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Series: Love; Other Speakers
Sun am 16 February 2014 – Hazel Swart
1 John 4:17-21; I Cor. 13:1-8, 13; 1 Cor. 14:1; Prov. 17:9; Eph. 5:1
We as Christians have the greatest edge on love, when we think of what God did, He sent His Son to rescue us, to lavish His love upon us. As we come into a relationship with Jesus Christ we can participate in the absolute fullness of God’s love. It is the foundation, the philosophy and the deepest truth that we as Christians believe in and want to live out. The foundation of our core belief system is love and acceptance. When we interact with the world that is what we are imparting, not the knowledge about love, but the heart of love. Yet, we as a community are lacking in the full expression of this basic foundational truth. It is not enough to talk about God’s love; you have to have the experience that God loves you before you can make any real impact on society.
God is love. It is natural for us to love. 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. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also (1 John 4:7-21). We are in this world to present Him, to be love in the world.
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 take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails (1 Cor. 13:1-8).
Love is patient: Isn’t it great when you sit in somebody’s company and they are patient with you? When you are struggling and somebody comes with kindness, softness and gentleness and information to help you and get you on your way? Our world is so busy and we become impatient. Life is a journey and we need to be patient with one another. We need to be patient with where we are at in our journey in life. We learn life’s lessons through the things we suffer. Husbands and wives be patient with one another. Be patient with your children.
Love is kind and is not jealous: Everybody needs kindness. Respect the fact that others have gifts that are amazing. No-one is better than the other. God has given us everything pertaining to life and godliness. God has given you specific gifts but we get jealous when we see others succeeding more than we are. Let your jealousy take you and show you why you are jealous. Love is not jealous; love actually wants the person to succeed. Be strong in what God has made you. He has made you perfect and given you everything that you need. It is up to you to find out from God what He has for you, to spend the time with Him because His kindness washes over us. He does answer your prayers and your cry. We need to understand who we are in God and come into the love of God. We lack nothing, our God has provided everything yet we live such small lives. Love does not brag and is not arrogant: When we realize that we are all equal, we have nothing to brag about. If you ask, He will give to you. Maybe you are not asking enough. You are not spending enough time in His presence absorbing what He has for you. There is nothing to brag about, let God boast for you. Let your gifts speak for you; let people be touched by your gifts. Let us not become victims of low self-esteem. God loves us all equally. We all have equal access to what He has to give. Love does not act unbecomingly: We are polite and decent even when we do not feel like it. Love does not seek its own: Love seeks the best, the goodness, the gold in each other. Look for it. Find it, excavate the strand of gold which might be hidden because of the dirt life often throws at us. God is saying, “Love one another”; that is how the world will know, that is what attracts people to a community like this. Love has to flow hugely in our Christian society. Love is not provoked: When somebody winds you up, and you take the bait, afterwards you feel terrible. Love can sit and listen. Does not to take into account a wrong suffered: How we keep score of the sins of others, how we remember what people did! We remember what God has forgotten long ago. Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness: We are so happy when somebody else succeeds. Rejoices in the truth: We are so happy when the truth comes out. It fits well, it feels good. Love bears all things: It is able to shoulder difficult situations, in a marriage, in a relationship, with children, love bears all things. Believes all things: Love always trusts God in a situation. Hopes all things: Love always looks for the best. Endures all things: Love never looks back but keeps on going right to the end. Love never fails: Love will never die.
We have faith, hope and love but the greatest is love (1 Cor. 13:13). Pursue love (1 Cor. 14:1).
How do we learn the love language? Love is not a scientific theory that we are working on. It is head and heart. Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behaviour from their parents (Eph. 5:1-2). In order to watch what God does, you have to spend time in His presence. You have to spend enough time to watch; you have to spend enough time to learn. We learn from our parents and God is our Father, we have to watch what He does. Watch how He treats other people. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how God loved us; His love was not cautious but extravagant. He did not love in order to get something from us, but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that. If we say we are Christians we are learning the language of love.
L = Listen to me. How many people really know how to listen to others? It is an art. When in conversation are you already thinking of your story to tell or something you feel is more important? Hear what the person is saying, it is often veiled behind fear of being exposed. Learn to read between the lines.
O = “OH!” – Oh what a wonderful gift you have, Oh how wonderful you are! Find the most amazing characteristic in a person, their unique strand of gold.
V = Vulnerable. When I love my brother or my sister I am vulnerable. My secrets, my stories, my life, my heart is on the line. If you go and spread my story without the true understanding of the journey I am on, you bring damage and hurt to me. This is not the way of love. Let us not spread stories. You have no right to repeat a matter that separates intimate friends. He who conceals a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates intimate friends (Prov. 17:9).
E = We are equal before God and we are fully equipped to be and to fulfil the life that God has called us to. Take courage to trust what is within you.
Let the love of God wash over you. It removes everything you think is uncool about yourself.