Temple Baptist Church - 2-13-2011
A. One of the most misused and misunderstood of all words is “love!” Most equate love with a “mushy” feeling for someone. I believe that true love goes far beyond just being an emotion. We find the love of God in John 3:16. It was a love that loved without being loved in return. God’s love is not man based, it is need based.
B. The first mention of love in the bible is found in this morning’s text. Rebecca went with the servant having no knowledge of whom or what Isaac was. In verse 58, she simply said, “I will go.” This did not signify desperation but rather determination! In verse 67, Isaac loved Rebecca without either knowing or seeing her without her veil. Once again, I find in the word “love” a determination! Thus, in the first mention of love, we find that love must be determined! As God determined His love in giving His Son, we must also determine our love. A woman once told me that she no longer loved her husband to which I replied, “You will not love your husband.”
C. It should be noticed in Scripture that man must be both commanded to love and also to learn to love! Throughout the Bible, command after command deals with the love relationship of:
1. Man Is To Love God - Deuteronomy 6:4-5 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. (“Thou shalt?” Why not “thou wilt!” After what He did for Israel? After what He did for us at Calvary? We must be COMMANDED? Why? Because of our human nature.)
2. The Saint Is To Love Mankind - Galatians 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (This one is a little harder but is made much harder because of our selfish nature. Red, yellow, black, brown, and white; every race in every place! “And who is my neighbor?” All mankind for whom Christ died.)
3. The Saint Is To Love The Saints - John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (A new commandment given to family? You are my brothers and sisters in Christ and I love you better than butter pecan ice cream! But, there are times when we squabble and fight. We want what we want and want everyone else to see eye-to-eye with us on every point! I am not always right on every subject but am hard to convince sometimes. I have a selfish nature!)
4. The Husband Is To Love His Wife - Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; (We, as men, have to be commanded to love you gorgeous creatures? Whoa! You mean it is not always easy to love you? Men are selfish by nature and must be instructed by God to give ourselves to our wives. A man was looking for a wife so he took out an ad in the local newspaper which read: “Wife wanted. Must have bass boat, motor, and trailer. Send a picture of the boat, motor, and trailer!”)
5. The Wife Is To Love Her Husband - Titus 2:3-5 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. (You mean that the women have to be taught to love that “hunk” that she married? That good looking bundle of muscle and brawn? Most of us are still “hunks,” just a little more of a hunk now! You women are selfish too! You want the man to be in charge when it is convenient and obedient to you when it suits. Than is human nature. You are obedient to him when it suits and disobedient to him when it suits. You are human!)
6. The Mother Is To Love Her Children – Titus 2:4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children. (Mothers have to be taught to love their children? Why? Those wonderful little darlings who keep you up all night, mess their diapers, tear up an anvil in a sand pile, lie every chance they get, tell everybody else what you do, etc. Those wonderful little children of yours [I know everyone else’s are brats, but not yours!]. We are selfish in nature and children require monumental amounts of time and effort.)
D. One of the most important aspects of a stable home is that of love! Not just some mushy, smoochie feeling but rather a determined effort on behalf of both a man and his wife. Pardon me this morning but I will do a little marriage counseling for a few minutes. It would not be a bad thing if the entire church was subjected to the counseling that I give before marriage.
1. Love Must Have Passion – Song of Solomon 1:2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine. (Show your mate that you love her or him! Telling them that you love them becomes just empty words when there is no feeling involved.)
2. Love Must Have Devotion - Song of Solomon 2:16a My beloved is mine, and I am his:
Mark 10:9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (How wonderful it is to see men and women who have a spouse in the Nursing Home attending to them personally. Their love and devotion endure until death. "And forsaking all others!")
3. Love Must Desire Companionship – Song of Solomon 7:10-11 (10) I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me. (11) Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages. (Your mate should be the best friend that you have in this world. I often tell young people in pre-marriage counseling to learn to do things together. Cultivate hobbies that can be done together. Learn to spend quality time together. Many married couples raise children and then, when the children are grown and gone, they find out that the only thing that they have in common is children.)
4. Love Must Be Overlooking - Song of Solomon 4:7 Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee. (One of the most common of all marital failures is that of “nit picking.” Before marriage, couples often only see the good points in their future mates but, later, they major on the so-called shortcomings. I have often said that “the morning after marriage you never wake up with the one that you dated. Now we see each other in both the best and worst times. Your mate is human! Love must learn to overlook!)
5. Love Must Be Forgiving - Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: (32) And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. (In the vast majority of marriages, there will be disagreement of one sort of the other. One, learn to never go to bed mad, letting the sun go down on your wrath. Two, learn to talk problems out. Discussion allows each of us to see the other’s perspective and we may even find out that they are right. Learn to forgive even when your mate is wrong.)
6. Love Must Be Sacrificial - Song of Solomon 7:10-13 (10) I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me. (11) Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages. (12) Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give thee my loves. (13) The mandrakes give a smell, and at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved. (Learn to give as well as take. I full well understand the biblical structure of the home. Both mates are to be heirs together of the grace of this life. My wife and I are a team. Though I am the head of the home, I am not a dictator in it. Though my wife is submissive in the home, she is not a door mat. I must give us my desires as she gives up hers and learn to desire together.)
7. Love Is Learning To Lean - Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
Song of Solomon 8:5a Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. (10) For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. (11) Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? (12) And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (As I am my wife’s strength [this does not place me before the Lord], she is my strength. Together, with the Lord, we can make it!)
8. Love Needs To Be Unquenchable - Song of Solomon 8:6-7 Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. (7) Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.
"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways..."
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.