The most common word in the world is 'love'. But there is no one in this world that does not need love. We all need love. We are thirsty in love.
Love is a very important word in the Bible. The greatest commandment in the law is to love God, and then to love the neighbor as yourself. It is also the reason for the existence of the church in the world. But it is not easy to answer the question of what love is because the definition of love is very different for each person
In the Bible when we talk about love, we may recall 1 Corinthians 13 immediately. Chapter 13 is known as the chapter of love. We can learn what love is based on Chapter 13. You can also see how important love is. Love in the Bible seems far away from the feeling of love.
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
When you read these passages, you will find yourself that how terrible you are. In particular, if you put your name in place of the word love, you will recognize that you don’t have love at all. Let’s see.
"Hojin is very patient. Hojin is kind. Hojin does not envy. Hojin does not boast. Hojin is not proud. Hojin is not proud…"
It is embarrassing to read your own name instead of the word love. You will know how far away you are also. Although I am a pastor, I don’t have any love based on this passage. However, I have a wish. When I am old enough, I would like to be a little closer to the chapter 13. I hope you will be too. We must all be people of love since the Lord asks that we love each other.
‘We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. (1 John 3:14)’
It is a word that makes us realize that we need to think about love a bit more seriously. It is also a word that makes us realize that what we have to do is love.
I hope that this passage will be a challenge to us in 2018. I hope that we will love one another as God said. It is love for us to shout at the church, and it is time for us to look back on ourselves to see if we have such an act.
So, we need to think about how do we live in love. What does the Lord want us to do? What do we do when we say to love God and to love your neighbors?
We will meditate on love with these questions and realize what the Lord wants us to do.
First, we need to know the right love in order to love properly. And that knowledge of love should be linked to our actions. I want you and me to think about love and act for it.
The word love in chapter 13 is not awkward to put the word 'God'. Because God is love.
‘Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4: 7, 8).
You can also find that everything that explains love is God's character.
"God is patient, God is kind. God does not envy. God does not boast. God is not proud. God is not rude, God is not self-seeking, God is not easily angered. God keeps no record of wrongs. God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. God always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
Therefore, the more you know God, the more you can see what love is.
Let me give you one example. God is not rude. This means that God is a man of courtesy. That is why God Almighty does not forcefully open the door of our hearts, but only knocks on the door and waits quietly. That is why Almighty God stands outside the door until we open ourselves. Love is not rude. God is not rude.
Love seems not to fit for us, but it is so good for God. I will pray for you in the name of the Lord as we meditate on love, we will resemble God. I hope that as God is love, we also want to be love.
I hope that love will be a challenging word in 2018. I would like to be a person of love as a pastor and also a father and a husband. I hope that you also be a person of love. All of us will have to be a person of love. I hope you will be a person of love at home. I hope you will be a person of love in the church. I wish you will be a person of love wherever you are. That is what the Lord wants us to do.
‘No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us."(1 John 4:12)
There is a prerequisite for us to love one another. It is that we must be loved first. Thus, we can love each other and love God.
It is very important for parents to love their children first. This is because our children can be people who love others. It is also the reason that the Lord loved us first. That is because we can love God and our neighbors with that love given by God. Indeed, the Bible tells us that God loved us first.
“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."
How did God love us? God loved us like this. how? "God has loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sin (1 John 4:10)."
This is the background that allows us to become a person of love. That is why the Lord encourage us to love one another. Because God loved us first, we love. Before we knew God, God already loved us. God said, 'You are a loved one.' God said that we are worthy of God's love.
Please listen to the voice of God.
We have very little ability to love. Also, we are not worthy of being loved. Nevertheless, it is important that God loved us first. It is a word that tells us that we have the power to practice love.
We can become a man of God and a people of love. I hope today is such a day. I hope that as time passes, the character of God will appear among us. Amen! I hope that day will come. The more you grow older, the greedier you must be. NO! The more we get older, the more we love. This is also our prayer.
An experiment was conducted at a school. A teacher put two pots in each classroom and told the students to pour curse on a pot when they may be tired and irritable. But in other pots a teacher asked students to praise and love. What was the result? As you might expect, the plants that received a lot of love grew well. On the other hand, the potted trees that grow up eating curses were twisted and didn’t grow well. It is such a big difference whether it be loved or not. I hope our children will be blessed and be loved a lot. Just as God loved us first, it is natural that our adults love children first. Then our children will grow healthy. And they will grow to be people who give love to others.
I hope this year will be a year when we love each other. I do not want to give up even if we are still far from the Bible’s teaching. As I said on the last Sunday evening, we all need to have the courage. God gave us talents according to our abilities. What we need is courage. Just as God has trusted us, we hope that all of us will be changed as God loves us. We do not know how great the love of God is, but I hope that this will be a year to come to realize it.
God is love. He loved us first. It is God who loved us. Even when we were in sin, God loved us. Even when we were in pain, He loved us.
Jesus came to Simon's house. Jesus, Rabbi, teacher and the great preacher, visited Simon's house. However, there was another person who visited his house. It was a person who was stigmatized as a sinner. It was the person who lived a life far away from the word holy. She poured tears and washed Jesus' feet. And she poured her perfume on the feet of Jesus. Simon did not treat the guest who came to his house properly, but the sinner woman washed his feet with tears and poured perfume to prepare Jesus' death. Simon blamed the woman, but Jesus praised the woman. Because women realized what it means to receive love from God. I want you to realize what it means to be loved first by God.
There is a novel by Leo Tolstoy entitled 'What does man live by?' I read it one more time by chance.
The novel, "What Does a Man Live by?" is a story of a shoemaker called Simon and Michael. Michael was an angel and became a person who has been punished by God for a short time. Michael would become an angel of God when he knows answers for three questions. The three problems God gave to him were:
First. What is in humans?
Second. What is not allowed to human beings?
Third, what does man live by?
What Michael realized when he lived with the people is:
What is in man is 'love'. It is love that people feel compassion when they see the difficult people. But what is not permitted to man is to know tomorrow. One cannot predict the future. It is like how long you live. Then, to the third question, Michael realized that man lives by love.
Michael confessed. 'I realized now. Everyone thinks that they can live by worrying about their work and living with their strivings. Only humans think so, actually, they live by love. He who is filled with love is living in the world of God. God is in the person. Because God is love '
If God is in us, we become a man of love. This is what Tolstoy realized. I want you to have the same enlightenment.
What does man live by? The question is very difficult. Especially, how can a child who has lost a parent live by? How can people who are in difficulty live by? How can people in distress live by? How can people who have fallen into disrepute live by? How can people in despair live by?
The answer to all these questions is 'Man can live by love'.
God loved us first. If we live with God, we can become people of love.
I pray in the name of the Lord that we will all be transformed by the love of God in 2018. Amen!