1 Peter 1.22-25
Love is the greatest gift we can give and receive This Christmas.
For some of you, Love This Christmas starts with realizing God’s love for you. Faith comes before obedience. God has gone to the greatest links to prove His love for us by sending His Son Jesus to die for our sins. He lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial death on our behalf, and was raised the third day, so that by believing in Him we could have forgiveness of sins and eternal life, becoming a son or daughter of the King, having a living hope and inexpressible joy. [Trust]
For others of you, Love This Christmas starts with loving God more. Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14.15). Obedience is active love. It’s the way we show our love for God and for others. If we believe that not only is God all-powerful and all-knowing, but that He also loves us in a way that only He can and that He desires our good, then we are fools when we refuse to obey. Obedience means doing what God says, but we can only do what He says if we know what He says. In other words, it’s impossible to obey if I don’t know what to obey. So how do we know what God wants us to do? You guessed it. Time spent in His Word. Time spent in prayer. Time with other believers. Learning, listening, dialoguing. No other way around it. But knowing’s not enough. I also have to apply what I’m learning. I have to do it. Good news…you don’t have to forge ahead on your own. The Spirit is the One who transforms us to live and love like Jesus…He’s the One who gives us the ability to do what God says to do. [Trust and obey]
For the rest, Love This Christmas continues with fervently loving one another from the heart. Loving others in active and practical ways is a natural consequence of obedience…a predictable outcome. What is the greatest commandment? Love God with all that we are and love our neighbor as ourself.
If other folks loved God the way you love God, and if they loved others the way you do, how would the world be different? If you practiced actively loving others this week, how would that impact your marriage? Your family? Your other relationships? What would that look like?
May we fervently love one another from the heart this Christmas season!
This post is based on a sermon from our Advent series: This Christmas. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster. You can also download our Central Christian app in the iTunes App Store.