Make the Most of Love
Summary: According to the Bible, love is the central thing, which includes love for God and love for others. What love is to look like is defined and demonstrated by God in his teaching and his actions.
Scripture Reading: 1 John 4:6-7
1. Love - What do you think of when you hear that word?
a. People have tried to define love - Not enough to just have definition
b. Poets write about it
i. "How do I love thee, let me count the ways "
ii. "Roses are red, violets are blue, blah blah blah I love you"
c. Musicians sing about it
i. "All you need is love"
ii. "Love lift us up where we belong, where the eagles cry, on a mountain high"
iii. Love me tender, love me true, never let me go"
iv. Wise men say, only fools rush in, but I can't help falling in love with you
d. Holiday devoted to love - Valentine's day
2. If you want to know about love - go to the source of love
a. 1 Jn 4:8 - Says - "God is love"
b. Love is central to God's character
c. This is why Jesus says all of God's laws are summed up in two commands - Love God, love your neighbor
d. Paul said we have faith, hope, love - but greatest is love
3. Title - Make the Most of Love - It is the greatest thing
a. How do we make the most of love?
b. By recognizing 3 things
I. God defines love
A. Hollywood does not own love, they didn't make it up
B. God created love - All kinds of love
1. Including parental love
a. Many passages that God speaks of his parental love
b. Isaiah 49:15-16 “Can a woman forget her nursing child, And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands
c. God's has a tattoo on his hand with your name - never forget you, like a mother
2. Including romantic love
a. Song of Solomon, romantic and erotic - between groom and bride
b. Songs 8:6-7 - “Put me like a seal over your heart, Like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, Jealousy/passion is as severe as Sheol; Its flashes are flashes of fire, The very flame of the Lord. “Many waters cannot quench love, Nor will rivers overflow it; If a man were to give all the riches of his house for love, It would be utterly despised.”
3. Any kind of love comes from God
a. Interesting word choice in New Testament
i Several common words for "love" in Greek
ii Rarely used word - "agape"
iii Yet it is the most common word for love in NT
a) Used 320 times
b) Philia is used 55 times
c) Storge not used at all (except for "philostorge - devoted in brotherly love)
d) Eros - Not used at all
iv Shows something unique about love
b. 1 Cor 13 defines agape - so there is no misunderstanding - 4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 [b]bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails;
i Patient - doesn't give up on you
ii Kind - Not just the big things, but the small things
iii Not Jealous - Not possessive in a controlling way, is trusting
iv Does not brag - modest
v Not arrogant - humble
vi Does not act unbecomingly - attractive, suitable
vii Does not seek its own - selfless
viii Not provoked - soothing
ix Does not take into account a wrong suffered - no grudge, forgiving
x Does not rejoice in unrighteousness - joy in right
xi Rejoices with the truth - honest, truthful
xii Bears all things - strong
xiii Believes all things - things the best
xiv Hopes all things - positive
xv Endures all things - never gives up
xvi Love never fails
C. ILL: One of my illustrations is a grill
1. April - supposed to be looking forward to breaking out the grill
2. Go down and buy a great Rib Eye steak
a. Put some seasoning, age it for a bit
b. Q: What happens when put it on the grill?
i Sizzle, aroma, grumbly stomach
ii Mouth waters, and you can't wait to get at it
3. Anyone have plastic toy food? Have it for grandkids
a. Toy vegetables, cheese, meat
b. Q: What happens if grandkids put it on the grill?
i Melt, burn, stench, ruin grill
ii Not get hungry, but get sick
4. Love is like the real steak, not fake one
a. When difficult times, go through fire
b. Things are not ruined, they becomes better, stronger
c. Love never fails, especially in hard times
D. This is how God defines love
1. So, does God give us more?
2. God doesn't just tell us, he shows us as well
3. Brings us to our next point. . .
II. God demonstrates love
A. God doesn't just tell us, he shows us what love looks like in action
B. Hos 2 - Image of God as husband, Israel as his promiscuous wife
1. (Hos 2:1-13) God's extreme reaction to her promiscuity
a. May not seem like an example of love
b. If suffer pain of affair - understand the hurt, anger, betrayal
c. If love is deep and passionate, anger is passionate
2. (Hos 2:14-20) Notice what God does NOT do to her
a. He does not divorce her, but "allures/woos" her
b. God brings her back so he can be "husband" to her
c. God makes a covenant with her (new covenant)
d. Many say it foolhardy - divorce and be done, but not God
3. (Hos 11:1-10) Image of God as parent, people as his child
a. God loved Israel when baby, toddler - picture the delight
b. But Israel was disobedient, wicked, oppressive, detestable
c. God is angry with them - fine, they reap what they sow!
d. V.8 - But how can I give you up?
C. ILL: Some of us may relate to this parental image
1. Child grows up and steals from you, lies, argues, break things
2. Child leaves home, want nothing to do with you or your faith, even vandalizes your house
3. You may think - Would be so much easier if I just didn't care!
4. But - you do care, in fact, "my heart is turned over within me"
a. Sleepless nights, wondering - Is he alive or in a ditch?
b. Dare to hope and pray he returns, reconciliation, change
c. Can't give him up - He is my child
5. If that is the way it might be with one child, how much more so with God?
D. These are just two examples of the nature of God's love
1. No matter what you have done, he still loves you
2. He longs for you to come to him
III. God desires us to love as he does
A. God wants his children to be like him - to be godly, which begins with love
B. (1 Cor 13:1-3) Without love, it is all meaningless
1. Doesn't matter how moral, upright, generous you are
2. Doesn't matter what kind of skills you have
3. Doesn't matter how much service, ministries, etc. you do
4. Without love - it is nothing - - except irritating noise
C. ILL: What happens when I bang on this gong?
1. I am a Christian, look at how valuable I am to God
2. Some have ninja skills, video game skills, but I have Christian skills!
3. I bring food, donate large money, I memorize verses, etc.
4. What do you hear? Clanging Gong - It is irritating to God
D. (1 John 3:15-18) Love is a verb
1. Love is not just words, it is action
2. Whether in marriage, family, among brethren - it is action
3. Do my actions say, "I love God, and I love you?"
4. This is how you make the most of love
1. God loves you - Greatest demonstration of love is the cross, Gospel
2. His door is open - actually, he comes to your door & knocks - will you open?
a. If you wind up being lost eternally it is NOT because God does not love you
b. If find wayward child, knock on his door, it is up to him to open it
c. How tragic to have a God that loves you, and be lost because you did not open the door!
d. Don't buy into Satan's lie that because God loves you, no one will be lost (inv)
3. If you have already been baptized, then remember love is the priority
a. Greatest command is to love God and love your neighbor
b. Your neighbor includes husband, wife, family, co-workers, brethren, and your neighbors
c. Consider the passages we read, and reflect - Do I love in deed and in truth?