Summary: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” 1 John 4:7-8.
Theme: The Spirit of God’s love in the Church
Text: Acts 10:44-48; 1 Jn. 4:7-10; Jn. 15:9-17
The Scriptures take it for granted that God exists. It begins with the words “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. Creation declares that there must be a Creator. Philosophers and Scientists tell us some things about His works – that the universe is one of order and design held together by unchangeable laws. Nature shows God as the Creator of beauty and infinite variety. But there is more to knowing God than the mere fact that He exists. Science and nature cannot reveal anything about the moral nature of God. They cannot say anything about God being a loving Father neither can they say anything about God being Holy and hating sin. This knowledge is only available through the revelation of Holy Scripture by the Holy Spirit. It reveals that the motivation for everything that God does is His glory and His love. Vine’s Expository Dictionary defines love as “The deep and constant love and interest of a perfect Being towards entirely unworthy objects, producing and fostering a reverential love in them towards the Giver, and a practical love towards those who are partakers of the same, and a desire to help others to seek the Giver.” God’s love knows no limit since His very nature is love. It is important for God’s people to know this love and be established in it because God wants that love to be demonstrated in His Body, the Church. That is the reason why He does not just save us and leave us to ourselves. He also gives us His Holy Spirit to give us the power and the motivation to live for Him and to demonstrate the Spirit of God’s love in the Church.
There are different types of love – human love and divine love. Human love is nothing more than affection for someone or something. It is often shallow and variable or changing. According to Ralph Waldo Emerson human love is as subject to wear as the chocolates, cards, flowers and jewellery we use to express it. God’s love, however, is divine, unchanging, unchangeable and everlasting. Love is part of God’s nature and character and He is always motivated by His love for us. He cannot do anything that contradicts this love and we cannot do anything that can change the depth of His love for us. Human love finds it difficult to love someone who has hurt us; divine love loves no matter what has happened. The name of God revealed to us by Christ portrays His love. The Jews knew His name to be Yahweh but found it too sacred to be pronounced through human lips. They failed to see God as love till Jesus revealed His name as Father. God has always been a loving and perfect Father. He chose to create the world and man as a Father because love is best expressed toward something or someone. So great was God’s love for man that he was given authority and dominion over all Creation. God also showed His love by giving man the freedom of choice – freedom to obey His commands or to disobey. To have no freedom of choice is to be less than human and to cease to exist in the image of God. Man’s response to God’s love was to disobey Him and this resulted in man’s separation from God. God, however, loves us so much that He is always working to draw us back into that perfect relationship with Him that is His divine will for us. If we know our Father is love, then love should be the evidence that we are born of God and that we know Him. Every child of God should demonstrate His love.
The love of God can best be manifested in our lives by our obedience to His commands. We are to love one another and the relationships we enter into should be based on love. This is the only way that other people see the manifestation of God’s love. We show our love by meeting the needs of others. Love recognises and responds to human need. Love comforts and provides the needed solutions. God does not only tell us He loves us. He also demonstrated His love by what He did for us through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ gave up eternity to come into a hostile world to meet man’s greatest need – man’s need for forgiveness. To do this Jesus had to pay a great price. It took the cross to reconcile us to God for us to experience peace with God and the peace of God. It is often assumed that if God loves us, He is the one person we do not have to worry about. Bertrand Russel, the author of ‘Why I am not a Christian’ on his deathbed declared that God would forgive him, as that was His job. This renowned Mathematician conveniently overlooked the other half of the equation, which is that for anyone to receive God’s forgiveness he first had to repent. People who have never been loved are sometimes ‘incapable of love.’ If people who grow up without love are incapable of love, then those who grow up with love must be capable of love. People who grow up in an environment where there is lots of love are also capable of lots of love. All of us have experienced God’s love. He loved us as He loved His Son Jesus Christ. He loved us so much that Jesus was punished for the sins of the world.