The value of our church in the month of January is God and the Kingdom of God.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27)
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37-38)
These words tell us about the very first commandment. Jesus Himself told us that love is the highest commandment; hereby Jesus depicts the nature of the Kingdom of God to us. The essence of the Kingdom of God is love. The heart of the Kingdom of God is love. The environment and the atmosphere of the Kingdom of God is love. The breath of the Kingdom of God is love. Love is above everything in the Kingdom of God. Love is irreplaceable.
We must live love, breathe love, desire only to love! You ought to seek to love God above all else and then love people.
Let us consider what it means to love God. Loving God is a deliberate attitude of the heart. We love God when we seek Him. We love God when we long to be alone with Him. Love means solitude, closeness, unity. Love is the desire and ability to be alone with God. Possessing the love of God means aspiring to become totally united with Him. It is being with Him to the point of becoming one with Him.
When a husband is joined to his wife, they become one: one flesh. (Genesis 2:24). As a result of this oneness, they can have a baby. The birth of a baby is a fruit; it is the result of the highest level of intimacy within the couple’s union. In the Russian translation of the Bible, this intimacy between a man and a woman -a husband and a wife- is referred to as joining together, which in classical Greek means “to join, to stick together”. So we ought to stick to God, to be very close to Him, to be one with Him and then say like Jesus: “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30).
“…the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us…But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:5,8)
Those words show us that God does not demand the impossible from us; He has poured out Himself, His love in us. We are now able to love God because He demonstrated His own love towards us while we were still sinners. He loved us first, He has given His love; He gives us His love and our part is simply to respond to it. We have the ability to give love as a gift, as a sign of gratitude to our Heavenly Father; our Creator and our God.
“For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge this: that if One died for all, then all died” (2 Corinthians 5:14)
God has loved us and now His love encourages us to love Him as a response of appreciation for His love. Our love is reciprocity, an answer to God’s love for us. Thanks to His love which He has revealed to us, we can love others.
“It is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Such verses from the Holy Bible show us how Paul responded to God’s love. His response was one of gratitude; he stated that he did not live but Christ who loved Him was living in him. The highest gratitude to God is to know that man not only has His very image but indeed His very nature, the character of Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son. God’s desire is to reveal the qualities of His Son -our Savior- through us.
“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)
God’s love towards us is vast! Awareness of this fact encourages us to demonstrate our love to God, responding to His love with love.
To love God whom we cannot see is one part of walking in love; the other part is to love man whom God created. At the same time we should understand that there is no love for God without love for man. We prove our love to God when we show love to ordinary, difficult people.
“If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?”(1 John 4:20)
This is a challenge for us!
There are two keys with which to love people:
- The first key– remember how God loved us with all our sins, mistakes, misconduct and imperfections.
- The second key– We ought to love others with the love we have received from God. It is impossible to love others in our own strength, hence God does not demand this from us. We ought to love with God’s love which He has bestowed upon us and keeps showering upon us daily.
God Himself has poured out His love in our hearts, thereby demonstrating to us how we ought to love. We do not love people because of their qualities; we love them because of our gratitude to God. In other words, we say to ourselves: if God could forgive me, I should forgive others! If He loves me, I should love others!
“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”(John 13:35). Jesus explained that just by such love the world would know that we are His disciples. We are all one in God and if we see each other as part of one unit in God then we will not want to hurt our own selves or hurt our own body. This is another reason why we must love others as ourselves and in so doing we fulfill God’s commandment.
“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13)
There are many important absolutes in the Kingdom of God, but love is the greatest! When we love God we draw nearer to Him. When we love people, we put aside the barriers between us and them, we tolerate them, forgive them, accept them in our heart, help them, take care of them, love them, make sacrifices for their sakes.
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13). When we love people we remove the partition between God and us. By our love for people, we demonstrate our love for God. All this proves that there is nothing more important in the Kingdom of God than love. God’s Kingdom is upheld by, and based on love. God does not seek any superhuman ability or power from us with which to function in the Kingdom of God. He is looking and waiting only for love. Love to God and to our fellowmen is the principal thing and it is the essence of the Kingdom of God.
Dear brothers and sisters let us love God and people!
May God bless you!
With love and honor,
Senior Pastor of the Embassy of God church
Translated by Vera Kozlovets
Edited by Kizito Leacock
Recommended books to read: “Life in the Kingdom of God”, “Kingdom of love”, “All Conquering Love” (Sunday Adelaja)