Stories: “Love one another as I have loved you.”
In 1 Thessalonians 1:3 we read that their labor or works were motivated by Love (again God’s love for us). I told you last week of the faith and love that Paul and the entire region of Macedonia saw in the church in Thessalonica. And I also explained how faith and love are bound together, inseparable as our faith works through God’s Love for us.
To be aware of the love (Presence) of God is also to be deeply aware of His sovereignty. This is what it means to live Coram Deo, in the presence of God. To live in the presence of God is to live in the love of God. To be still and know that He is God is to be still in the love of God—to know the Love of God, “I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17-19).
God is God, and in that knowledge, we as Christians understand that we are His and are to be doing His will out of love, not because we are following a set of rules, nor out of fear (that is legalism), but because we have come to know the Love of God.
Biblical Love is an action; we are called to love as Jesus loves, so that others can experience the love of God. To experience God is to experience the Biblical Love that Jesus showed us. That is found in few congregations today. It is forgiveness, acceptance, compassion, and faith in the One who loves us which leads us to works!
Each and every congregation of God’s church is called to love. We are to live out the love of God that has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:5). Who is this “us”? Believers, the saints, the blood bought, the Bible believing Church of the living God!
Each of us, as Christians, have access to the enabling presence of God because He dwells within the hearts of believers.
God is love, love resides in the hearts of those that belong to Him. Love, the Holy Spirit, is working in us, cleansing us of unrighteousness, and enabling us to live the Christian life of love, faith, acceptance, and forgiveness. If you are not loving, accepting, and forgiving, then do you know God’s love?
Read 1 John 4.
In James 2, “You see that faith was active together with his works, and by works, faith was made complete.” You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works. The word behind “completed” is the same as the word behind “perfected”.
How do works complete, or perfect, faith? Not by making it flawless faith, but by making it active faith. In other words, faith is incomplete until it reaches its goal in good works. Then we can speak of it as “complete or perfected” faith — not because it is flawless and beyond the need for improvement, but because it has attained the goal of action.
For example, the same word is used in John 4:34 where Jesus says, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work” The word “finish” here is the same word which in 1 John 4:12 & 17 is translated “made complete or perfected.” Jesus took the assignment of God and turned it into action and so completed it (see John 5:36).
Remember, 1 John 4:12 says, “If we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is made complete in us.” It is God’s love being put into action — God’s love reaching its appointed goal in practical human action, accepting one another, helping one another, praying for one another, teaching and all the other one anothers. It is the going out of your way to get someone to a doctors appointment, or watching your neighbor’s children, lending a helping hand, or making a meal for someone in need.
This is not emotion or an incomplete idea or even a potential of the Heart. When God’s love is put into action here on this earth it is made complete, accomplished, or perfected. In this, that is in your love for each other, God’s love is put into action and so reaches its appointed goal. It does not remain at the incomplete, unaccomplished, or imperfect stage of mere talk, but reaches the stage where it is put into action. Forgiveness, acceptance—faith.
So love, complete love, is when you don’t just talk about the need to share Christ, you do it. Complete love is when you don’t just talk about reaching out in love, you do it! It’s when you don’t just talk about the hungry, you feed them. It’s when you don’t just talk about floundering new believers, you disciple them. Love is an action and there is far too little action. In many congregations today people sit, soak, and sour! It is time for the church, God’s true church, to be complete, perfect, and accomplished in God’s love!
Are you willing to allow the love of God into your heart, to take action and allow it to flow through you into the lives of your neighbors? Are you willing to witness with both words and actions, to serve in faith and love, to be known as a congregation of faith and love, if so, now is the time and today is the day. Are we willing to be that church?
We need to pray the same as Paul did for the Thessalonians, for an increase and overflow of God’s love for one another and others in the midst of the situations and circumstance of Life. Then we can have the faith we need to let Him handle what we are going through.
“Prayers that arise out of our security in His love and our confidence in His nature will be the most effective.” – Authentic Relationships, pg. 116
- What is your first priority?
- If you are not communicating the love of God are you a Christian?
- How do you love with, and in, the Church?
Further Reading: (Look for “love”) John 3:1, 16, John 13:34-35, John 15:9-17, Romans 5:8, Romans 8:37-39, 1 Corinthians 13, Galatians 2:20, Ephesians 2:4-5, Ephesians 3:14-19, James 2:22, Psalm 52:8, Psalm 136:26