In Your Bible Read This Out Loud: Matthew 22:37-40
Memorise This Verse: 1 Peter 4:8 ‘Above all love each other deeply’
Afterwards Talk About This: What it really means to love each other as Jesus commanded.
Something To Do Before Next Time: Find someone to release the love of God to.
Written Diploma Work: Write one side on the link between loving and giving.
Meditate Word By Word On This Verse: 1 Corinthians 13:13
Having established that money is a yardstick that both God and us can use to examine our Christian lives with; this section will look at the most important part of our lives that money measures, and that is love. The bible says such startling things about the need for Christians to express love that surely we will be supremely concerned to know if this is the case in our lives – as the below scriptures show. There would appear to be a definite linking together of loving and giving and the bible projects the idea that lovers are givers and the more we love, the more we give.
Love is the greatest force in the world (1 Corinthians 13:13)
‘And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love’.
The nature of God is love
(1 John 4:8)
‘God is love’.
The world will know the disciples of Christ by their love
‘All men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another’
Above all, we are to love (1 Peter 4:8)
‘Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins’
Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God (Matthew 22:37)
Jesus replied ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’. This is the first and greatest commandment’.… and the second greatest command is to love our neighbour
‘And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’.
This linking together of loving and giving can be established first of all in God, whose nature is primarily a love nature. The below scriptures confirm this and they all speak firstly of the love of God, and secondly the giving nature of God. The bible declares that God loves mankind, but more than this, God has proved and demonstrated his love for us by giving his gifts to us, especially the gift of his Son. Romans 5:8 says that God has demonstrated the reality of his love to us by sending Jesus:- the divine love nature isn’t empty words but a demonstrated reality
‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son’.
‘I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me’.
‘Just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her’.
When we become Christians, Romans 5:5 shows that God pours his own divine nature of love into our hearts and our new Christ-like nature is supremely a love nature. We then become a channel through which God can release this love to a hurting world as we allow the Christ-like nature of love to be expressed in our lives. This supreme area of love is of such importance that we must be very sure (if not anxious) that we are releasing the love of God and the bible indicates that our giving is the way of checking that we are releasing God’s love.
For example, 1 John 3:17 says, ‘If anyone has material possession and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?’.
Remember, Romans 5:5 shows that as Christians we no longer have mere human love but what sets us apart from the non-Christians is the divine love nature of God in our hearts which will be expressed in our Christ-like actions. Consequently, the above verse quite rightly asks the question of someone who claims to be a Christian but doesn’t give to the poor ‘How can the love of God be in him?’ In the area of love we can rightly argue that the amount of God’s love that is released out of our hearts is in direct relation to the amount of money that is released from our hands. The more money we give, the greater the level of divine love that is released from our hearts and lives.
A further point about divine love is that one of it’s aspects is it’s sincerity;
‘Love must be sincere’
‘In the Holy Spirit and in sincere love’
2 Corinthians 6:6
In 2 Corinthians chapter 8, Paul urges the Corinthians to contribute to the offerings for the impoverished saints in Jerusalem and he emphasizes this point about sincere love. He appeals to them on the basis that if they have a pure, divine love being released from their hearts it will be demonstrated through their giving. Paul links the sincerity of their love to their financial giving and argues that it is a method of testing their love. The same is true of us today – if the divine love of God in our hearts is going to be released then it must be sincere in it’s nature and the measure of this sincerity will be the level of financial giving.
2 Corinthians 7:8 ‘I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others’.
One final point about love is that the bible gives a very dire warning about it:- namely that as we draw near towards the return of Jesus it will diminish in the lives of many people. For example, speaking of the time prior to his return to the earth, Jesus himself says in Matthew 24:12 ‘Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold’. Paul confirms the words of Jesus in his description of the terrible events that will mark the last days in 2 Timothy 3:1-5; he lists some of the things that people will love including:-
- Pleasure (rather than God)
Moreover, he says in verse 3 that in the last days, people will be without love. Through choosing to release love, and demonstrate it in their giving, a Christian can prevent themselves from being numbered amongst those that both Jesus and Paul warn of being without love.
A House of Prayer for the Poorer Nations
Pray for Macedonia
2,023,580 people, 63% Christian.
Muslim minority needs to be reached
Great need for Christian literature
This study contains the personal beliefs and practices of of the author who recommends them to the reader. The author takes no credit for their success where applied and likewise takes no responsibility for any failure or disappointment.
The House of Prayer for the Poorer Nations at the end of each section is based on Operation World 21st Century Edition © Patrick Johnstone, Jason Mandryk. Published by Paternoster. All scriptures are NIV © Hodder & Stoughton.