Yesterday was Valentine's Day. Did all you fellas remember? Some believe that it is a 'made-up' holiday established by the florists, jewelers, and candy manufacturers, but not really! They have just exploited the holiday as they have many others!
According to the encyclopedia, Saint Valentine's Day is a holiday honoring lovers. It is celebrated February 14 by the custom of sending greeting cards or gifts to express affection. The cards, known as valentines, are often designed with hearts to symbolize love. The holiday probably derives from the ancient Roman feast of Lupercalis (February 15). The festival gradually became associated with the feast day (February 14) of two Roman martyrs, both named St. Valentine, who lived in the 3rd century. St. Valentine has traditionally been regarded as the patron saint of lovers. But knowing the history and origin of the holiday doesn't bring us any closer to answering the real question…what is real love?
I found some interesting thoughts written by children on this subject. Notice what they have to say about LOVE.
Why does love happen between two particular people? "I think you're supposed to get shot with an arrow or something, but the rest isn't supposed to be so painful!"
What is falling in love like?
"If falling in love is anything like learning how to spell, I don't want to do it. It takes too long."
What do most people do on a date?
"On the first date, they just tell each other lies, and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date."
When is it okay to kiss someone?
"You should never kiss a girl unless you have enough bucks to buy her a big ring and her own VCR, 'cause she'll want to have videos of the wedding."
What is the proper age to get married?
"Eighty-four! Because at that age, you don't have to work anymore, and you can spend all your time loving each other."
I think she had the best answer, don't you? It isn't just children that have a hard time understanding what love is all about, many adults struggle with this as well. So once again we will turn to the only source for accurate and clear understanding of all things that pertain to life…the Word of God! Within the pages of the Bible we can find the meaning of Authentic Love. This morning I want us to turn to 1 John as we seek to discover Authentic Love.
I. Declaration of Authentic Love. v7-8
1Jo 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
A. God is love.
1. These three little words are profound in that they speak to us of the very essence of God.
2. He is Love!
3. Now we know that He loves, but that is what He does.
4. This verse speaks of Who He is, not of what He does!
5. Note the impact of this simple statement.
a. God's very nature is love.
b. Therefore, if a person loves God, he becomes a loving person; he takes on the very nature of God.
c. If a person really loves God, then he does what God does: he loves everyone.
B. When we love one another, people see two things:
1. People see that we are born of God.
a. They see that we have the nature of God, that God has put His divine nature into us.
b. How do they see God's nature in us? By our love for others.
Joh 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
c. They see us doing the very same thing that God does-loving people.
d. They see us loving the rich and poor, the healthy and suffering, deserving and the undeserving, acceptable and unacceptable, good and bad.
e. They see us loving others, no matter who they may be.
2. People see that we know God.
a. They see that we have been talking to God and learning about God; that we are doing what God says, carrying out His instructions.
b. They see that we know God, fellowship and commune with Him; that we are living godly lives, and that we are actually taking on the very nature of God.
c. How do they see all this? By our love.
d. They see that we are loving and caring just as God is loving and caring.
II. Demonstration of Authentic Love. v9-10
A. He sent His Son, Jesus (v9)
1. When God provided for our salvation, He gave His very best.
(John 3:16) "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
2. 'Only begotten' = His one and only Son! There had never been one like Him, and there will never be another like Him.
3. Why did He give His only begotten Son? -- 'that we might live through Him'.
(John 14:6) "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
B. Jesus paid it all. (v10)
1. Propitiation = satisfactory payment.
2. The Bible tells us that 'the wages of sin is death'.
3. Jesus was the only One who could pay the price and redeem the souls of mankind.
4. This was the purpose for Jesus coming into this world in the first place!
a. Jesus did exactly what He intended to do.
b. Going to the cross was not a tragic mistake as some have suggested.
c. It was the plan of God for the redemption of mankind.
d. And Jesus fulfilled His task perfectly.
e. He did exactly what He was asked to do by His Father, and He finished the task!
f. From the cross Jesus cried out, "It is finished!" What was finished?
g. The plan and purpose of Almighty God!
h. Christ's death on the cross was the perfect demonstration of Authentic Love!
III. Directive of Authentic Love v11
(1 John 4:11) "Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another."
A. God in His great love for us set the example.
B. Then He calls upon us to love one another in the same manner.
1. Love always moves us to act.
2. God so loved that He gave
(Rom 5:8) "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
3. If we have known God and His love, then we are to show that love to others.
4. In other words, God expects to reveal His nature to others through what we do and how we live.
5. How do we love as God loved?
a. Authentic Love seeks the best interests of others…
b. Authentic Love always takes the initiative…
c. Authentic Love is self-sacrificial…
d. Let's stop 'saying' we love others and really 'show' it by our actions.
e. Consider God's example in Luke 15
C. God's Love Illustrated.
1. Like most fathers, he loved his sons and wanted the best for them.
2. One son demanded his inheritance and he went his own way.
3. The father never stopped loving his son.
4. One day the son decided to return to his father's house as a servant. (repentant attitude)
5. The father received him as his son.
6. His son was restored to his rightful position in the household.
7. That is exactly how God treats us.
a. If you have never been saved, God's desire is for you to come to Him for salvation.
b. If you are a believer, but you have gone your own way, God's desire is that you come home.
c. He will welcome us, as we humbly return with a repentant attitude He will lift us up and restore us.
Joh 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
1Jo 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1Th 3:12 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: