Sunday AM, February 7th, 2021

“We Know”

“Though Flowers Fade, True Love Lasts”

I Peter 1:22-25


Next Sunday is Valentine’s Day. It is estimated that 189 million roses have been produced for next Sunday, not to mention all of the other types of flowers that will be given. There is one fact that is true about every one of the fresh flowers that will be purchased for this Valentine’s Day -- that is that they will all dry up and fade away. Hopefully, the same will not be true about the love that they are to represent. When we think about them fading away, it makes us realize that they are not that great of an investment. God gives us a better investment that is guaranteed to never fade. We are born through an eternal seed so that we might produce an eternal love.

Peter tells us that Christ has done a great work on our behalf. Then he shows us that in light of this work and our response to it there ought to be changes in our lives. In this passage, he tells us of a command for Christians to devote their lives to love. Peter explains the when, who, how and why of love.

 

I. When Does the Command for Love Begin ?

It begins when we are saved. Only then are we fully able to love. John 13:35, By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

God is love. This doesn’t mean that “love is God.” And the fact that two people “love each other” doesn’t mean that their love is necessarily holy. It has accurately been said that “love does not define God, but God defines love.” God’s love is a holy love, and His holiness is expressed in love.

Christian love is a special kind of love. John 13:35 could be translated, “In this way is seen the true love.” Love is a valid test of true Christian faith. Since God is love, and we have claimed a personal relationship with God, we must reveal His love in how we live. Since “God is love,” we ought to love ! The saved ought to become what God is, and “God is love.”

 

II. Who Are We to Love ?

The fact that we are to love God goes without saying. “We love Him because He first loved us,” I John 4:19.

The love that we share with each other, and with a lost world, must be generated by the Spirit of God. It is a constant power in our lives, and not something that we turn on and off like a light switch.

Not only is this a spiritual love, but it is a sincere love (“unfeigned”). We love “with a pure heart.” Our motive is not to get, but to give.

This love is also fervent love. This is an athletic term that means “striving with all of one’s energy.” Love is something we work at, just as an athlete has to work at his particular skill. Christian love is not a matter of feeling; it is a matter of the will. We show love to others when we treat them the same way God treats us. God forgives us, so we forgive others. God is kind to us, so we are kind to others. It’s not a matter of feeling, but of willing, and this is something we must constantly work at if we are to succeed.

Therefore, the last place there ought to be ill will or lasting resentment is in the church. The place where it should be the hardest to rock the boat should be the church. The one place where we ought to find true love in this world is in the church … not just the building, but the homes, the workplaces, the playgrounds and the classrooms of God’s people. I John 4:20-21

 

III. How Are We to Love ?

We are to love one another with agape love. It is to be unconditional. It is to be a guaranteed love. We decide to love even if we don’t want to. Just like going to work in the morning, or going to the doctor for a test. Like paying taxes, we love because we decide to love.

We are to love those who are not easy to love. Jesus tells us to love these folks too. Anyone can love the rich, good-looking, nice … but Jesus did not love like that. Think about it ! He loved His enemies … that’s me and you.

Romans 5:8-10, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

We are to love one another fervently. In the Greek this means to strain with all of our energy. Here Peter also adds an adverb. By the way, an adverb can only describe a verb. Love is a verb, something we do, and the way we are to love is with all of our strength.

 

IV. Why Are We to Love ?

Follow this progression that Peter gives us.

  • Because our salvation is based on the eternal promises of God and is secured forever, vs. 23-25.
  • Because all other things will fade (like the flowers of Valentine’s Day), but our salvation, and what we’ve been saved for, will never fade.

Peter quotes Isaiah 40:6-8 : The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry ? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: 7The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. 8The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.”

Our lives are birthed by perishable seed from our parents. The DNA we receive from them is the DNA of death. Because of this, all we chase in this life perishes with our lives. All people are like grass. Great people are like the flowers that rise out of the grass, but they all wither and fade away as well. Because of this truth, the things we set our hearts on are often fleeting.

However, our eternal lives are born through the imperishable promises of God, the imperishable seed. God has rebirthed us with the DNA of eternal life. Because of this, love is an eternal call and an eternal investment based on the fact that the gospel that birthed us will not fade. I Corinthians 13 tells us that all other things fail. Preaching will one-day end, teaching will cease, building programs and Sunday School ministries will be obsolete. Clever strategies of ministry will not be needed. All of these things will cease, but not love. Peter tells us that we are reborn through an eternal seed so that we might produce an eternal love.

 

The challenge then is this :

1. We need to see our salvation as more than just a ticket to heaven. It is also about relationships -- with God and His people. We need to teach others this truth as well. Obedience to the Word of God cleanses us for a love of the brethren.

2. We need to be fervently committed to our decision to love. That means we are to strain with all of our might to love those who are difficult to love.

3. We need to see love as an eternal and guaranteed investment. That’s how it is with Jesus and us … He loved us first. We love Him because He first loved us. When we love others, they will forgive us of our failures because love covers a multitude of sins. And, they will be much more likely to place their hope in the imperishable Word of God, rather than the fading glory of a dying world.