This is Love
1 John 4:10-11
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. NIV
We will celebrate the greatest event in the history of the world on Sunday, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. On this Good Friday, we remember that God demonstrated his great love for mankind in that he sent his only begotten son to die for our sins on Calvary. Jesus became the sacrifice for our sins and bore them all on the cross. That dramatic display of love draws all mankind unto him for no other religion can say that such a sacrifice was made for anyone. The sacrifice that Jesus made was important but it would have been meaningless without the resurrection.
What separates all of the "would be" saviors from Jesus Christ is that they are all still in the grave. Jesus is not there any longer. He made a brief stop there for three short days. He is risen and seated at the right hand of the Father ever interceding for us. God still demonstrates his great love for us today in many ways. He has shown us over and over again how to love one another. In these two verses in 1 John 4, we are given God's greatest example of love toward us. It is this, that he loved us before we loved him and while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. God demonstrated his love for us before we declared our love for him. This is God's love, or agape love.
Our reaction to God's demonstration of love should be twofold. First, we ought to love God in return and accept him as our lord and savior. Any Bible-believing church can show you how to accept Jesus Christ into your life. In fact, there will be many on this Easter Sunday that will make a special invitation to all who want to know him. Second, we ought to love one another. The next verse goes on to say that no one has seen God, but if we love one another others can see God in us. If we genuinely love one another, people will willingly follow us to Christ. True love must have a source, and that source is God. The scripture even describe God as love. It is not just something he does, it is who he is.
I encourage each of you reading this today to be faithful to your church, especially on this Easter Sunday. But if you do not have a church home, I would like to invite you to attend Bethel Community Church this Sunday to see our youth and our children perform powerful dramas about the resurrection of our Lord. God Bless each of you and I hope to see you in church on Sunday.
The Rev. Stephen Hammond is senior pastor of Bethel Community Church.