appeared as a "W". The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one’s mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her "W".
Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together. A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen. In that instant, we understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities.
For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear: "CHRISTWAS LOVE" And, I believe, He still is.
Let’s briefly look at three things about love that is evident in John 3:16
1. Love always makes itself known – God did not hide His love for us.
“We know what real love is because Christ gave up His life for us. And so we ought to give up our lives for our Christian brothers and sisters. But if anyone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need and refuses to help – how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it by or actions.”
2. Love is impartial – everyone who believes
3. Love knows no limits – God gave His only Son for us. He did not stop short of showing how much He loved us.