We had a powerful & memorable service this past Sunday. We welcomed our youth group back from their week long trip to Crossroads Camp, we observed the Lord’s Supper, and heard an excellent sermon (listen here) from Adam Wilson on love. We also worshiped the Lord with the Northstar Worship team–to include a joyful rendition of the classic country gospel song, I Saw the Light.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvWDQhBtBGQ&w=560&h=315]
The message on love was the third part of our “Think to Change” series on the Triune God. In this series we are unpacking fundamental components of our faith and examining what we believe, how we should then behave, and based on that behavior what we will become. Based on our belief in the Triune God and our behavior of fellowship we will become people of love.
Adam set the stage by pointing out how love is huge and lofty idea, often hard to clearly define. As he prepared for the sermon he asked his Facebook friends how they would define love–he got answers that covered quite a gamut: a choice, a sacrifice, a feeling, a battlefield, and even a “french fry run to McD’s at 2:00 am.” The example of perfect love and fellowship between God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit is where we can look for truth about love. Adam pointed us to 1 John 4:7-12 and used this as his the focal passage of his message.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
Those born of God display the love of God through God’s example and power.
The kind of love that we all deeply long for is one that simply cannot be satisfied by worldly love. We will come up lonely time and time again if we rely on the world’s system of love to meet our need that can only be satisfied by a redeeming and supernatural love. As the scripture reveals to us, the Author of Life, God Himself, came to earth for the spiritually dead. He first loved us, when our backs were turned to Him and we had nothing to offer Him. When we were ugly in our sin, He loved. If we are to follow this incredible and somewhat incomprehensible type of love then we must also love those that aren’t easy to love. The scripture does not tell us to just love those that are extra loveable, it actually calls us to love our enemies (Luke 6:32-36).
Being a person of love means that the world won’t always understand the way we love others. Adam gave an example from his own life. He has a friendship with a man that has been convicted of murder and is currently incarcerated. That man accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior while incarcerated, and is striving to grow in his faith. When others find out that Adam intentionally spends time with this man he often gets asked why he would do something like that. People even go so far as to say the man deserves to rot. Adam though loves the man how we are called to love in the bible, in a way that the world can’t understand, but in a way that honors God. A love that transcends all things.
What does it look like to be a person of love?
- Obedience– Sometimes we are called to love and we don’t feel like loving. However, we can trust that God sees our obedience and will be faithful to align our hearts along the way.
- Sacrifice– Ask yourself: Do you really love when it impacts your time, your wallet, your comfort? Love is inherently sacrificial. The ultimate example is Jesus on the cross, dying to save us with his supernatural and redeeming love.
- Vulnerability– Have you ever considered how God makes Himself vulnerable by loving us first? He is risking that He may not be loved in return. We cannot love others with biblical and Godly love without allowing ourselves to be vulnerable.
- Delight– Love is meant to be joyful. God has so much joy and delight in us, we should follow His model.
- Truthful– Who is best to tell us what is better for people than God? He establishes boundaries for love and we must choose this reality of love, just as we should choose to see His reality in all areas of our life. When God’s commands aren’t obeyed lives are hurt and can be completely shattered. This is a difficult component of love for us at Christians, there is a tension to love others ferociously but not stand down when truth is challenged. Love is a choice to do what God says is best for another person.
After hearing about love and reading about love you may feel like you immediately need to go out and start loving others well perhaps you are mentally assembling your “love to-do list”. Slow down for a moment. Remember, love is a fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22), not something you can force of your own power and accord. As you you continue to develop and become a person of love you will begin to display the love of God through His example and power.