INTRO: What do the words I love you mean? Well, it is safe to say they can mean everything - or nothing. These words have come to be used so widely, so unconsciously, so lightly that they may have little real significance. We may be using them with about the same purpose and weight as hello or goodbye. What I would like us to do this morning is to explore very seriously a Biblical perspective on these words ... to be sure we understand the commitment in them.
I. AN ACKNOWLEDGED PROBLEM ...
A. Rom 12:9 Let love be without hypocrisy
1. hypocrisy is the acting of a part
2. so, to say, I love you, without meaning it (and well explore that) is dishonest - hypocritical
B. 1 Jno 3:17 Loving words without loving action is not love
1. if loving one another is a test of discipleship and our actions do not confirm that love, we are not true disciples ... strong language? yes, but, true!
2. so, scripture acknowledges that saying the words may not always mean what we expect the words to mean
II. I LOVE YOU ...
A. Rom 12:10 By love be kind
1. honor - valuing ... preferring - leading the way
2. kindness values another, it sets the example, it shows deference, respect
3. kindness must be part of Christian character ... Col 3:12!
4. love must (not should) issue in kindness
B. Gal :13-15 By love serve
1. and Lev 19:18 (which Jesus quotes) is cited!
2. how can we say, I love you, and not treat others as we would treat ourselves (Mt 7:12)
3. but v.15 looks at the problem, the reality which all too often is experienced ... how can you say to someone, I love you and turn around to others with biting criticisms, ugly disposition of the one youve told, I love you?
4. love must be manifest in selfless service
C. 1 Pet 4:8 By love be forgiving
1. first, love must be fervent - unceasing
2. then, it forgives and hides a multitude of sins
3. with 1 Cor 13:5 ... taking no account of evil ... but forgiving, covering
4. can we say, I love you, while harboring resentment, talking to others about perceived failing toward one we have told I love you?
5. this covering is the privilege of love and is truly honoring another (as Rom 12:10)
D. 1 Jno 3:18 By love let actions confirm words
1. we mentioned this earlier with reference to hypocrisy
2. words and deeds must be consistent
3. if we say, I love you, our deeds absolutely must conform ... or we have become hypocrites
4. perhaps one of the easiest tests of our sincerity is to examine our words and deeds relative to one we have told, I love you
5. v.19 is critical here, too - if our love of others is not genuine, sincere, we are not of the truth!
E. 1 Pet 1:22 By love have pure motives
1. why say, I love you? - can these be manipulative words? words with an agenda? yes
2. but sincere love has pure motives - no idea of deceiving - of seeking to have its way
CLOSE: Certainly, more could be said. But this is a start. This is a reminder. I love you can be some of the most important, weighty words we can utter. But they must have life in them. And God has loved us - proven it!
Cecil A. Hutson
15 July 2001
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)