Love. Our world revolves around it – but truly, what is love?
1 John 4:7-19 (ref 1 John 1:1-5)
7 Dear friends let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19 We love because he first loved us.
1 John 1:1-5
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our joy complete.
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
Every day we are bombarded with pictures, stories, songs, movies that all depict ‘true love’. From the classic Disney princess stories to the timeless “I will always love you” by Whitney Houston, from Taylor Swift’s “love story” to Jack and Rose on the Titanic – we have so many different ideas of what love is.
1 John 4 is actually my favourite passage of the Bible. My husband Hayden, and I chose this passage to be read and preached on at our wedding. This passage confronts me with the reality of God’s real and great love for us. It overwhelms me of the Gospel message that God loves us always. God is love. Everything God does expresses his unconditional love for us. This love is unconditional – it is a self-giving love, a self-less love – which is ultimately expressed through the giving of his son Jesus. Jesus is the “atoning sacrifice for our sins” (vs 10), for all of humanity who do not love God. This is love.
We are changed because of God’s love for us. God has given us his Spirit which lives within us, shaping us and helping us to love just like Jesus does. This love can be shown to others so that they may see God and know his love too. Our love isn’t perfected on the earthly side of eternity, but we can still grow in our love towards others. The Holy Spirit is helping us to let go of our pride and our insecurities which hinders the way that we love. We are becoming more like Jesus, so that others can know God.
“In this world, we are like Jesus” (vs 17). Love is God’s presence within us. Love is how others meet God. God’s love is a light within us shining so that others may see his greatness. God’s love is perfect and complete. As people loved by God, we should love others like Jesus loves us – selfless, self-giving, unconditional. May we seek God’s love for us within our world so that we can share his great love with those around us. This is true love.
Head: What is your favourite part of the passage?
Heart: What gets in the way of you being able to love someone unconditionally? How can we change our hearts to love unconditionally?
Hands: Who can you show God’s love to today?
God, you are so gracious and loving to us. It is overwhelming to think of how much you love us. Thank you for loving us when we did not love you. Thank you for sending your son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Lord, help us to love like you love. Help us to put aside our pride and insecurities to love others so that they would see you. Thank you for your spirit that is shaping us more like you each day.
A song to listen to: Who You say I am
Ellen Wilcox- Creek Road Presbyterian Church- Carina