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Welcome to Heaven's Beauty / Wisdom Of Our Lord Jesus

Welcome to "Love is a Very Important Idea for Christians"

The Hallmark of Christian life is Christian Love

 “Christians should be Loving to all People”

Jesus taught that the greatest commandments were to love God and to love our neighbors.

He said that those two commandments summed up all the commandments that God gave to Moses. In the same way, people like Paul and John wrote how love should be a major part of every Christian’s life. Because it is such an important idea to understand, it is helpful to see what the Bible tells us about love.

IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

In the Old Testament, sexual love is talked about in the stories of Adam and Eve, Jacob and Rachel, and in the Song of Songs.

A higher form of love, involving loyalty, steadfastness, and kindness, is expressed by the Hebrew word hesed, which is sometimes translated as “loyalty” (2 Samuel 22:26).

More often, however, this Hebrew word is translated as “steadfast love” or “loving-kindness.” The true meaning of this significant word is clear in Hosea 2:19-20: “I will make you my wife forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion. I will be faithful to you and make you mine, and you will finally know me as Lord.”

The meaning is also clear in Job 6:14-15, where kindness is contrasted with treachery and evil, and in 1 Samuel 20:8, which described a loving-kindness based on a covenant. This unshakable, steadfast love of God is contrasted with the unpredictable moods of the idols that some people worshiped. The Hebrew word hesed is not an emotional response to beauty, merit, or kindness.

Instead, it is a moral attitude dedicated to another person’s good, even if that other person is not lovable, worthy, or responsive (Deuteronomy 7:7-9).

This enduring loyalty, rooted in an unswerving purpose to do good things, could be stern. In the Old Testament, many of the prophets warned the people of Israel that God, in his love, was determined to discipline his people if they disobeyed him.

But even with discipline, God’s love does not change. During the years when the people of Israel were in exile, God’s love persisted with infinite patience. God did not abandon the Israelites even when they were disobedient. God’s love has within it kindness, tenderness, and compassion (Psalms 86:15;103:1-18; 136, and Hosea 11:1-4).

However, its chief characteristic is a moral obligation for another person’s well being. Even though God’s love was unconditional, he did expect the Israelites to respond to his loving acts. God’s law encouraged the Israelites to be grateful for God’s redemption of the Israelites (Deuteronomy 6:20-25).

God expected the people of Israel to show this by being kind to the poor, the defenseless, the foreigners among them, slaves, widows, and all people who were suffering from any type of cruelty. Hosea similarly expected steadfast love among the people of Israel to result from the steadfast love God had shown for the Israelites (Hosea 6:6, 7:1-7 and 10:12-13).

Because of this, love for God and for “your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18) are linked in Israel’s law and prophecy. While there are other types of love described in the Old Testament, the most important type of love described in the Old Testament was based around three main ideas: God’s love for the Israelites, the moral quality of love, and the close relationship between love for God and loving one’s neighbor.

IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

Of all the Greek words used to describe love, eros, which means sexual love, does not occur in the New Testament. The Greek word, Phileo, which means natural affection, occurs about twenty-five times, and Philadelphia, which is used to describe brotherly love, occurs about five times. Storge, a Greek word used to describe natural affection between relatives, also appears occasionally. By far the most frequent Greek word for love used in the New Testament is agape.

Agape refers to moral goodwill that comes from respect, principle, or duty rather than attraction. Agape is very similar in meaning to the Hebrew word hesed because both of them involve a sense of dedication. Agape specifically means to love the undeserving, despite disappointment and rejection. Agape is especially appropriate for divine love.

IN THE SYNOPTIC GOSPELS

In a sinful and suffering world, Jesus demonstrated his divine love through his compassion and his acts of healing for people in distress. He also showed great concern for people who were alienated and in despair. Because of this, the kingdom Jesus spoke about offered good news to the poor, captives, blind, and the oppressed (Matthew 11:2-5, Luke 4:18).

In addition, the attitude Jesus had toward people who were despised or grieving assured them of forgiveness and a welcome return to God’s family (Luke 15). Jesus’ forgiveness was free and he only required people to accept it by being repentant and faithful. In addition, the love Jesus taught carries its own obligations. People who want to practice Christian love may love God and love others in the same way God does (Matthew 5:44-48).

The first and greatest commandment in God’s law is “You shall love the Lord your God. . . . And a second is like it; You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:35-40, RSV; Leviticus 19:18 and Deuteronomy 6:5).

The first commandment is not identical with, lost in, or simply fulfilled by the second commandment. These commands are separate laws. Jesus’ ideas about loving God are clearly illustrated by his own habits of public worship, private prayer, and absolute obedience to God’s will. Love for one’s neighbor is not specifically defined anywhere, but there are numerous examples of what it is.

In the parable of the good Samaritan, Jesus shows that a “neighbor” is anyone near enough to help, and love involved whatever service that neighbor’s situation demanded. The parable of the sheep and goats shows that love includes feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and people in prison.

And in Jesus’ life, we learn that love heals, teaches, defends people who are despised, grants forgiveness, and comforts people in pain. We are to love others as he has loved us. This type of love does good works without expecting anything in return, never returns evil with evil, and practices thoughtful understanding that tempers judgment. To Jesus, the worst type of sin was the refusal to love. This included the refusal to do good, ignoring destitute people at one’s own gate, and withholding forgiveness.

Lovelessness was made worse by self-righteousness and ignoring other people’s distress in order to preserve a petty ritual or regulation. It also, means not caring about how other's feel about things they are going through, it is NOT just about themselves, it is NOT just about their needs and wants..... LOVE is GREATER than oneself.

In the end, Jesus said that obedience to the law of love will determine each person’s eternal destiny (Matthew 25:31-46).

IN THE WRITINGS OF PAUL

The apostles who helped start the first Christian church quickly understood the revolutionary idea that love is enough. Paul’s declaration that love fulfills the entire law is almost a straight quotation from Jesus.

His explaining of various commandments against adultery, killing, stealing, and coveting is summarized in loving, because love can do no wrong to a neighbor (Romans 13:8-10).

Ephesians 4:25-5:2 makes the same point in another way. In this passage, all bitterness, anger, lying, stealing, slander, and malice are to be replaced by tenderness, forgiveness, kindness and love.

For Paul, love is “the law of Christ,” and it is supreme and sufficient (Galatians 5:14 and Galatians 6:2). Paul also writes that the only thing that “avails” in Christianity is “faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6). He insists that the supreme expression of the Holy Spirit’s work that all Christians should desire is “the more excellent way” of love (1 Corinthians 12:27-13:3, Romans 5:5 and Galatians 5:22).

In the most famous passage about love in the Bible, Paul contrasts love with five other expressions of religious belief that the people in Corinth greatly wanted. Paul shows that each of these expressions is nothing without love (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). He ends the chapter by comparing love with faith and hope, the other enduring elements of Christianity, and he says love is the greatest of all.

Paul’s description of love in action includes acts of mercy, hospitality, avoiding revenge, restoring and supporting other people, kindness, forgiveness, encouragement, and withholding criticism , giving of yourself, giving of your blessings, never get angry or show disrespect to other's, be non- accusing. The list is almost endless.

Briefly, love does no harm and never neglects doing good for others. It is God’s law. According to Paul, God showed his love for us by sending Jesus to die for our sins.

Because of his great love, he granted us eternal life through Jesus Christ.

We live in that love, we conquer evil with that love, and nothing can separate us from that love (Romans 5:8, 8:32-39, 2 Corinthians 13:14, Ephesians 2:4, 2 Thessalonians 2:16 and Titus 3:4-5). Our love reflects the love first “poured into our hearts” (Romans 5:5), and it is directed toward Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 7:1, 16:22 and Ephesians 6:24) and toward people whom we love for Jesus’ sake.

IN THE WRITINGS OF JOHN

What John thought about and wrote down forms a very crucial part of the Bible’s teaching about love. For John, love was the foundation of everything that had happened when he wrote, “God so loved the world” (John 3:16, 16:27 and 17:23).

The only way we know about love at all is because Christ laid down his life for us (1 John 3:16).

Love is the fundamental belief of all Christians because God himself is love (John 4:8 and 16:1).

We know this by Jesus’ coming to earth and by his death on the cross (1 John 4:9-10).

Because of these things, we know the love God has for us and believe that love itself is divine.

It follows that “he who loves is born of God.” “He who does not love does not know God.” Such a person “is in the darkness,” “is not of God,” and “remains in death.” No one has ever seen God, but “if we love...God abides in us” and we are able to have a close relationship with him. God’s love came before anything else. If we love at all, it is “because he first loved us.”

Our love is directed first toward God, and John writes quite a bit about what our love of God involves.

It demands that we “do not love the world,” that we “keep his word [and] his commandments,” and that we love our Christian brothers and sisters.

We received this commandment from Christ, “that he who loves God should love his brother also,” for “if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” In his writings in the Bible, John stressed the importance of duty and love for others in our love for God.

Indeed, if one closes his heart against his brother or sister, “how does God’s love abide in him?”

Christians should be loving to all people (2 Peter 1:7).

John insists that God loved the whole world (John 3:16, 1 John 2:2 and 1 John 4:14).

In addition, if Christians cannot love each other, there is no way it will flourish outside of the church (1 John 3:18). John believed that the commandment to love God and people was the most important aspect of the true Christian life.

Because of this, he does not go into detail about the many different expressions of love. When John describes love in action, he recalls Jesus’ words about “keeping commandments” and “laying down life” in sacrifice (John 15:10, 13, and 1 John 3:16).

He also mentions how love notices a brother’s need and shares what he has to help anyone in need (3:17). As brief as these expressions are, they embody the very heart of Christian love. John believed that love was a real thing and it could not be something easy or sentimental.

The Christian idea of love can only be fulfilled within a group of Christians who fellowship together.

In the Bible, love is not an abstract idea.

Love is rooted in God’s being, and it is expressed in Jesus’ coming to earth and his death on the cross. All Christians experience God’s love when they come to believe in Jesus, and they practice this type of love among themselves.

Because God is love, it is central, essential, and indispensable to Christianity.
 

Love 1  You Are Here  Love 3  Love 4  Love 5 

 

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