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What Love Looks Like

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This week I am going to start a 2 part sermon that will be continued next week on “What Love Looks Like.” Today we will talk about How Jesus Shows us what Love looks like and next week we will be talking about how we love one another in the body of Christ.
The love of God is one of the great realities of the universe, a pillar upon which the hope of the world rests. But it is a personal, intimate thing too. God does not love populations, He loves people. He loves not masses, but men.- Tozer
A certain medieval monk announced he would be preaching next Sunday evening on what Love looked like. As the shadows fell and the light ceased to come in through the cathedral windows, the congregation gathered. In the darkness of the altar, the monk lighted a candle and carried it to the crucifix. First of all, he illumined the crown of thorns, next, the two wounded hands, then the marks of the spear wound. In the hush that fell, he blew out the candle and left the chancel. There was nothing else to say.
Thursday is Valentines Day, the day to celebrate love. The stores will be full of balloons, hearts, cupids, and teddy bears. According to a report by CNN the average person in the USA spent $143 on their partner last year for Valentine’s Day. Good news, that is only about $140 more than I spent on Jess! And did you know that according to Business Insider the average wedding costs the couples somewhere around $33k? Now, combine that with a current divorce rate of 52% and you get very confused. Or one more for you, the extremely risky film 50 Shades of Grey- a borderline pornographic movie released in 2015 made $571million worldwide.
So if the question before us today is where do we look to find a picture of love, clearly we have a snapshot of where the world looks.
On the screen behind me you will see a series of images that may come to mind if I asked you “What does love look like?” A mother and a baby, a wedding, an older couple enjoying their golden years, a man and his dog....all great images. Each shows aspects of love, but the Bible tells us that these are not the complete and total picture of what love looks like.
A certain medieval monk announced he would be preaching next Sunday evening on what Love looked like. As the shadows fell and the light ceased to come in through the cathedral windows, the congregation gathered. In the darkness of the altar, the monk lighted a candle and carried it to the crucifix. First of all, he illumined the crown of thorns, next, the two wounded hands, then the marks of the spear wound. In the hush that fell, he blew out the candle and left the chancel. There was nothing else to say.
Listen to what says about the relationship between God and love.
- The most complete picture of love is this- God sent his son, Jesus to die for us, not while we were Christians, but while we were sinners- or as Paul puts it in “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God’s love for us is not conditional; it is not given because of our actions or because we deserve it. It is quite the opposite, God’s love is given in spite of our actions and what we deserve. God loves you because that is who He is, it is the core and essence of God’s nature, it is impossible for God not to love you because if God stopped loving you God would stop being God. Think of it this way, there has never been a moment in your life that you have not been loved by God.
God loved you as much on your wedding day as He did the day you got divorced
God loved you as much on the day you got sober as the day you were the drunkest
God loved you as much on the day you did not covet one time as the day you deflated on loans your could not afford.
There has never been a day and there will never be a day that God will love you any less than God loves you in this moment.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), .
- But wait, there’s more. John’s point is not “God loves you, so go be happy!” No, John’s message is God loves you, so go be ambassadors, mirrors, givers, of that same love. You see, Bionically speaking, the love of God is not just something that we receive- the love of God is something that we participate in.
The word that John uses in v12 for perfection literally meant “to bring to completeness” or another definition I love in this instance is “to do to the full.” In this sense it carries the same understanding as when we tell our kids to play their hardest at a sport, or to give it their best at an academic setting- in football coaches often say “leave it all on the field” that is what John means.
God’s love is complete when we as Christians enter into the story of God’s love; when we do more than just receive it, when we LIVE it.
In Jesus told us that the world would know that we are his people if we love one another. John in these verses reminds us that no one has even seen God, but that have seen us, and if the love of God is evident in us than in some ways they have seen God- they have met with him through us.
Finally, I would like for you to consider one last thought today, before we prepare our hearts for Communion. Think about how big the love of God is for YOU. John’s words today are both a group invitation for us as a church, for Christians as a whole, for all of mankind, but they are also a deep and intentional invitation for each of us as individuals. A.W. Tozer one said that:
The love of God is one of the great realities of the universe, a pillar upon which the hope of the world rests. But it is a personal, intimate thing too. God does not love populations, He loves people. He loves not masses, but men.- Tozer
Many preachers have stated how personal the love of God is, that even if you were the only person to respond to the invitation- Jesus would have still died for you. And that is 100% true.
But I would like to remind you of the adverse to that statement today as well. Even if you were the only person to respond to the invitation- God would still call you to this radical, world changing, completing kind of love. It is personal journey of loving God and neighbor that each of us is being invited into- one person at a time.
So, today as we prepare our hearts for Communion, I would like to ask you to consider 2 things- first I want you to take this Communion as remembrance. Remembering the greatest example of Love that has ever been given.
But secondly, I would also like for you to take this Communion today as a rededication to participating in this amazing love. Almost as a kind of vow renewal- saying yes once again to not just receiving the love of God, but saying yes to participating in the love of God and taking it to a world that needs it more now than ever.
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