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Summary: The Bible has a lot to say about love. But so does the world. The problem is that the world doesn’t say the same thing the Bible says, & we tend to get the two mixed up.

MELVIN NEWLAND,MINISTER

CENTRAL CHRISTIAN, BROWNSVILLE, TX

ILL. I like the story about a rather legalistic Seminary student who wanted to have a scriptural basis for everything he did. He felt he was on solid ground if he could quote Bible book, chapter & verse to okay his actions.

He did all right with that until he began to fall in love with a beautiful co-ed. He wanted very much to kiss her, but he just couldn’t find a scripture to okay it. So, true to his conscience, he would simply walk her to the dormitory each night, look at her longingly, & then say "Good night."

This went on for several weeks, & all the time he was searching the Bible, trying to find some scripture to okay kissing her good night. But he couldn’t find one, until finally he came across that passage in Romans that says, "Greet each other with a holy kiss." He thought, "At last, I have scriptural authority for kissing her good night."

But to be sure, he went to his hermeneutics professor to check it out. After talking with the professor, he realized that the passage dealt more with a church setting than with a dating situation. So once again he simply didn’t have a passage of scripture to okay kissing his girl good night.

That evening he walked her to the dormitory & once again started to bid her "good night." But as he did, she grabbed him, pulled him toward her, & planted a 10-second kiss right on his lips.

At the end of the kiss, the Seminary student gasped for air, & stammered, "Bible verse, Bible verse." The girl grabbed him a 2nd time, & just before kissing him again, said, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

A. The Bible has a lot to say about love. In fact, from beginning to end that is its theme - God’s love for each of us, & our love for Him, which results in our loving one another.

The Bible clearly teaches that the most important virtue we share in our fellowship as Christians is our love for one another. So the Bible has a lot to say about the subject of love.

B. But so does the world. The world has a lot to say about love. The problem is that the world doesn’t say the same thing the Bible says. And because we hear the world say so much about love, we tend to get the two mixed up.

So let’s rehearse once again what the Bible has to say about some essentials in Christian love.

I. CHRISTIAN LOVE IS ALWAYS ROOTED & GROUNDED IN GOD

A. First of all, Christian love is always rooted & grounded in God.

The world tends to look at love as strictly a relationship between human beings, & we have been taught by the world that if we just love each other enough, we can create for ourselves a utopia on earth.

ILL. We sing songs about it. "What the world needs now is love, sweet love." Or "If I had a hammer I’d hammer out love for all my brothers & sisters all over the world." Again, "We are the people. We are the children who can make it a better world."

Bumper stickers tell us to hug our kids. Billboards urge us to observe National Brotherhood Week, & politicians proclaim a kinder & gentler society.

B. These are wonderful & noble words, words that we desperately need to hear. But as long as love is seen as strictly a product of human effort, without involving God, it will never succeed in making our world a better place.

We have tried that as long as man has been around, & we still steal from each other, & rape each other, & kill each other. This world that ignores God is not becoming a better place. It is becoming a terrible place.

John says in chapter 4 of 1 John, "Little children, love one another because love is of God." Love originates with God. And it is not until we have felt & understood God’s love, & respond to it, that we can really begin to learn how to show love to one another.

C. I am convinced that there are many marriages that would not survive if it weren’t for a mutual faith in God.

ILL. My wife & I have been married for more than 33 years, & we have had some rough times - financial difficulties, trying to raise 3 kids, schools, all of those things. We look back & wonder sometimes how we survived, & how our marriage survived. But I’m convinced that it was because our love is deeply rooted in the love that God has for us, & that He has demonstrated to us.

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