The Love Imperative

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Pastor David Flanders presented a great message this week on the theme of love. Jesus had said that the greatest commandment of the Law is to love the Lord our God. People of faith easily say that this is sensible. What is faith without an object? But Jesus continued, that the second part is like it, “To love your neighbour.”  Essentially the love of God is to be shown not just in prayer, and Bible reading, but in honouring and caring for those made in His image. The two are inseparable. And notice, love is used to some up the greatest “commandment.”

The practical nature of godly love is also evident in scripture. I Corinthians 13, shows the primacy of love,

 “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing (vs 1-3).”

Love is at the centre. And why? John explains this in First John 4,

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love (vs 7 – 8).”

How do we love then? Paul continues his discussion in I Corinthians by explaining,

 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails (vs 4-8).”

Jesus had said that there is no greater love than sacrifice.  “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:13).” Okay, fair enough, most of us will not be called upon to give our final breath for others. But, we can give our lives in other ways. If we are truly “loving our neighbours as ourselves,” we should give of our time, wealth, and compassion. Living sacrifices are creatures of love.

This godly love is an imperative. Moving beyond Jesus’ summing up of the Law as “love,” He reiterated and in fact elevated the status of love with a “new commandment,”

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another (John 13: 34-35).”

Padre

 

 

 

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