Love Never Ends-Abide in My Love Series

love never endsAs this series draws to a close in this post I can say it is the perfect closing to the year for me.  I feel I can finish strong.  I know that this theme has taught and served me well, but more importantly that these verses bring so much glory to the name of Christ.  And I am so thankful that I have had the chance to share them and my thoughts with you.  I pray that as we all enter this Advent season, we will see Jesus as our Hope, Light, Peace, Joy and most importantly our Love.

Paul tells us that love “does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth” (vs.6).  Jesus dined with sinners and sought them out to heal and save them, but he did not rejoice in their wrongdoings.  He rejoiced in the truth.  He rejoiced when a woman had the faith to reach out and touch just the fringe of his garment as he passed by and he healed her (Matthew 9:20).  He marveled and rejoiced at the faith of the Centurion who asked Jesus to heal his beloved servant with just word while still traveling.  He rejoiced as the woman poured alabaster on his feet and wiped them with her own tears and hair, kissing them.

Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 7:44-48)

He knew the truth was that they all had faith in Him and that they recognized him as the Christ. As we navigate our lives abiding in His Love, we need to remember to rejoice in this truth and seek out others who need his love. Speak it into the lives of your husbands and children, your neighbors, even your enemies.

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.(Ephesians 4:15-16)

Now, let us look closely at the last 5 attributes that Paul gives to his personified “love”in verses 7 and 8.

Love bears all things. ~ Bearing the weight of suffering, sickness, tribulation, loss, grief, and temptation does not have to be done alone.  Love bears it all. His love is enough to carry you through.  For he says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) Love is also finding genuine joy when the truth prevails in someone else’s life.

Love believes all things. ~ Jesus does not hold our sin against us.  Once we believe and call him Lord, we are forgiven and are clothed in his righteousness.  This is a hard thing to grasp in our minds.  We are forgiven.  So as Christians, we are called to love others, forgive others their trespasses and not to count up their wrongs in resentment.  Believing the best in others can be hard as we pick out faults and areas that we believe they need improvement and growth, but that is between them and the Lord. Love them, trust them and believe the best in them.

Love hopes all things. ~ Our God is the God of hope. (Romans 15:13) And we have every reason to hope in him. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:21-24) Having and understanding the hope we have in Christ aids us in our calling to love others. Regardless of one’s faults, we know that there is hope for them in every circumstance in Christ.

Love endures all things. ~ The trials of this life can threaten our relationships with others. Loving others the way Christ loves us takes endurance.  But fear not! We have our strength in HIM! By the power of the Holy Spirit grace upon grace is poured out bringing peace, hope, and love.  We can endure, because of his love for us. Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:1-5, ESV)

Love never ends. ~ Paul compares love to the spiritual gifts of prophecy, knowledge and languages which the Corinthians highly valued.  Those things will all pass away. (1 Corinthians 13:8-10) Love in all its glory is divine. “God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4 :15-16). Love will outlast all, even the sins and failures of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).

Love characterizes the life of a believer. Enabled by the Holy Spirit, we are to live out love in all we think, say, and do.

So my sweet sisters and brothers in Christ, Abide in His Love.

 

Abide in My Love- Series Introduction

abide

Welcome to Abiding Hearts at Home’s first series, Abide in My Love.   Over the next 9 weeks we will be looking into God’s word and what Jesus meant when he said, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love”. (John 15:9)

As we have discussed before, abide means to continue or dwell.  If we are called and commanded to live out this love and continue in it, we must know it more fully.  We will look at Paul’s definition of love  in 1 Corinthians 13  and specific examples of how Jesus Christ shows us how to love through His life and ministry.  As it has been said, “The best interpreter of scripture is scripture itself”.  More than anything else, I am relying on the scriptures to help us define love and how to apply it to our lives.  I am always continually amazed how the Holy Spirit speaks to us through God’s word and moves us to reflection, repentance, and action.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

If we are abiding in his word, we are armed with everything we need to learn, reflect, correct, and discipline ourselves to be doing the work that Jesus calls us to do; love one another.  Let’s take a minute here to read some scripture about God’s love and the love we are commanded to give to others. I am assuming that you have read or heard these passages before and are familiar with them and the context they are written in.   More thoughts and truths on these verses will be discussed in this series, but for now I want to let God’s word speak directly to you.  I encourage you not to skim over them, but pray that the Holy Spirit will help you to see them as if for the first time. Let the words resonate in your heart and ponder the weight and significance of each truth.

You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is 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. (Matthew 5:43-45)

You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 19:19)

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”(Matthew 22:36-40)

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:27-38)

And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” (Luke 10:25-28)

No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Luke 16:13)

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35)

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. (John 14:15-17)

In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” (John 14:20-21)

“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. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. (John 14:23-24)

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. (John 15:9-10)

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. (John 15:12)

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another. (John 15:16-17)

Jesus’ love for us is to be the foundation of our love for others.  

Love had its perfect expression among men in the Lord Jesus Christ.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked…But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ. (Ephesians 2:1,4-5)

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:2)

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:4-5)

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. (1 John 4:7-9)

In this is love, not that we have 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. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. (1 John 4:7-12)

I look forward to this series and what God has to teach us through His word.  I am praying that hearts will be changed (including my own) and we will all learn a little bit more about God’s love for us and feel moved to love others in obedience and out of a heart of thankfulness.

Abide in His Love,

Melissa