What is love? The Bible says that it is the greatest of the Christian Graces. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor. 13:13
Love We're going to look at a few different aspects of love. What kind of love should we have: Love for ourselves Love for our enemies Love for our brethren
Love For Ourselves I'm not talking about being self centered or big-headed. Not being puffed or prideful like Nebuchadnezzar or others we read about in the Bible. (Dan. 4:30-33)
Daniel 4:30-33 The king spoke, saying, "Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty? 31. While the word was still in the king's mouth, a voice fell from heaven: "King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you! 32. And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field.
Daniel 4:30-33 32. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.'' 33. That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles' feathers and his nails like birds' claws.
Love For Ourselves I'm not talking about being self centered or big-headed. Not being puffed or prideful like Nebuchadnezzar or others we read about in the Bible. (Dan. 4:30-33) That is not what I'm saying when I say we need to have love for ourselves. What I'm talking about is people that don't love themselves.
Love For Ourselves The big one is putting yourself down. This especially a problem for young people. We lower the value of our lives and let the ridicule and teasing of others get to us. We treat ourselves like a piece of garbage. Often times it is called being depressed or having low self-esteem. We tell ourselves we're good for nothing and we have no talent. No one wants us around.
Love For Ourselves Wrong! You are a Creation of God's. (Gen 1:26-28, 31)
Genesis 1:26-28 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'' 27. So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
28. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.''
Genesis 1:31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Love For Ourselves Wrong! You are a Creation of God's. (Gen 1:26-28, 31) Think about what you've just done, you've just called something God created, something He called perfect, a piece of Garbage. Even worse, something He made in His own image.
Love For Ourselves We also become intimidated by other people's talents. We grow to believe they're more talented or have better talents than us. We don't want to use the talents we've been given. (Mat. 25:24- 30) Maybe you only have one talent. USE IT! Don't put yourself down. Learn to love yourself, love the talents you've been given and don't waste them. You see what happens when you do.
Love For Ourselves Women have problems with this to. To quote a preacher I know. Creation wasn't perfect until woman was made. (Gen. 2:18, 20-24)
Genesis 2:18, 20-24 And the Lord God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.'' 20. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. 21. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.
Genesis 2:18, 20-24 22. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 23. And Adam said: "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.'' 24. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Love For Ourselves Women have problems with this to. To quote a preacher I know. Creation wasn't perfect until woman was made. (Gen. 2:18, 20-24) God called you good just like everything else that was created. (Mat. 18:10-14) He left the ninety-nine just to save the one. That one is you.
Mathew 18:10-14 Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. 11. "For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. 12. "What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?
13. "And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. 14. "Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.
Love For Ourselves Women do it to. To quote a preacher I know. Creation wasn't perfect until woman was made. (Gen. 2:18, 20-24) God called you good just like everything else that was created. (Mat. 18:10-14) He left the ninety-nine just to save the one. That one is you. More importantly, He sent His Son Christ to die for YOU! Do you think Christ's death was in vain? Do you think He died to save some piece of garbage?
Love For Ourselves All the angels in Heaven rejoiced when one soul was saved. (Luke 15:10)
Luke 15:10 "Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.''
Love For Ourselves All the angels in Heaven rejoiced when one soul was saved. (Luke 15:10) They rejoiced when you were saved. God put forth all efforts to save your soul. He wants us to be with Him in Heaven. He loves you, you should learn to love yourself.
Love Our Enemies We are to love our enemies. (Mat. 5:43-44)
Matthew 5:43-44 You have heard that it was said, `You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44. "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
Love Our Enemies We are to love our enemies. (Mat. 5:43-44) That does not just mean to love those who wish to do you physical harm. But to love those who wish to do Spiritual harm as well. There will be those who do not like what we teach, believe, or do. There are those who feel threatened just by our very existence.
Love Our Enemies They may feel inferior to us because we are saved. Maybe because they don't want to have that sense of responsibility. They want to be able to run their own lives without feelings of repercussions. They don't want to have to answer to anyone. But we know that one day they will have to answer for the things they've done, just like we will have to answer for the things we've done. (Mat. 12:36-37; Rom. 14:11-12)
Mat. 12:36-37 36. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37. "For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.''
Rom. 14:11-12 11. For it is written: "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.'' 12. So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.
Love Our Enemies Whether they be a terrorist of some sort and believe they must destroy all who are not of their religion. A homicidal killer. Or someone who does not like what we teach and wish to persecute us verbally or socially. We should love them. We should hate the sins that they commit, we should love their souls. They are in the same exact position we were in once, they are lost just like we were. (Rom. 3:23)
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Love Our Enemies God created them just as He created us. Don't worry about their looks, race, religion, or background. Don't worry whether they want to hurt you or not. (Mat. 10:28)
Matthew 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Love Our Enemies God created them just as He created us. Don't worry about their looks, race, religion, or background. Don't worry whether they want to hurt you or not. (Mat. 10:28) They are in a lost and hopeless condition, you should be willing to do anything for them. Are you willing to die for them? Are you willing to die for what you believe? Are you afraid of dying for them? Or dying to help them? Why?
Love Our Brethren Love for our Brethren We are to love our brethren. God says if we do not love them, how can we say we love Him? (1 Jn. 4:20-21)
1 John 4:20-21 20. If someone says, "I love God,'' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21. And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
Love Our Brethren Love for our Brethren We are to love our brethren. God says if we do not love them, how can we say we love Him? (1 Jn. 4:20-21) You're going to be spending ETERNITY with these people. Don't you think you should be getting along with them now?
Love Our Brethren Excuses I sometimes hear: I don't have anything in common with them. That's a lie, or it should be. You have God in common & the love for His word. Example: Traveling We don't have anything to talk about. Talk about God's Word if nothing else. Some of the best talks I've ever had is with complete strangers I've met elsewhere and had Biblical discussions with.
Love Our Brethren So I have to spend every moment with them? What about my other friends? No, you do not have to spend every moment with them. You don't have to neglect your other friends. But, who is your best friend? Is it people in the world, or people who don't focus on Spiritual things? Shouldn't your best friend be someone in the Church who uplifts you? Who makes you grow spiritually every time you're around them?
Love of God God loves us and promises to provide for our every need. (Mat. 6:25-32)
Matthew 6:25-32 25. Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26. "Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27. "Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
28. "So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29. "and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30. "Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31. "Therefore do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?' or `What shall we drink?' or `What shall we wear?'
32. "For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
Love of God God loves us and promises to provide for our every need. (Mat. 6:25-32) He promises to feed, clothe, and give us our every need. This is not to be confused with our every WANT. But our every NEED.
Now, I'm going to talk about one more love. We've already talked about the love of God. Now let's talk about the Love Christ showed us.
Love of Christ No one has ever loved us more. God sent His only Son to this earth to suffer the pains of this life. He ultimately offered Christ up as a sacrifice on the cross. That is the ultimate example of love that we have ever seen. Christ endured the ultimate form of torture ever invented. Have you ever studied what they actually do when they crucify someone?
Love of Christ First they scourge or beat you with a cat of nine tails. Then they made him carry up his cross beam up to the hill. It weighed over 50 pounds. Then they lay you down on the cross beam and put spikes in both your hands and then one through both your feet. Then as they lift you and the cross beam up often times your hands or feet will get torn off from the strain it puts on your body. And they have to nail you back on all over again.
Love of Christ They angle your arms in such a fashion so it makes your chest as tight as possible making it hard for you to breathe. They have you nailed in such a way you have to lift yourself up with your legs every time you wish to inhale or exhale. Every time you lift yourself your scraping your back from where you were beaten with the whip. You can't hold yourself up because your strength is failing and your legs are weak. Each breath IS torture.
Love of Christ Now you know why they broke the legs of the two men on either side of Jesus. It was so they wouldn't be able to lift themselves up to breathe. This is just a brief explanation of what Christ went through to save our souls. We may say, I didn't actually torture Him, I didn't kill Him, I didn't put Him through all of that, if I was there I never would have done that to Him.
Love of Christ If you believe that, you are lying to yourself. Every time you have ever sinned, and every time you continue to sin you drive the nails into His hands, you strike Him with the whip, you are the one that killed Him. Don't fool yourself. Christ let Himself be put through all that torture so that we could all be saved. He could have called ten thousand angels and destroyed us like we all deserve. But He did it because He loved us. (Mat. 26:53; 4:5-6)
Love of Christ Mat. 26:53 Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? 4:5-6 Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6. and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: `He shall give His angels charge concerning you,' and, `In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.
Conclusion We need to love ourselves. We are a creation of God's and Christ died to save us. We need to love our enemies. Even if they wish us harm, they are also a creation of God's, they deserve our respect. We should be doing our best to save them, God loves them, so should you. We are not to hate our enemies, we are to hate the sins they commit. We are to love our brethren. We will be spending eternity with them, learn to get along with them now. If you can't love them, then you don't love God.
Conclusion Here's what you need to do to take Him up on His offer: Hear- Rom 10:17 Believe- Acts 16:31 Confess- Rom. 10:10 Repent- Acts 17:30 Be Baptized- 1 Pet 3:21 Stay Faithful unto death. So the question is, why WOULDN'T you take Him up on His offer? (Heb. 4:11-16)
Hebrews 4:11-16 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall after the same example of disobedience. 12. For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
13. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. 14. Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
16. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.