This message was preached by Colin D via zoom at Word Of Grace Church on Feb 14th,2021. for the audio please click here. For the worship please click here
No prizes for this answer. What day is today? Valentine’s Day. I am going to speak for a couple of minutes about Valentine’s Day. The legend behind it is that during the 3rd Century, there was an emperor Claudius and his army were losing battles because he didn't have enough soldiers. The reason he couldn't conscript people was that people were getting married and had families to look after. To overcome this he banned all the marriages. There was one Christian priest by the name of Valentine who in defiance of the King’s law would secretly help people to get married. He was then arrested, caught and was executed. As there were not one but three Christians martyred for their faith, in the fourth century or in the 10th Century, the Pope declared February 14th as Saint Valentine's Day. The original Valentine's Day is in honour of a Christian who was killed for upholding marriage.
Where does love come from? Do you know, love comes from God? My message today is on love and how we as followers of Jesus we can grow in loving one another specifically loving God. I'm going to share practical tangible steps that we can take to grow in love.
One thing that marks Christians out as mentioned in John chapter 13 verses 35. Jesus says “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” We can only love if we have love in our tanks. Where do we get this love from? Romans chapter 5:5 says” Because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” It's only when we have the love of God in our hearts, our love tanks are full. If our tanks are filled with love, then we can love our husband/ wife/ children.
Romans 5:8 says “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We see a demonstration of God's love on the cross and how long have we been loved like this? John 3:16 says “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. “ God's love for us is shown on the cross- the sacrifice of Jesus for us.
If anybody here this morning has not yet received this love of God into the hearts, I want to tell you that you can receive that love and it's very simple. You just have to acknowledge that you're a sinner and Jesus died on the cross for your sins. God sent Jesus to save you because he loves you. And if you repent and confess your sins to Jesus and say I trust in you that you died on the cross and rose from the dead, the love of God can come into your hearts. You will receive forgiveness of your sins and eternal life.
Ephesians 1:4 says” For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight” Wow, that's a long long time ago, before the sun, the moon or anything else was created God saw you and loved you and chose you to be a part of his family. So we have been loved for a long time. We've been loved on the cross when Jesus died for us again and this love stretches into eternity. 1 Thessalonians chapter 4:16 says.
“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. “
When Jesus returns, whoever has put their faith in him will rise up in the air and we will be with the Lord forever and ever we will live happily ever after. No matter what I'm struggling and I'm going through- one day Jesus my lover is going to come back for me and we will be with him forever and ever so let's focus on those truths.
Let's look at First Corinthians 13:1. “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 and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but does not have love, I am nothing.” There are some people who have amazing spiritual gifts like speaking in tongues. They can prophesy, etc. It says that if we have all these gifts, but do not have love we gain nothing. Love is very important and as followers of Christ, how can we cultivate love and how can we grow in love?
Matthew22:37 -Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”The greatest commandment is to love God. This is the first and greatest commandment and the second is: Love your neighbour as yourself. Love is the most important thing. It's what distinguishes Christians. God himself is love and we've got to be a people who love. Love is the greatest commandment - loving God and loving one another.
John 4:8 says “Whoever 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.” God loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Now, how do we put love into practice?
In the Bible, there are four types of Love mentioned.
Philia- Affectionate love,
Agape-Unconditional love: This is the love that God has for us and this is the love we are aiming for. It's a love that seeks the best in the other person.
So how can we grow in our love? Let’s look at a few things. One of the first things we need to do to love one another is
1) Accept one another: Romans15:7 “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God”. The first thing that we need to do is we need to accept one another. We come from different places, different educational backgrounds, economic backgrounds, linguistic backgrounds. We all have our quirks and personality disorders or challenges. Society is divided on cast, educational background, economic state etc. God has come to break every division.
2) Forgiving one another: Ephesians 4:32- “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”. Now, the standard for accepting and forgiving is stratospheric, it’s sky-high. Just as Christ accepted you, you accept others. How did Christ accept you? He accepted me full of my faults, my failures, my sin and my everything. The same way we accept others. How do you forgive? It says forgive each other just as in Christ God forgave you. The next time you're having a hard time with somebody just remind yourself of how much you have been forgiven.
3) Encourage one another: Hebrews 3:13, says “But encourage one another daily as long as it is called today so that you may not be hardened by sins deceitfulness.” Now, life can be very tough and our role is to ensure that we are bringing encouragement to one another. Appreciation and encouragement are acts of humility where we are uplifting somebody else. Let's be a people who are quick to encourage,.
4) Carry one another's burdens: Galatians 6:2- “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfil the law of Christ.”We carry people's burdens by just speaking to them finding out what is going on in their lives. There are people who may be struggling with an illness or with some worries, else with some other difficulties and what we can do is we can listen to them, share their problems will help diffuse their worries.
5) No unwholesome talk come out of your mouth: Ephesians 4:29- “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
So, let's be a people who are weighing our words when we speak. When we speak, is it going to build these people up or is it going to tear them down? Think carefully before you say “Can I build people up with what I'm going to say?” Words are very important.
Submitting to one another: Another
way of loving one another is submitting to one another. That's there in scripture and I want to encourage us
to submit to one another in a marriage, in a
relationship, with friends. Not wanting and demanding my way all the time, there's
give-and-take and there's mutual submission.
So I've just thrown some things that if we put into practice will just demonstrate love in a marriage or any friendship.
I'm going to quickly touch on something called the FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES.
Gary Chapman has come out with a book called The Five Love Languages and he is found out that people primarily receive love in five ways and think of it as five languages. The first one is
1) Words of affirmation: Here we are speaking words of affirmation, appreciation, affection, compliments, verbal encouragement etc. So when you use words and say “Well done”, “I love you”, “you did an excellent job” and you're messaging them, texting them, putting the smiley's and the hearts and all. Those things make people sense a connection. That is important for certain people. Think about yourself; is that your love language?
2) Quality time: This is where people feel loved when you spend time with them. They want you to sit down and listen to them and talk to them. What they want is your undivided attention without the distraction of the television or cell phone or any other interference. They want to spend time. They want active listening.
3) Acts of service: Acts of service is when you go out of your way to serve the person and do things. Like, make coffee for them, make breakfast, and pick up the dry cleaning do all these things. Actions speak louder than words for them. This is how they like to be appreciated.
4) Gifts: Gifts are a pretty straightforward love language. They will give you visual symbols of love and some people just love gift because what they value is not the gift in itself but your thoughtfulness that you thought about them. And you chose the right gifts they would like, so it's very meaningful to them.
5) Physical touch: This is where people feel loved when they like to be kissed and hugged and holding hands and so forth, and of course, you’ve got to be appropriate with different things. Like physical intimacy in a marriage situation with husband and wife, one partner who likes this and the other doesn’t', both partners need to be aware and make adjustments.
So now I'm giving you these five love languages. This is what you need to do find out. What is your love language: your primary and secondary. Then you find out the love language of the people you're involved with, your husband, your wife, your children and others. Speak to them in that love language and you will see the affection and the love grow.
Jesus says love is the hallmark of His people. 1 Corinthians tells us that the greatest thing is love. God himself is love so you and I have got to make an effort to grow in our love. Paul says the same thing in Thessalonians that you not only one another but grow and increase in that love. The reason we can love is that Jesus first loved us and He demonstrated His love for us on the cross. So we are called to love God of course and to love one another, especially the family of believers. Love His church and then the world of course. Let’s show love.
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.