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True Love

February 6, 2015 Leave a comment

I found a statistic this week that stated that nearly 1 billion Valentine’s cards are exchanged each year. Webster’s defines a valentine as “a gift or card sent to a loved one on Valentine’s day” and they are generally reserved for those who we love. So as we observe this day dedicated to those that we love, let’s examine the greatest love story of all time.

In 1 John 4:7 we read; “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God.” This call to love is one that needs to be heard today. As a result of God’s love for us, we should have that same love for others. Just look around you at the attitudes and actions of others. Turn on the news and notice how many robberies, assaults, murders, and other crimes are reported on a daily basis. Why? Because of the absence of love. Many people in our day do not love because they have not grasped the love of God. What is the significance of this love? It is evidence of our salvation. In 1 John 5:1 we read:

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.” Notice also that when Paul lists the fruits of the spirit, the first on the list is LOVE. (Galatians 5:22)

Now we can all love our parents, our children and spouses on Valentine’s day. This isn’t hard to do. How about those not so close to you? In 1 John 4:20, we are told that if we say we have love but hate our brother, we are a liar! That’s pretty harsh.

We are to love the unlovable, we are to love the stranger and the one in need. Recall that the story of the Good Samaritan begins with a question, “Who is my Brother?” The message from Jesus is that our brother is everyone. There will be evidence of this love in your actions if you truly do have the love of God dwelling within you. True love is seen best in sacrifice. We give up much in the name of love; for our wives, husbands, children, even our church. We want the best interest of the ones we love. True love then is seen in true sacrifice and the greatest sacrifice, the greatest gift of love ever, is God’s gift of his only Son that we might have the opportunity to live with God forever.

There are different legends about the origins of “Valentine’s Day.” For our purposes, consider this popular version: Emperor Claudius I of Rome had banned marriages of his soldiers on the theory that married men made poor soldiers. Valentinus, a Roman Bishop, conducted secret marriages for which he was jailed and sentenced to die. The night before his execution, he sent a note to Julia, the daughter of his jailer. His farewell note was signed, “Your Valentine.” Thus even in this legendary story, the celebration was born out of sacrifice in the name of Love.

Who has sacrificed everything for you? Who would be your ultimate “Valentine” this year? Why not make it Jesus who gave His all in the name of love for you?

Happy Valentine’s Day,

Pastor Rich

 

 

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