Love Relationships (Part 3)

Love Relationships

Love Relationships

(Part 3) 

Contents

·        A False Claim of Love

·        Love is Not the Only Principle

·        Love is Found with Many Other Virtues

·        What Do You See?

·        How Can You Demonstrate Love for Others?

·        Loving by the Holy Spirit

·        Expressing Love according to Highest Needs

·        How Vital is Love?

·        Tell God that You Love Him

·        Are We Living a Life of Love? 

A False Claim of Love 

           Today there are many who claim to love God, but their life does not give the evidence of this love.  Their profession doesn’t agree with their practice.  Paul charged certain ones of his day, “They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him” (Titus 1:16a).  Similarly, some of our day claim to know God, love God, and believe in Jesus, but they knowingly, deliberately disobey His will and live for the world.  They have many other priorities rather than God.

           Frequently we have talked to professing Christians who say they love God, but they clearly do not make God their priority and do not take seriously the will of God reflected in His Word.

·        They would rather watch sports than read their Bible.

·        They would rather go shopping than spend time in prayer.

·        They would rather view television than share Jesus.

·        They would rather play games than discuss the truth of Scripture.

·       They would rather use tobacco, abuse their body with junk food, and do other things to harm their physical health than respect their body as a gift from the Lord.

·   They would rather selfishly spend their time on some trifle than actively helping the needy.

·    They would rather pursue some pleasurable hobby than lovingly serve their spouse, parents, or children.

·      They would rather go to some worldly event or rest at home than worship the Lord with other saints.

Furthermore, some claim to love God but the deeds of the flesh are prominent in their life–impurity, slander, foolishness, laziness, materialism, pride, boasting, and worldly ambition (cf. 2 Timothy 3:1-5; Galatians 5:19-21; Romans 1:28-32; James 3:14-15).  They fail to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).  They do not meditate on Scripture (Psalm 1:1-3).  They do not worship the Lord (John 4:23-24).  They do not speak truth (Ephesians 4:25).  They do not take an absolute moral stand (Ephesians 5:3-12).  They are ashamed to be known as a radical follower of Christ (Mark 8:38).  Yet all the while, they profess to be a Christian and a lover of God.  Such a claim is hypocritical.  They are “play actors,” ones who profess to be one thing but they are something else.  John deals with this very false claim:

The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected.  By this we know that we are in Him; the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked (1 John 2:4-6).

Let us truly love God and let our life demonstrate the truthfulness of this reality.  In this way, we will show that we are not hypocritical but are genuine followers of Jesus who love Him and others with all of our heart.

Love is Not the Only Principle

            While love is of great importance in the ways of God, it is not the only principle or quality.  God’s character is always our guide in this matter.  God is perfect in all of His attributes and love is central to His perfections, for “God is love” (1 John 4:8).  He is called “the God of love and peace” (2 Corinthians 13:11, cf. v. 14).  But our perfect and all-glorious God is also holy (1 Peter 1:15-16), merciful (James 5:11b), righteous (John 17:25), true (Romans 3:4), and wise (Romans 16:27).  His entire character is perfect and all of His attributes are perfectly balanced.  All of His glorious qualities work together in perfect harmony.  For instance, one passage speaks of God’s love, mercy, kindness, grace, as well as wrath (Ephesians 2:3-7).

            Although God is love (1 John 4:8, 16), He exercises His love in harmony with His holiness, righteousness, and wisdom.  Thus, although He loves the sinner, God must eternally punish the sinner he loves–unless the person repents and lives for Him.  When we emphasize the wondrous love of God, let us never overlook or minimize His holiness which opposes all unholiness (Hebrews 12:14), His righteousness and justice that requires the punishment of unrepentant sinners (Romans 2:4-5), and His wrath that will be poured out on those He judges in their sin (Romans 1:18; John 3:36).

            Let this be a lesson for us.  Just as God’s love is displayed in many ways, so our love must be exercised in ways that fulfill God’s will.  Love will cause us to choose God before family (Matthew 10:34-37), cause us to withdraw fellowship from unrepentant brothers and sisters (1 Corinthians 5:1-13), and cause us to speak against sin in all of its forms (Ephesians 5:8-12).  We will speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) even when such speaking may be considered judgmental and condemnatory.  But this will be exercised with love and wisdom (Colossians 4:5-6).  Therefore, our love will be modeled after God’s higher love–a love that will be manifested in harmony with a passion for holiness, righteousness, and truth.

Love is Found with Many Other Virtues

The virtue of love is never alone.  Because genuine love expresses itself, it will be found connected with other inward personal qualities in our heart and life.  We do not have the space to discuss each of these virtues or qualities, but we’ll list some of them for the benefit of the interested reader:

   (1)            Love and faith (1 Thessalonians 5:8; Galatians 5:6; Ephesians 6:23; 1 Timothy 1:14).

   (2)            Love and patience (1 Corinthians 13:4).

   (3)            Love and tolerance (Ephesians 4:2).

   (4)            Love and unity (Colossians 3:14; Philemon 2:1-4).

   (5)            Love and kindness (1 Corinthians 13:4).

   (6)            Love and hospitality (1 Peter 4:8-9).

   (7)            Love and humility (1 Corinthians 13:4).

   (8)            Love and giving (2 Corinthians 8:7-8, 24; cf. 9:6-15).

   (9)            Love and serving (Galatians 5:13).

(10)            Love and compassion (Luke 10:25-29 with 30-37).

(11)            Love and unselfishness (1 Corinthians 13:5).

(12)            Love and sacrifice (1 John 3:16; Ephesians 5:25-30).

(13)            Love and a forgiving spirit (1 Corinthians 13:5; 2 Corinthians 2:7-8).

(14)            Love and truth (Ephesians 4:15; 2 John 1,3; 3 John 1).

(15)            Love and gratefulness (Luke 7:36-39 and 40-50).

What Do You See?

            What do we see when we look at a person?  On one occasion Jesus was invited to the house of a Pharisee where a sinful woman entered, uninvited.  She proceeded to weep and wash the feet of Jesus, the honored guest.  The Pharisee host and others were repelled by her character and actions.  Jesus asked, “Do you see this woman?” (Luke 7:44).  While the self-righteous religious leaders were only able to see a despicable character unworthy of interest or attention, and worthy only of condemnation, Jesus was able to see a deeply repentant, transformed woman who loved Him because her sins were forgiven (vv. 44-50).  He saw what the others could not see.  Jesus had eyes of love and compassion for people in need.

            What do you see when you view others?  Do you see the child who feels alone and rejected because her drunken father has hit her mother and deserted the family?  Do you see the teenager who feels incapable, unattractive, ignorant, and a general loser while other teens seem to have popularity, money, and intelligence?  Do you see the overworked father who is exhausted at the end of the day and must come home to a disturbed and chaotic family?  Do you see the harried housewife with three little ones who can’t handle the workload at home along with a low-income job in the marketplace?  Do you see the parent struggling with a rebellious son, the middle-aged husband who seeks to serve a chronically ill wife, the aged woman with disability and little income, the bereaved woman who has lost her husband, and the person whose parent is in the hospital with a chronic and critical illness?

Do you have eyes to really see the needs, the hurts, the pain, the loneliness, and the struggle of other people?  Do you have love to reach out to others with needs?  Do you have genuine, heartfelt, sensitive love?  Do you see as Jesus sees?

How Can You Demonstrate Love for Others?

           We have discussed the importance and need of love in our life, but you may ask, “Can you give me any suggestions on how I may show genuine love for others?”  Here are several Scriptural ways of answering this practical question:

First, practice the so-called “Golden Rule.”  If we love others, we will do for them what we would wish they would do for us under similar circumstances (Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31).

Second, greet others with a loving smile.  Remember that a smile is not for our benefit but for the blessing of others.  It will let them know you have an approachable attitude and winsome personality.  It will tell them that you care, you are pleased to see them, and that your heart is filled with love for them.  A genuine smile that enlightens the eyes and brightens the whole face will display the love and glory of God to those with whom you relate.  A sour disposition, a continual frown, and a hard demeanor does not in any way convey a loving attitude, so wear your loving smile today!

Third, tell people that you love them and  others.  John wrote, “The elder to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in truth” (2 John 1).  He further wrote, “The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth” (3 John 1).  Paul expressed his love for others as well: “Greet Epaenetus, my beloved. . . . Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord.  Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and Stachys my beloved. . . . Greet Persis the beloved. . . .” (Romans 16:5, 8, 9, 12).  Both John and Paul had genuine love for their brothers and sisters in Christ and were not afraid to tell them and others of this love.

Fourth, consciously seek to add all of the Christian virtues to your life.  As we noticed earlier, love is never found alone.  It will be accompanied by the other fruit of the Spirit, such as patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, forbearance, and honesty (cf. Galatians 5:22-23).  Love will be manifested in a transformed life that is characterized by all of these spiritual virtues.

Fifth, do all you can to promote a fellowship of love in the body of Christ.  Although those who claim to be Christians are in a confused, deceived, divided and apathetic state, you should seek to be part of a body of true believers in which genuine love is experienced and demonstrated (cf. Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-35).  Sincere love must be seen in the community of faith (2 Corinthians 8:7, 8, 24) as a proof of true discipleship.  Jesus declared, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).

Sixth, physically express your love to other believers.  Scripture speaks of a loving embrace (Acts 20:36-38), a loving hand of fellowship (Galatians 2:9), a kiss of love (1 Peter 5:14), even loving foot washing (Luke 7:37-39, 41-50).  Because of our background, we may have difficulty overcoming certain unwarranted inhibitions, but let’s deliberately seek to overcome this so we can better be a loving and expressive person, showing this love in the most appropriate ways available to us.

Seventh, show an active interest in others.  Ask people how they are–and sincerely want to know.  Take time to speak with people–not about worldly topics, but more significant subjects.  Paul tells how this may be manifested in the believing community: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).

Finally, communicate your loving interest in written form.  We all have opportunities to write to people, if we take an interest in this form of expression.  In fact, we should probably write more notes and letters to people whom we know.  It is simple, convenient, and inexpensive to communicate in this way.  As mentioned earlier, both John and Paul expressed, in written form, their love for other people.  Plan now to write a note of love to another person, whether friend or family member or brother or sister in Christ.  Send an email to another, expressing your interest, gratitude, concern, and blessing.

            We should be loving people.  Others should know that you love God by what you say and how you live.  They should know that you love the Lord Jesus by your character.  They should know that you love other true Christians as well as all others.  Briefly, here are a few of the ways that Scripture says our love is to be expressed:

·        We show love by speaking the truth to others (Ephesians 4:15).

·        We show love by showing sympathy in sorrowful situations (John 11:5, 33-36).

·        We show love by being merciful to hurting people (Luke 10:25-37).

·        We show love toward God by being grateful for the forgiveness He has granted (Luke 7:37-39, 47, cf. vv. 36-50).

·        We show love by meeting the needs of other Christians in a corporate way (2 Corinthians 8; cf. vv. 8, 24).

·        We show love by providing for poor believers in a private way (1 John 3:16-18; Hebrews 6:10; cf. Matthew 25:31-46).

·        We show love in family settings, with the husband tenderly caring for his wife and the wife respecting and submitting to her husband (Ephesians 5:22-33).

·        We show love by treating all people with kindness, gentleness, patience, and humility (1 Corinthians 13:4-8; Ephesians 4:1-3, 32; cf. Colossians 3:12-14; Philippians 2:1-4))

·        We show love by having intimate unity with other true believers (Colossians 3:14).

·        We show love by extending gracious hospitality to other believers (1 Peter 4:8-9).

Loving by the Holy Spirit 

            True love does not come naturally, for sinful human beings are “unloving” in nature (Romans 1:31; 2 Timothy 3:3).  This is why we need to have a new heart and be filled with the Spirit of God.  When a person comes to Christ for salvation, he is “born of God” (1 John 2:29; 5:1, 4; John 1:13).  He is “born again” or “born from above” (John 3:3, 7) and “born of water and the Spirit” (v. 5).  He thereby has put on “the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created Him” (Colossians 3:10).

When the believer is “renewed in the spirit of [his] mind,” he puts on the new self, “which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Ephesians 4:23-24).  Through the regenerating work of the Spirit, the one in Christ becomes “a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).  The Holy Spirit in the heart of the believer who has been renewed, has been born from above, and has become a new creation in Christ, produces His supernatural work of love in the believer’s heart and life.

Love therefore is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).  The Spirit helps, encourages, and empowers the Christian to live a life of genuine love.  Because the believer has been given the Holy Spirit as a gift at the point of his salvation (Acts 2:38-39; 5:32; Eph. 1:13-14), he is able to love with a divine love!  Paul refers to our “love in the Spirit”–a love that the Spirit Himself works in our life (Col. 1:8).  Spiritual love in our life is a Spirit-engendered and Spirit-sustained work!  Paul says that “the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5).  The Holy Spirit is closely connected with divine love!

The divine love that we have described on these pages can only be exercised by the power of the Spirit of God.  This shows the need for us to be “strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man” (Ephesians 3:16).  God’s Spirit inwardly gives the ability to love as God loves.  This is why only the genuine, obedient believer can truly love as Scripture commands.  Since love comes through the Spirit and since only the believer has the Spirit (Romans 8:4-14), it follows that only the true believer can have genuine love!

In this respect, love is unlike faith.  Faith must be exercised before salvation–in order to be saved and forgiven of sin.  Thus, we believe before we have the Spirit, though the Spirit does prompt our faith (cf. John 16:8-11; 1 Thess. 1:5).  On the other hand, the fullness of love is only possible to the one who is indwelt by the Spirit of God (Col. 1:8; cf. Rom. 15:30).  We, therefore, have the strength to love as God commands!  Let’s pray to God that His Spirit will enable our love to abound, in harmony with the Word of God.

Expressing Love according to Highest Needs 

What is the greatest, most pressing need that people have?  Surely it is their present and eternal relationship with God!  They need to have the guilt of their sins forgiven and come to know the living God!  They need to escape God’s wrath and receive His grace.  They need to have God’s promise of eternal life in His kingdom.

This is why Jesus said that our priority on earth is to share with others the good news of salvation through Christ Jesus (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16).  If you, personally, were lost in sin and faced the eternal wrath of God in hell, what would you consider to be the greatest love-gift someone could give to you?  It would be the truth–saving truth!  It would be the truth of God and Christ.  It would be the truth of your present lost condition and the knowledge of how you can be forgiven of sin and enter the kingdom of God through Jesus Christ and His sacrificial death!  Since this is evident, surely the greatest way you can manifest love to your family, your friends, and to all others, is to lovingly and earnestly warn others of their spiritual jeopardy and communicate the message of salvation through Christ Jesus to them!

The greatest manifestation of love for your fellow-believers is to nurture them in the faith, to help them to grow in love for God and people, and to apply the word of God to their own lives.  When we serve others physically and spiritually, we actually show our love for God: “God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered [served] and in still ministering to [serving] the saints” (Heb. 6:10).  Love for the “name” means love for God Himself.  We love God by serving and blessing others and helping them to mature in Christ and His Word.  We might also note that if love for God and love for others are the greatest two commands, a failure to love must be the greatest of sins!

We respond to God because of many proper motivations, including fear (2 Cor. 7:1) and faith (James 2:18-26).  But love is surely basic.  Suppose that a child is seriously sick.  A nurse or baby-sitter might be employed to watch over the child and care for him.  She would “do her duty” and would be paid accordingly.  In contrast, suppose that the mother cares for her own child.  She would care for the sick baby as the nurse would, but her motivation would be one of pure love, with no thought of pay.  She will sacrifice her own needs for the welfare of her ill child.  Love is the difference!

Likewise, if we respond to God and others because of the inner motivation of love, our life will be transformed!  This is what God wants.  He wants our labor, our whole life, to be motivated by the sweet virtue of love, a “labor of love” (1 Thessalonians 1:3).  It is through “love” that we will “serve one another” (Galatians 5:13b).  This will bring a joy never before experienced!

How Vital is Love?

            In many different ways and contexts, God tells us that love must be our priority in life.  For instance, Peter says, “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another” (1 Peter 4:8a).  Paul also writes, “Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity” (Colossians 3:14).  He says that love is the “more excellent way,” that “the greatest of these [faith, hope, love] is love,” and that we should “pursue love” (1 Corinthians 12:31; 13:13; 14:1).  As mentioned earlier, Jesus tells us that the greatest commands are to love God and to love others (Matthew 22:36-40).

The letter of First John has been called the epistle of love.  John, the apostle of love, uses both the verb and noun again and again, some forty-three times.  He tells us that the one who loves his brother abides in the light, but the one who hates his brother is in darkness (2:9-11).  Again he writes, “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren.  He who does not love abides in death” (3:14).  We see that a failure to love means that we dwell in spiritual darkness and death!  Love, in contrast, brings light and life!

            Although people in the world around us talk, write, and sing about love, they know very little about the quality, depth, and spirituality of love, as expressed in Scripture.  In fact, those who are not in Christ but are living in sin are characterized by a lack of genuine love.  Paul charges that the unbelieving Gentiles are “untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful” (Rom. 1:31).  They love self, love money, and love pleasure–but they are “unloving” toward people and fail to love God (2 Tim. 3:2-4).  He says that they are “hateful, hating one another” (Titus 3:3).  Jesus said that even religious people may “disregard . . . the love of God” (Luke 11:42).  While this lack of true love may not always be manifested in outright malicious deeds and cruel murder, still an unloving attitude brings one under God’s righteous wrath (Rom. 1:31-32; 2:4-5).

It is absolutely necessary for us to love God our Father if we want to receive eternal life!  James says that we “will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (1:12).  He also says we are to be “rich in faith” that we might be “heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him” (2:5).  Eternal life in the Kingdom of God is promised to whom?  If we do love God with all of our hearts, we will receive the gracious gifts of eternal life and God’s eternal kingdom!

Peter also lists a number of spiritual qualities that must be found in our life, ending his list with love (2 Peter 1:7).  Then he says that if we love and practice all of these virtues, we will never stumble, “for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to [us]” (2 Peter 1:5-11).  Paul likewise emphasizes the importance of love: “Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love” (Ephesians 6:24).  Therefore, we cannot have God’s grace or enter His kingdom unless we possess true love!  As Paul says, “If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed” (1 Cor. 16:22).  These are strong but true words!

            We may try to worship, serve, and work for the Lord, but if we lack love, we lack the most important motivation in life!  Paul says that if I do not have love, “I am nothing.”  If I do not have love, “it profits me nothing” (1 Cor. 13:2-3).  As we noticed earlier, Paul says that the greatest virtue we can have is love (1 Cor. 13:13).

            To sum up, the result of genuine love is as follows:

(1)    If we love God, He will have a special love for us (John 14:21,23; 16:27).

(2)    If we love Jesus Christ, He and God will love us and Christ will disclose Himself to us (John 14:21, 23).

(3)    If we love Christ, He and the Father will abide in us (John 14:23).

(4)    If we love Jesus Christ, we will receive the grace of God (Ephesians 6:24).

(5)    If we love God, we will receive His kingdom and eternal life (James 1:12; 2:5).

(6)    If we love brothers in Christ, we have passed out of death into life but, if we do not love, we abide in death (1 John 3:14).

(7)    If we do not love the Lord, we will be accursed (1 Corinthians 16:22).

(8)    If we love God, He will cause all things to work together for good (Romans 8:28).

As we read these truths from God’s Word, including all of the other passages in this booklet, we can see how vital, how crucial, how indispensable love for God and others really is!

Love Relationships

Tell God that You Love Him

            Do you regularly pray to God?  Hopefully, you do.  Do you regularly tell Him that you love Him?  We know that prayer includes more than confession of sin, intercession for others, and personal requests; it should also include praise and thanksgiving to God for His peerless character and wondrous works.  During your prayer time, be sure to thank Him for His great love for you.  Thank Jesus for His self-giving, redeeming love for you.  And tell God your Father as well as the Lord Jesus that you love them with all of your heart.

            We would do well to follow the example of praise found in the Psalms, although our love will be more full and complete since we have come to know the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  The psalmist sang, “I love You, O LORD, my strength” (18:1).  If David could tell God of his love, you should be able to tell Him of your love–if you have been rescued from sin, death, and hell by His marvelous love.  Tell the Lord God of your love for Him, a grateful response to His love for you.

Some people seldom address the Lord Jesus in prayer, yet this is indeed proper and scriptural (cf. 1 Timothy 1:12; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 12:8-9; John 14:14).  Thus Jesus also should receive your sincere thanksgiving for the love He has given to you.  After all, He is the One who died for you and carried your sins away!  He should hear that you love Him with all of your being.  So many hymns express our love to Jesus and our love to God:

My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign;
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

Here is yet another:

More love to Thee, O Christ, more love to Thee!
Hear Thou the prayer I make on bended knee;
This is my earnest plea: More love, O Christ to Thee,
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

Notice the beloved and well-known, “Take My Life, and Let It Be,” by Frances Havergal:

Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store;
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee!

Finally, another song directed to Jesus and His love, expressing our own love:

I love Thee, I love Thee, I love Thee, my Lord
I love Thee, my Savior, I love Thee, my God:
I love Thee, I love Thee, and that Thou doest know,
But how much I love Thee my actions will show.

Make thanksgiving to God the Father and to the Lord Jesus Christ a regular element of your prayer life, if you are serious in your commitment to be a man or woman of love.

Are We Living a Life of Love?

Remember that Jesus prophesied that “people’s love will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12) and He accused the Christians in Ephesus, “You have left your first love” (Revelation 2:4).  Has your own love grown cold?  Have you left your first love for Jesus?  Is this your loveless or love-diminishing condition?

Are you a Christian but do not love, as you should?  First, be willing to repent (have a change of heart and mind) of your lack of love and confess this to God.  Ask for His forgiveness (1 John 1:9).  Second, ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit and with love as His fruit (Galatians 5:22-23).  Third, since our love is motivated by the prior love of God (1 John 4:19), saturate your heart with His love in Christ Jesus, particularly Christ’s own sacrificial, forgiving love for you, seen at the cross.

Fourth, search your own heart to determine if you have the spiritual prerequisites to true love.  “The goal of our instruction is love,” wrote Paul, “from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5).  Seek a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith if you would love others.  Fifth, it would also help if you surround yourself with fervent lovers–those who love God with all of their heart and who actively love others.  The Hebrew writer commands, “Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds” (10:24).  We need this daily stimulation of love!  Finally, fill your mind with the Word of God for this will help you live in an atmosphere of love.  God will help you to be a more love-filled person!

            Surely many–even most of you who are reading these words–have not yet really come to Christ to be saved from sin.  Know for sure that the love of God comes to us only through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Thus, Paul could write of  “the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).  Consequently, we must enter a saving relationship with Christ in order to be united to God and experience His tender and refreshing Fatherly love!

How then may we come to Christ for salvation?  This is an extremely important question–the most vital that you can ever ask, one that will determine your destiny of heaven or hell!  We must place all of our faith in the living God and repent of our sinful disobedience to Him and His will.  We must believe in Jesus Christ and rely on His saving sacrifice of Himself on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins.  We must express our faith and show our determination to live a new life by being baptized (immersed in water) into Him and into His saving death so that our sins may be wiped away.  This saving relationship with Jesus is a loving union with the God of love.  God’s gracious invitation and loving command is reasonable, scriptural, and consistent with His holy character.  (See: Hebrews 11:6; John 3:14-18; 5:24; 11:24-25; Acts 2:37-39; 3:19; 20:21; 22:16; Romans 5:1-11; 6:3-11; Galatians 3:26-27; Colossians 2:11-13; Ephesians 2:8-10.)

God’s love will overwhelm you, His grace will welcome you, His mercy will forgive your sins.  When you come to God through Jesus Christ, as we have noted above, all of the truths of this booklet will be yours to embrace and yours to enjoy!  You will have the power and strength, through the Holy Spirit, to love God your Father, love Jesus Christ your Savior, love your fellow-believers, and love all people.  You will be loved with the special, intimate, Fatherly love of God!

Do you and I love God?  Do we love the Lord Jesus Christ?  Do we love other children of God?  Do we love all people, even those who hurt and oppose us?  The only way to receive the crown of life and the kingdom of God is to be people who love Him (cf. James 1:12; 2:5).  Let love be our priority in life!  From the first consciousness in the morning until the last awareness at night, let us be filled with love!  And even more basic than this, let us be convinced that God is preeminently a God of love, one who has demonstrated His love toward us in Christ Jesus! 

Questions for Consideration

You may wish to review the main contents of this article more fully.  In this case, answer or discuss the following questions dealing with the subject of love.  (Use a separate sheet for your answers.)

   (1)            Why do you think Jesus placed such a high priority on love?

   (2)            How would you define Biblical love?

   (3)            What are some of the ways you need to improve in your love response?

   (4)            How can you better love your children?  Your parents?  Your husband or wife?  You next door neighbor?  Your supervisor, your employees, or your fellow-workers?  Those who oppose your stand for Christ?

   (5)            How can you love God more—or demonstrate your love for Him more?

   (6)            Do you frequently tell Jesus of your love, and thank Him for loving you?

   (7)            Think of certain qualities or actions that you should adopt to express your love for others.  How can you implement this?

   (8)            What persons do you have difficulty loving?  How can you overcome these barriers?

   (9)            How can you love one who hates you?

(10)            Why does the love of God provide the basis and model of our own love for others?

(11)            Describe the love of Jesus for lost sinners and His love for those who love and serve Him.

(12)            How can you grow in your love for God, for Christ Jesus, for the Spirit?

(13)            What Bible verses on love would you like to commit to memory?

Richard Hollerman

(End of Part 3)

 

 

Comments are closed.