"BUILDING BLOCKS OF CHARACTER: LOVE!"
Written and preached by David P. Nolte
2 PETER 1:5-11, 1 CORINTHIANS 13:4-8
The greatest thing about murder mysteries is the suspenseful challenge
to figure out "Whodunit?"
before it is revealed in the conclusion. The greatest thing about a dog
is that he will love you when
everybody else thinks you're a skunk and he will come back to lick the
hand that smote him! There
are some great things about Love, too, that we ought to consider today.
Love is not to be equated
with permissiveness; love is not a wishy-washy emotion that never says,
"No!" Love is not a bowl
of mush that never rebukes! Love is not some chemistry or physical,
sexual reaction. Let's note
some great things about Love. There are three great things about love.
- LOVE'S GREATEST
- Many try to characterize love with little adages like: "Love is
a warm puppy!" or
"Love is a cool hand on a fevered brow!" or "Love is like cold
covered with chocolate sauce inside when you
see 'him' or 'her'!"
- No finer characterization of love could be given than that by
Paul in the Love
- Love is characterized by sacrifice from pure motives:
- We may do good deeds to obligate others, to show off, to
God or conscience! Those are impure motives and make our doing
vain, callous, empty and a mockery!
- Paul says, "If I gave everything I have to the poor and
my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would
of no value whatsoever." 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NLT).
- Love is characterized by other-centered attitudes:
- For some there are 3 important persons: "Me, Myself, and
I!" Nobody else matters, counts or exists! But we are told in Philippians
"Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also
to the interests of others."
- Paul says, "Love does not demand its own way." 1 Corinthians 13:5
- Love is characterized by looking for the best:
- In and for others: This is the Christlike ability to
the sin and the sinner; it is the ability to give the benefit of the
doubt! Love disciplines, corrects, exhorts, rebukes, encourages.
- Paul says, "Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record
of when it has
been wronged." 1
Corinthians 13:5 (NLT).
- Love is characterized by enduring all things:
- Even the unworthiness, the failures, the gall of the
- Paul says, "7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is
and endures through every circumstance. 8 Love will last forever, 1
Corinthians 13:7-8 (NLT).
- There are many lovely things: a sunset; rolling waves; snow
capped mountain; none
as lovely as a life characterized by love!
- A college girl was in a horrible automobile crash. Her face was
disfigured by breaking
glass and impact with the dash. Her fiancé visited her in the
hospital and when he saw
how horribly cut her face was, said, "I'd be a fool to stay with you
looking as you
do." And with that walked out of her life. Love would have seen beyond
the scars. Love would have stayed. Love is characterized by those
attitudes and actions.
- LOVE'S GREATEST
- Love is not easy nor natural! Loving only the easy to love is
not real love! Love is
a challenge and presents challenges!
- Consider the challenges of love:
- We are challenged to love the unlovely:
- The Rejects, the Misfits, the Nerds!
- The ones who make it difficult for us! Even our enemies;
and this is
- We are challenged to see beyond what is to what can be:
- If a lump of coal can become a diamond, then a failure can
- The only atmosphere in which anyone can unfold, bloom, get
- We are challenged to give another chance:
- Too many: "You goofed! You blew it! No way will I trust you
- God is the God of another chance!
- We are challenged to go the second mile:
- That means to do more than might be expected or required,
Mother giving peanut butter sandwich and adding jelly!
- That means to go beyond the call of duty to the call of
- Jesus issued love's great challenge: John 13:34 "A new
command I give you:
one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."
- A mother learns the challenge of love. She tells of the time
she was on top of a step
ladder hanging a picture when she heard the door bell. She ignored it,
but the bell
kept ringing. She knew it was her eight year old son, Christopher, so
angrily, "Why can't he ever put down what he's holding an open the door
himself?" The bell kept ringing. She got down from the ladder and her
before she opened the door. She saw the last traces of a boy's smile
disappear as she
berated him. His eyes brimmed with tears as he brought a hand from
behind his back
and handed her a couple of broken-stemmed daffodils. She stood looking
flowers as the little boy ran weeping into his bedroom. She approached
little figure on the bed and said, "This didn't start out right. Can we
do it all over?" Wiping away his tears, Christopher took the flowers
and went outside. In a few
minutes, the doorbell rang. Mom pushed open the screen door and he held
wilted, broken stemmed daffodils. "These are for my favorite Mom," he
said. Hugging him, she said, "That is the way it should have been
before." Love challenges
us to think and to love before we rashly and regrettably act. (Ramona
- LOVE'S GREATEST
- A champion is a conqueror, a champion is incomparable, a
champion is exceptional,
a champion is outstanding!
- Jesus Christ is love's Champion! He is a Champion
- In sacrifice:
- He sacrificed Heaven to come to earth! He became poor that
might become rich in Him! He became sin, though He never sinned.
- He gave His life on the cross!
- In living for others:
- Even when weary He took time for the pressing crowds!
- He always gave and helped and served.
- In giving a second chance
- He called Judas "friend" even in the moment of betrayal.
- Even on the cross He remembered the thief hanging by His
- In seeking the best in and for others:
- He saw that Simon the shifting sand could become Peter the
- He said to the woman taken in adultery, "Go and sin no
- In endurance:
- He endured the Cross and despised the shame!
- Having loved His own, He loved them to the very end!
- Jesus Christ came to be and to give and to show the love of God
- Sharon Van Alstine tells about the time her four year old
daughter spilled her milk. After the second warning, the little girl
stood up on her chair, and "splat" went the
glass, breaking a dinner plate on impact. A size four bottom was firmly
little girl cried, then her sister cried, and then Mom cried. Then came
question, "Do you ever wish you didn't have us, Mommy?" With a lump in
throat, Mom gathered her daughters into her arms. "No! We have never
didn't have you! But what I wish is that you'd obey me the first time.
But even when
you don't obey, we love you more than we can tell you." Evening wore
sat pondering, "Does God ever wish He didn't have us?" Then came the
assurance, "I never wish I didn't have you. What I wish is that you'd
always obey me
- but even when you don't, I love you more than you can understand."
Truly He is
the Champion of love.
The love that Christ reveals is not that love that depends on some
good thing in us! It is not based
on what we have given or done on His behalf! He does not love us
because we are Christians or
because we go to church or because we don't commit adultery! Without
making His love maudlin
or shallow, let me say that He would love us if we were 10,000 x 10,000
times worse than we are! He loves us because of Who He is! The proof of
that is the cross! Romans 5:8 assures us, "God
demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners,
Christ died for us!" This is no
excuse for sin, for rebellion, for carelessness, however! Romans 6:1-2
reminds us "Shall we go on
sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how
can we live in it any longer?" Many have not experienced that kind of
love! If you have, you ought to become a messenger of it
for Jesus! If you have not you ought to believe today that He loves you
-- failure, rebellion, sin, lust,
perversion, arrogance and all! He won't save you in those things -- but
from them -- not because we
deserve it -- but because we need it and because He loves you! Greatest
response is to love him
back! But you cannot do that until you have more of His love and power;
you cannot do that until
you live in the bond of love with others.
stories of the two mothers from the
Albany Democrat Herald newspaper
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