INTRO.- ILL.- Someone wrote: If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it was and always will be yours. If it never returns, it was never yours to begin with.
If it just sits in your living room and messes up your stuff, eats your food, uses your telephone, takes your money and never behaves as if you actually set it free in the first place -- you either married it or gave birth to it! IT COULD BE!
Love, love, love. This is what our world needs but the world is often mixed up when it comes to love.
First and foremost, we must consider what the Word of God says about love. Consider some verses.
Romans 12:9-10 “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
This sounds like how brotherly love is supposed to work. Are you devoted to any brother or sister in Christ? Do you honor them above you?
1 Corinthians 4:17 “For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.”
It’s easy to love a faithful brother in Christ, is it not? It’s easier to love a faithful brother than an unfaithful brother.
ILL.- Jerry Ford is about 72 years old, a southern Baptist pastor of the 2nd Baptist Church of Herrin, IL. He has ministered probably 50 years and is very faithful and consistent in his work and preaching. He is a good student and preacher of the Word. He does his homework. He calls on his people. He ministers to his people faithfully. AND IT’S VERY EASY FOR ME TO LOVE HIM AS A BROTHER.
Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”
It should be obvious that both husbands and wives should love one another. Sometimes, however, it’s one-sided or lop-sided. Elaine always says to me, “I love you most.” I say, “Ok!”
ILL.- On December 17, 2009, my daughter and her husband (Holly and Chris Santasiere) celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary. Holly wrote these words on facebook about Chris: I am the luckiest woman on earth today! Today I have been married 15 years to the most wonderful man, who adores and spoils me constantly. I love you, Chris!
I wrote Bob Stacy about this and here’s what he wrote about his anniversary and his dear wife, Nell: Sweet! Too bad all couples aren't that way! After nearly 55 years, Nell and I are still "in love." Many things have changed, but our love has only grown!
Wow! Pretty great, wouldn’t you say? Where does this kind of love come from. I think we all know. The Lord is the author of true love and this is what our text is all about.
PROP.- This text is all about love, true love, the real thing.
1- The charge of love
2- The creator of love
3- The crown of love
I. THE CHARGE OF LOVE
7Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
ILL.- “You’re my child/kld and you will....whether you want to or not.” Did you ever say those words to your children or your child? “You are going to school like it or not!” “You will clean your plate or else you’ll go to bed hungry?”
Coercion generally doesn’t work well with some people but when it comes to God’s command to love one another we have more motivation to do it.
John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." AS I HAVE LOVED YOU.
ILL.- When Benjamin Franklin wished to interest the people of Philadelphia in street lighting, he didn’t try to persuade them by talking about it—instead, he hung a beautiful lantern on a long bracket before his own door. Then he kept the glass brightly polished, and carefully hung it at the approach of dusk.
People wandering about on the dark street saw Franklin’s light a long way off and came under the influence of its friendly glow with grateful hearts. To each one it seemed to say; “Come along, my friend! Here is a safe place to walk. See that cobblestone sticking out? Don’t stumble over it! I shall be here to help you again tomorrow night, if you should come this way.”
It wasn’t long before Franklin’s neighbors began placing lights in brackets before their homes and soon the entire city awoke to the value of street lighting and took up the matter with interest and enthusiasm. Example is always a strong motivation for doing the right thing in life. And the Lord gives us the best example of all.
ILL.- A study once disclosed that if both Mom and Dad attend church regularly, 72% of their children remain faithful. If only Dad, 55% remain faithful. If only Mom, 15%. If neither attended regularly, only 6% remain faithful. The statistics speak for themselves--the example of parents and adults is more important than all the efforts of the church and Sunday School.
Most of us are what we are today because of our parents’ example. Likewise, if parents are loving then there is a very good possibility that their children will also be loving.
Now if you were to say to your child, “Do as I say, not as I do,” you might not get any action out of them. But Jesus said, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
I doubt seriously we will ever love exactly like Jesus, but when we demonstrate love to others we are walking in His steps. The charge: love one another.
II. THE CREATOR OF LOVE
8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Now this is a challenging scripture! Why? Because how can anyone fully describe our God who is love? But John is clear: if you don’t love then you don’t know God, because God is love. And when I say He is creator of love, that in itself, is a poor way of saying it, because God is more than just the creator of true love.
ILL.- Here are some examples of seeing the world through the eyes of a child:
- Dear God, I would like to know why all the things you said are in red?—Joanne
- Dear God, Is Reverend Coe a friend of yours, or do you just know him through business?—Donny
- Dear God, Did you really mean ‘do unto others as they do unto you,’ because if you did, then I’m going to fix my brother.—Darla
- Dear God, Thank you for the baby brother but what I prayed for was a puppy.—Joyce
- Dear God, I bet it is very hard for you to love all of everybody in the world. There are only four people in our family and I can never do it.
These are examples of a child’s view of God. What is your view? What’s your picture of God? What is He like in your heart and mind? A mean Judge? A weak old man? A compromising person? A loving Father?
ILL.- Someone wrote these interesting words about God: Among the first glimpses we get of our God is that of a Seeker: “Adam...Where art thou?” (Genesis 3:9). In commenting upon this question to his Bible class, a teacher said, “You can never be a preacher if you read it as though God were a policeman. Read it as though God were a brokenhearted Father looking for a lost child!”
Remember the story of the prodigal son?
Luke 15:11-32 11Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. 12The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them. 13"Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. 17"When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' 20 So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” Do you see God in this picture anywhere? His father is our Father.
ILL.- Mark Guy Pearse used to tell of the time he overheard one of his children admonishing the other, “You must be good or Father won’t love you.”
Calling the boy to him he said, “Son, that isn’t really true.” “But you won’t love us if we are bad, will you?” the boy asked.
“Yes, I will love you whether you are good or bad,” Pearse explained. “But there will be a difference in my love. When you are good I will love you with a love that makes me glad; and when you are not good I will love you with a love that hurts me.”
This is similar picture of God as revealed in the story of the prodigal son.
8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
How do you really describe in words God who is love? I’m not sure there is any way you can. God is not the essence of love. He is not the spirit of love. He is not the extreme example of love. He is not the personification of love. He is not the epitome of love. HE IS LOVE. And we will know when we come into His presence!
III. THE CROWN OF LOVE
(the best of love, the excellency of love, the greatest, the highest, the supremacy of 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.
ILL.- Some years ago, a German scientist counted the hairs on different human heads. He found that they vary in number, depending seemingly on the color. Thus, there are more on a head with black hair than red, on brown than black, on blond than brown. The black-haired woman has about 110,000 hairs on her head, and a blonde around 140,000.
The average woman with a thick head of hair will lose up to 100 hairs a day. Such losses are increased somewhat if the hair is long and becomes entangled in the brush or comb. The average man, shaving every day, removes a beard about 1/64 inch in length. This means that between ages 20 and 65, he removes 23 feet of beard.
Matthew 10:29-31 “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
ILL.- An old woman, hearing of some preachers who dwelt on the doctrine of predestination, said: “Ah, I have long settled that point, for if God had not chosen me before I was born. I am sure He would have seen nothing in me to have chosen me afterward.”
I think this is true for us all. There was nothing good in us that would have caused God to chose us as His children. HOW COULD THIS BE? Because this is how we be!
Romans 3:10-12 “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one."
We all have turned away from the Lord, but because of who He is, He loves us still.
ILL.- F.B. Meyer On God’s Love: Never be afraid of God, unless you are sinning against Him. Always believe that behind what seems difficult and mysterious, there is God’s heart, as true and tender as the heart of the sweetest, gentlest woman that ever pressed her child to her bosom. Nay, all the love in all women’s hearts together, compared to the love of His heart, is as a glowworm’s torch compared to the sun at noon-tide.”
God’s love is the greatest, the supreme love.
Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
THE CROWN OF LOVE IS THE FACT THAT CHRIST PAID FOR OUR SINS ON THE CROSS! There is no greater love than this!
11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
Since God loves, so should we love.
ILL.- A man, about to enter hospital, saw two white coated doctors searching through the flower beds. "Excuse me," he said, "have you lost something?"
"No," replied one of the doctors. "We're doing a heart transplant for an IRS man and want to find a suitable stone."
Could it be that our greatest problem in all of life is our heart?
Matthew 12:33-34 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”
We all desperately need a heart transplant. We need the heart of Jesus. And as we acquire it through faith, study, surrender, submission, etc. we will love, love, love just like Jesus did.