Special Sermon Studies
1. Text (Matthew 22:34-40) shows great value Lord put on love.
A. Why the greatest?
2. Since love is so important, we should be sure that we:
(1) Can go no higher in attitude toward God---full consecration! Cf. Mk. 12:30.
B. Love certainly not less important under gospel dispensation:
(2) Can do no more for fellow-man than to love as self- Cf. Matt. 7:12.
(1) Coming & death of Christ the highest manifestation of God's love to man- 1 Jno. 4:9; Rom. 5:6-8.
(3) N. T. writers gave it great emphasis- 2Cor. 5:14; 1 Jno. 4:7-11, 19-21.
(2) Christ made love a distinguishing feature of His disciples- Jno. 13:34,35.
A. Understand it!
3. Purpose of lesson: to set forth proper concept of love by showing what it involves.
(1) Otherwise, may be deceived---think we love God, brethren, truth, etc. when we don't!
B. Practice it!
(2) This evidently true of some Jews in Christ's time- Jno. 5:42.
(3) No room for assumption---must be sure! 1Jno. 4:8; 2Thess. 1:7,8.
(1) To misunderstand & be deceived is bad!
(2) But, to understand & not practice is far worse---REBELLION! Lk. 12:47,48; Cf. 1Sam. 15:23; Deut. 18:9-12.
4. When this done, will be evident that love is not merely a:
A. Shallow emotionalism that one only feels!
B. Hollow profession that one makes- Cf. Matt. 23:3; 1Jno. 3:18.
Love To God Involves OBEDIENCE.
A. Numerous Bible statements prove it:
2. Love To Both God And Man Involves Sacrifice.
(1) Jno. 14:21---"He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that..."
B. Some would call this "legalism"--- Bible shows it is involved in love!
(2) Jno. 14:23---"If a man love me, he will keep my words..."
(3) Jno. 15:14---"Ye are my friends, if..."
(4) 1Jno. 2:5---"Whoso keepeth his word, in him verily..."
(5) 1Jno. 5:3---"This is the love of God, that we keep..."
C. Those who do not obey the Lord do not love Him- Cf. Jno. 14:24; 1 Jno. 2:4,5.
D. Love would eliminate all excuses for not obeying---those made by:
(1) Non-members---some say:
E. Is obedience included in your love? Genuine or feigned?
(A) "Not ready yet."
(2) Erring children of God for neglect of duty---some say:
(a) How long would it take, if you loved God per Matt. 22:37.
(B) "Don't know enough."
(a) How long would it take to learn, if you truly loved God? Cf. Pentecostians, Eunuch, Jailor.
(C) "I intend to someday."
(b) Are your present efforts indicative of love?
(a) Love goes beyond mere intentions! Cf. Man who really loves fiancé.
(b) God's terms are "NOW"- 2Cor. 6:2; Heb. 3:7,8.
1) Love involves respect for God's wishes!
2) Something other than love causes one to say to God, "YOU JUST WAIT!"
(A) "Someone offended me."
(a) If they loved God, would not take spite out on Him!
(B) "Had company over weekend."
(b) Unjust & silly to hold God responsible for actions of those who disregard His will- Cf. 1Cor. 10:32; Phil. 1:10.
1) Example: Refusing to work for employer because offended by fellow-employee!
(a) True love for God does not cease when company arrives & begin when it leaves!
(b) Suspending service during presence of company proof that love is not genuine toward:
1) God---don't put Him first! But, Matt.6:33.
2) Company---set example which may lead to damnation!
A. Use "sacrifice" in sense of "giving up" that which is desirable--- "3....surrender of some desirable thing in behalf of a higher object, or devotion of it to a claim deemed more pressing..." (Webster).
3. Love For God Involves Right Attitudes Toward Word Of God.
B. Sacrifice involved in:
(1) Divine love---that of:
C. Our love not genuine unless it involves sacrifice! True of:
(A) God- Jno. 3:16; Rom. 5:6-8.
(2) Love of the most faithful Bible characters:
(B) Christ- Matt. 20:28; Jno. 10:11; Gal. 1:4; Cf. 2Cor. 8:9.
(A) Paul- Acts 15:26; 21:13; 2Cor. 12:15.
(3) Genuine parental love:
(B) Epaphroditus- Phil 2:29,30.
(A) Many a mother has given life to save her child!
(a) Some have:
(B) Woman in Solomon's time agreed to give her child to another to save its life- 1Kings 3:16-28.
1) Entered burning buildings!
(b) Genuineness of such love cannot be doubted!
2) Thrown selves in paths of speeding trains.
(1) Love for God---must give up:
D. All boasts of love without & apart from sacrifice are meaningless & hypocritical! Cf. Jas. 2:18.
(A) Sinful pleasures, tho means persecution- Cf. Heb. 11:25.
(2) Love for fellow-man---must surrender, if necessary, our:
(B) Man's wisdom, tho it makes us unpopular- Cf. 1Cor. 4:9-13.
(C) Own wishes, tho termed "legalists!- Cf. Isa. 55:7-9.
(D) Own physical & mental ease, tho termed "fanatics"- Cf. Acts 26:19-24.
(A) Own wishes to gain weak- Rom. 15:l; Cf. 1Cor. 9:22; l0:33.
(B) Leisure time & physical ease to teach lost- Cf. Acts 20:31; 1Thess. 2:9.
(C) Luxrious living to support Lord's work- Cf. Matt. 8:20; 2Cor. 11:27.
(D) Popularity to tell people the truth- Cf. Gal. 4:16.
A. Right attitude toward God's word involves belief in its:
4. Love Involves Service. (AND Acceptable Service Involves Love).
(A) Apart from His revealed word, can know nothing of God's:
(a) Character- Exo. 34:6,7; Num 23:19; Acts 10:34; 1 Jno. 4:8; Heb. 12:29.
(B) Therefore, apart from word, cannot be:
(b) Will- 1Thess. 4:3; 5:18; 1Pet. 2:15.
(c) Promises- 2Tim. 1:1; Heb. 9:15; 1Jno. 2:25.
(d) Threats- Rom. 2:8,9; Rev. 21:8.
(e) Standard of judgment- Jno. 12:48.
(a) God-like in this life- See (a) & (b) above.
(C) Every effort to minimize word minimizes importance of all these! THIS NOT LOVE FOR GOD!!!
(b) Prepared to dwell with God in life to come- See (a)--(e) above.
(A) Many statements to this effect:
(a) Apostles guided into all truth- Jno. 16:13; Cf. 1Cor. 14:37; 15:3; 1Jno. 1:3,4.
(B) Therefore, nothing in spiritual realm we need to know, believe or do which Bible does not reveal!
(b) Given all things that pertain to life & godliness- 2Pet. 1:3.
(c) Scriptures throughly furnish unto all good works- 2 Tim. 3:16,17.
(d) Word constitutes perfect law of liberty- Jas. 1:25.
(C) Cannot really believe in comprehensiveness of word & contend for:
(a) Creeds & manuels of men!
(b) Latter-day revelations!
(c) Operation of Spirit separate and apart from word! Discuss 1Cor. 2:14.
(A) To say Bible incomprehensible is to impugn either God's
(a) Intelligence---would but couldn't make message clear! Or,
(B) Either position shows lack of love for God!
(b) Goodness---could but wouldn't make it clear!
(C) TRUTH: Eph. 3:3-5; 5:17; Cf. 1Jno. 5:3.
(A) This the inevitable conclusion from such passages as: Num. 23:19. Ps. 119:89; Isa. 40:8; Matt 24:35. Ps. 33:4; 119:160. 19:7. Isa. 8:20. Jno. 12:48.
(a) To believe the passages = to admit authoritativeness of the word!
(B) Many Bible examples show scriptures cannot be successfully broken---authoritative! What God says is IT!
(b) To deny authoritativeness = to deny passages!
(a) Young prophet of 1Kings 13.
(C) Yet, many do not believe authoritativeness of word---say:
1) God's requirement- v. 17.
(a) Prophecies concerning Christ:
2) Old prophet lied to him & he broke God's word-Vv. 18,19.
3) Yet, no harm came immediately!
4) Emphasize V. 24.
1) God said:
a) He would be born of a virgin- Isa. 7:14; Cf. Lk. 1:26-37.
2) The combined powers of Jews & Roman Empire could not break a single prophecy! Actually, they unwittingly fulfilled them! Acts 13:27.
b) He would be born in Bethlehem- Micah 5:2; Cf. Matt. 2:1-10.
c) He would be despised & rejected- Isa. 53:2; Cf. Jno. 1:11; Matt. 27: 39-44.
d) His feet & hands would be pierced- Ps. 22:16. Cf. Crucifixion (Barnes' Notes @ Matt. 27:35).
e) They would cast lots for His garments- Ps. 22:18; Cf. Jno. 19: 23, 24.
f) Not a bone would be broken- Ps. 34:20; Cf. Jno. 19: 30-36.
a) When God spoke, nothing could change it! FULFILLMENT remained!
(a) "I know Bible says...but, don't you think...?"
(D) These concepts of God's word show lack of love for God!
(b) "I wouldn't give my feelings for a stack of Bibles a mile high!"
(c) "You can prove anything by the Bible!"
(a) Example: Child making similar statements about parents' word! Indicate love???
A. Service involved in love to both:
5. Love Involves Right attitude Toward Brethren.
B. But, acceptable service involves (must be prompeted by) love!
(A) Love & service often mentioned together- Deut. 10:12; 11:13,14; Josh. 22:5; Isa. 55:6,7.
(B) Lord used "serve" and "love" synonymously- Matt. 6:24.
(a) One he would love---other he would hate.
(C) All Bible characters whose love is unquestionable were diligent servants of God:
(b) One he would serve---other he would despise (neglect).
(a) Jesus Christ:
(D) Conclusion: Little & negligent service indicates little & questionable love!!!
1) So called by God in prophecy- Isa. 42:1-4; Cf. Matt. 12:14-21.
2) Humbly took form of servant- Phil. 2:6,7.
3) Diligently served- Jno. 9:4; 17:4.
1) Often referred to himself as a servant- Rom. 1:1; Phil. 1:1; Titus 1:1.
2) Affirmed that he served the Lord- Acts 20:17-19; Rom. 1:9;
3) His diligence cannot be doubted- Acts 20:31; 1Thess. 2:9.
(A) Genuine love to fellow-man will cause one to serve him- Gal. 5:13.
(a) Not in sense condemned in 1Cor. 7:23.
(B) Of the two ways to love (1Jno. 3:18), which have you chosen? Which have I chosen?
(b) Means to work to promote his welfare- Cf. 1Cor. 9:19; 10:33; Phil. 2:4.
1) Teaching him the truith. How can one honestly claim to love another, when, knowing he is on the way to hell, he makes no effort to teach him the only thing that will save??? Cf Jno. 8:32; 1Pet. 1:22
2) Restoring the fallen- Gal. 6:1,2.
3) Correction & rebuke- Cf. Prov. 3:12; Rev. 3:19.
4) Forbearance & forgiveness- Eph. 4:2, 32.
5) Rendering material aid- 1Jno. 3:17,18.
(1) Possible to render service from ulterior motives---to:
(A) Be seen of men- Matt. 6:1,2.
(2) Tho service may be prompted by many good motives, vain without love!
(B) Boast- Cf. Proud Pharisee- Lk. 18:9-14.
(C) "Show up" someone else.
(A) Good to serve from desire to:
(3) Possible to overwork appeal: "It is your duty."
(a) Do duty.
(B) But must never overlook love- 1Cor. 13:1-3.
(b) Avoid God's wrath.
(c) Set right example.
(d) Make world a better & safer place.
(e) Build up the church.
(A) "Give because it is your duty."
(4) Service without love is empty formality---VAIN!!!
(a) Paul put emphasis on love- 2Cor. 8:24; 9:7.
(B) "Teach because...duty."
(a) Without sincere love for souls, will:
(C) "Attend because...duty."
1) Do no good as far as we are concerned.
2) Likely fail to convert those we teach.
(a) Should also stress blessings, privileges & joys of such assemblies- Ps. 26:8; 27:4; 122:1.
A. Awful condition of one who does not love his brother:
6. Love Involves Right Character.
(1) Is not like God- 1Jn. 3:1; 4:11.
B. NO WONDER brotherly love:
(2) Abides in death- 1Jno. 3:14.
(3) Does not know God (Meaning: has no relation)- 1Jno. 4:7,8; Cf. 2 Thess. 1:7,8.
(4) God does not dwell in him- 1Jno. 4:12.
(5) Does not love God- 1Jno. 4:20,2l.
(A) SURELY, NO HOPE OF HEAVEN!!!
(1) So often commanded!
C. Attitudes which are NOT attitudes of love:
(A) Jno. 13:34---"A new commandment I give unto you..."
(2) So highly commended or extolled!
(B) Matt. 22:39---Second greatest command under law. Cf. Rom. 13:8,10.
(C) Jno. 15:12---"This is my commandment, That ye love..."
(D) Jno. 15:17---"These things I command you, That the love..."
(E) 1Jno 3:23---"And this is his commandment..."
(F) 1Jno. 4:21---"And this commandment we have from him..."
(A) Poverty with love excells riches with hatred- Prov. 15:17.
(3) So constantly guarded!
(B) A fruit of the Spirit against which there is no law-Gal. 5:22,23.
(C) To be extended to enemies as well as to friends- Matt. 5:43-46.
(D) Is of God- 1Jno. 4:7.
(a) All true love has its origin in Him! Cf. Mercy, Goodness, Truth, etc.
(E) God is love- 1Jno. 4:8.
(a) A metaphor---one thing called by another term which denotes the characteristic which is to be made prominent.
1) All true love comes from God.
(c) Hence, to love = to be God-like; extent of love = extent
2) All in God's plan stems from love.
(A) Bible teaching guards against its:
(4) So clearly defined!
(a) Cessation- Heb. 13:1
(B) Are we heeding these warnings? Is our love living & growing or dying by degrees?
(b) Corruption by pretence- Rom. 12:9; 1Pet. 1:22.
(c) Narrowness or contraction- Matt. 5:44,46.
(d) Weakness or lack of fervor- 1Pet. 1:22; Phil 1:9.
(A) As an abstract principle, love hard to define.
(a) When we define "life," "love," etc., often need to define the definition!
(B) Yet, life of Jesus from birth to ascension well defines love.
(a) Emphasize: Humiliation, Patience, Suffering, Death & Burial!
(C) Just so, brotherly love must NOT:
(b) Paul speaks of Christ's love in 4 dimensions- Eph. 3:13-19.
1) Its breadth---has no national, racial nor Calvinistic limitations- Heb. 2:9; Cf. Matt. 28:19; Mk. 16:15.
2) Its length---reaches from eternal purpose of God to eternal blessings at last- Cf. Eph. 1:3-6; 3:11; 1Pet. 1:18-21.
3) Its depth---reaches down to lowest sinner- 1Tim. 1:15.
4) Its height---reaches to (exalts men to) heaven- Cf. Col. 1:5; 1Pet. 1:3,4.
(a) Be limited to kindred, clique, or nationality!
(b) Stop short of salvation of fellow-man!
(b) Exclude those in lowest depths of sin!
(d) Ever fail to point men to heaven!
(1) Don't care attitude. Acts 18:12-17; Lk. 10:25-37.
D. Brotherly love a two-way street---MUTUAL OBLIGATIONS!
(A) Actions of some show they don't care whether brother:
(2) Neglectful attitude.
(a) Lives or dies, sinks or swims---physically & spiritually!
(B) Such attitude no akin to love!!!
(b) Is faithful or unfaithful!
(c) Goes to heaven or hell!
(A) Some say, "I mean to..." but NEVER GET AROUND TO IT!
(3) Better-than-thou attitude.
(B) Contrast attitude of Jesus- Jno. 4:34; 9:4.
(A) Who can see any trace of brotherly love in speech of proud Pharisee? Lk. 18:11,12.
(4) Sneering, scornful attitude.
(b) Brotherly love crowded out by self love!
(B) Contrast Paul's instruction- Phil. 2:3
(A) This the attitude of those who:
(5) Compromising attitude!
(a) Deliberately shun brother.
(B) Tho such may TALK MUCH about love, attitude shows they are VOID OF IT!
1) I have had brethren become offended at me for telling them the truth and shun my 18 month old baby! Christians?
(b) Turn up nose and make slight remarks when brother's name mentioned.
2) N. B Hardeman would verbally "skin" young preachers who thought they were so high & mighty that they would go down town and speak to "only a few white folks and no black folks at all!"
(c) Retort with: "Yeah, but...!" when he is commended.
(d) Always manage to make some "catty" remark if & when they do talk to him.
(A) These shun to point out errors because they want to "get along" and have no "hard feelings."
(B) Paul reproved Corinthians that they might know his love-2Cor. 2:4; Cf. 1Cor. 5.
(C) Who really loves his brother? The fellow who:
(a) Covets his "good will" so much he let's him go to hell without warning, reproof? OR,
(b) Runs risk of sacrificing his "good will" to warn him so he can go to heaven? Cf. Eph. 4:15.
1) One = SELFISHNESS! Other = LOVE!
(1) Some don't seem to realize it---say of:
(A) Other members: "Don't show any love for me."
(2) Emphasize "golden rule"- Matt. 7:12.
(a) Do you show any for them??? Cf. Prov. 18:24.
(B) Elders & deacons: "Don't act like the love me."
(a) Do you act like ou love them???
(C) Preacher: "No love in his preaching."
(b) How does one who loves them act?
(a) Any in your listening? Cf. Acts 22:21-23.
(b) How does one who really love the preacher act?
(3) Always demanding to be on "receiving side" of ledger =selfishness, not love!!!
A. 1Cor. 13:4-7 shows character of one ruled & activated by love---he:
(1) "Suffereth long"- V. 4.
B. If these qualities are not a vital part of our character, our hearts do not contain the love God demands of us.
(A) Because he loves people, he suffers their insults & injuries a long time. Cf. Lk. 9:51-56; 23:34
(2) "Is kind"- V. 4.
(B) Is not "trigger-happy."
(a) Unlike Moses- Num. 20:1-12.
(b) Rather, like Christ- Col. 3:12,13; 1Pet. 2:23.
(A) Good natured, gentle, tender.
(3) "Envieth not"- V. 4.
(B) Not hard-hearted, as Richard The Lion Heart.
(A) Not discontented over happiness & success of others.
(4) "Vaunteth not...is not puffed up"- V. 4.
(B) Does not dislike those better, wealthier & happier than he.
(C) Bible teaching on envy- Job. 5:2; Prov. 14:30; Acts 7:9; 17:5; 13:42-45.
(A) Not vainglorious nor swelled up with own importance.
(5) "Doth not behave...unseemly"- V. 5.
(B) Practices Rom. 12:3; Matt.23:1-12; Lk. 14:7-11.
(C) W. Curtis Porter a fine example.
(A) Conduct is fitting, appropriate- Cf. 1Tim. 4:12; Gal. 2:20.
(6) "Seeketh not her own"- V. 5.
(B) Respects feeling & wishes of others---considers life a two- way street.
(A) Seeks not own good only, nor at detriment of others.
(7) "Not easily provoked"- V. 5.
(B) Works for good of all- 1Cor. 10:33; Phil. 2:4, 19-21.
(C) Thus, follows:
(a) Christ- 2Cor. 8:9; Rom. 5:6-8.
(b) Paul- 2Cor. 11:22-28; Acts 21:8-14.
(A) Does not:
(8) "Thinketh no evil"- V. 5.
(a) Give way to fits of anger.
(B) Plain Bible statements about anger & being angry:
(b) "Fly off the handle" at the least provocation.
1) People who do so are described as having a "short fuse."
(C) Emphasize: Prov. 16:32; Jas.1:19,20.
1) Grievous words stir up anger- Prov. 15:1.
(b) Being angry:
2) Discretion deferreth anger- Prov. 19:11.
3) Of the sower of iniquity: "...the rod of his anger shall fail."- Prov. 22:8.
4) Anger rests in the bosom of fools- Eccl. 7:9.
5) Simeon & Levi reprimanded for results of their anger- Gen. 49:5-7; Cf.Gen. 34:20-31.
6) God's anger kindled against Balaam who loved the wages of unrighteousness- Num. 22:12, 15-22.
7) Christians are to put off all anger- Col. 3:8-10.
1) God is angry with the wicked every day-Psa. 7:11; Cf. 76:7. (Judicial, not emotional, anger).
2) "He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly"-Prov. 14:17.
3) "It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman"- Prov.21:19. (ASV: "fretful").
4) "Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go"- Prov. 22:24.
5) "Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools"- Eccl. 7:9.
6) "...whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment..."- Matt. 5:22.
7) Elder brother refused to welcome his penitent prodigal brother because of being angry- Lk. 15:28-32.
8) Jews who circumcised on the sabbath were angry with Jesus for healing on the sabbath-Jno. 7:22-24.
9) "Be ye angry, and sin not..."- Eph. 4:26.
a) Anger is often righteous indignation which is not sinful!!!
10) Of an elder: "...not soon angry..."- Titus 1:7.
(D) Man of text is: calm, patient, understanding!
(A) ASV: "taketh not account of evil."
(9) "Rejoiceth not in iniquity"- V. 6.
(B) Does not "chalk up" insults received.
1) Man who said, "That's one!"
(b) Some would revise golden rule (Matt. 7:12) to read: "All evil whatsoever men do to you, do ye even so to them---double!"
2) Guys at work: "There will be pay-back!"
3) Horse trader: Wanted beautiful balking mare so he could get even with another trader.
4) Scalding water treatment!
(A) Wrong-doing brings him no joy- Cf. Rom. 1:32.
(10) "Rejoiceth in the truth"- V. 6.
(B) Not one who shuns doing wrong acts himself but encourages others to do them & delights in their acts!
(A) Delights in its:
(11) "Beareth all things"- V. 7.
(a) Teaching- Cf. Neh. 8:1-8.
(B) His interests lie in the right direction.
(b) Defense- Cf. Phil.1:17.
1) Those who say, "Should not debate; debates do no good; debating turns people away from the truth," are not motivated by love!
(c) Practice- 3Jno. 3, 4.
(A) Patiently takes wrongs, insults, hardships & mistreatments!
(12) "Believeth all things"- V. 7.
(B) Good commentaries:
(a) Christ- Matt. 27:15-23, 29-31, 39-44; Cf. 1Pet. 2:21,22.
(C) Not a quitter, but keeps on though way be steep & rough!
(b) Paul- 2Cor. 11:24-29.
(A) Does not mean universal credulity (belief of just anything & everything)- 1Jno. 4:1; Matt. 24:23-27.
(13) "Hopeth all things"- V. 7.
(a) Of course, to believe all God says- Jno. 17:17. Heb. 11:6. lCor. 1:21.
(B) BUT, in text, meaning likely is: Put best possible construction on conduct of others; seek to believe they are actuated by good motives until facts prove otherwise!
(b) We are not to believe men's opinions about what God says!
(A) Not a pessimist who always looks on dark side.
(14) "Endureth all things"- V. 7.
(B) Hopes for the best in people & events---that all will turn out well.
1) Preacher trying to catch ferry.
(b) Should have attitude of young insurance salesman!
2) Some say, "World has gone to the dogs'--- there's no need to try to convert anyone." But, Rom. 1:28-32; But, Matt. 28:19,20; Mk.16:15.
(A) About the same as "beareth all things."
(B) Bears up under evils, reverses, trials & loses- Cf. Job 1:13-22; 2:9, 10; 13:15.
Thus, we have seen that love involves:
A. Obedience to God.
2. Hence, love is not merely a sentimental feeling ("ooey-gooey," syrupy, slurping, sugary, sweet nothing), but a practical demonstration of Christianity in every phase of our lives.
C.Right attitude toward word of God.
E. Right attitude toward brethren.
F. Right character.
3. Just as wrong to strip love of its involvements as to strip faith of works.
4. One thus stripped is as vain as the other!!! Cf. Jas. 2:14-26.
5. Saved by real faith---saved by real love!!!
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