Love one another In Deed And Truth By George Stroh, Senior Pastor August 17, 2009 "For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another." (1 John 3:11)
In the vernacular English language, the word "love" has several very different definitions. Someone may say that they love God, love ice cream, love their children, love golf, love their spouse and love their car. Of course they don't really love all these equally or with the same kind of love.
Love is obviously very important to God. The word is used 183 times in the New testament alone. In Matthew when one of the pharisees asked Jesus "which is the great commandment in the law?", Jesus answered by quoting from Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:37-39)
The Greek word associated with these verses and most often used to express the highest form of love, is "agapao" or "agape". This kind of love never seeks for its own welfare, but always seeks the best for others. The beneficiary of "agape" love is always others and isn't contingent upon receiving love in return.
Many think that love is just an emotion or feeling. Emotions are often involved, but Scripture teaches that "agape" love is much more than just an emotion. Emotions may be involved, but your love is manifest and demonstrated, not just by what you say or feel, but by what you do. "Little children, let us not love with word or with the tongue, but in deed and truth." (1 John 3:18). True love always produces selfless
action, even if there is no emotion. Just like insincere faith, "agape" love is dead without works.
This "agape" love can only be produced in us by God and is not possible apart from Him; "We love, because He first loved us." (1 John 4:19) For this reason, Christians also have the super natural ability and motivation from God to love even strangers and enemies. In that great chapter on the excellence of love, Paul defines some of what love does and doesn't do; "Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not be take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things." (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
So how should we love God and others? In deed and truth. You love and worship God when you fully trust and obey Him with all your heart, and with all you soul, and with all your mind. We love others when we humbly and selflessly serve them, meeting their needs according to God's will and His strength. Sometimes love requires us to say and do hard things. God disciplines His children in love (see Hebrews 12:114) and we must also be ready to discipline each other in love.
Everyday, God will provide us with many opportunities to love Him and to love others. "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God..." (1 John 4:7). Maranatha!