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Declarations of Love – Blog & Podcast

July 6, 2018

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I was 5 years old when my dad bought me my first baseball glove. At that point, I had never seen a baseball game that I was aware of, or a baseball glove. My only exposure to the game was through a plastic ball and bat that I had been given previously, that I was not very good with. My dad was simply introducing me to a great game and giving us something that we could to together. It was just about playing catch in the backyard of our house on Pine Street in Rusk, Texas.

Later, he introduced me to the game as a whole. We moved to Houston in 1974 and my dad signed me up for baseball in the spring of 1975. He took me to a game that summer in the 8thwonder of the world – the Astrodome. I was smitten for life with this great game of baseball. I would have never known this love of baseball had my father not taken the time to introduce me to this game.

My father loved me, so he revealed himself to me, he taught me, and he helped mold and shape me along the way. He did it all because he loved me. In the same way, every good thing I have in this life, has come from my Heavenly Father. I love others because God has loved me and loves others through me. Before I met the Lord, I had some understanding of love. I loved my parents. I loved my family. I loved my friends. I even loved baseball. But, the Lord transformed, completely, my understanding of love – where it came from, what it means, what its purpose is, and so much more.

Our focus today is on a few verse from I John 4. In the last 15 verses of the chapter, the word love or a form of it, is stated 27 times. That’s an average of almost 2 times per verse. Evidently, love must be important.

I John 4:18-21 (CSB),18 There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So, the one who fears is not complete in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and yet hates his brother or sister, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother or sister whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And we have this command from him: The one who loves God must also love his brother and sister.

I think we can best have understanding of this passage by making 3 declarations of love and giving you 3 reasons for each one.

The first declaration of love is “I need love”. That may seem obvious and it may not have rocked your world, but I think there is something to saying, to admitting, to acknowledging, “I need love”. There’s something freeing up about that, it reveals a transparency, a vulnerability that is not only healthy, but it is also necessary.

Let me give you three reasons why I need love. First, I need love because love meets needs. From the time I was born, my parents fed me, clothed me, provided for me, because they loved me. Love is the best motivation, love is the best medication, and love is the best manifestation of caring in this world. Secondly, I need love because love covers sin. If I’m well fed in this life, have the nicest house, the most dependable and beautiful car and the greatest family, it’s all for naught if I leave it all behind and am separated from God for eternity because I did not trust Jesus to cover my sin. Thirdly, I need love because love overcomes fear. Just because I know the Lord, doesn’t keep me totally free from anxiety, worry, fear, sadness, etc. because there is still sin in the world and I still am made of flesh and give into the ways of the flesh from time to time. God’s love overcomes my fear.

Back to the declarations, the second declaration of love is “I have love”. Now I will say this…this declaration comes within the context of a relationship with Christ. The first way I know I have love is because love conquered death. If you know Christ, then death is only a temporary condition. If you don’t, it’s permanent. Secondly, I have love because love ransomed me. My sentence was spiritual death. I didn’t do anything to cause it – I was born into sin – but if I don’t do something to respond to the work God did to ransom me, I will remain separated. Thirdly, I have love because love transforms me. When I look at my life since I met Christ, I can see that not only have I matured because of the experiences I’ve had, but the love of Christ has transformed me. I see it reflected through my entire life, and He’s still transforming me.

The third and final declaration of love is “I give love”. Love that is held on to and not distributed is not really love, it’s selfishness. I give love firstly because love commands it. When the disciples asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was, He said “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and the second is like unto it – love your neighbor as yourself”. He couldn’t separate the two. Secondly, I give love because love demonstrated love. As my father showed me love by investing in me, teaching me the game of baseball, Christ has invested love in me and an investment is placed with the intention of growth. Now, to be truthful, sometimes you invest love in people that don’t love you back. That’s not your concern. That’s their problem if they don’t receive it. You are only called to be obedient. The results are up to God. Thirdly, I give love because love communicates authenticity. People know when love is real or when it’s fake. There is an authenticity in love that unifies, that brings together, that breaks down walls, that calms people’s fears, that restores, that heals.

What are your declarations of love today? Can you identify with these – I need love, I have love, I give love? Maybe you need to simply acknowledge to God that you need Him, that you need His love. That may be where you are today. Maybe life’s circumstances have made you doubt that you have love – all I can tell you is that the Word of God, which is the absolute Truth, says that if you know Christ, you absolutely have love. Are you struggling to give love? Maybe you can’t get past the hurts of past relationships. Maybe you are just angry about some circumstances of life. Maybe your trust has been broken and you struggle to give love. God’s Word says love is perfected in you when you give it away. By resisting that, by holding on to anger and resentment, by not fully trusting God with your time, your talent and your treasure, you are living with less than a perfect love relationship and you don’t have to.

Let’s pray…Lord, I’ll just say it – I need love. I need everything you have to offer. I have love only because You’ve given me love, and I’m so thankful for that. Help me to embrace the love You’ve given me and help me to give love like You have intended me to. I give love because You have loved me so much. Lord, I want to be so in love with You that I can’t help but give Your love away. I know I’ll never run out, because You always will re-fill me. Amen

Tony Watson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Palestine, TX

From → Blog Posts, Podcasts

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