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Summary: The Bible tells us what true love is all about. But God doesn’t just talk about love. God gives us an example of what true love is like.

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True love - A Valentine’s Day Sermon

John 21:1-21:19

It had been a big wedding, and the reception was well attended. Then came the honeymoon, the couple went to their hotel room After they unpacked their bags the groom took his bride by the hand sat her on the bed and said, "Honey, I hope you won’t mind, but now that we’re married I thought I’d mention a few little defects that I’ve noticed about you."

"Not at all," the bride replied with a deceptive sweetness. "It was those little defects that kept me from getting a better husband."

It is a universal truth: men who are wise do not tell their wives what’s wrong with them... it’s not healthy! And, women who are wise do not tell their husbands what’s wrong with them.

But not only is it not healthy, it also shows a lack of understanding and sensitivity.

A husband who truly loves his wife doesn’t make fun of her. He doesn’t point out her weaknesses and drawbacks. And of course, wives who love their husbands don’t do that either. We all have defects.

That’s what I Corinthians 13 is all about. It says that:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.” (I Corinthians 13:4-8)

That’s what true love is all about. That’s what the Bible tells us. But God doesn’t just talk about love… God gives us an example of what true love is like.

Ephesians 5:25-27 says “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

Jesus is the ultimate example of that kind of love because Jesus is the ultimate example of how a husband ought to love his wife. Jesus is the perfect husband. He’s the husband of a wondrous bride… a bride called the church. And Jesus loves His church with a perfect love.

I read an intriguing article, that said that “Despite the sweet and loving connotations of the holiday, Muslim and Hindu leaders in Asia are trying to stamp out the celebration of Valentine’s Day by young lovers. While the holiday seems trivial to Westerners, it is a serious issue of cultural tension in other parts of the world. Cities in India have outlawed cards, and guards spent the day searching campuses looking for couples daring to celebrate the holiday. Valentine’s Day has been declared a threat to Islam. Religious leaders fear the "Christian practice" of Valentine’s Day could "erode moral values, weaken the community and destroy Islam." (www.worldnetdaily.com, February 13, 2002)

Did you notice that the Hinduism and Islam regard Valentine’s Day as a “Christian Practice”. Why would they think that? What is there about Valentine’s Day that would make it appear to be a Christian activity?

My guess is that they think that because Valentine’s Day (at least as Christians practice it) is all about honoring the person we love. It especially focuses on men buying gifts and cards for their wives and sweethearts.

I have heard on the radio that on Valentine’s Day men far outspend women on such expenditures.

That’s doesn’t go over real well in Hindu and Islam cultures. Because in both of those settings, women are 2nd class citizens (whatever people may tell you about women in our culture being 2nd class citizens – it doesn’t compare to what you’d see in those settings). The women in those cultures exist principally to take care of men.

But Christianity has a different focus… because Jesus has a different focus.

Jesus set us an example of how love should be done. And by His example Jesus showed us that the most important thing on His mind was that His bride would be taken care of.

Look again at John 21: 15-17

“When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter,

‘Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?’

‘Yes, Lord,’ he said, ‘you know that I love you.’

Jesus said, ‘Feed my lambs.’

Again Jesus said, ‘Simon son of John, do you truly love me?’

He answered, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’

Jesus said, ‘Take care of my sheep.’

The third time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ He said, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.’

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