Pastor's Blog
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March 15, 2017, 8:43 AM

Because He First Loved Us

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. May the love of God be evident in you and in all you to do and say today. May we not only be recipients of God’s grace and charity, but may we also be quick to extend it to others as well.

The surest sign of a genuine follower of Jesus Christ is a heart that is growing increasingly in love. In fact, the Scripture declares in 1 John 3:11, 14 “This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another… Anyone who does not love remains in death.” Loving one another, as God loves us, is not merely an option. It is a command. To refuse to be a people marked by holy love is to remain in a state of darkness.

1 John 4:19-21 declares, “We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has not seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us the command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” Now, I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty straightforward to me. So, think about it: Is God’s holy love being reflected in you today? How are you treating one another? Are your thoughts, desires and preferences beneficial for others?

John Wesley once wrote, “Our Lord said, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ If any ask, ‘Who is my neighbor?’ we reply, ‘Everyone in the world; every child of His who is the Father of the spirits of all flesh’ (see Hebrews 12:9). Nor may we exclude our enemies, or the enemies of God and of their own souls. Every Christian loves these also as himself, even as Christ loved us. If you would more fully understand what manner of love this is, consider St Paul’s description of it (see 1 Corinthians 13:4-8). It is long-suffering and kind. It does not envy; it is not rash or hasty. It is “not puffed up” – not arrogant – but makes the one who loves the servant of all. Love does not behave indecently but gives all men and women their due. Love does not seek its own advantage, only the good of others that they may be saved. Love is not provoked to sharpness or unkindness to anyone. It thinks no evil. Love does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth. It covers all evil which it knows of anyone. It believes all good things of others and puts the most favorable construction on everything. Love hopes whatever is for the best of anyone and endures whatever the injustice, malice and cruelty of others can inflict.”

Let us pray together: O Eternal God, my Savior and Lord, I acknowledge that all I am and all I have is yours. I pray that you will surround me with such a sense of your infinite goodness, that I may return to you all possible love and obedience, through Jesus Christ. Amen.

You are Loved!

Pastor Jason Stevens

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