Notes from the message I delivered at church meeting tonight…
The progression of mature love.
We should not be unified in fear but in faith, hope, love, and peace. I want to call us to be a body in love with itself.
29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.
We initially are ushered into the family of God in the context of love based out of thanksgiving. Our initial expression of love is in response to God’s condescending act of mercy. We are given this awesome gift of faith and love, but it is only embryonic in it’s maturity.
There is a fantasy that the ultimate expression of mature love will be at the end of our life in a dramatic scene of persecution in some underground chamber in the face of a torturous mob that will demand us to deny Christ.
But the reality is: We were created for fully developed love expressed through years of serving our brothers and sisters in Christ that are a part of our daily lives.
1 John 2:9-11
9 He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. 10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
1 John 3:16-18
16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?
18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
We begin with love being given to us, and will progress to love being expressed through us. 2 Peter 2-8
Song of Songs 7:10-13
10 I am my beloved’s, And his desire is toward me. 11 Come, my beloved, Let us go forth to the field; Let us lodge in the villages. 12 Let us get up early to the vineyards; Let us see if the vine has budded, Whether the grape blossoms are open, And the pomegranates are in bloom.
There I will give you my love.
13 The mandrakes give off a fragrance, And at our gates are pleasant fruits, All manner, new and old, Which I have laid up for you, my beloved.
This is a description of the daily interaction of the Christian who had a revelation of her role to help Jesus prepare His bride by serving and modeling selfless love. She is joyful in seeing their progression and understands that this is the means to the end of Christ receiving the reward of His suffering. She knows this is the answer to the question she asked in chapter one: where will I encounter you and be changed by You?
Apostles: Paul, Peter, James, and John echo the chief apostle Jesus in their ultimate call forth in love by laying down our lives for one another. 1 cor 13, James 2, 2 Peter 1, 1 John 3.
In each of their examples it is never a romanticized gunpoint deny Christ or die scenario. That may happen to some in this room and the Lord would be honored in that case, but that is NOT God’s primary depiction of love. It is the perfect Son of God washing dirty feet, and cooking His friends some breakfast. It is doing life together, serving each other with a thankful heart, building each other up with our words/ actions, praying for one another, and paying for one another.
The seal of love in Song of Songs 8:6-8 is the power of the Holy spirit to sustain our hearts in intimacy and to love our brothers/ sisters.
6 Set me as a seal upon your heart,
As a seal upon your arm;
For love is as strong as death,
Jealousy as cruel as the grave;
Its flames are flames of fire,
A most vehement flame.
7 Many waters cannot quench love,
Nor can the floods drown it.
If a man would give for love
All the wealth of his house,
It would be utterly despised.