Summary: Love is the key to the Christian life
February 10, 2002
This week we celebrate Valentine’s Day and all over the place we are seeing the decorations, the cards, the candy, stuffed animals and a host of things that are used to express love. With all of this focus on love, you would think that our society would have a firm grasp on the subject. Let me ask you a tough question: what is love?
A group of four-through eight-year-olds were asked: “What does love mean?” Their answers vary from the amusing to the profound.
* Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.
* Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.
* Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.
* When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.
* Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.
* When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.
* When you tell someone something bad about yourself and you’re scared they won’t love you anymore. But then you get surprised because not only do they still love you, they love you even more.
* Love is when mommy sees daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Tom Cruise.
Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.
What is love?
It is silence--when your words would hurt.
It is patience--when your neighbor’s curt.
It is deafness--when a scandal flows.
It is thoughtfulness--for other’s woes.
It is promptness--when stern duty calls.
It is courage--when misfortune falls.
Love ever gives. Forgives, outlives,
And ever stands With open hands.
And while it lives, It gives,
For this is love’s perogative-- To give, and give, and give.
The bible says a great deal about love. Today, I want to focus our attention on the words of Jesus and his giving us the Greatest commandment.
34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" 37 Jesus replied: " `Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: `Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
Main Body – Matthew 22:34-40
I. The deep need for love – Why do we need love?
A. Love is absolutely needed in life
1. God created us to need love
a.) Every person needs love. You need it, I need it we all need it
b.) God created us in a way that we need to give and receive love
2. Love makes us complete
a.) Without love we are nothing
b.) Without love we can accomplish nothing
c.) Without love we simply just exist
d.) Without love we cannot follow Christ
A Christian without love is like a river without water
B. Love must begin with God
1. God is the source of love
a.) God is the author of love both human and divine
b.) God gives us the ability to love Him. John Wesley defined sanctification as having a perfect love for God
2. The requirements of loving God
a.) Commitment: The issue of dedication
b.) Trust: The issue of devotion
c.) Surrender: The issue of desire
d.) Growth: The issue of development
3. The focus of love
a.) Heart: The heart was seen as the symbol of devotion or will
b.) Soul: The soul was the symbol of life and being alive
c.) Mind: The mind was the symbol of reasoning and understanding
II. The impact of love
A. Love creates change in us
1. Love makes it possible for us to truly live life
a.) Without love we are not really living
b.) Only when we have love will we find the abundant life that Jesus promised us
2. Love allows us to become what God has planned for us to become
a.) Love helps us to reach the potential that God instilled in our lives
b.) Love propels us toward greatness in life
B. Love creates change in others
1. Love makes change in us
a.) The world around us ought to see a difference in us
b.) Love should make us stand out in the crowd