Love Has everything to do with it

February is known for Ground Hog day and Valentines Day. I am not sure which day gets the most fanfare, but I did see that Walmart is already displaying Valentine’s Day. I didn’t notice anything being displayed for the Ground Hog. So, with that brief introduction the topic for this month will be on Valentines Day or more specifically LOVE.The scriptures are filled with the Love theme. I would like to focus on the passage in John 13:34-35. It says “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this will all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” [NSAB]Almost everyone knows John 3:16. It has been used prolifically by Christians as an evangelical point in conversations with the unchurched or as the bible says “lost.” Believers and pastors especially use the phrase “We love because He [God] has loved us. Actually, 1 John 4:7-11 amplifies the principle of loving God and loving each other. It says “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. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”Now I have been in churches long enough to know that everyone does not get along, and often there is conflict among the members, especially during business meetings. The litmus test for believers is the LOVE TEST. Do we love each other as Christ has loved us? I know many unchurched people say the reason that they won’t go to church is because of the way believers live, both inside and outside the church. Obviously, the people we are trying to reach see/hear how we act towards one another and stay away. Since Jesus died and rose again for us, we should express our faith relationship in Him by loving as we have been loved. Now this brings up a good question – just how did Jesus love us? There are several words in Greek that define love in diverse ways. I know you have all heard this, but it bears repeating. · Eros, or sexual passion. … · Philia, or deep friendship. … · Ludus, or playful love. … · Agape, or love for everyone. … · Pragma, or longstanding love. …  Our Love, the Love of God is Agape love, nothing new here. There is a dominant theme that is being preached in our pulpits, that theme is love and acceptance of everybody. I understand the motivation behind the theme, but what is missing is Agape love. Within our current culture there is a push to accept all people regardless of their behavior, morals, and ethics. This is not what the bible presents. While we live in a pluralistic and relativism culture, we are not to embrace people at all costs. Now I have talked about both the love inside the church and outside the church. During the month of February, we will hear all about the EROS love. This kind of love is a flesh driven sensual love. While our society will celebrate ALL expressions of love, we must be different. Our mission is to love the way Jesus did, unconditionally. This means that we love all people because all people need salvation. Our unconditionality does not condone unbiblical behaviors. Back to our verses in John 13:34-35. Love the way Jesus loved us. Love each other as Jesus loved us. Then the world will see what LOVE really is, instead of what it has been degraded to mean. I fully embrace the other kinds of love mentioned above, however as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:13 But now Faith, Hope Love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is Love. There is too much anger and hate on display today everywhere we go. Let us change what people see and let us LOVE so that people will see Agape love in action and be drawn to Jesus!BlessingsDr. Jim

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