Our scripture this morning is 1 John 4:16-21.
We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first. If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.
If we are asked what the Bible tells us, the best answer in my opinion is “love”. It’s the story of God’s love for us from creation right up to this moment. Many believers have been inspired by His love to share their experience and understanding that we might come to know God’s love as well.
Jesus taught us the greatest commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39). Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:13 “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” In this passage, John says “we love each other because He loved us first” (v. 19).
God’s unchanging love for us is the only reason we exist, and He calls us to share that love with all our brothers and sisters. We can only demonstrate our love for Him by loving others. It may not be easy, but it is our commission from Christ to bring all people to the Father.
Gracious God, we are sorry when we fail to love others as You intend. Forgive us and make us strong in faith to bear Your love to all the world. Amen.