Does Anyone Love Me?
Luke 17:1-4, Page 1634
My friend told me recently that he never knew love growing up in his family. His father only married his mother because he got her pregnant and “did the right thing.” They lived together, but love never came home. Like so many people, my friend longs for love, but my friend knows deep inside that he has never really felt loved. In other cases, my friends have grown up some and now find that someone they care about only returns interest if you meet their demands. Love becomes a very tattered garment in a hurry. So, I have posed some questions to get you thinking about love, and particularly the relationships you have in your life.
The Someone I Love List
1. I have someone I love who has never failed me.
2. I have never failed someone I love.
3. Even when failure comes, I still love someone.
3. When I hurt someone I love, I know that someone still loves me.
4. I have put up with more trouble from someone I love than from anyone else on earth.
5. I have loved someone for more than a year.
6. I cry over someone I love.
7. I rejoice with someone I love.
8. I have stopped loving someone in the last year.
9. I have started loving someone in the last year.
10. I have never stopped loving someone.
11. I change what I want to do because I love someone.
12. I change my plans because I love someone.
13. I know someone who changes plans because they love me.
14. I know someone who often changes plans to be with me.
15. I know someone who thinks about me everyday.
16. I know someone who tells me someone loves me everyday.
17. I miss someone I love if I do not speak to someone everyday.
18. I miss someone I love if I do not tell someone everyday.
19. I love someone enough to tell someone about my problems.
20. I have someone who loves me every day.
21. I have someone who loves me no matter what.
22. I have someone who loves me only if I do what someone says.
23. I have someone who loves me only if I say what someone wants to hear.
24. I have someone who loves me more than anyone else.
25. I love someone just like someone loves me.
26. I love someone who never loves me back.
27. In the deepest parts of me, I know that someone really loves me right now.
28. In the deepest parts of me, I know someone who loves me spiritually.
As you ponder those questions about the scope and depths of love, I intended for you to start thinking about what love really looks like in your life and how you would define love. Take a few minutes and give it some careful thought. Meditate upon your love life. Only God can love you, and only God can explain real love to you. So, please turn in your Bible to 1 John 4:7-20. Writing through John, the Holy Spirit teaches us all about love. As you already know, love in the Bible never refers to just a warm feeling. God defines and illustrates “love,” for God is love.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
1 John 4:7
Jesus loves to teach us about true love. In 1 John 4:7, Jesus teaches us about love that only God can give to you, and we all need it every day. Let us learn how to love people by learning about love from God. Let us explore 1 John 4:7 together right now.
Beloved. First, God calls people who follow Christ “beloved.” Jesus means that He loves everyone who follows after Him, and has faith that Jesus died on the cross for their sins. Faith in the Bible always means personal trust, and includes an assurance of things hoped for, and the conviction of things not seen. 1Hebrews 11:1. The Greek word used for “faith” (“πίστις”) means that we rely upon, or put confidence in, someone or something. The Greek word for “assurance” (“ὑπόστασις”) means literally to put something under, to create a firm foundation, and means something real and steadfast. Faith is the foundation for our lives. It supports everything we are in Christ. It motivates us to live for Christ, and through our faith, God saves us from our sins.
Love One Another. Second, Jesus commanded us to love one another right in the same verse. Who should I love? I should love my brothers and sisters in Christ just like Jesus loves me. 2The Greek word for “one another” (“ἀλλήλους”) occurs several times in 1 John 3:11; 3:23; 4:11; 4:12. In these examples, the phrase focuses primarily upon other believers, but God certainly loves the entire world also, and so should we (John 3:16). God’s love flows through our lives to the other believers around us, and then to the entire world. Because love comes from God, God must be in us for us to love people. Jesus by grace through faith enabled us to love the moment we received the free gift of eternal life from Him. Did you notice that some of the questions above focus upon conditional love. Someone will only love me if I do the right things, and that often means I must please them, or else they will stop loving me. Jesus loves us every day, no matter what. We will live a better life in every way if we walk in His love.
Love is from God. Jesus provided great teaching on love 3The word for “love” (“ἀγάπη”) points to a special way of living with its source in God, in activity directed by God, and the results created by God. and backed up every word He spoke with every action He took. Jesus showed us all about true love. Only God loves us, and only the people who know God and are born of God love other people. So, guess what? Your parents could never love you if they were not born again by faith alone in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. In fact, most people have no ability to love because they never knew God and were never born again by God.
Born of God. Well, I always thought my unbelieving mother really loved me. She held me, cuddled me, clothed me, fed me, and always said she loved me. No doubt your mother loved you, but if she was not born of God, she did not love you with God’s love. We need to dig deeper here to understand God’s love. We have already seen that God has a special love. It is spiritual and supernatural. Your mother did not love everyone on your block the same way she loved you. But God loved every man, woman and child living in your neighborhood, and sent His Son, Jesus, to die on a cross for their sins. God loved the whole world, and sent Jesus because He loved the world. So, unless someone is born again, then they do not have God’s love within, and cannot share it with others. How can I be born of God? I suggest you click here and go to the home page to understand how you can be born again and truly experience God’s love for you.
Real Love in Action
Real love means that you treat someone as God treats them. Let me illustrate that point from a story Jesus told about real love. One day a very religious man named Simon invited Jesus to dine with him. Jesus came over and reclined at the table. In the days of Jesus, these people lay on the floor with a pillow behind them while they ate in a reclining position. As Jesus began to eat, a woman, known as a sinner in that city, brought in an alabaster vial of perfume. Standing behind Jesus, she began wiping the feet of Jesus with her tears as she wept. What a powerful picture of love.
Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.”
Jesus knew what Simon was thinking. Jesus always knows everything I am thinking. In this case, Jesus confronted Simon with a question about real love. Jesus told Simon about a moneylender. He loaned one debtor two hundred fifty denarii (one denarius equals one day’s wage). He loaned another debtor fifty denarii. When both were unable to pay, the moneylender graciously forgave both of them. Jesus then asked a very important question: “So, which of them will love him more?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” Jesus said he had answered correctly. Then Jesus applied the story to the woman wiping His feet with her tears.
Jesus told Simon that the woman wiped the feet of Jesus because she had been forgiven much, therefore she loved Jesus much. In contrast, Simon though himself superior to this woman who was a sinner. Simon though he did not need forgiveness, but if he did, it was for only very little things in his life. Simon knew this woman was a tremendous sinner, and, in his mind, righteous people like himself would have noting to do with her. In fact, he was appalled that Jesus allowed her to touch Him. Jesus used this story to teach us about real love. God loves people who turn to Him for forgiveness. While religious humans hate the sinners, God loves sinners and seeks to save them as lost people. When people respond to His love, confess their sins, and receive His forgiveness by faith in Jesus alone, they really know what deliverance from darkness feels like. They also know that only Jesus can lead someone out of darkness. God the Father says that He rescues us out of the domain of darkness and transfers us into the kingdom of His beloved Son. 4Colossians 1:13-14: “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” This woman loved Jesus because she had been forgiven much. She had a giant pile of stinky baggage piled into her life and Jesus threw all that garbage away and made her a brand new, born-again person. She had been gloriously saved from her sins by Jesus Christ and she knew it. She did not care who hated her, because she knew that Jesus loved her. Simon did not wipe the feet of Jesus or weep over Jesus. Simon had a lot to learn about forgiveness and love. We love Jesus because He has forgiven us a debt we could never repay. He suffered the death penalty I deserved by dying on on the cross in my place. Jesus loves sinners like me. I owe Jesus everything, but especially my love for eternity. We can learn a lot about love from this story.