LOVE IS ...................
Reading:1 John 4:7-20
[*] L-O-V-E. What a glorious four letter word.
"It’s love that makes the world go round" says the chorus writer.
[*] I remember ........ Patricia! We went to the same school!
I still remember the feeling when I would see her in the street - my heart really went "bom...diddy...bom...diddy....bom... diddy....bom.....diddy.....bom.....diddy bom.... diddy....bom....bom....bom"
[a] This weekend, there is a great celebration of LOVE - at least what the world interprets love to be.
[b] Something like eleven million cards were delivered by the postman for St Valentine’s Day. And for anyone who was too late to send their expression of undying love - you could send it on your computer over the Internet.
[c] The world’s perverted view of love, was shown very well in the programme "Trial by Night" screened on Scottish Television on Friday night - well the early hours of Saturday morning really.
[d] You maybe saw it - our daughter Joy was in it, and was able say her little bit, about the nature of love, commitment, and where sex fits into it all!
[e] But it was easy to see that the majority of the people there, were into free and easy relationships, where true love never entered the picture. If you gave up on one, you just went on to the next!
THE WORLD’S VIEW AND THE CHRISTIAN’S VIEW
[a] That unfortunately is the way in which the world views love - but from the Christian’s viewpoint - Scripture declares "GOD IS LOVE!" Therefore if He is in very essence LOVE, as His followers we must be people of love - IF WE ARE NOT THEN WE CANNOT BE CLASSED AS TRULY BELONGING TO HIM!!
[b] Hey! Wait a minute someone says! I can’t be loving to THAT PERSON!!
LET ME BE VERY BLUNT, AND SAY THAT IF YOU AREN’T, YOU HAVE NO PART OF THE ONE WHO SAYS,
"BY THIS SHALL ALL MEN KNOW THAT YE ARE MY DISCIPLES, IN THAT YE LOVE ONE ANOTHER!!" (John 13:35)
[c] There is no other way to interpret what Jesus says, except
"IF YOU DON’T LOVE ONE ANOTHER, YOU’RE NOT MINE!!"
[d] We can twist and turn as much as we like - we can profess what we like - we can do all the good works we like - we can talk from now to doomsday about how unlovable a person is - BUT IT DOES NOT CHANGE THE SHATTERING STATEMENT OF JESUS!
IF WE DON’T SHOW THE FAMILY LIKENESS, WE DON’T BELONG - IT REALLY IS THAT SIMPLE!!
[e] Down through the years when I have preached things like this, angry people whose conscience bothered them, have come to me and said, "You were getting at me!!"
So often I have said, "IF THE SPIRITUAL SLIPPER FITS - PUT IT ON!"
[f] There is little point in preaching, if you’re not willing to address real issues!
[g] Let me quote you part of our reading from 1 John 4:7-8 as it’s found in the Living Bible paraphrase:
"Dear Friends, let us practice loving one another, for love comes from God, and those who are loving and kind show that they are the children of God, and that they are getting to know Him better. But if a person isn’t loving and kind, it shows that he doesn’t know God - for God is love."
In verse 20-21, it says,
"If anyone says ‘I love God’ but keeps on hating his brother, he is a liar; for if he doesn’t love his brother who is right there in front of him, how can he love God Whom he has never seen? And God Himself has said that one must love not only God, but his brother too."
LOVING ONE ANOTHER IS A CONDITION OF BEING A CHRISTIAN - IT IS NOT OPTIONAL!!
YOU ARE BEING WATCHED!
[a] As young officers, we found ourselves stationed in a situation fraught with danger.
[b] We were in a corps, with a number of lovely teenagers, who were literally being perverted in their Christian walk by prominent members, who were living anything but a walk of love.
[c] I had to get those young people together and literally tell them - that is not the loving walk of a true Christian. I had to tell them to be an example in love and Christian living to those who were supposed to be their examples!!
[d] You know, one of those Salvationists hid her daughters uniform, so she couldn’t wear it!! Another threatened to throw his son out of the house, if he went to the pubs to sell the War Cry!!
[e] When I went to sell the War Cry in that area, I couldn’t believe the number of ex-Salvationists I met in the pubs - people who had left, because of the total absence of love within that corps!!
[f] God views it very seriously if we physically, emotionally or spiritually hurt one of His children. Matthew 18:6 "But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea."
There are a lot of professing Christians who will be in for a very big shock when this life is done!!
[g] Paul said to Timothy, "Be a pattern for them in your love." 1 Timothy 4:12
Let us make sure that we are - for we will answer to God Himself!
THIS HOPE POSSESSES ME
[a] "To be like Jesus, this hope possesses me."
We sing the chorus often, but perhaps don’t stop to think, that everything Jesus did, said, and is, was founded on LOVE.
His nature, is a nature of LOVE.
[b] When we speak about the Christian showing the Fruit of the Spirit in their lives, we must always remember that the foundation of it all is LOVE! That is the very first aspect of the Fruit that all the rest spring from! (Galatians 5:22-23)
[c] When we speak about living out the Fruit of the Spirit, we are really speaking about living out the nature of Jesus.
[d] Now if we are truly ‘being like Jesus’, then LOVE will be the most natural thing in the world for us - it will be impossible for us to hold anything against another brother or sister in Christ!
[e] Love and forgiveness go together, like the figurative ‘horse and carriage’.
[f] When our heart is right, these are things which automatically flow, without any great and mighty effort from us!! Bit by bit, the NATURE OF JESUS BECOMES OUR NATURE!!
THAT DEAR FRIENDS, IS BIBLE CHRISTIANITY -
NOTHING LESS WILL DO!!
[a] Maybe as we’ve thought about God’s Word, and you’ve searched your heart, you’ve realised that you have not exactly passed your spiritual MOT!
[b] The Lord wants you to be what you should be, and He can make it happen, if you’ll let Him!
Chorus - All that I am
649 chorus only (prayer)
Bind us together (OHP)