John 3:16 For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Love What Is It Really
“The Hallmark of Christian life is Christian Love”
“His Faithful Love Endures Forever”
In the New Testament Christianity is essentially response to the revelation of the Creator as a God of love. God is a tri-personal Being who so loves ungodly humans that the Father has given the Son, the Son has given his life, and Father and Son together now give the Spirit to save sinners from unimaginable misery and lead them into unimaginable glory.
Believing in and being overwhelmed by this amazing reality of divine love generates and sustains the love to God and neighbor that Christ’s two great commandments require (Matt. 22:35-40).
Our love is to express our gratitude for God’s gracious love to us, and to be modeled on it (Eph. 4:32–5:2; 1 John 3:16).
The hallmark of Christian life is Christian love.
The measure and test of love to God is wholehearted and unqualified obedience (1 John 5:3; John 14:15, 21, 23); the measure and test of love to our neighbors is laying down our lives for them (1 John 3:16; cf. John 15:12-13).
This sacrificial love involves giving, spending, and impoverishing ourselves up to the limit for their well-being. Jesus’ story of the Samaritan’s kindness to the hated Jew stands as his model definition of neighbor-love (Luke 10:25-37).
Neighbor-love is profiled in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Its total lack of self-concern is breathtaking.
Neighbor-love seeks the neighbor’s good, and the true measure of it is how much it gives to that end. Love is a principle of action rather than of emotion. It is a purpose of honoring and benefiting the other party. It is a matter of doing things for people out of compassion for their need, whether or not we feel personal affection for them. It is by their active love to one another that Jesus’ disciples are to be recognized (John 13:34-35).
Let’s Find Out What God Has To Say About “True Love”
GOD’S LOVE HOW DOES THE BIBLE DESCRIBE GOD’S LOVE?
BIBLE READING: Luke 15:1-7
KEY BIBLE VERSE: Heaven will be happier over one lost sinner who returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away! (Luke 15:7)
GOD’S LOVE IS FORGIVING
We may be able to understand a God who would forgive sinners who come to him for mercy. But a God who tenderly searches for sinners and then joyfully forgives them must possess an extraordinary love! This is the kind of love that prompted Jesus to come to earth to search for lost people and save them. This is the kind of extraordinary love that God has for you. If you feel far from God, don’t despair. He is searching for you.
BIBLE READING: Romans 8:28-39
KEY BIBLE VERSE: I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels can’t, and the demons can’t. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away.
Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
GOD’S LOVE IS BEYOND MEASURE
These words were written to a church that would soon undergo terrible persecution. In just a few years, Paul’s hypothetical situations would turn into painful realities. This passage reaffirms God’s profound love for his people. No matter what happens to us, no matter where we are, we can never be lost to his love. Suffering should not drive us away from God; it should help us to identify with him further and allow his love to reach us and heal us.
GOD’S LOVE IS ETERNAL
These verses contain one of the most comforting promises in all Scripture. Believers have always had to face hardships in many forms: persecution, illness, imprisonment, even death. These could cause them to fear that they have been abandoned by Christ.
But Paul exclaims that it is impossible to be separated from Christ. His death for us is proof of his unconquerable love. Nothing can stop Christ’s constant presence with us. God tells us how great his love is so that we will feel totally secure in him. If we believe these overwhelming assurances, we will not be afraid.
BIBLE READING: John 3:1-21
KEY BIBLE VERSE: God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
GOD’S LOVE IS SACRIFICIAL
The entire gospel comes to a focus in this verse. God’s love is not static or self-centered; it reaches out and draws others in. Here God sets the pattern of true love, the basis for all love relationships-when you love someone dearly, you are willing to pay dearly for that person’s responsive love. God paid dearly with the life of his Son, the highest price he could pay.
Jesus accepted our punishment, paid the price for our sins, and then offered us the new life that he had bought for us. When we share the gospel with others, our love must be like Jesus’. We must be willing to give up our own comfort and security so that others might join us in receiving God’s love.
BIBLE READING: Psalm 136:1-26
KEY BIBLE VERSE: Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1)
GOD’S LOVE IS INEXHAUSTIBLE
Repeated throughout this psalm is the phrase, “His faithful love endures forever.”
This psalm may have been a responsive reading, with the congregation saying these words in unison after each sentence. The repetition made this important lesson sink in.
God’s love includes aspects of love, kindness, mercy, and faithfulness. We never have to worry that God will run out of love, because it flows from a well that will never run dry.
HUMAN LOVE WHAT ARE THE BIBLICAL GUIDELINES FOR HUMAN LOVE?
BIBLE READING: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
KEY BIBLE VERSE: Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
LOVE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN SPIRITUAL GIFTS
In chapter 12 Paul gave evidence of the Corinthians’ lack of love in the utilization of spiritual gifts; 1 Corinthians 13
13 defines real love;
1 Corinthians 14
14 shows how love works. Love is more important than all the spiritual gifts exercised in the church body. Great faith, acts of dedication or sacrifice, and miracle-working power produce very little without love. Love makes our actions and gifts useful. Although people have different gifts, love is available to everyone.
LOVE BENEFITS OTHERS
Our society confuses love and lust. Unlike lust, God’s kind of love is directed outward toward others, not inward toward ourselves. It is utterly unselfish. This kind of love goes against our natural inclinations. It is possible to practice this love only if God helps us set aside our own desires and instincts, so that we can give love while expecting nothing in return. Thus the more we become like Christ, the more love we will show to others.
BIBLE READING: 1 John 2:1-11
KEY BIBLE VERSE: Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment, for it is an old one you have always had, right from the beginning. This commandment-to love one another-is the same message you heard before. Yet it is also new. This commandment is true in Christ and is true among you, because the darkness is disappearing and the true light is already shining. (1 John 2:7-8)
LOVE IS A COMMAND
The commandment to love others is both old and new. It is old because it comes from the Old Testament (Leviticus 19:18). It is new because Jesus interpreted it in a radically new way (John 13:34-35). In the Christian church, love is not only expressed by showing respect; it is also expressed through self-sacrifice and servant hood (John 15:13).
In fact, it can be defined as “selfless giving,” reaching beyond friends to enemies and persecutors (Matthew 5:43-48). Love should be the unifying force and the identifying mark of the Christian community.
When you fuss and gripe about giving to someone, or doing for them no matter what they are in need of, you are being a selfish giver, and that does not look good on you or in God’s Eyes.
We are to give to other’s freely…. and with love not grudging or being selfish of our fund, our time, or helping them do something to better them self or their future.
Love is the key to walking in the light, because we cannot grow spiritually while we hate others. Our growing relationship with God will result in growing relationships with others.
LOVE IS A CHOICE
Does this mean that if you dislike someone you aren’t a Christian?
These verses are not talking about disliking a disagreeable Christian brother or sister. There will always be people we will not like as well as others. John’s words focus on the attitude that causes us to ignore or despise others, to treat them as irritants, competitors, or enemies. Christian love is not a feeling, but a choice. We can choose to be concerned with people’s well-being and treat them with respect, whether or not we feel affection toward them. If we choose to love others, God will help us express our love.
BIBLE READING: Mark 12:28-34
KEY BIBLE VERSE: Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this:
’Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ’Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)
LOVING GOD IS THE GREATEST HUMAN ACT
God’s laws are not burdensome. They can be reduced to two simple principles: love God and love others. These commands are from the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18).
When you love God completely and care for others as you care for yourself, then you have fulfilled the intent of the Ten Commandments and the other Old Testament laws. According to Jesus, these two commandments summarize all of God’s laws. Let them rule your thoughts, decisions, and actions.
When you are uncertain about what to do, ask yourself which course of action best demonstrates love for God and love for others.
BIBLE READING: John 21:15-25
KEY BIBLE VERSE: Once more he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.” (John 21:17)
LOVING GOD MEANS SERVING HIM
Peter had disowned Jesus three times. Three times Jesus asked Peter if he loved him. When Peter answered yes, Jesus told him to feed his sheep. It is one thing to say you love Jesus, but the real test is willingness to serve him. Peter had repented, and here Jesus was asking him to commit his life.
Peter’s life changed when he finally realized who Jesus was. His occupation changed from fisherman to evangelist; his identity changed from impetuous to “rock”; and his relationship to Jesus changed-he was forgiven, and he finally understood the significance of Jesus’ words about his death and resurrection.
LOVING GOD REQUIRES EVERYTHING WE HAVE AND ARE
Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him.
The first time Jesus said, “Do you love [Greek agape: volitional, self-sacrificial love] me more than these?”
The second time, Jesus still used the word translated from the Greek word agape.
The third time, Jesus used the word translated from the Greek word phileo (signifying affection, affinity, or brotherly love) and asked, in effect, “Are you even my friend?”
Each time Peter responded with the word translated into Greek as phileo. Jesus doesn’t settle for quick, superficial answers. Peter had to face his true feelings and motives when Jesus confronted him. How would you respond if Jesus asked you, “Do you love me?” Are you even his friend?
Deuteronomy 10: 12-16 A Call to Love and Obedience
12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? He requires you to fear him, to live according to his will, to love and worship him with all your heart and soul,
13 and to obey the Lord’s commands and laws that I am giving you today for your own good.
14 The highest heavens and the earth and everything in it all belong to the Lord your God.
15 Yet the Lord chose your ancestors as the objects of his love. And he chose you, their descendants, above every other nation, as is evident today.
16 Therefore, cleanse your sinful hearts and stop being stubborn.
John 13:34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.
35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
36 Simon Peter said, “Lord, where are you going?” And Jesus replied, “You can’t go with me now, but you will follow me later.”
John 4:1 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.
2 Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.
John 5:2 Live a life filled with love for others, following the example of Christ, who loved you and gave himself as a sacrifice to take away your sins. And God was pleased, because that sacrifice was like sweet perfume to him.
Colossians 3:12 Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
13 You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
14 And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony.
Loving One Another
1John 4:7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
8 But anyone who does not love does not know God—for God is love.
9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.
10 This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.
12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love has been brought to full expression through us.
13 And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us.
14 Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
15 All who proclaim that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God.
16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in him. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.
17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we are like Christ here in this world.
18 Such love has no fear because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of judgment, and this shows that his love has not been perfected in us.
19 We love each other as a result of his loving us first.
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