2-15-2020 God IS Love
Father's love for me My love for my Heavenly Father
1 John 4:7-13
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God and everyone that loves is born of God and knows God.
He who does not love, doesn’t know God for God is love.
God’s love is openly shown to us in that God sent His only begotten Son into this world that we might live through Him.
Love is contained in this, not that we love God but that God loves us and sent His Son to be a sacrifice to atone us (from our sin).
Beloved, since God loves us so much, shouldn’t we also love one another?
No man has seen God, but when we love one another, God dwells in us and His love is perfected in us.
This is how we know we dwell in Him, and He in us because He has given us His Spirit.
As I’m jotting this down, earlier this morning (while I was still in bed) Father started showing me some things about how He has grown His love in my life.
Our “salvation” experience – when we receive Jesus into our lives – is just the beginning of learning about God and how to live for Him, to love Him. And so it is intended. If we were fully equipped, we would never have to read the bible or interact with other Christians. We would automatically know how to praise and worship God and love our brothers (& sisters) and do it. It is a learning process and the greater our learning experience, the greater we can express our love.
I confess, the day I received Jesus into my life, I knew I was His. His Spirit confirmed it in my heart. Yet, as time has gone on, I realize that then I had no clue about my relationship with our heavenly Father nor with my brothers and sisters in the Lord – and that included my wife with whom I was in the process of marrying. That day, my wife to be and I were in the pastor’s office making plans to be married. Pastor asked if I knew Jesus. I said yep, I’ve been in this church for a while. The pastor asked me three times before the Spirit was able to convict my heart I had never really committed my life to Jesus.
Over the years, I learned to love my wife – more than I realized until after Father took her home. We were together for 34 years when He took her home and it took me most of those years to realize that He had given me the virtuous woman (Prov. Chptr. 31). I find it amazing that in living life, we miss how much God is doing or has done for us – until we sit back and reflect on life. Then He shows us. Too busy I guess.
In reflection, I often wish I could have truly loved my wife more in the beginning. Our lives would have been so much fuller. But, I thank Father that she had a greater sense of our relationship than I, this woman He gave me.
Paul tells us that the temporal (temporary) things of this life will all pass away, but three things will abide forever: faith, hope and love, the greatest of which is love (1 Corinth. 13:13).
Jesus knew He was going to the cross. The prophets prophesied it (Psalm 22:1-31, Isa. 53:1-5). Yet He came and gave the ultimate sacrifice for us. There is no greater love than a man give his life for his friend (John 15:13). Jesus calls us ‘friends’ and tells us what the Father has ‘said’ (John 15:15). That is, everything Father has spoken.
Out of love, Jesus gave His life that we may live – in this life and forever. Can we give our lives to repay that debt?
Tradition tells us that all the apostles, save John, died at the hands of the Romans (Acts 12:1-2) and Stephen (just a ‘deacon’) was stoned by the Jews (Acts 7:54-60). Missionaries have lost their lives serving God in foreign lands and even today, in the Mid-East and Africa (as well as other places), people are imprisoned and/or executed for their faith! Tradition says the apostle John most likely died a natural death @ 95-97 AD. Yet, as I said, there are still those who do die (literally) for Jesus, even now.
Obviously, not every Christian is physically and literally martyred (killed), but we all will experience ‘spiritual martyrdom’ to some degree. As people rejected Jesus and His disciples, disciples today will also be rejected by the masses. Convicted of their own sins, people will steer clear of Christians so they can keep on ‘feeling good’ about themselves. ‘Friends’ will fall off by the wayside and others may avoid us like the plague simply because they don’t want to change. But even so, Father will not leave us comfortless (John 14:15-21). Not only does Father give us the Holy Ghost in our hearts. When we don’t forsake fellowshipping with other Christians (Heb. 10:25) we find that Father provides the fellowship we need (Matt. 19:29). The church should be more than ‘just’ a social club.
An expression of our love towards others is in edification (Rom. 14:19, 1 Thess. 5:11), that is doing things that build up others. Paul tells us to put others before ourselves. This doesn’t mean we neglect ourselves, but rather we put the needs of others before our own wants and desires (Rom. 15:2). Do what helps them to become a better person.
We edify others when we endeavor to keep peace between us and others (Rom. 14:19). When we edify others, we’re trying to build them up, not tear them down (2 Corinth. 13:10). When we learn things, we may get puffed up with what we have learned but we need to be content with the fact that God knows us (1 Corinth. 8:1-3). God gives us gifts (talents, abilities) so we can help others and build the body of Christ (Eph. 4:11-12). When we edify each other, we find comfort (1 Thess. 5:11). When we build each other up (edify) in love, we find that all may do the task Father has laid before them (Eph. 4:15-16). Consider that when we that we feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, take in strangers, clothe the naked, visit those imprisoned (in the natural and spiritual) it is the same as having done it to Jesus (Matt. 25:32-40). Do a little research and you can add to this short list of ways to express our love towards others.
We show our love for Jesus by helping others to a better self-esteem. I’m not talking about creating a super ego. I’m talking about helping people to gain some self-worth, realize that they are somebody.
I am nothing without Jesus, but with Jesus I CAN do all things because He is with me (Phil. 4:13).
Our base verse says that God is love. God is also spirit so we can show our love by worshipping Him in Spirit and in truth (4:24).
Oh, let me count the ways we can do this.
Father gives us a Spiritual language with which we can converse with Him (John 14:16-21, Act 1:8, Acts 2:1-19). This is the ‘baptism’ or ‘infilling’ of the Holy Ghost. It gives us a Spirit to spirit connection with our heavenly Father. During the ‘cold war’ there was what was called the ‘red line’ a direct line between Moscow, Russia and Washington DC, so operators were not needed in case of a serious emergency. Our president could call their premier or vice versa. We don’t always know how to pray, but the Spirit does (Rom. 8:26-27). When we pray in the Spirit, God edifies us (1 Corinth. 14:3-4 & 14-19). Paul declares that he prays in the Spirit more than others yet he also prays for understanding. We can/should do the same in our ‘personal’ prayer. We may not get a ‘direct’ translation, but we will get the general idea of what is being said – for our edification.
David tells us to praise God with everything that we have: for who He is, where He resides, the things He does for us, with the sound of trumpets, tambourines, stringed instruments, organs, cymbals and with our very breath (our voices) (Psalm 150:1-6). Consider the four beasts who constantly declare “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was, and is and is to come” (Rev. 4:8). A constant state of prayer or praise. This doesn’t mean we are constantly on our knees, but our hearts should be always ready to seek Father’s help. Our attitude should always be Godward. The Holy Ghost IS within us.
We show our love for Father by sacrificing (living) our lives for Him, abiding in His will (which is to love) and edifying those around us, which is to love them. We don’t show our love to receive from God or back from those whom we serve, but because Father shows His love towards us and we are grateful. Our gratitude is expressed in our love for Him which is expressed by or allowing love to be alive within us, reaching out to those around us. If Father never does anything for me ever again, I will be eternally grateful that He has brought me into His kingdom. So, if nothing else, that, alone, is worthy of my love to Him. But Father does promise to bless us for our obedience (Luke 5:1-11).
I choose to love God, not because He will bless me, but, through my faith in Him, He has brought me into His eternal kingdom!