If someone were to ask me to describe the entire Bible in one phrase – one phrase that captures the very essence of the bible in its entirety, I’d say: “It is the story of God’s love.” God created humanity out of love. He provides and cares for us out of love. He disciplines us out of love. He sent Jesus to save us out of love. He commands us to love one another because He is love. Frankly, I am not sure I have the right words to talk about agape love and do it justice, given the current unfortunate circumstances in our country. Therefore, I’s like to share with you a few verses I’ve been thinking about this past week and let the word of God speak for itself.
John 4: 7-11
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 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. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4: 20 – 21
“If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
22: 37 – 38
“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment.And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Proverbs 31: 8 – 9
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed.
Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.”
Matthew 25: 41 – 45
“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’
“Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’ “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’
Matthew 5: 43 – 48
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
I particularly love the words Jesus spoke in Matthew 5: 43 – 48 because they challenge our modern day understanding of love and who we ought to love. Jesus says “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Who do you consider as your neighbor? Join us online Sunday morning as we talk about this subject.