Part 6 of the “God Is” series
6/10/18 1 John 4:7-12
Tina Turner famously asked us in the 80’s, ‘What’s love got to do with it?’,. She said it’s just a second hand emotion. But is that true?
In this refrain we have two pretty poor assumptions. Actually, love has everything to do with it when it, is being in any kind of meaningful relationship. Any relationship outside of the context of love is fairly meaningless. There are all kinds of levels of relationships, but only those based in love end up being meaningful.
The sermon’s Scripture is taken from 1 John, where we can find the word love over forty times. I’d say he’s making the point that everything God does is motivated by true love. And what is this love he’s talking about? It certainly isn’t an emotion, let alone one’s that second hand. For it to be genuine love, it must be experienced firsthand to be authentic. “We love because He first loved us.” In other words, when we first experience love in relationship with God only then can we share genuine love with others.
We see the quality of this love described over and over in these 5 short chapters. God’s love is the type of love that does something that makes a difference on behalf of someone or says something meaningful and true. The kind of love John is writing about is the love God demonstrated in Jesus. Jesus lived His life reflecting this kind of love and died a death to show its extent.
And the most sobering part for us is that this is also the kind of love He anticipates will be demonstrated by His children.
It is also not, “a sweet old-fashioned notion” either. It’s trendy these days to say that any value or any thought whose origins are older than the present generation is out dated, and therefore invalid and untrue. But nothing could be further from the truth. For me, the longer something has stood the test of time, the more pertinent it really proves to be.
We don’t need new definitions of love. We just need to carry out the intended definitions as the Originator of love would have us. And as it turns out, has long ago shown us.
So why did Jesus call it a new commandment then? John explained it like this: it’s not new since you’ve already heard what love looks like from the beginning (old enough for you?). We are to love God and love one another. Back in the day, we learned that to do that it means we will not do these ten principle things, the negative or what you won’t do.
Now we have a new commandment which is true in Jesus - we are to love one another… as Jesus loved us, the positive model if you will - the positive or what we will do.
Jesus has shown us in every way what it truly means to love. In His word it is positively marked out for us to follow (the ‘new’ covenant). (John 13:34; 1 John 7,8)