The churches of Christ Greet You (Romans 16:16)
Paul asked the Romans, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" (Romans 8:35). He then proceeded to answer the question by saying, “… Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39).
In this passage, we see the greatness of the love of God, which is found in Christ Jesus our Lord. In Ephesians 3:19, speaking of the love of Christ, Paul said it "passes knowledge." The point is that God’s love for us is so great that we cannot totally comprehend it with our limited human reasoning. Thus, we can see that the scriptures teach of the love of God. Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15). The inspired John wrote, "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous" (1 John 5:3). The only possible way to be a friend of the Lord is to obey Him (John 15:14). And only those who obey Him love Him (John 14:15).
For the next few moments, we want to share with you five things that will be evident if you truly love God. More could be added, but these five are paramount.
1. Loving God Causes Us To Love His Church
We were called
Gospel into one church (2 Thess. 2:13-14); into one body (Col.
God’s one kingdom and glory (1 Thess. 2:12). When one obeys the
Lord adds him to the church (Acts 2:37-47). We should then be thankful,
walk worthy of God in love for His church. There are many Bible
Christians showing their love for God by their love for the church. One
example is seen in Priscilla and Aquila. These two helpers of the
willingly laid down their own necks for him and the church that met in
house (Romans 16:3-5). Paul himself greatly longed after the church at
(Phil. 1:8; 4:1).
Today, we too can show our love for God by loving His church. When we faithfully support the various programs of the church we are displaying our love for God and His church. Conversely, our brethren who are “too busy” to attend and support the activities of the church are proving their lack of love for God & His church.
2. Loving God Causes Us To Worship God
True worship is defined by Jesus: "God is Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). God must be the ONLY object of our worship (Rev. 22:9). Our worship must be "in spirit" – that is, sincere and earnest. We must also worship God "in truth" – that is, according to His word. For Jesus said, God’s “word is truth" (John 17:17). We are told to “present (our) bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is (our) spiritual service of worship” (Romans 12:1). If you love God you will worship God.
3. Loving God Causes Us To Love The Brethren
Loving God is so important that Jesus COMMANDED us to love one another: “These things I command you, that you love one another” (John 15:17). He commanded this because love is our badge of discipleship. He said, “A new commandment I give unto you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all people know that you are My disciples, if you have love one to another” (John 13:34-35). From our first acquaintance with Christianity we have been taught to love one another: "For this is the message which you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another" (1 John 3:11). God is love and He loves and values everyone. He has given human beings a loving nature like his own. To be happy we must love and be loved, for without love, life is not worth living. Love is like a rope that binds brethren together in perfect unity (Col. 3:14).
It is love of the brethren that distinguishes between the children of God and the children of the devil. John wrote, “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death” (1 John 3:14). Loving God causes us to show evidence of our love for the brethren, even to the point of being willing to give our life for another. Jesus gave us the example: “Hereby we know love, because He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren" (1 John 3:16).
Again, the Holy Spirit says: “But whoever has this world's goods, and beholds his brother in need, and shuts up his compassion from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither with the tongue; but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:17-18). We simply do not love God if we fail to love our brethren: "If a person says, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment have we from Him, that he who loves God love his brother also" (1 John 4:20-21). With these words in mind it is not surprising that Peter wrote, "Above all things being fervent in your love among yourselves; for love covers a multitude of sins" (1 Pet. 4:8). Do you shout out loud that you love God? Then prove it by loving your brethren in Christ.
4. Loving God Causes Us To Love His Word
David, the King of Israel, loved God and he loved God's word. He said, "My tongue shall speak of Your word; for all Your commandments are righteousness" (Ps. 119:172). David loved God’s word more than gold (Ps. 119:127). He said, “Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Ps. 119:97). Again he wrote, “God’s word is very pure; therefore (His) servant loves it” (Ps. 119:140). The true lover of God will “delight in the law of the Lord; and in His law he meditates day and night" (Ps. 1:2). Like David, when we love God, we will hide His word in our heart, so that we will not sin against Him (Ps. 119:11).
5. Loving God Causes Us To Obey His Word
“religious” people disregard the Lord's commandments. Ignorantly, they
compliance with the precepts of men will bring salvation. However, if
follows the doctrines and commandments of men his worship is in vain
brings condemnation (Matt. 15:8-9; 2 Thess. 2:10-12). Peter and the
apostles said: “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
see, it is absolutely worthless for one to profess to love the Lord
refusing to do His will (Matt. 7:21). Jesus made it so plain that a
can see it in the dark. He said: “If anyone loves Me, he will
word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make
home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep
and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Fathers who sent Me”
Below are several people from the Bible who loved God enough to obey His word. Please take some time and study their lives: Noah, Abraham, Joshua, Hezekiah, Joseph and Mary, Paul, and Christ Himself (Heb. 5:8). God has promised, and He cannot lie (Titus 1:2), that all who do His work will be blessed in his deed (James 1:25). The Holy Spirit brought God’s written word near to an end by saying: “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city” (Rev. 22:14).
Before closing this lesson we desire to give two warnings to all who fail to love God by faithfully obeying His teachings. First, please remember that you will “reap what you sow” (Gal. 6:7). And second, the apostle Paul said by the Spirit: "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power” (2 Thess. 1:7-9).
Loved ones, in this lesson we have seen that those who love God:
will Love His church…
will Love to worship God…
will Love the brethren…
will Love His word…
and will Love to obey His word.
Do you love God? If not, why not?