February means Valentine’s Day, which means everyone is thinking about love. From little kids handing out valentines to their classmates to adults going out for a romantic dinner, people are showing their love in special ways. And what do people love? What do you love? (get some responses) What do you mean when you say you “love” someone or something? I use the word love a lot during any given day. “I love porkburgers.” “I love my wife.” “I love my kids.” “I love to read.” “I love God.” Do they all mean the same thing? I sure hope not.
We tend to use the word love when referring to things we like, admire, think are cool, or have strong emotions toward. Saying I love my laptop is not the same as saying I love my family. It does not mean exactly the same as when you guys say you love ___________. And its definitely not the same as saying God loves me and God loves you. When I tell you that God loves you, it is so much more than some momentary emotional connection or feeling. Let’s look at three verses that show us what God’s love means for you and me.
The first verse to look at is John 3.16. “God so loved the world…” What does God’s love mean in this verse? Does it mean God really likes the world or thinks the world is really cool? No, it means that He sent Jesus to earth to die for your sins so that you can live with Him in heaven forever. God loves you so much that He was willing to let His only Son die in your place.
Do you have that kind of love for anyone?
The next passage is Romans 5.6-8. “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Not only does God say that He loves you, He showed His love by dying in your place. You and I do not the power to take care of our sins, but Jesus died so that we would. Christ died for you when you didn’t deserve it.
Do you know anyone else who would do that?
The last verse I want to look at is 1 John 4.8-12. “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 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. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”
Again, this verse emphasizes the fact that God loves us enough to allow Jesus to die in our place. True love is not that we love God (for what He did for us), but that God loved us and sent Jesus to pay our price for our sins. Verse 12 tells us that if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. You and I can complete God’s love for others by loving them.
Are you loving others the way He loves us?
God wants us to love others, that means He wants us to treat other people with respect, to do nice things for them, and to be willing to sacrifice for them. And above all God wants you to know that when He says He loves you, He doesn’t just mean that He thinks you are cool or neat. He means that He loves you enough to send His Son to die on a cross for your sins. That is how much He loves you!