There is a story of a medieval monk who announced he would be preaching next Sunday evening on “The Love of God.”
As the shadows fell and the light ceased to come in through the cathedral windows, the congregation gathered. In the darkness of the altar, the monk lighted a candle and carried it to the crucifix.
First of all, he illumined the crown of thorns, next, the two wounded hands, then the marks of the spear wound. In the hush that fell, he blew out the candle and left the cathedral.
The monk’s wordless sermon reminds us of who God is, what Jesus did, and their incredible expression of love toward all of humankind.
John, often called the apostle of love, speaks of love 36 times in 5 short chapters. It is all summarized in 1 John 4:8 where he writes, “God is love.”
“God is love” goes beyond a mere doctrine or a song we sing in worship. God’s love, while revealed in Scripture, is expressed in concrete ways and visible actions.
The creation of the world and all that is in it for our enjoyment demonstrates that “God is love.” From the aesthetic nature of the cosmos to the provisions given to us, we see God’s care for His creation. The star lit sky. The beaming moon. The breathtaking sunset. All of these “gifts” proclaim the love of God
The family relationship is a daily reminder that “God is love.” While it is sadly abused, distorted and sometimes totally discarded, God ordained the husband-wife relationship in the very beginning. It is one in which we can give our love to another in the most intimate way. Our families can and should represent the love of God.
When we assemble with fellows Christians on the Lord’s day we are reminded that “God is love.” Oh, not just in the songs, the sermon, the scripture reading or the communion. Though these are obvious. But in the relationship and fellowship we enjoy with those of like faith. God has not left us in isolation. He gave us a spiritual family that communicates His love.
While there are many other ways, both big and small, that say “God is love,” none are greater than sending His Son on a recuse mission to planet earth. This truth is revealed to us in the Word and demonstrated on the cross, where Christ died for us. “God is love” is not just a Bible doctrine or a verse to be memorized. It is a fact. Confirmed at Calvary.
“God is love.” I know it. Because he died for my sins. And yours.
It is important, however, not just to revel in the love of God, but to understand what it means in a practical sense in our daily lives. The rest of the verse reminds us. “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
The greatest commandment issues the challenge to reciprocate God’s love with the entirety of my being (Matt 22:37-38). And if I truly love him, I will obey His Word (Jn. 14:15).
The second greatest commandment calls for me to love my neighbor as myself (Matt. 22:39). This involves concern for his well being. Compassion when he is hurting. And caring for his needs.
Husbands are commanded to love their wives as Christ loved the church. And wives are directed to love their husbands and their children. When God’s love is perfected in the home it will be a taste of heaven on earth.
In our church family, the world should see how much we love one another. “Let brotherly love continue,” is more than a relationship principle, it is an expression and demonstration of God’s love for us.
On this Valentine’s day, when much is said about love, don’t allow it to be reduced to just cards, candy and flowers. Think deeper. Feel more passionately. And act with greater motives.
“God is love.” That should impact all that I am. And everything that I do.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman