OceanSide church of Christ
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LIVING FOR JESUS
Victor M. Eskew
A. There are many occasions that arise wherein we tell another person we love him/her.
1. Before leaving for work, we will tell our spouse: “I love you.”
2. When we see our children off to school, we will remind them that we love them.
3. We end our phone calls with loved ones with the word: “I love you.”
4. We text each other: LUV U.
5. We sign our cards and letters with “In Love.”
B. With all the expressions of love, one would thing that we understand how to love in our world and in our society. Yet,
1. Nations continue to be at war.
2. Communities are often split with hatred between the races and classes of people.
3. Many churches have divided over the years.
4. Homes are plagued by divorce, abuse, and neglect.
C. If anyone should know how to love, it should be Christians.
1. The Bible instructs us about love.
2. Too, we have been shown how to love by God and by His Son Jesus Christ.
D. If we are going to truly live for the Master, we must practice love.
1. Our supreme love must be shown toward God (Matt. 22:37-38).
Jesus saith unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.
2. We are commanded to love one another as brothers and sisters in Christ (I John 3:11).
For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning that we should love one another.
3. We must love our enemies (Matt. 5:44).
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.
4. NOTE: These commands only open our eyes to our responsibilities. They do not tell us “how” to love. This is where many experience difficulty.
I. TO LOVE, WE MUST KNOW WHAT LOVE IS
A. Love (agape)
1. Strong (25): to love much
2. Thayer: to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly
3. Love (Philadelphia)
a. Strong (5360): fraternal affection
b. Thayer: love of brothers and sisters, the love which Christians cherish toward each other as brethren
B. We can study God.
1. I John 5:8
He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love.
a. The very nature of God is love.
b. He doesn’t just love; He is love.
c. When we say the word “love,” in its true sense, we are speaking about God.
d. We can examine God from start to finish in the Bible and we are looking at love in action.
1) Genesis 1 – God’s love provided a perfect environment for man.
2) Genesis 2 – God’s love set boundaries and created relationships.
3) Genesis 3 – God’s love held His creatures accountable for their sins.
C. We can study the description of love that is given to us in I Corinthians 13:4-8a.
Chartiy suffereth long, and is kind, charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth…
1. There are sixteen elements of love in these verses.
2. Each one needs to be defined, analyzed, exemplified, and applied to various aspects of our lives.
II. TO LOVE, WE MUST FOLLOW THE EXAMPLES OF LOVE
A. Jesus shows us what it means for love “not to seek her own” (Phil. 2:5-8).
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
B. God gives us the example of loving one’s enemies (Rom. 5:6, 8-10).
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly…But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son; much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
C. David and Jonathan provide us with an example of brotherly love (I Sam. 18:1; 19:2; 20:17, 41; II Sam. 1:26).
And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.
III. TO LOVE, WE MUST FIGHT THE THINGS THAT OPPOSE LOVE
A. Hatred is one enemy that opposes love.
1. When a person “hates” another, there are no positive, warm, charitable feelings toward the person. The hated individual is odious and detestable.
2. Example: Joseph’s brothers allow hatred to build in their hearts toward their brother.
a. As brothers, there should have been love among them.
b. Three times in the Biblical text, we learn that they hated Joseph (Gen. 37:4, 5, 8).
1) They hated him (Gen. 37:4).
2) They hated him yet the more (Gen. 37:5, 8).
c. Sadly, this hatred eventually turned into evil actions against Joseph.
B. Envy is an enemy that opposes love.
1. Proverbs 27:4
Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who can stand before envy.
2. I have always been amazed by the Jewish leaders’ reaction to Jesus.
a. These men were students of the Law of Moses.
b. They were the men who were supposed to set the standard of living for the nation.
c. They were the ones who should have honored, respected, and given ear to another teacher of the law.
d. These men, however, never came to Christ. They in no wise loved Him. Why? The poison of envy had filled their hearts (Matt. 27:18).
For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.
C. Selfishness is a third enemy of love.
1. Defined: concerned primarily with one’s own self-interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others
2. Numerous Bible characters could be studied in connection with selfishness. One of the most notorious was a queen by the name of Jezebel.
a. Her husband Ahab lusted for Naboth’s vineyard (I Kings 21:1, 4, 6).
b. Jezebel took the selfish desire of Ahab and slaughtered an innocent man to give the king the vineyard (I Kings 21:9-16, esp. v. 15).
And it came to pass, when Jezebel heard that Naboth was stoned, and was dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give thee for money: for Naboth is not alive, but dead.
D. Sin is another thing that keeps us from loving.
1. When we engage in sin, we are serving another master. Jesus teaches us that a man cannot serve two masters (Matt. 6:24).
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
a. One cannot serve Satan by sinning and truly say: “I love God.”
b. One cannot love false doctrine and truth at the same time.
c. One cannot lust for another woman and love his wife at the same time.
d. One cannot fellowship one’s enemy and love the family of God at the same time.
A. Love needs to be something we teach our children at a young age and a new Christian immediately upon conversion.
B. The Lord has taught us that if we do not love, nothing else matters.
1. I Corinthians 13:1-3
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove moun-tains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
2. Satan knows this. Thus, he attacks the practice of love. He will let us say the words all day long, just as long as we do not practice love for God and others.