Last week we began a series on the subject of love. We saw from Scripture that God’s kind of love is the primary thing in the world. Without love, you are nothing (1Cor 13); you know nothing (1Cor 8:1-3); and you don’t know God (1Jn 4:8). Your love relationship with Jesus is so important, that Jesus told the church at Ephesus (who were doing everything right) that He would remove them from existence if they didn’t repent and remember their first love (Rev 2:1-5). Love is The Great Commandment (Mt 22:36-40). There is none greater. We also learned that in order for us to love people the way we should, we must first know how much God loves us (Jer 29:11, Ps 139:17-18, Zep 3:17, Jn 3:16). It is out of truly knowing God’s love for us, that we are able to reciprocate that love to others. We can’t give what we don’t have; and we can’t share what we don’t understand. We must understand God’s love for us.
1Jn 4:10 says, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Most Christians think that God’s love is reactive, instead of proactive. We often think that God’s love for us is based on some kind of merit system. When we have a good week; perhaps go to church, pay our tithes, read the bible chapters we’re supposed to, and don’t cuss or yell: we think God loves us. Yet, when we have a bad week, we think God doesn’t love us. God’s love for us has nothing to do with what we do. He loves us because He is love. He loved us while we were yet sinners. He loved us when we didn’t even care about Him. Why? Because He is Love. His love is not reactive to us; it’s proactive towards us. God wants relationship with us.
I heard Andrew Wommack say he heard a preacher one time that said the only reason we’re on this earth is to win a soul to Christ. He then thought to himself, if that’s true, what was the purpose for Adam and Eve? There were no sinners to witness to. There was no crusade to hold. Why then were they here? Why are you here? For God’s good pleasure; for relationship (Rev 4:11). God wants an intimate relationship with His creation. He doesn’t just want us to do things for Him. He wants our hearts; He wants our love. In fact, if you’re doing the right things, but don’t really love God; your works aren’t even pleasing to Him (Isa 1:11-14, Amos 5:21). There is nothing wrong with good works and holy living; but they must be motivated out of a love for Jesus. Most religions have systems of good works and holy living; but does that make them acceptable to God? No.
Love is the superior motivation for serving God. Many people serve God out of fear, but that is an inferior motive for serving Him. It’s better to be saved by fear than not at all; but it’s much better to understand God’s goodness and love, and serve Him because of that (Rom 2:4). You can refrain from evil actions, but your heart still be wicked. Let’s take adultery, for instance. Do you stay faithful to your spouse because your afraid of going to hell, getting a disease, or having an unwanted pregnancy; or because you love them so much, you could never think to hurt them in that way. Either way you’re being faithful, but don’t tell me the motive doesn’t matter. The second motive is a truly pure motive. That’s what God wants from His children. Pure love from the heart is what God deserves.
God wants us to know how much He loves us. He doesn’t want us always trying to perform for him. He’s not checking His chalk board in heaven every time you darken the doors of a church. Going to church doesn’t earn you points with God; going to church is for you. It gives you the opportunity to fellowship with other believers, receive corporate communion, partake in corporate worship, honor God with your gift, and hear the Word preached. It’s not so you can score some points with God. Quit trying to earn acceptance with God! You can’t earn it! Commit to spending time with Jesus in a love relationship, and your works will change- I guarantee you. Rest in God’s love for you, and you will live holier on accident than you ever could by your own efforts. Put loving God and loving people first in your life. This is the great commandment. Until next time, rejoice in the Lord! (Phi 4:4)