Love

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What does God tell us about love?

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together.  One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:  “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  Matthew 22:34-40

God tells us that all the law and all the prophets hang on this.  In other words the whole Bible or Word of God, hangs on love!  Anything that is not loving is not of God or the Bible!

Ok, what else does He tell us?

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.  Matthew 5:43-48

Now God is telling us to even love those that hate us and pray for those that persecute us!  God clearly tells us that we are to be loving to everyone!  So, it seems that we should look to see how God Himself defines love.  Not my definition, not certain groups or denominations or any person, but we should seek God Himself!  The creator of all things and giver of all life.  What does He tell us about what love looks like?

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  1 Corinthians 13:4-7

For most of us, most of these attributes would not surprise us in a definition of love.  Being kind, caring, not self centered, etc.  Wrapped up inside of this definition, God tells us that love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  Concerning evil, God also tells us;

To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.  Proverbs 8:13

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Romans 12:9

WAIT! WHAT!  Does God tell us that love hates!  How can this be and how does that work!

Going back to God’s description of love and “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth,” what does God tell us about truth?

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  John 14:6 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  John 1:1-5

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John 1:14

God tells us that Jesus is the truth and the Word of God that became flesh when He came into this world.  What does God say about His Word – the Bible?

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  2 Timothy 3:16-17

God has created us to know Him, have a personal relationship with Him and be able to spend all of eternity with Him in Heaven.  He created us all to live for eternity after this short life down here on this earth.  There are only 2 places to choose from – Heaven and hell.  In love, God’s biggest concern for us is not our comfort in this short life, but where we will spend our eternity.

… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God Romans 3:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23

In God’s word, His truth, he tells us that we have all sinned and the wages of sin is death, which is a separation from Him.  If we are separated from Him through eternity, that means we are going to be in hell, not heaven.  There are only 2 choices.  God loves people, but hates sin that destroys peoples lives and separates them from Him.  The good news is that He loved us so much that even though we all have sinned and rebelled against Him, He has given us another chance. A chance to be right with Him and be able to go to heaven through what Jesus did on the cross!

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  Romans 10:9

If we truly love and care about someone is it loving to watch them go down a road that leads to hell and not say anything?  Or is that uncaring and possibly self centered because we care more about someone not being offended with us or getting upset with us than we do about where they will spend their eternity?

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, speak to your people and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman, and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not heed the warning and the sword comes and takes their life, their blood will be on their own head.  Since they heard the sound of the trumpet but did not heed the warning, their blood will be on their own head. If they had heeded the warning, they would have saved themselves.  But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.’

“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.  When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.  But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved.  Ezekiel 33:1-9

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There was a young boy who lived on a street where there were cars parked all along both sides of the street up against the curbs.  The street was not constantly busy with cars driving on it, but there was a pretty consistent flow of traffic.  Of course there were the usual fast drivers coming through even though it was a residential area

The boy made up a game that he loved and felt that he was born to do because it was so much fun and gave him so much pleasure.  He would hide between two cars on one side of the road and then dart across the street and hide between two cars on the other side.  He would continually repeat this over and over.

There was a parent who was doing their dishes in the kitchen at one of the houses in front of where this boy was playing his game.  They looked out the window and saw what was going on.  The boy was laughing and just about coming out of his skin he was having so much fun.  This parent also saw the cars that were coming down the street where the drivers had no idea that this child was hiding between the cars and about to run out in the street.  The drivers couldn’t see the boy and the boy couldn’t see the drivers until he was out in the street.

The parent thought, this looks very dangerous, but look at how much fun this child is having!  It looks like he was born to do this because of how much fun he is having, how much pleasure it is bringing him and how much he just seems to love playing that game.

The parent thought, who am I to tell him to stop and that this is dangerous to him.  I would feel unkind, unloving, not giving grace and very judgmental if I were to tell him to stop and that I thought it was not right and dangerous for him to play that game.

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Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.  1 Corinthians 6:9-10

How much do we truly love people?  Do we love them with the worlds definition of a warm and fuzzy, enabling and being a yes person type of love and make it easy and help them to go down a road that leads to destruction?  Or do we love them enough that we are willing to do what may be uncomfortable for us, but be beneficial for them and their eternity?

We cannot have real love without truth and we cannot declare truth without love.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.  Ephesians 4:14-15

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Scott