CHARACTERS OF THE KINGDOM (PT. 2): LOVE
TEXT: 1 COR. 13: 1-13, GAL 5:22, 1 JOHN 2:15
MEMORY VERSE: 1 JOHN 4:8
INTRODUCTION (Neh. 9:17; Joel 2:13; Matt. 5:44 Matt. 22:37, 39)
In the last study, we were by the grace of God able to start a topic tagged Characters of the Kingdom wherein we were able to examine some characters essential for the kingdom. In this study, we will be examining the conclusive part of the topic we started last month with the focus on the character called LOVE.
Dictionary defines Love as a feeling of strong and constant affection for a person.
The closest and most simple definition the scripture has been able to give to love is GOD himself. This implies that GOD himself is LOVE (I John 4:8). He is loved personified. When you look or think about God then you are looking or thinking what love is.
Love is everything that God is. ‘GOD’ minus the nature of ‘LOVE’ is no longer ‘God’ and that is why He endures in mercy and does not get angry forever. Every other ‘god’ in this world lacks the feeling of Love for their followers; for every inaction the ‘gods’ mete out severe punishment to their followers. The ‘gods’ are strict and no transgressor goes unpunished. They rarely show mercy or do so under certain conditions. They need to be appeased before their followers can enjoy a show of their ‘love’ and the one who presents the best form of appeasement gets the better of the ‘love’.
- The love of the Father.(John 3:16)
We do not know the love of God through the food or life or clothe or any other thing that God made available to us, the ultimate show of the love of the Father is by giving us his only precious Jesus and since Jesus also has that nature of love, he willingly put his life on the line for man. Similarly, we also have to lay down our lives for others; this laying down is not in the literal meaning but implies going extra mile to show our love to others, willingly doing all that it will cost us to show love to others.
- The love of the Son (Jesus)
The Son showed love to mankind by giving up himself willfully to the world to rescue man from sin. Isaiah chapter 6 ‘who shall I send, and who will go for me?’ it was a question only the Son was able to answer among the host of heaven and that is why they all honor and bow to Him ( Hebrew 1:6) because they knew He was the only one who could show the height of love to mankind. (Eph. 5:2). Jesus bore pain and the shame associated with the cross just to prove his love to man. (Isaiah 53:3-6) If Jesus did not die and be raised from death for our sin there will be no basis for our Christian faith. (I Cor. 15:14, 17)
- Love of the Holy Spirit
Roman 5:5 says ‘the love of God is shed abroad in our heart through the Holy Ghost’. In Gal 5:22, love was referred to as the first fruit of the spirit. This implies that the giver of love is the Spirit of God himself. It is after a man has accepted the invitation of the father (John 6:44) to allow the son, Jesus into his/her life that the Holy Spirit can then reside in such a man (I Cor 12:3). As long as a man is born again the Holy Spirit within him which brought him to Christ will also remain in him to help him grow in the fruit of the spirit. The love the Holy Spirit has for man also makes him chastise and guide him as need be.
KEY POINTS ON LOVE:
- Love to God. (Luke 10:27)
- Love to fellow men. (I John 2:9-11)
- Love as a commandment. (John 15:12, John 13:34)
- Love as a summary of the Ten Commandments. (Luke 10:27)
- Love as a fruit of the spirit. (Gal 5:22) No man can boldly say he loves if he does not have the Spirit of the Holy God in him, it is the Holy Spirit that enables us to love as God himself expects from us
- Love as an evidence of Sonship. (I John 3:10). This evidence was first proved by Jesus himself because he is the Son of the Father who loves, he also loved the world the Father loved, so if we claim to be sons of God. We have no choice than to love.
- Love as a proof that we know God and are born of him (I John 4:7)
Characteristics of love
- Love gives. (I John 3:17)
- Loves does (acts) (1 John 3: 17-18)
- Love is obedient (John 14:15, 23-24)
Consequences of lack of love
- Anyone who does not love abides in death. (1 John 3:14)
- Anyone who does not love is a murderer and hath no eternal life. (I John 3:15)
- Lack of love makes a person a liar. (I John 4:20)
Conclusion (I Cor. 13:1; Col. 3:14)
I Cor. 13:1 says that even if we can speak in Angels tongue and we can perform wonders that has not been ever performed, then everything we do is a nullity if we don’t exhibit and show love. Conclusively, Col. 3: 14 say that over all the virtues listed in verse 13 of that chapter, we as believers should put on love which is the uniting factor of other characters of the kingdom. If we study the book of I Cor. 13 extensively, we will discover that all other characters of the kingdom are embedded in Love. Thus, as aspirants into that everlasting kingdom that God has prepared for His own, it is important to display Love in all our endeavours as God himself has set a precedent for us to follow through various provisions of reconciliation like Animal Sacrifice, the sacrifice of His only begotten Son (Jesus) and the unqualified release of His Spirit (Holy Spirit) which He made in the bible.