Sermons

Summary: God's love for us is not abstract but real, practical and eternal; so when Jesus says we should love our neighbour it means our love for those around us should also be real and practical.

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OT Reading - Deuteronomy 6 v.1-9

NT Reading - 1st Corinthians 13 v.1-13

SERMON: True love is practical love

The Pop charts always seem to include many love songs,

such as “All you need is love” and “Love, love me do” by the Beatles in the 1960’s;

"Love me tender, love me true", by Elvis Presley;

“Love is all around” by Wet Wet Wet,

and “How deep is your love” by Take That.

But the pop industry’s image or understanding of love

is a million miles away from the kind of love that is taught by the Bible.

Love for many today, if not most, suggests physical pleasure,

and involves getting rather than giving,

and usually without any long-term commitment,

whereas Biblical love is about God’s long-term and steadfast,

and undeserved, love,

which He gives to those who believe in Him and His Son,

and who resolve to keep His commandments.

…..................................................................................................................

I was amazed to find out that there are 793 references to love and loving

in the NIV of the Bible,

144 in the Psalms alone.

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The word appears in every book in the Bible, from Genesis 20:13

where Abraham tells Sarah to show her love for him

by telling everyone they met

that he was her brother,

in case they killed him to get her,

right through to to Revelation 22:15,

which contains a vision of the new Jerusalem

and the promise that those who love evil and falsehood

will not be allowed to enter it.

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The Hebrews, or Israelites, or Jews

were reminded in Deuteronomy 6 verse 3

that God loved them and had chosen them to be His people;

and how He had brought about their escape from slavery in Egypt

and their safe journey to “a land flowing with milk and honey”.

In return they were commanded in Deuteronomy 6:5

to love God “with all their heart, with all their mind and with all their strength”,

and the Gospels tells us that Jesus commanded His disciples to do likewise,

adding words found in Leviticus 19 verse 18, “love your neighbour as yourself”.

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So, the first message today is that these words mean we are allowed,

even encouraged, to love ourselves,

for if we do not love ourselves, how can we love others?

This does mean we should become conceited,

like Narcissus who fell in love with his reflection in a pool,

and that Greek story gives us the word 'narcistic'.

But it does teach us that we should appreciate ourselves for being children of God,

saved sinners, members of the Body of Christ, the redeemed of the Lord.

…...........................................................................................................................,


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