“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV
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. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? (Matthew 5:44-46 ESV)
This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. (1 John 4:10 NLT)
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NLT)
John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
As we wrap up Valentine’s Day I thought some of you might be interested to know a little about the holiday that you might not know. Valentine’s Day is actually celebrated to honor two different men: a Roman priest and another bishop. I should also say that while a third man named Valentine also is some times mentioned, I’m leaving out all of the non-factual things and folks associated with the holiday. And since there’s nearly nothing known or recorded about “number three”, he gets left out, too.
Both of the actual Valentine men that the day is named after were martyred. There are many legends and traditions that go along with these men but they are basically just things and traditions men have come up with. The truth of the matter is that they both died out of love: their love for our Lord Jesus Christ. These men of the third century literally made themselves living sacrifices to Jesus.
I’m thankful that before the Valentine’s and the many other martyrs both before and since them that Christ chose to make Himself the perfect sacrifice for “whosoever”.
John 10:10 … I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.
Sunday evening I was honored and privileged to preach at one of our sister churches, Madison UBC. After studying and meditating over the last few days I had a good idea of what the message was to be. About an hour before it was time to get ready to leave I was greatly troubled, out of the blue, as they say, by today’s verse; the word “abundantly” and how Jesus meant it specifically troubled my mind. I did a quick study on the word and the verse and thought I was done, as my mind was at ease now. Boy, was I wrong! God’s message (notice how I phrased it this time) was to be centered around this thought and idea I soon learned. I feel led to share some of that message and thought with you here, too.
Jesus used the word abundantly here to refer to love and zeal for God: our lives should abound with love for Him, His people and His Word. Yes, some will have an abundance of “things” here in this life but we all can have the greatest abundance after while if we will have the abundant love for God now, serving Him with zeal from the heart. How to we get the abundant life? By living a surrendered life: totally yielded and surrendered to God.