Tag Archives: study

Love in Action in the New Testament – 1 John – part 1

Introduction

In previous posts I have talked about the importance that the Lord places on love.  He cites Love as the basis for the Law and Prophets in Matthew 22:37-40, for example.  The last several posts looked at 1 Corinthians 13.  This chapter is a comprehensive definition of the love that is the taught about and demonstrated, both positively and negatively, throughout the bible.

What I want to do now is to survey the New Testament to look at examples of this love in action and learn from them what the Lord has designed for us.  I am starting with 1 John since I know there is a lot here about love and how critical it is for us.

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Love …is Kind… – 1 Corinthians 13


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After patience, the second aspect of love that is presented in 1 Corinthians 13 is kindness.  The dictionary definition of kindness is a good or benevolent nature or disposition.  We do not normally think of that as something that is learned.  When we look at the word that is translated as “kind”, we see something that is a behavior rather than a disposition.

This is the word:

chresteuomai – a verb - to show oneself useful, i.e. act benevolently:– be kind, gracious

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Love is Personal


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It is relatively easy to think about loving all the brethren or all people.  It is a interesting observation that when I think about large groups it almost becomes impersonal and does not require much of me.  It does not really touch or affect my life much to imagine loving a faceless group of “all the brethren.”  The love God expects of me is much different.

It is also easy for me to feel good about myself because I think of myself as a nice person.  While it is a good thing to be a nice person, that is only a small part of the love God expects me to have for others.

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What does it mean to love another? – 1 Corinthians 13


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In earlier posts I talked about how understanding love is central to understanding God and the relationship He has designed for us to have with Him and with each other.  To truly understand this love (agape), we need to pay careful attention to how it is described in the scriptures.  The Lord has given us guidance about the nature of this love and it is very different from what is so common in popular culture and often in our own understanding.  (Note the definitions in this earlier post.)

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Does Loving God Mean I Must Love My Brother?


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For the people of God it only makes sense that we love God.  We may struggle with learning what that love entails, but we understand that He expects it.  And, as we come to know Him and His love more, we are moved to open ourselves more completely to loving Him.  However, there is an integral part of this love that may not seem as obvious.

Reading through 1 John it becomes apparent that there is a direct connection between the love we have for God and the love we have for our brethren.  And this is not an optional connection.  Consider the following passages:

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God is Love – part 2


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One of the most famous verses in the New Testament also tells us a lot about God’s love.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

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God is Love – part 1


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There are some powerful phrases in 1 John 4 that are important for our understanding of love in our relationship with God and each other.   “…God is love” (v. 8, 16) and “...love is of God” (v. 7) are expressions that carry great significance for us.  The more I have thought and studied about these short phrases, the more impressed I have been with what they claim.  I have found it challenging to get my head around the impact of these statements for anyone seeking to be a disciple of Jesus.

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Learning God’s Love. Where should I start?


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So , where do I start?  As I mentioned in the last post, the essence of knowing about God, what He expects of us and so much more, is LOVE.  We need to understand love.  There is no shortage of sources willing to tell us about love.  In fact, the multitude of voices from books, organizations, movies, culture, popular media and endless other places speaking about love is noisy, confusing and full of contradictions.  The word “love” is used to mean almost anything.  To rephrase an old proverb, that which means too much, comes to mean nothing at all.  I would not presume to speak for Satan, but could this be his work?  From the scriptures mentioned in my last post, an understanding of love is needed to know God and to be His disciple.  If the meaning of love is lost in confusion, it is a victory for Satan.  Is it any wonder that so many people have given up in frustration or resolved to carry on with what seems good, until something else that seems better comes along?

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Love is the key! But, what does that mean?


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The point of being a Christian is to be a follower of Christ, to surrender to Him on His terms.  That is, after all, what the word Christian means.  We live in a time when that name has lost much of its meaning.  It seem that anyone can call themselves, their homes or their country Christian with only a vague connection with God or belief in Jesus.  For someone serious about being a Christian, it is important to learn who Jesus is and what He is about.  That search leads us to the bible, the Word of God.

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