Eric Meyer - SR&W 4
BBL 8033B: Christian Foundations
John Brown University
Professor: Dr. Bill Burnett
August 7th, 2008
Assignment #5, Scripture Read And Write
“This diversity of meanings, combined with the complexity of the feelings involved, makes love unusually difficult to consistently define, even compared to other emotional states.” This description of love comes from Wikipedia. The description of love from a Biblical perspective is much the same. There are many attributes, descriptions, and examples of love throughout the Bible, but not a crystal clear definition.
The purpose of this paper is to explore the Biblical meaning of love, and attempt to define love from the perspective of God; how God loves man, how God wants his children to love each other, and how he hopes His children will love Him back. The paper begins from the perspective that God is the epitome of love. It may sound cliché, but God is love. In 1 John 4:7,8, the apostle John gave that description, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” Starting from that perspective, this paper will define how the Creator, the perfect essence of love, shares, and expects that love to be shared.
I. GOD’S LOVE FOR MAN –
A. God’s Creation Is Good - God tells us in Genesis 1:31 that He surveyed everything that He created, and determined that it was good, very good.
B. Man Made In God’s Image - Gen.1:26, If God is love, and we are made in His image, we must be designed to be lovers.
C. Man Is Holy – Lev. 19:1 God emphasizes that man is made in His image.
D. Loves, Protects And Helps – Deut. 4:37; Hosea 11:1; “Bears on eagles wings” - Ex. 19:4; Psalm 31:21
E. Saves, Out Of Shear Love – Deut 7,8; Deut. 4:37; Ex. 3:6; Grants mercy – 1 Peter 2:10; Jer. 30:22
F. Loves all His children – Deut. 10:18
G. Loves Though His Children Sin, Break His Rules – Neh. 13:26; Luke 15:11-32
H. Promises An Inheritance To The Children He Loves – Psalm 47:4; James 2:5
I. God’s Love Is Eternal – Psalm 89:33-36; Jeremiah 31:3; Psalm 100:5; Isaiah 54:10; 1 John 2:17
J. Like A Parent, Holds His Children With Bonds Of Love – Hosea 11:1
K. Redeems, Heals, Forgives – Psalm 103:4; Isaiah 44:22
L. Feeds, Provides For – Ex. 16:15;
1. “Do great things for you, and awesome things for the land.”- 2 Sam. 7:23
2. Provides a land of milk and honey - Lev 20:24
3. Well being will be great – Isaiah 54:13
4. Provides refuge – Psalm 31:19
5. No matter what, God provides – Matt. 7:7-11; When bad things happen, we may think God must be like the man in this story, giving us stones and snakes instead of the bread of life. Jesus says this is not true. God loves us more than we love our own children. If we obey, we will not be disappointed.
M. God wants to live with His children – Ex. 29:45, John 14:2; Rev. 22:3-5
N. God’s Love Is That Of A Father For A Child – 1 John: 3:1-3; John 5:18; Romans 8:15,16
O. God Is Love – 2 Cor. 13:11; 1 John 4:8; God Loves – John 17:25; John 15:12
P. God Loves His Children So Much That No Suffering Is Too Great To Bear So They May Have Eternal Life – John 3:16; Matt. 26:26-29; John 15:13
II. MAN’S LOVE FOR GOD – Many parents tell their children that the family rules are in place for the children’s safety, and because the parents love their children. God loves His children in the same manner (or maybe humans behave this way because we are created in God’s image). He set boundaries for us. These boundaries may seem too difficult to bear, or more like punishment than anything else, but they are rules put in place because God loves us.
God may love all of His children, but He says explicitly that He loves those who love Him back (Psalm 81:13; John 14:21). By disobeying, we risk losing God’s love.
The next two sections discuss these boundaries, both the ones that tell man what to do, and the ones that tell him what not to do.
A. Abide In God – John 15:7
B. Abiding Defined – John 15:10, “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”
C. Walk With God, Obey – Romans 8:1-14; Psalm 16:8, “I have set the Lord continually before me.”; Micah 6:8; Romans 14:17
D. Know Jesus – John 14:17; As Jesus knew the heart of Nathaniel (John 1:48), He wants His beloved to know His heart.
E. Seek the Kingdom – Matt. 6:31
F. God’s Love Is Better Than Life – Psalm 63:3
G. God Created Us For His Glory – Isaiah 43:7; Romans 15:6; God is glorified when we obey Him. He expects us to honor Him – Malachi1:6
H. Those who obey God will find His kingdom – Matt. 7:19
I. The 10 Commandments Are A Good Place To Start Following God’s Will – Ex. 20:1-17; Deut. 6:1-3
J. An Additional Commandment – John 15:12; “Love one another as I have loved you.”
K. Those Who Love Jesus Keep His Commandments – John 14:15
L. No Other God’s Before Me – Ex. 20:3; God knows we will create other gods such as pleasure or mammon. By no means are those other gods to come between God and our relationship with Him.
M. Do Not Worship Idols – Ex. 20:4; By no means should those other gods be elevated to the point of worship.
N. God Wants Our Hearts:
1. Store your treasure where your heart is – Matt. 6:20,21
2. Our behavior is good, but our deep beliefs are what matter – Matt. 5:20-30
3. The heart is where beliefs reside – Matt. 15:8-18: What is spoken comes from the heart, from our beliefs. Many say they believe, but they have never given their heart to Jesus.
4. Do not love the world or things of the world – 1 John 2:15
5. God rewards the pure of heart – Psalm 73:1
O. Seek God Always – Luke 11:9
1. Your Father knows your needs – Mat. 6:8
2. Jesus will bring our needs to our Father – Romans 8:28
P. Humble Yourself Before God – Luke 18:14; Revere God – Lev. 19:14
Q. Love God Unconditionally –
1. Ruth 1:15-17: We are to love God as Ruth loved Naomi, with total devotion
2. John 12:3: As Mary loved Jesus, with a heart so filled with love it will burst unless we do something beautiful for Him.
3. Mark 12:28 & Deut. 6:5 With all of our heart, mind, and soul.
R. Behave Righteously In All Respects – Romans 14:17
S. Take Hold Of Eternal Life – 1 Tim. 6:11
T. Do No Trust The Wisdom Of Man – 1 Cor. 2:9
U. Keep The Law – James 2:10; Love does no wrong, therefore it fulfills the law – Romans 13:10
1. Stumbling in even one point of law is sin James 2:10
2. Law convicts – James 2:9
3. Speak and act based upon the law (God’s law does not change) – James 2:12; Romans 15:4
III. MAN’S LOVE FOR MAN – Jesus tells us that we are to love each other as He has loved us in (John 15:12). In this passage, Jesus is telling His disciples that they are going to need to rely on their love for each other to support them through their ministry. His words were meant for all of us though. Jesus is with us in Spirit, but we are to be His body, lifting up those who need help with the same love that Jesus has for each of us. (Romans 15:7,8)
A. Love For Family
1. Honor your mother and father (and you will live a long life) – Ex. 20:12; As you would honor God Himself – Eph. 6:1
2. Fathers must lead and teach their families – Eph. 6:4; Deut. 6:7
B. Love For Neighbors
1. Neighbors as ourselves – Mark 12:31; Romans 13:8; Matt. 7:11
2. Be considerate:
a. Leave the gleanings – Lev: 9,10
b. Deal fairly with employees – Lev. 9:13; Eph. 6:5
c. Work diligently for your employer – Eph. 6:5
3. Do not love yourself more than other or God – 2 Tim 3:1-7
a. Do not be unloving of others
b. Do not waste time filling your mind with lessons that lead from God
c. Avoid men who do the above
4. Do not hate or take vengeance – Lev. 19:17,18; 1 John 2:9
5. Do not harm the faith of others – Romans 14: 13-21; Matt. 18:6
a. Do not damage a weak Christians’ faith by behavior that may be OK in certain circumstances - Romans 14:15,20,21
b. Do not damage Christianity through hypocritical behavior – Romans 14:16
c. Do not give non-Christians (blind & deaf) any reason to dislike Christians or the Gospel – Lev. 19:14; Romans 14:13,20
6. Do not judge – Romans 14:13; James 2:4; Matt. 7:1; Eph. 6:9
7. Build up others (strong help the weak)– Romans 14:19; Romans 15:1
8. Show Mercy – James 2:13; Or you will receive no mercy
9. Serve (as Jesus did); teach, help all men regardless of faith – Romans 15:2,8; Matt. 10:42; Luke 10:29; Love is manifested in deeds – 1 John 3:23;
10. Not all will enter the Kingdom
a. The gate is narrow, the path is difficult, the majority will not persevere – Matt. 7:13
b. Do not force the Gospel on anyone – Matt. 7:6
11. Love for other displays our love for God – John 13:34,35
a. Christians love because they have been loved; Matt. 25:34;
b. God returns the favor – Eph. 6:8
c. Love your enemies – Matt. 5:44
12. Jesus insists we produce fruit
a. Those who produce fruit are taught to produce more – John 15:2
b. Those who do not produce fruit are thrown away – John 15:2
c. Abiding in God will produce much fruit – Prov. 11:28; Jer.17:7,8
13. Forgive – Matt. 6:12,14,15 Many times, forgiving requires the love of God.
There is a book written by Ed Silvoso called Transformations. The main point espoused by Silvoso is that companies that actively invite God to be their CEO are a massive force for positive change in the world. Example after example is given about how leaders serving their employees from a Biblical perspective create an environment where all involved feel God’s presence.
God wants to be the CEO of our lives. He wants us to be prisms that disperse His love into the world. We should start with our families, respecting our parents as we respect God. We need to teach God’s lessons to our children, and take His message to our friends. God also asks us to take His message into the workplace. Yes there will be challenges, as Jesus clearly states, but nothing is as important as obeying God. My favorite description of the Lord’s Prayer is written by George Eldon Ladd in The Gospel of the Kingdom. He, like many authors, teaches how to apply this prayer to our individual lives. Ladd, however, focuses his attention on the Kingdom, “But when we pray, ‘Thy kingdom come,’ we also ask that God’s will be done here and now, today. We should also pray, ‘Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in my church (or family, job, etc.) as it is in heaven.’ The life and fellowship of a Christian church (or family, job, etc.) ought to be a fellowship of people among whom God’s will is done – a bit of heaven on earth. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done in my life as it is in heaven.” (pg.23)