On January the 15th, Pastor Sergey Pishniy preached on the topic “Loving God by loving people”.at the Embassy of God Church in Vishnevoye.
“We love because he first loved us. If anyone 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 we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” (1John 4:19-21, ESV)
Apostle John calls us to love God as the first commandment. Let us therefore think about the ways people love each other and how they express this love? If we love people we can pray for them, meet their needs, give gifts and encourage them. But we cannot show our love to God this way, because he is Spirit and we cannot physically hug Him. He owns the whole world and therefore there is no gift that we could possibly offer Him as a sign of our love. God is a Spirit whom we cannot see with our physical eyes. He does not require our offerings, because He does not have a need for it. We should realize that we cannot love God in the same way we love people. And so to manifest our love to the Lord, we need to simply love each other, just as God ordered us to in His Word.
The disciples tried to demonstrate their love to Jesus by taking care of him, protecting and feeding him. But Jesus responded, saying to Peter: “…Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (John 21:15-18, ESV)
Love always requires manifestation. Love cannot be hidden, but will be visible in people’s words and actions. In the verse above Jesus tells Peter to show the great love that Peter had for Him to by loving and caring for the people around him. Jesus emphasized that He was giving His life for the people thus manifesting his eternal love. Jesus wanted his disciples to learn that loving God could only be measured by loving people. Pastor Sergey shared that for this reason his church implemented the system of caring for parishioners by visiting them. Many people decide to love God and forget about the people around them. It is important to pray for people, teach them, listen to them, meet their needs and thereby serving God in love.
In the Old Testament there is a story about Abraham “Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” And the LORD said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.” Abraham answered and said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And he said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” Again he spoke to him and said, “Suppose forty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of forty I will not do it.” Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there.” He answered, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.” He said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.” Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” And the LORD went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place. (Genesis 18:23-33 ESV).
God spoke with Abraham as long as Abraham was responsible for the people around him. If we are not ready to take responsibility for at least 10 people around us, God will not personally be talking to us. There are many people who only say that they care for God but God requires faithful workers. In the Old Testament there is a similar story about Moses and the Israelites: “Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. (Exodus 18:21 ESV)”. Moses always had more than 10 people he was responsible for. We should imitate his example and please God by doing so.
Dear friends, if we say that we love God, let us manifest this love to Him in the way He wants it. For example, I love my wife and every morning I bring her coffee in bed to show my feelings for her. One day she told me that she did not like coffee the way I made it, so I had to adjust and make it the way she enjoys. We should also adjust to the way God wants us to love Him.
Let us make a decision to manifest our love to God by loving people. Let us care for each and every person around us. God wants to bless us, and when we obey His Word, we declare our readiness to follow Him wherever He leads.
Pastor Sergey Pishniy and
Press Centre of the Embassy of God church
Translated by Iryna Panasyuk
Edited by Omolara Ige