Friday, October 24, 2014

SERMON: Do you love God in return?

By DAVID BILDERBACK, Special to The Ottawa Herald | 2/28/2014

Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians contains what many consider the greatest chapter on love in the Bible.

Chapter 13 goes into great detail on love, with Paul saying, “If I speak in tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I am only a clanging cymbal or if I have the gift of prophecy and can understand all mysteries and knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains but have not love, I am nothing.”

Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians contains what many consider the greatest chapter on love in the Bible.

Chapter 13 goes into great detail on love, with Paul saying, “If I speak in tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I am only a clanging cymbal or if I have the gift of prophecy and can understand all mysteries and knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains but have not love, I am nothing.”

Paul tells us more about love. It is patient and kind.

He tells us what love isn’t. Love does not envy, does not boast. It is not proud. It is not rude, self-seeking nor is it easily angered. It keeps no record of wrong. You see, God loves us and wants to help us. You might think God does not love you or can’t love you for some reason. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s not that God does not love you or I, it’s that we do not return the love he gives us.

God tells us in Hebrews 13:5: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

That is a comforting passage to those who love God. The writer to the Hebrews is warning against refusing God. If we refuse God’s offer of grace, what choice does God have but to ultimately refuse us? He does not want to refuse us.

We are told in 2nd Peter 3:9: “God is patient, with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

God can and will forgive our sins. No sin is too great for God to forgive. It is only our apprehension that God cannot or won’t forgive our sins that makes us a prisoner in a jail that doesn’t exist. To most of us, God is not big enough in our minds. Our problems and situations appear to be far bigger than God. What we fail to understand is God loves us and wants to help us.

In Corinthians 13, Paul isn’t talking about the love of a man and woman, nor the love of a parent for a child. He’s talking about a love for God.

Out of these things — faith, hope and love — love is the greatest, Paul says.

What more could God have done for us than He did when He sent Christ to die for our sins on the cross? It might seem unreasonable to some that God would require us to love Him more than anything or anyone else. However, the only sin God cannot forgive is the sin against God in person.

If you fail to love him, if you separate yourself from God in this life, you will be separated from God in eternity.

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