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Sunday, July 19, 2015 am                            Perfection 2015 Index

GOING ON TO PERFECTION 2015 (25)
Letting God Work in Our Lives (3)
Loving God

 This month we have been examining God working in the lives of Christians.  In recent lessons we have addressed how He works today in our lives and our need to trust God.  This morning we want to address the subject of loving God.  In this, we address our motives for serving God – our love for Him. 

 I.                    What is love?

a.        What is love? The Bible translates 2 Greek words “love” in English.  The lesser used word is φιλέω, (phileō) and addresses having affection for someone as a friend or brother (cf. Matt. 10:37, John 15:19).  It would similar to the feelings of love we have for our family.
The more often used word in the New Testament is the word,
γάπη (agape).  It is a word that is defined as, “to have warm regard and interest in another, cherish,…; high esteem” (BDAG)
It is a word that demonstrates that we care enough to sacrifice for what is best.    The application of that word can be seen in every relationship we are involved in as Christians (God/Jesus toward us, us toward God/Jesus, brethren, neighbors, world, enemies, etc.)

b.       In Matt. 22:37-38 – Jesus tells us that love is the greatest commandment, first toward God, then toward one another. 

c.        1 Corinthians 13:13 tells us that while faith, hope and love abide – the greatest of these is love.

d.       Our motives toward God and others need to be pure.  They need to be rooted in love.

 

 II.                  Why we love God

a.        1 John 4:8 tells us that God is love.  The best way to understand love is to consider God – how He has responded to the needs of man. Love is His very nature.  He created man with the capacity to love. 

b.       God has demonstrated His love – Romans 5:8 – He sent Jesus to die for our sins.  In Rom. 5:5 he said that the love of God has been poured out in our hearts.
1 John 4:9-10 – He manifested His love toward us in sending His Son so that we might live.

c.        At best, we can attempt to only explain or understand His love.  Its fullness is beyond our comprehension.  Ephesians 3:17-19 says, “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Nevertheless we try to comprehend it as best we can.

d.       WE are commanded to love God. 
NOTE:  Being a command means that it is more than just feelings or emotions.  You cannot command an emotion.

                                                   i.      Matt. 22:37 – it is the greatest commandment – and it is to be with our all.

                                                  ii.      1 Corinthians 8:3 says, “But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him.

                                                iii.      1 John 4:16, “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

                                                iv.      Even under the Old Law, Israel was commanded to love God.  In the book of Deuteronomy, some 11 times they were told to love God.
Deut. 7:9, ““Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments;
Deuteronomy 10:12, “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,”
(Deut. 6:5, 7:9, 10:12, 11:1, 12, 22, 13:3. 19:9, 23:5; 30:6, 16, 20 )

e.       We love Him because He first loved us!  1 John 4:19.  In a context where John notes that we seek to reach a point where our service to God is not driven by fear of His wrath but motivated by His love for us.  When we truly appreciate what God has done for us, it ought to move us to love Him!  It is when we have this type of love, that our service to Him is not a chore, but a pleasure. 
To only serve God because you are afraid of Him will lead to a life of mystery, and you will NOT be devoted to Him.

 III.                Our love for God

a.        As we can see, we are commanded to love God.   But how do we do that?  

b.       We tell God that we love Him.  We sing songs and perhaps in our prayers we tell Him that we love Him.  That is a good thing and should NOT be neglected.
NOTE: Many churches today emotionally emphasize this to the neglect of obedience.  They seek to make God an “experience”, which might inwardly move one, but often such is superficial.  Our love for God needs to be deeper than just repeatedly singing about loving Him.

c.        Love Him with all your heart – Matthew 22:37 - (cf. Matt. 15:8  - they honored God with their lips, but their heart was far away from Him). 
The heart of the Christian is what makes us who we are – our soul, mind, emotions, will, thoughts and attitudes.  All of the qualities are governed by the directions He gives us (Prov. 4:23 – out of it springs the issues of life).

To love God you have to make Him your master.  Jesus taught in Matt. 6:24 – you cannot serve 2 masters.    There are many who seek to serve God and the world at the same time!  God demands our all.  If we love God He will be first in your life – Matthew 10:37-39 – He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me…take up his cross, etc.
Luke 14:33 says, “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”

d.       By keeping His commandments
One way that we tell someone we love that we do, is by doing what we can for them.  We show it.   When you love your family, you do whatever you need to do – you care about them, even to the point of sacrifice.    The greater the love, the more you are willing to do. 
There are many who profess to love in word, but their actions betray them.  When a man says he loves his wife but he abuses her, he doesn’t love her. 
Many passages emphasize that this is how we show God that we love Him.  Simply stated, we obey Him.  Obedience is a demonstration of love.
1 John 5:3, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
1 John 2:5, “But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.” (NKJV)

2 John 6, “This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.

John 14:15, Jesus said, “If you love me, keep My commandments
NOTE:  To keep His commandments we have to know them - that means learning what He tells us to do!   Cf. Deut. 13:3, “you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

e.       By loving our brethren – we HAVE to love each.  God demands it.

4:7-8, we love each other because “love is of God.”
4:11-12, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.

4:20-21, “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? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

1 John 5:2, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.

1 Thess. 4:9 But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another;

f.         By giving – God has given us so much, we need to give back to Him and to others. 
His giving was a demonstration of His love.  And we love Him because He first loved us – therefore we ought to be giving and sharing with others.
God loves a cheerful giver.  2 Cor. 9:7 – a passage addressing the contribution calls for us to give generously.  If we love God this will not be a problem.  And while we apply this to the contribution –our giving ought to go further than that!  We give ourselves (cf. 2 Cor. 8:5).
1 John 3:17, “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?

g.        Keep yourselves in the love of God - Jude 21. The final point we notice is that if we love God we will stay faithful to Him. Heb. 10:38, if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in Him.
Luke 9:62, “No one having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

 

God works in our lives, because we let Him work in various ways.  But how do we demonstrate our gratitude to Him for that?  We learn from Him what genuine Christian love is about and we love Him in return.  Not just in our words, but in our deeds.   Hebrews 6:10, “For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.  Do you love God as you ought to?