What is the one thing that everyone needs and wants to know is "Do You Love Me?" Love was the topic of discussion last night at our bible study class. We examined (1Cor.13) where Saint Paul speaks to us about love, the greatest of all commandments.
Love is superior to Gifts. It has characteristics. (Two of the most important to me is that Love is patient and never fails.) That means to me that God will never get tired of trying to gain your love, because He loves you that much. And, He will never let you go for His love for you is eternal.
You can have faith that moves mountains, (that is no small measure), yet without love you are nothing. And you have nothing. The only thing that love cannot do, is fail....
St. John Chrysostom says, "we are to desire the gifts of the Spirit, but pursue the Love of God." (1Cor:14) "Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts" (1Cor:13) "Abide in faith, hope, love, these three: but the greatest of these is love."
It is important then to understand what love is, as we are taught by our Lord, Jesus. (Matthew 22:37) "Jesus said to him, " 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' (39) 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' This is the first and greatest commandment.
Love is mystery, it is in fact, God Himself. (1John4:8) " He who does not love does not know God, for God is love." (1John 4:7)"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God." (1John4:13) "By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit." (1John4:10) In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (18) "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear" (19)"We Love Him because He first loved us." (11) "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."
Love is so important that Jesus asks Peter three times to confess his love for Him. We also need to hear that we are loved. (John21:17)" Do You Love Me?" and he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep."
What if Jesus were asking the same question to you right now? What would your reply be? How are you toward others? Are you ministering to their needs? Do you love them? We are all called to the "ministry of love." Sometimes we hear others say, "God loves you and so do I." That's a nice thing to hear, but is hearing enough?
This is the only treasure that you can bring with you, your love. So we need to ask ourselves living in this world today with all it's sophistication, how much do we exemplify Christ's love, for all our brothers. Or, is it as we find in (Matthew 24:12)"And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold."
God speaks directly to the churches (Revelation 2:7) (4-5)"Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place--unless you repent. (7)" He who has an ear,let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God." '
"had left her first love, (v.4) presumably meaning love for God and each other", as taken from the Orthodox Study bible, P.594.
There we have it in a nutshell. Churches are diminishing when they fail to heed the warning of not Loving God and Neighbor as yourself. We live in the "what's in it for me" generation. One of self-centered people, who need to get back "their first love." He is the one that created you, died for you and loves you beyond measure. He is waiting to hear from you. (Luke 12:48) "For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more."
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