Going Deeper with the Message:
Love on Display
by: Andrew Archer
Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through Him. Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another. –1 John 4:7-11
When it comes to love, God wants us to have a clear understanding as to just how great His love is. He wants us to know that His love for us is unconditional—it knows no bounds. We have done nothing to earn or deserve it. God doesn’t love us because we first loved Him; He first loved us and He put His love on display for us in His Son Jesus.
As Tim shared Sunday, Jesus loved unconditionally. He loved people regardless of who they were. Regardless of their gender, race, social status, wealth, and more. He loved people regardless of how they treated Him. Even as he was being crucified, He cried out “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” And most importantly, He loved people regardless of the cost. Jesus told His best friends that “No one has greater love than this: to lay his life down for his friends.” Then Jesus put His money where His mouth was and took upon the wrath of God not only on behalf of His friends, but His enemies as well. That is true unconditional love.
If we are ones who know this unconditional love of God, then we ought to love one another. John makes it plain that because God is love, if we aren’t showing love to others, then we don’t know God. The crazy thing is, God still loves us even when we don’t love others. That’s what His love is—love without conditions.
So this week let’s focus on two things:
• Spend time with the God who knows you fully and yet loves you unconditionally
• Spend time loving others with the same love that God has for you
Getting this right is more important than any other Relationship Goal we have talked about in this series. As Peter says in 1 Peter 4:18:
“Above all, maintain constant love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins.”
Living out the Message:
What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?
By Barb Barnhart, Preschool Coordinator
“When challenged, the committed heart will search for a solution. The undecided heart searches for an escape.” –Andy Andrews, The Young Traveler’s Gift
I have often thought that I love unconditionally. The people I touch base with throughout the day can see the smile on my face of acceptance and caring. Yet, I realize that most of these people are not ones with whom I have developed a deep relationship. The deep relationships in our lives cause our unconditional love to waver. We can have conflict within our family circle or with coworkers. Living out this unconditional love with those closest to us takes commitment and make no mistake—this is hard work!
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Prepare yourselves. Unconditional love can bring about a broken heart.
What becomes of the broken hearted? Daily, each person has a decision to make on how to love. Will I love even though it may bring me pain or heartache? God has given us the solution. David wrote in Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is near the brokenhearted; He saves those crushed in spirit.”
As those who have a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus, we have an advocate. Jesus understands our broken heart. His heart was broken for us as He took on our sins at the cross. He is near as we love others, loving through us. Likewise, as our love is shunned or spurned, Jesus is saving our crushed spirit, encouraging us to continue on.
Love unconditionally! You are not loving on your own. You are being obedient to the One who is love.
“We love because He first loved us.” –1 John 4:19