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Rev. Carl H. Kemp, Pastor

Valentine Special

February 11, 2007

 

Luke 15:1-7

 

God’s love; (Luke 15:7 NIV)  I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. 

God’s love is forgiving. We may be able to understand a God who would forgive sinners who come to him for mercy. But a God who tenderly searches for sinners and then joyfully forgives them must possess an extraordinary love! This is the kind of love that prompted Jesus to come to earth to search for lost people and save them. This is the kind of extraordinary love that God has for you. If you feel far from God, don’t despair. He is searching for you.

God’s love is beyond measure. These words were written to a church that would soon undergo terrible persecution. In just a few years, Paul’s hypothetical situations would turn into painful realities. This passage reaffirms God’s profound love for his people. No matter what happens to us, no matter where we are, we can never be lost to his love. Suffering should not drive us away from God; it should help us to identify with him further and allow his love to reach us and heal us.

God’s love is eternal. These verses contain one of the most comforting promises in all Scripture. Believers have always had to face hardships in many forms: persecution, illness, imprisonment, even death. These could cause them to fear that they have been abandoned by Christ. But Paul exclaims that it is impossible to be separated from Christ. His death for us is proof of his unconquerable love. Nothing can stop Christ’s constant presence with us. God tells us how great his love is so that we will feel totally secure in him. If we believe these overwhelming assurances, we will not be afraid.

BIBLE READINGJohn 3:1-21

KEY BIBLE VERSE: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16niv)

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1niv)

God’s love is inexhaustible. Repeated throughout this psalm is the phrase, “His love endures forever.” This psalm may have been a responsive reading, with the congregation saying these words in unison after each sentence. The repetition made this important lesson sink in. God’s love includes aspects of love, kindness, mercy, and faithfulness. We never have to worry that God will run out of love, because it flows from a well that will never run dry. 

 

 

 Biblical guidelines for human love.

KEY BIBLE VERSE: (1 Cor 13:4 NIV) Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

1 Cor 13:5 NIV It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

1 Cor 13:6 NIV Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

1 Cor 13:7 NIV It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love is more important than spiritual gifts. In chapter 12 Paul gave evidence of the Corinthians’ lack of love in the utilization of spiritual gifts; chapter 13 defines real love; and chapter 14 shows how love works. Love is more important than all the spiritual gifts exercised in the church body. Great faith, acts of dedication or sacrifice, and miracle-working power produce very little without love. Love makes our actions and gifts useful. Although people have different gifts, love is available to everyone.

Love benefits others. Our society confuses love and lust. Unlike lust, God’s kind of love is directed outward toward others, not inward toward ourselves. It is utterly unselfish. This kind of love goes against our natural inclinations. It is possible to practice this love only if God helps us set aside our own desires and instincts, so that we can give love while expecting nothing in return. Thus the more we become like Christ, the more love we will show to others.

BIBLE READING1 John 2:1-11

KEY BIBLE VERSE: (1 John 2:7 NIV Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have hear 1 John 2:8 NIV  Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.

Love is a command. The commandment to love others is both old and new. It is old because it comes from the Old Testament ((Lev 19:18 NIV) “'Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.

 It is new because Jesus interpreted it in a radically new way (John 13:34-35). In the Christian church, love is not only expressed by showing respect; it is also expressed through self-sacrifice and servanthood (John 15:13). In fact, it can be defined as “selfless giving,” reaching beyond friends to enemies and persecutors (Matthew 5:43-48). Love should be the unifying force and the identifying mark of the Christian community. Love is the key to walking in the light, because we cannot grow spiritually while we hate others. Our growing relationship with God will result in growing relationships with others

 

(Mat 5:43 NIV)  "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 

(Mat 5:44 NIV)  But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

Love chooses forgiveness rather than revenge. When we are wronged, often our first reaction is to get even. Instead, Jesus said we should do good to those who wrong us! Our desire should not be to keep score, but to love and forgive. This is not natural—it is supernatural. Only God can give us the strength to love as he does. Instead of planning vengeance, pray for those who hurt you.

 

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