“Herein 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 ought also to love one another”
(1 John 4:10-11).
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day! It was once a day set aside for lovers to send each other tokens of love and affection, such as flowers, candy, and gifts. However, today the tradition has expanded beyond intimate love. School children give small paper valentine cards to their classmates. Mothers send valentine cards to their children. Children give flowers to their mother. Friends send e-cards to friends. The list goes on and on.
The Bible is the great book of love. Within its pages we find many stories of people who loved greatly. Who is not moved by the passion presented in the Song of Solomon, a poem which expresses one man’s love for a woman? Some believe it represents God’s love for the Church, but I will leave that for another message. Just know that one of the major themes of the Bible is “God Is Love.”
The Apostle John is considered by many the Disciple of Love, because many of his writings illustrate God’s love for us. John saw himself as the recipient of Christ’s love and he called for believers to love one another. He also appealed for us to refuse to love the world or the things in the world.
In his writings, John reveals the reach and rationale for love in the Christian life. In doing so he presents three ideas: 1) God first loved us; 2) because God loves us we ought then to love one another; and 3) there is a great circle of love: from God to us to others and back to God.
Where Love Starts
John shows us in 1 John 4:10 that love starts with God, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us.…”
Earlier in that chapter John tells us, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:8). Just read John 3:16 and you will know that God is not a god of hate. If He was a god of hate then He would have destroyed us long ago. Instead, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
John wants us to know that we do not seek out God; rather He is the original seeker. Romans 3:11 tells us, “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” God seeks after us. We may believe that “we have found God” but in reality He draws us to Him. Seeking God is simply the act of responding to His love.
Know that God loved us from the foundation of the world. Ephesians 1:4 tells us that, “according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world….” Did you get that? God chose us before the foundation of the world. He planned ahead for our salvation, and that redemption came in the form of a slain lamb.
What Love Spends
In 1 John 4:10, John shows us that there is a cost to be paid for our sins, and Christ paid that price for us – God “… loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
In the Old Testament days God demanded a blood sacrifice be made to atone for ones sins. People would bring an offering of an animal or bird to a priest to serve as that sacrifice. The term is called propitiation means an atoning sacrifice. John tells us that Christ’s death on the cross was the propitiation for our sins.
Teacher and preacher, H. A. Ironside, once explained the reason for Christ’s sacrifice. He said, “In those hours of darkness God was dealing with His Son about that awful question, and there He bore in His inmost soul the judgment that you and I would have to bear ourselves for all eternity if left without a Savior. Thus He (Christ) became the propitiation.”
Where Love Sends
John tells us that, “if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. “ (1 John 4:11).
Receiving love brings with it responsibility. God loves us; therefore we are to love one another. That does not mean that we are only to love those who are close to us, or related to us, or those we are attracted to. We are not only to love those who look like us, or act like us, or live in the same country as us. God does not differentiate, and neither should we.
Jesus commanded us to “love one another” as He loved us (John 15:12). This kind of love goes beyond mire words. We are to love one another both in deed and in truth. There is no room for selfishness or excuses with this kind of love.
God’s love also sends us to others with the Gospel. We should love others enough to be willing to reach out to them with the soul-saving Word of God. We need to reach out to our unsaved family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and community.
We also need to be willing to reach the entire world with God’s Word. Jesus’ command to love others is not limited by our boarders. Jesus was not just sent to save us, but 1 John 2:2 tells us, “he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
You have the power to share Jesus with the rest of the world, but you do not have to become a missionary and travel out of your country to do this.
For example, God has put it in my heart to reach others with His Word, and I have found the Internet to be a wonderful tool for that task.
So far I have been blessed to have people follow my blog from not only all over the United States, but also from other parts of the world … New Zealand … Australia … China … England … Jamaica … Spain … Canada … This past week I put a flag counter on my blog site that has since recorded hits from German, India, Trinidad, and Saudi Arabia. I’m not trying to brag. I’m just trying to illustrate what a powerful tool we have with the Internet.
If you are reading this blog, then you already know the many ways messages can be communicated through the Internet … through written word, video, and art, and music.
This is a message that is not complicated to understand. All you have to know is that God created a great circle of love that we can all participate in. That circle begins with God … extends to us … is shared with others … and returns to God again.
So, tomorrow as you soak in all of the love from those who remembered you on Valentines Day, also remember that God first loved you. Accept it and share it!
May God bless you, and know that I love you too!