WISDOM OF LIVING (42) LOVE" By Pastor YAU
Text: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 January 22, 2006
- Love is beautiful: Imagine what this world might be like if there is no love. Imagine once again what might be like in a family, in a marriage or a church if there is no love. From the days of our childhood, we were urged to love: our parents, siblings, friends, neighbors and Jesus, of course. Love makes a simple thing or a simple gesture so beautiful that our hearts were touched and sometimes melt.
- Love is mysterious: Even though we all love and long to be loved, most of us canít exactly say what love is. We also have difficulty in tracing where love comes from. Some even have difficulty in showing love either in words or in action. Many people were confused when faced with the word love. We are awed in seeing the unexplainable power of love in action. Other times, we canít understand how someone could sacrifice so much for another person without good reasons. Above all, no one can fully explain why God can love us so much to send His Son to die for us.
LOVE IN THE BIBLE:
- The love of God: The most famous and memorized verse in the bible probably is John 3:16 which proclaims the love God has for men. It is that love that caused God to send His Son Jesus to save sinners of the world. It is that never ending love of God that compels Him to keep on loving the repeated rebellious nation of Israel, to forgive King David, the apostle Paul who persecuted His Son Jesus and to forgive all of us regardless of our endless failure and rebellion.
- The love of Jesus: It is the love of Jesus that caused Him to leave heaven and all its glory to become fresh in order to die on the cross to save sinners like all of us. It is the love of Jesus to forgive those who hated him so much to crucify him when he asked his Father to forgive them. It is His love that Jesus died on the cross while we were still sinners. It is His love that He stays on the right hand side of God praying for our needs everyday.
- The love of men: There are many stories of love between men in the Bible: Moses and Joshua, David and Jonathan and Paul and Timothy. Their long and faithful friendship, they shared purpose of life, they care for each other and their support to each other in time of need give us tremendous encouragement what men can do to love one another as taught by the Lord Jesus and Apostle Paul.
- The love of the early Christians: The first few chapters of Acts give us a clear picture of love: they loved each other so much that many gave their possessions to meet the needs of others. (Acts 4:32-37) They loved the Lord so much that many of them suffered the loss of their homes in persecution and went preaching the gospel. (8:1-4) Many of them gave to the needs of the church in Jerusalem even beyond their ability.
LOVE DEMONSTRATED: We all know that love is something abstract. Without some kind of expression, it is hard to understand much less to benefit anyone. Among many ways of expressing love, let me suggest the following. If you have difficulty in expressing your love to someone who may be benefited from your love, try one or all of the following.
- Love in your spirit: The Bible uses 3 different words for love and the highest kind of love is spiritual love, Godís kind of love or self giving love. This word was used in describing how God loves man in John 3:16. This kind of love is beyond human nature or ability. It comes from the heart of God. It is this kind of love man is forgiven. It is this kind of love that Jesus died on the cross for human being while we were all sinners. The greatest demonstrated love is this spiritual love. That is why we are measured of our spiritual quality by this kind of undeserving, self-giving love when we come across with people. Thatís why Jesus commanded us to forgive our enemies and pray for those who curse us.
- Love begins in your heart: If there isnít feeling of love in your heart, there isnít love. It all begins from your heart. God created us with feelings or emotions to love and to be loved. Preserve, treasure or generate love to someone will make your life more beautiful and beneficialóbeautiful to your life and beneficial to others. Nothing in this world, money, name, power or anything else, may match the beauty of being in love.
- Love in your words: Some people, especially people of Chinese cultural background, are not good in expressing love with words. They claim that the emotion of love is enough and there is no need of saying. While the emotion of love is the key, but unless you use the key to open the lock to allow love to come out, your love may well be locked up inside of you and few may understand much less be benefited from. Say something to express your feeling of love so the other person may understand your love better. I donít mean that you tell everyone you see "I love you". But put your feeling in words that reflect your inner emotion will greatly increase the result of that love feeling.
- Love in your action: Read the text of todayís message and you will see the importance of expressing love in action. When your love is expressed in unlimited patience and genuine kindness, holds you back from being jealous and proud, stops you from boasting or self-seeking and prevents you from explosive anger and keeping record of wrongs on others, these are all active expressions of love. While love in feelings and words are good, love in action is much better. Always try to find a way to express your love in ways he/she can understand and be benefited from. God so loved the world and He GAVE His only begotten Son. (John 3:16)
LOVE IS VERY IMPORTANT: I believe that we all agree that love is very important. I also believe that no one is able to list all the importance of love. Let me try to point out a few:
- Love is important to God: While God is love and the ultimate source of love, He also loves to see that we love: love Him and love others. In answering a question posted to Him on what was the greatest among all the commandments, Jesus quoted Deut. 6:5, saying, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and all your mind." (Matt. 22:37) Loving God is our first priority as Christians. We all need to place God on the top of our love list. He deserves that.
- Love is important to people: Following His command that we all should first love God, Jesus instructed us to "love our neighbors as ourselves." (22:39) To some people, loving God is easier than loving fellow human beings. But both are commanded by our Lord Jesus. We demonstrate our love to God by loving people around us. John, another apostle, questioned the truthfulness of our claim of loving God when we do not love people around us. (1 John 4:20) Some may claim that there are some people whom we just canít love because of various personal reasons. But the Bible doesnít give us exceptions. If God tries to see if anyone of us is qualified for His love, are you qualified?
- Love is important in Godís church: If you want to give one word to describe the nature of a church, what word will you choose? I hope you will choose the word "love". We are a body of Christ because of the love of God. We are saved because of the sacrificial love of our Lord. We are here in this church because of the love of God in each one of us: we were born of the same Father, shared the same commitment, have the same goal and hold the same bond of love. There is nothing that can destroy a church faster than people in that church cannot or will not love each other. We are facing so many challenges from the world we donít need any more challenge from each other to stay united in love. If you have an ear, please listen.
- Love is important to you: The world respects people because of their success and power, Christians respect people because they have lots of love: to their God, their church and people around them. Things many great people have done are good, but the most deeds that last forever is when they were touched by your love. Works we do are from our mind and ability, but lives are touch by love from your heart. Even Jesus asked us to learn from Him, his humble spirit and gentle loving heart. When you love people, even those who do not deserve it, you show your beautiful Christian character and people will remember you as a true man of God.
- Reinstall that love program: If love is a program, a soft ware, put it back to your heart. Make it the first priority of your life: higher than personal interest, pride or anything else. Show your love in words and actions to make a difference.
- Restore a broken love relationship: This will take humility and courage. Go and tell the other person how much you love him/her and ask for forgiveness on things you may have said or done hurting them. Do this to your family, friends and people in the church.
- Receive Godís love: The biggest gift of love is the love of God in Jesus. Pray and accept Him as your Lord and Savior and be saved. God invites you to receive His love through His church and His people. It is your choice to receive His love today.