Thornleigh Seventh-day Adventist Church (Sydney, Australia)

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Online Magazine: Edition 11

June/July 2006

Welcome to the Eleventh Edition of the Online Magazine of the Thornleigh Seventh-day Adventist Church




by Norman Tew

(1 John 4:8 NRSV) "Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love."

This is a basic statement of the Christian faith. 

Some theologians see great depths in it.  It has been suggested that this is the basis of the understanding of the Trinity.  God is One, but that oneness includes three persons.  A person cannot love in isolation.  Love needs someone to be loved.  Love is a relationship, hence it is easier to understand the statement that God is Love when we consider God as a three person rulership.

(John 3:16 NRSV) "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life".  Perhaps this is the best known text in the New Testament.  Notice that God's love caused him to do something, to react towards us in an unexpected way.  He gave Himself, one of the three members of the God head came down to take our punishment, to take our place, and through His life, death and resurrection make it possible for us to have the eternal life that was lost when sin entered this world.

I believe that we see in the world about us today the work of the devil to distort love so that the character of God is distorted, and so that man no longer understands who God is and how he works.  Love has become defined as a feeling instead of a principle of life.

In some ways love has been pushed to one of two extremes.  Either loving means that we become the slave to the person we love, doing whatever they request, or loving a person means that we take control of their life and direct in everything they do.  True love is really the middle route; Love means to put the needs of the one who is loved first and to serve each other as partners.  Perhaps this is why un-returned love is such a tragedy.

In his last talk with the disciples before he was taken to trial and death, Jesus twice repeated the phrase, "As I have loved you".  (John 13:34 NRSV) "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another."  Then (John 15:12 NRSV) "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."

How did Jesus love us?  (Rom 5:8 NRSV)  But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.  Jesus gave his life for us while we were in rebellion against him, to win us back to himself.  God loved us while we were his enemies. 

In return God wants us to love him.  And as a demonstration of that love he wants us to love his other children who are all about us.  In one of his final sermons to the crowd Jesus told a series of stories.  Read the final one in Matthew 25:31-46.  Here he is saying that in the final day of Judgement God will know those who are his by how they have loved those about them.

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