Showing our love for God

Loving God is the greatest commandment

(Mat 22:36-38 NIV)  "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" {37} Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' {38} This is the first and greatest commandment.

How do we show our love to God?

Be faithful

In a husband and wife situation, one partner shows love towards the other by being faithful. Likewise, the first thing we need to know about loving God is that we cannot love another thing more than we love God.

Exodus 34:14 (NIV) Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

Invoking the jealousy of God is not just simply praying to other gods. Anything we place before God invokes His jealousy.

Matthew 6:24 (NIV) "No one can serve two masters. 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 both God and Money.

Old testament example

Daniel was so faithful to God that he was willing to sacrifice his life and still not worship anything other than his God. (Daniel 6:6-10)

Sharing

Is there anything in our lives that we are tempted to put before God?

Serve God

John 21:15­17 (NIV) When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs." 16 Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep." 17 The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep.

Jesus is saying, "If you love me, do this". Love is not something passive; it always results in action.

Deuteronomy 10:12 (NIV) And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,

"Walking in His ways", "fearing God" and "serving God" are all part of loving Him.

New Testament example

Paul went through so much suffering but that did not deter him from serving God.

2 Corinthians 11:23­27 (NIV) Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. 27 I have laboured and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.

Sharing

Are we doing enough to serve God? Are there some areas which we think God wants us to serve in?

Love our fellow man

1 John 4:20 (NIV) If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.

Matthew 25:35­40 (NIV) For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' 37 "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' 40 "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Sharing

Is there someone we have difficulty showing love to, whom we want to ask God to help us love? (We will do more on this topic in the nest lesson.)

New Testament example

Paul loved his fellowmen so much that he was willing to endure hardship to see them saved.

2 Timothy 2:8­10 (NIV) Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God's word is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

Obedience

1 John 5:3 (NIV) This is love for God: to obey his commands.

John 14:15 (NIV) "If you love me, you will obey what I command.

This is the ultimate test of love. We cannot claim to love God and carry on with our sin because sin grieves God.

Old Testament example

Abraham loved God so much that he was willing to obey God in anything, even sacrificing his own son (Gen 22).

Express verbally

God loves our praises.

Isaiah 43:21 (NIV) the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.

Old Testament example

The Psalmist David knows how to express his love for God.

(Psa 18:1 NIV)  For the director of music. Of David the servant of the LORD. He sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said: I love you, O LORD, my strength.

(Psa 116:1 NIV)  I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy.

Psalms 63:1­5 (NIV) A psalm of David. When he was in the Desert of Judah. O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 2 I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. 3 Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. 4 I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. 5 My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

Psalms 73:25 (NIV) Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

Psalm 103

Give to God

Love results in giving (money and time).

John 3:16 (NIV) "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Giving to God as an expression of love is important but not as important as obeying Him and loving our fellowmen.

1 Samuel 15:22 (NIV) But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

Mark 12:33 (NIV) To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."

New Testament example

The old widow loved God so much that she gave God what she needed to live on.

Mark 12:42­44 (NIV) But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. 43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything­­all she had to live on."

We must love God despite the circumstances. God doesn't want our love for Him to be conditional. That is why he sometimes allows us to be tested.

Job 1:8­12 (NIV) Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." 9 "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. 10 "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face." 12 The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger." Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.

We must be like Job and learn to praise God despite the circumstances.

Job 1:20­21 (NIV) At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised."