20th May 2017

All You Need is Love

“Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
I John 4:8 (ESV)

Love. It’s the theme of numerous songs. ‘She Loves You, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’ (Beatles), ‘Love Me Tender’ (Elvis) are just two of thousands. (Am I showing my age?) Love is also the subject of hundreds of films.

But just what is ‘love’? Is it a sloppy sentimental feeling towards another person? Is it the actions of a caring individual? What does the Bible say?

I John 4:8 makes a clear statement ‘God is love’ (emphasis added), so when we think of love, we should think of God, and vice versa.

Traditionally, I Corinthians 13 has been dubbed ‘the love chapter,’ so let’s bear in mind ‘God is love’ as we consider this message to Corinth. Paul lists several attributes: speaking languages, prophecy, faith, giving to the poor and so on. And yet he says even with these, without love we are nothing! ‘Agape’ is used in this chapter for the English ‘love’ or ‘charity,’ the same Greek word John used to describe God.

With that in mind, it is not unreasonable to replace some of these words with ‘God’. So, for example, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not God, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not God, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not God, I gain nothing” (I Corinthians 13:1–3 ESV). The ability to speak multiple languages, give away much of one’s wealth and become martyrs for certain causes is all well and good, but it does not designate one as a Christian. The apostle tells us that the way to overcome ‘nothing’ is to have God. In other words, without God—without the influence of the Holy Spirit—we are empty, no matter how high our physical attainments.

But these verses show us more. Who is the example of the abilities listed in this chapter? God, in the form of Jesus Christ! He lived 1 Corinthians 13 so, again, we must allow the Holy Spirit to work in us if we are to achieve ‘love.’

Paul ends that chapter by saying that faith and hope are good qualities, but the best of all is God (I Corinthians 13:13). In short, to have ‘love’ we need to act in the way that God would act, and that is only achievable through his working—his Holy Spirit—in our lives. As the title suggests, all we need is love—all we need is God.

Father, we thank you that you are love, and that through your Spirit you are more than willing for us to share that love. We appreciate this through the name of the One who lived the life of love—Jesus Christ.

Study by Philip Stevens


About the Author:
Philip Stevens attends the Great Baddow Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK (near Chelmsford).

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Great Baddow
United Reformed Church
High Street
Great Baddow

Meeting Time:
Saturday 1pm

Local Congregational Contact:
Tony Goudie
Phone: 01508-498165
Email: tony_goudie@wcg.org.uk

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