1 John 4:19 NKJV
“We love Him because He first loved us.”
Love must begin somewhere and it began with God. God loves you because He chooses to love you. It is a decision He has made. None of us deserve God’s love, still He chooses to love us. Because of God’s love for us, we can love Him. Love can be described as a feeling of great affection that causes us to give to and do things for another person. God showed His love for us in a wonderful way. He gave the most precious gift that He could give – His own Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus died to take away our punishment for sin forever. Believing and acting upon this truth about Jesus allows us to become part of God‘s family. When we believe on Jesus, He changes our hearts. God pours His love into our hearts and that love overflows to others. It is through the power of His love that we can love Him and others.
I. Love Of God
Jeremiah 31:3 NKJV
“The Lord has appeared of old to me , saying:
‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you…’ ”
God’s love for us goes on and on. It has no end and it will never stop. His love is everlasting and it will continue throughout eternity. There is nothing that we can do or say that would make God love us more or less. He loves us with an unconditional love. God is like a loving parent who speaks with fatherly affection to his children, even when they are disobedient. God loves us just like we are but He loves us too much to leave us the way that we are. His desire is that everyone will be saved. However, the choice is ours and ours alone to make. Since God’s love for us is everlasting, if we turn away from Him He longs for us to return. We must always remember that God loves the sinner, but He hates their sin. His desire for the person that has backslidden to repent and to return to Him.
Jeremiah 3:14 NKJV
“Return, O backsliding children,’ says the Lord; ‘for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.’ ”
II. Love For God
Matthew 22:37 NKJV
“Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
One day the Pharisees gathered around Jesus to ask Him some questions. They had hoped to catch Jesus in a lie or untruth in some way. They did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God and they wanted to prove it to all the people. One of the Pharisees, a lawyer, asked Jesus what was the greatest commandment. He was testing Jesus to see how much He really knew about the Law of Moses. Jesus answered him by quoting the greatest Jewish confession of faith called the Shema. It means that we are to love the Lord with our whole being – our heart, our soul, and our mind.
Deuteronomy 6:4-5 NKJV
“Hear, O Israel: ‘The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”
Require means to have need for, need, want, command, order, or demand. God requires for each one of us to love Him.
Deuteronomy 10:12 NKJV
“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”
Loving God is not something that we have to “work at”. God Himself will work in our hearts so that we will love Him. He will cause us to be totally devoted to Him. The more we get to know God the more we love Him. Also, the more we know God, the more we will want to know Him.
Deuteronomy 30:6 NKJV
“And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the hearts of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.”
III. Love For Others
John 13:34 NKJV
“A new commandment I give you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
We are to choose to love others – not because of who they are or how they act. Rather, we are to choose to love them because of God’s love for us. People naturally love themselves. Since we love ourselves we are concerned about our welfare and we want the best for ourselves. According to the commandment in Lev 19:18 we are to love others the same way that we love ourselves. We should also be concerned about their welfare and we should also want the best for them.
Matthew 22:39 NKJV
“And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
When we love others the way that God wants us to others will know that we are disciples of Christ. God’s love for us is unconditional and our love for others should also be unconditional.
John 13:34-35 NKJV
“A new commandment I give you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Leviticus 19:18 NKJV
“You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudges against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.”
Our love for others will flow out of our love for God. They go hand in hand. If we don’t love others we really don’t love God. God has commanded us to love others.
1 John 4:20-21 NKJV
“If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.’ ”
1 John 5:1-2 NKJV
“Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandment.”
IV. Our Obedience Shows Our Love
John 14:15 NKJV
“If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
Our obedience to God shows our love for God. If we truly love God we will obey Him and His commandments. When we love God we will personally know God. When a person does not obey God it shows a lack of personal knowledge of God therefore, it also shows a lack of love for and to God.
1 John 5:3 NKJV
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.”
God’s love demands obedience. However, God’s commandments are not hard to bear, heavy, or oppressive. In reality God’s commandments bring freedom, liberty, and privileges to the believer. As we obey God’s commandments we reflect the image of God.
Thank-you for first loving me and for giving me the most precious gift that You could give. Thank-you for changing my heart and filling me with Your love. May I love You with all my heart, with all my soul, and with all my mind. May I know You more and more. By the power of the Holy Spirit, fill me with a love for others. Cause me to desire to obey You and Your commandments.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.