Love Is...

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1 Cor 13:4 NLT Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

The title of today’s message is, “Love Is…”
Today is a day when candy sales, greeting cards and expressions of love are through the roof as we celebrate friendship and appreciation and love, a day dubbed Valentine’s Day.
But what is love, what does it look like? It looks like different things to different people. Love is expressed and received in a myriad of ways. What signifies love for one, sometimes is not at all love for another. Who determines what love is, the giver or the receiver?
It’s a mixture, really, the giver can have the utmost intention of expressing love, while the receiver doesn’t see it that way at all. It doesn’t mean it’s not love; it just means it’s not how that person interprets love.
So as we navigate this thing called love, if you want your message, or your love, to be accepted in the spirit in which it was given, you must consider the receiver.
There are times you may see the receiver has a need they aren’t aware of and you fill that need, as is the case with children and discipline. Or being their parent when what they think they want from you is to be their friend. That’s love.
As Christians, we know God provided something for us we were not even aware we needed…and we’ll get to that.
While there are many ways the Bible tells us about love our text today from 1 Corinthians the 13th chapter, is affectionately known as the love chapter. While love is sometimes a hard emotion to explain, and even a bit elusive, this text gives us some very specific characteristics of love. These characteristics are the same whether you’re the giver or the receiver. These things don’t change regardless of what your love language may be.
Here we go. Our text begins by telling us that…
• Love is patient. A part of being patient is to bear pains or trials calmly or without complaint. When your mate or son or daughter leaves their socks on the floor or their dress laying across the chair, can you calmly pick them up or hang it up and not complain or lecture them about it? Can you be steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity? When your mate is going through a debilitating illness can you be patient. When they’re suffering from dementia and no longer know your name, can you be patient?
• Love is kind. Are you sympathetic to your mate’s needs, can you assist them when they need help? Even if it’s something you don’t particularly like doing? Do you give them pleasure and relief? Will you be their shade on a sunny day or their water bearer when they’re thirsty?
• Love is not jealous. It has no reason to be because a loving mate makes you feel secure, they don’t compare you to other people or look at others lustfully.
• Love is not boastful or proud. When love is given, it has no need to be commented on by others. It’s genuine not merely expressed for public display. It’s one thing to show your love, it’s quite another to make a show of your love.
• Love is not rude. When a person loves someone, they don’t speak harshly to them, demean them or in any way make them feel inferior.
• Love doesn’t demand its own way. It gives in and when it does, it’s not thought of as a defeat. It doesn’t measure the relationship through wins and losses, there is no scoreboard.
• Love is not irritable. It’s not grumpy, grouchy or quick-tempered.
• Love keeps no record of being wronged. There’s no score card and no payback.
• Love doesn’t rejoice about injustice. It doesn’t say, “That’s what you get” or “You got what you deserved” or “Karma is a *** you know the rest”. But...
• Love rejoices whenever the truth wins out. It’s happy when the truth comes out, it’s not embarrassed or upset about the truth. Love doesn’t get rattled about truth, it celebrates it.
• Love never gives up, it doesn’t run for divorce court at the first sign of trouble or disagreement.
• Love never loses faith, it believes even when it can’t see a way over, a way under, a way around or a way through. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
• Love is always hopeful, it never stops believing that the relationship will come back to center, no matter how far left or right it goes. And finally, the text says…
• Love endures through every circumstance. No matter what or who may come to destroy it, love is steadfast, it remains firm even through suffering, adversity, or hardship. Love also stays in the face of great success, it doesn’t outgrow its partner who was there in the beginning. The one who was there when you had to sit on the floor eating beans out of the can, by candlelight and it wasn’t just to be romantic.
So while chocolate, flowers and a card are wonderful gifts, that can’t be your only expression of love for the year.
Love is continuous. No that doesn’t mean that you have to give your significant other a gift every day, but it does mean you should show some sign of love every day, whether in word or in deed, love is a daily expression.
There are many types of love…
• The love of a man for a woman and a woman for a man
• The love of a parent for a child and a child for their parent
• The love of siblings
• The love of best friends, just to name a few.
Each of them have ways to express love that while appropriate for one would not be appropriate for another. Love.
We all desire love, Helen Baylor, sang “We all wanna be loved.” It’s natural, God built us this way, he made us relational beings. No man or woman is an island unto themselves, we can’t survive in a bubble.
We need the farmer, the rancher, the person who has the knowledge to make electricity and the one to get it to our homes. The one who knows how to harness natural gas and get it to our homes and now there are some vehicles that use natural gas for fuel, those who know how to make cleaner energy sources. There’s the seamstress and the tailor, the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker.
The number of people we need just to get up every day and get out the door for work or online for virtual school is unreal, we can’t even name all the people who are involved in us getting what we need, when we need it and where we need it to be. And while for some it’s merely a job, for others doing those same tasks, they do it because they love what they’re doing. They recognize they are providing a necessity of life for people; they take pride in what they do and do it to the best of their ability.
There’s a show on TV called Undercover Boss. It’s a show where the owner or CEO of a company will go out into their stores, hotels, warehouses, or restaurants disguised as a trainee to see how things are going at the worker’s level. Typically, one of the places they go to is a very successful branch so they can see why it’s successful and 9 times out of 10 it’s because there’s an employee who loves what they do, they put their heart and soul into it, and that effort is reflected in the numbers. At the end of the show, the boss meets with all the employees they were in contact with and gives them a reward commensurate with the level of dedication they have shown the company. Sometimes it’s money, for cars, houses, vacations, weddings, or medical bills. Sometimes it’s a promotion or training to move to another part of the company. There are a myriad of things they do for the people, but for those who display a love for what they do it comes through in the end result.
When you love a person, you want them to succeed, you want them to keep their joy, you want them to be happy, you want them to feel loved, and you’ll do what you can within reason and within your power to make sure that happens.
Now, imagine you have all power, you can be everywhere at the same time and you knew what everyone needed and even wanted, but more than that you had the ability to provide it for them? And oh by the way, your resources were limitless.
Thankfully, we have a God who is just all that. He knows what we need, when we need it, how we need it and his supply is endless.
From the beginning of time God had a plan for us. He knew Adam and Eve would mess up in the garden, He knew we’d need a redeemer, and he had a plan.
• He had a plan that would provide forgiveness for our transgressions
• He had a plan that would reconcile us back to him
• He had a plan that would provide healing for sin-sick bodies and wounded spirits
• He had a plan that would allow us to come directly to him, without fear of rejection or death
• He had a plan that included comfort when we’ve lost a loved one
• He had a plan that included a counselor when we’re confused and don’t know what to do or which way to go will guide us
• He had a plan to never leave us nor forsake us
God had a plan, and that plan was to give his one and only Son for our sake
• His Son, Jesus, who is love.
• It was his love that rescued us from the pit of hell
• it's his love that keeps us
• it's his love that heals us
• it's his love that provides for us
• it's his love that turns us when we’re going in the wrong direction
• it's his love that closes our mouths when we’re about to say the wrong thing, at the wrong time, to the wrong person
• it's his love that encourages us when we feel discouraged
• it's his love that says we were worth dying for
• it’s his love that lifts us, when nothing else seems to help
• it’s his love that made a way out of no way, that gave us a chance for everlasting life, that gave the opportunity to receive salvation.
And in the face of what God gave us, in the wake of what Jesus did for us; what is our responsibility? John summed it up well when he said this, “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.” 1 John 4:7-12
Our true love journey begins with a step in the form of a confession. If you openly declare, [that means speak it with your own mouth] that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. This is between you and Jesus and you must do it for yourself, this is not something anyone else can do for you. And if you’re ready to do that, pray this prayer with me, Dear Lord, I admit I’m a sinner, I want you to come into my heart, I give you control of my life. I believe you are the Son of God and that you died to save me from my sin. In your name I pray, amen.
If you prayed that prayer for the first time welcome to the family, now find you a Bible teaching, Bible preaching church where you can learn what it is you have just prayed.
If the churches in your area are not yet open, you are welcome to join us online, see our website, for a schedule of service times and zoom meeting IDs and passcodes to join us live, Sundays, Wednesdays and we are now taking our Thursday Intercessory Prayer to Zoom. We will also be changing the format of intercessory prayer, so join us Thursday mornings from 8 – 9 ET.
Happy Valentine’s Day, tell someone you love them, better yet show them and if this message blessed you in any way, please share it. .
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