True love is two ways: You receive love and you give love. In the scripture God first loved us and God continues to love us, now as a result of that God wants us to love God and others.
So let me ask you: Do you believe that God loves you? At this moment do you feel loved by anyone? Are you full of love or are you going through a love wilderness? Can you pinpoint some people in your lives and say, “Yes, I love that person.”
Love is an essential part of every person’s life. If love is missing in your life, a vital part of your life is missing.
I want to bring to a message entitled: TRUE LOVE
How Does The World Define Love?
- A feeling of deep affection or fondness for someone typically arising from a recognition of attractive qualities.
- A strong affection for another rising out of personal ties.
- Attraction based on sexual desires.
That is why you have people saying, “I fell in love with him.”
Is this true love or is it counterfeit love?
True love comes from God. This is the most amazing discovery you will ever have.
To start with we must understand that God is love and God loves you. We learn love from God. Our love vacuum has to be filled with God’s love.
1 John 4:8 God is love.
1 John 4:19 We love because God first loved us.
Love is mentioned some 250 times the OT. In the NT, love is mentioned about some 230 times. In John’s gospel and the short epistles, love is mentioned some 72 times.
I John 4:7-11 7Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
So God is love and God demonstrated his love by sacrificing his own Son to die for mankind, who are sinners. God took the dirt of our sin, the penalty of our sin and gave us His life.
Man fails to understand God’s love and go around with counterfeit love which leads to unhealthy love. Unhealthy love leads to emptiness, rejected, and a feeling of unloved.
Are you in God’s love which translates into other relationships of your life or are you finding love and giving with our own efforts and ending up unsatisfied?
Signs Unhealthy Love
Isolation happens when your loved one starts pulling you away from your friends, your support system and family and draw them too much to themselves. In the process they are tethering/chaining you more tightly to them. They might say things like: Why do you hang out with them? They are totally against your friends, or your family. Isolation is sowing seeds of doubt regarding everyone around you.
Healthy love includes independence. God will never isolate you and ask you to do what God wants you to do. God speaks to us and God has given us a free choice. This is healthy love.
The person becomes more demanding and start following you everywhere including social media and them pick up on things. Possessive and mistrust.
Words are used as weapons. What used to be good conversation is now breaking you down. There is no loyalty. You are feeling less confident of you now than before.
Volatility. (change suddenly)
Frequent breakup and makeups. High highs and low lows in relationship. Tearful frustrated fights followed by emotional makeups. Hateful and hurtful comments (like you are worthless, I am stuck up with you) followed by apologies that it will never happen again. This is a relationship roller-coaster.
These are all the markers of counterfeit love or unhealthy love. The more these markers the more unhealthy your relationship can be.
Relationship abuse is something that one in three women and one in four women will experience in a lifetime.
Coming Back, God’s love is the purest form of love because God is love. This kind of love is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13. 1 Corinthians chapter 13 is dubbed as Paul’s hymn of love. This is the greatest chapter ever been written on the subject of love. Between chapter 12 and chapter 14 sits this magnificent, almost poetic gem that Christians have come to call the love chapter.
Love is the right environment in which ministry and relationships must happen in the church.
So basically this chapter is for ministry relationships in a church context. So here is a guideline for us on love
Therefore, we are going to look at how love practiced in the church, relationships, family, workplace, and everywhere can being of maximum impact.
1. Love Is Supreme.
1 Corinthians 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Love Is Important Than Spiritual Gifts.
1 Corinthians 13:1-2a If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy… The context is spiritual gifts. He says if a person has spiritual gifts, here talking about the gift of tongues and if the gift is so developed that I can even talk in angelic language and I have no love it is in vain.
Love Is Important Than Knowledge.
1 Corinthians 13:2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If a person has all knowledge (there is none so full of knowledge) and he knows all mysteries and there is no love it is in vain.
Love Is Important Than Faith.
1 Corinthians 13:2b ..and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
Then he talks about faith. If a person has all faith (none has all faith) and have no love that amounts to nothing.
Love Is Important Than Charity.
1 Corinthians 13:3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. If a person is so charitable that he sells all he has and gives it to the poor
I have all faith, the ‘all’ there is exaggeration which none can but even if I have all of that and I have no love then it is all nothing. Then he talks about surrendering our body to flames. If a person is someone’s slave he is taken to the fire and marked with the seal of the master. Even if you become a slave of someone men or God and you have no love, then it is of no use.
Love Is Important Than Sacrifice.
In Paul’s time persecution had not started by the Romans where they burned Christians at stake. Maybe Paul was referring to such things that was about to happen in the future. In the early church Christians developed a martyr complex. Paul is probably telling that even if I die for Christ and have no love for God or others, then it is of no value.
According to tradition, in the ancient Athens an Indian head burned himself in public and in his tomb was written – Immortal lies here. In our day to many religious people burn themselves for immortality. Whatever you do for martyrdom or immortality if you have no love it is of no use.
Love is the most excellent way. Love is supreme. It doesn’t matter what else you have, if you don’t have love, you’re nothing.
Now the Paul moves forward from the importance of love to the practice of love. This is a real test of our loving character.
1 Corinthians 13:4-13 4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails.
Are you able to practice love likewise?
There are about fifteen characteristics of acts of love that Paul brings out here. Paul puts this picture of love in all its beauty like a flower with fifteen petals, against the dirt of the Corinthians’ behavior. And I hope that we can see the beauty of these characteristics of love perhaps against some of the dirt in our own behavior. By the way, there is only one who ever lived in this world as a human being who is the perfect picture of love. And who’s that? Jesus Christ.
Matthew 22:36 they asked Jesus which is the most important commandment.
Matthew 22:34-40 34Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Based on the practice of love, here are some practical points regarding love:
We Are Called To Love When There Is Nothing In It For Us.
Love is to be freely given without any expectation. Love doesn’t require anything in return. There are no conditions or requirements placed on the other person before love is freely given. We are to love the way God loves. That means we are to love even if there is nothing in there for us. Love is all giving out. We are called to be good to people who have not done anything to us.
Revenge Is Harmful To The Doer.
Revenge poisons our life. Love Does Not Take Up Advocacy For Themselves.
We have good Christianity genres but we do not practice it. We say, “I surrender all,” but when it comes to hurts, and we just give back then and there. then We say, “I love you with the love of God.” When are you when I needed you? When were you when somebody spoke regarding my reputation? Where were you when I needed you to sit with me and be with me when I was discouraged?
Love Is An Effort And It Will Always Cost You Something.
Love is not free. It actually demands something of us. We can’t live for ourselves in isolation and at the same time love someone else.
Love costs us something. It is going to cost you your time, your money.
If you are not going to fight back in your home, it is going to cost you some pride. You have to be willing to swallow your pride and ego when someone says that you are wrong and you are pretty sure you are right. God has told you to keep the peace, so you don’t retaliate.
By the way, love does not mean that you are to be like a doormat, but you speak the truth in love. But there is a time for it. You will wait on Him until God gives you the time to speak. When somebody has hurt us, the hardest thing is to wait on the Lord and let God bring our vindication.
Add value to people’s lives
Do you know that people are hurting in the world and there is always someone hurting more than you do now. We need to be like Jesus when we meet people. Jesus always stopped to help people.
Love Never Changes With Circumstances.
Jesus remained the same irrespective of how people behave to him.
Love Is Something That We Have To Do On Purpose.
True Love Is An Unconditional Commitment.
1 Corinthians 14:1 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire the gifts of the Spirit, especially prophesy.
Love is something that I will do even in spite of not feel like doing it. The only way I can walk in love is to do it on purpose. I cannot wait to feel like love, I cannot wait to think it is fair. Our flesh is selfish and self-centered and if we ever have to practice love, we have to do it on purpose. We need to fight against our selfishness and say, “I am not going to live for myself and my priorities, I want to love others.”
Indifference makes an excuse, but love will always find a way.
Are you able to practice love this way? If not, you are practicing counterfeit love. You need to fill our love tank first and foremost with God’s love.
So let me ask you: Do you feel loved by God? If you do not feel God’s love for you, that is because you have not accepted what God has done for you. What has Jesus done for you.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 8:38-39 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
God loves you and God wants you to love him back. Give your life over to Jesus and he will fill your life with love. Altar call.
God’s love makes us feel complete, competent, worthy. Now with this love, we are able to love others.
Are you able to give love freely? Or is something hindering you from expressing love freely to others?
1 Thessalonians 4:9 Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.
People may not remember the great Bible lesson you taught, the beautiful song you sang or program you planned. But people will always remember an act of love you’ve shared. An ear you gave to listen to their heart ache, a note to encourage them, a visit, forgiving them when they’ve done you wrong without making them grovel. The time you sacrificed for them.
Friends, in doing acts of genuine LOVE we are storing up for ourselves treasures in Heaven where dust and moth and rust cannot destroy. And we will be building up the church of Christ and making it stronger.
We need to give LOVE in our homes. Let me tell you something it really is the most practical thing that we can give. It doesn’t cost us anything and it is permanent.
Toy’s break, Clothes wear out, flowers die, candy gets eaten, vacations come to an end and they may be remembered no more. But LOVE lasts, LOVE ENDURES!!!