Published February 16, 2010

Paul's Epistle...
"Do You Love Me?"

How do you respond to God's love?

As I assembled last weekend's "Love Theme" edition I noticed an interesting theme that showed up in many of the songs and related artist comments. That theme was the response we should have to God's love.

We know, of course, that God loves us. The extent of that love is clear from the best-known verse in the Bible, John 3:16: "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, the Apostle, is overwhelmed by God's love: "Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!" (1 John 3:1). In fact, God is the very embodiment and definition of love (1 John 4:8,16).

God's love for us is evident in His daily care for us (1 Peter 5:7), His faithfulness (1 Cor. 1:9;10:13; 2 Thess. 3:3; Heb. 10:23) as well as, of course, the salvation He so graciously provides, and in so many other ways.

But how do we respond to such a great love?

As the song Mercy's Well sang on this broadcast says, "Jesus' Love Has Made A Change." If we believe God loves us and we love Him, there must be a change in our lives.

So, just how are we respond to such a great love?

With love! For whom? Well, first, for God. John reminds us, "We love Him because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19). This should be obvious. And when we love God — I mean really love Him — that will affect everything we are and everything we do.

The Nelons' song "I'll Love You With My Life" put it this way:
     I'll love you with my life,
     I don't wanna live just for myself.
     I'm gonna give this heart of mine
     to live for You and no one else.

We also show our love by loving one another. As John reminds us, "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" (vs. 7,8). "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another" (vs. 11). And again, "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" (vs. 20,21).

Of course, the greatest expression of Christian love is telling others about God's love and encouraging them to accept Him. On our broadcast, the Chuck Wagon Gang sang "I'm Telling The World About His Love." As Dave Emery of the group said, "It's the mandate of mandates. Jesus said very clearly that the world would know us by the love that we have for one another... It's something that we have mandated ourselves to share. That's why we do this. That's why we leave every day and get on that big old bus and cross the country, is to talk about the love of Jesus."

Christ said, "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you..." (John 15:9). Now it's our turn to pass along the love to others and to share the news of His love.

Jesus' question to Peter is a question for each of us: "Do you love me?" Three times Jesus asked Peter the question. Three times Peter said he did. Jesus answered, "Feed my sheep" (John 21:17). Beyond – and as part of – our living for Christ, we are to serve one another in Christian love. That's why God has lovingly granted each Christian certain spiritual gifts, "for the profit of all" (1 Cor. 12:4). We are to use them!

Jesus gave us the simplest possible test of our love for Him: "If you love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15). You show your love for Christ by doing what He tells you to do, and, conversely, by not doing what He tells you not to do. And the rewards are great: "If anyone loves Me, he will keep my word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him" (John 14:23).

So...  How are you showing your love for Christ today?

- Paul

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