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J.B. Hixson on True Love

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1199581-custom“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:12–13)

It is February, and that means that our thoughts turn to love.  People are always searching for love, aren’t they?  But sadly, to borrow the words of country singer Johnny Lee, most people are “Lookin’ for love in all the wrong places.  Lookin’ for love in too many faces.  Searchin’ their eyes.  Lookin’ for traces of what they’re dreaming of.”

When it comes to love, what are you dreaming of?  Love is one of those words in the English language that has hundreds of uses.  We love our husband or wife.  We love our children.  We love ice cream. We love that movie. But what is true love anyway?

When I was a senior in high school, the rock band Foreigner released a song that became a big hit.  Their song, like Johnny Lee’s country chart topper years earlier, represents the heart cry of millions of people in the world.  It goes like this:  “I want to know what love is.  I want you to show me.  I want to feel what love is.  I know you can show me.  In my life there’s been heartache and pain.  I don’t know if I can face it again.  Can’t stop now, I’ve traveled so far.  To change this lonely life.  I gotta take a little time.  A little time to think things over.  I better read between the lines.  I want to know what love is.  I want you to show me.”

Do you want to know what love really is?  Let’s take a little time to think things over from a biblical perspective.  And we don’t have to read between the lines, because the Bible is very clear when it comes to the true meaning of love.  Just hours before Jesus Christ was betrayed and arrested in the Garden, He spent some intimate time with His eleven closest friends in an upstairs room in a modest Jerusalem home.  In that special moment, He washed their feet, instituted the Lord’s Supper, and gave them words of encouragement to help them face what was to come in the days and weeks ahead.

He reminded them that true love is a mandate, not an emotion.  He said, “This is My commandment, that you love one another.” (John 15:12)  Love is command, not a convenience.  It is active, not passive.  We love others because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).

If Jesus’ earthly life shows us anything, it shows us that He was never a “Do as I say, not as I do!” sort of leader.  He was not asking the disciples, nor us, to do something that He had not already done.  Jesus gave us the model of true love.  He challenged us to “love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)

And just how did He love us?  He showed the measure of His love when He laid down His life for us to pay our personal penalty for sin.  He said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13)  We owed a debt we could never pay because of our sin.  That debt is eternal separation from a holy God in a literal place of torment called hell.  But Jesus Christ took my place, and your place, on the cross and paid that penalty on our behalf, even though He was perfect and sinless.  His love is a limitless, unconditional, and sacrificial love.  And that is precisely how we are to love others.

So what is the meaning of love, then?  The Greek word love is the word agape.  It means, “unconditional affection for another person characterized by a willing forfeiture of your own rights on the other person’s behalf.”  Jesus exemplified this definition perfectly when He died and rose again for our sins.

Do you want to know what love is?  You must first receive the free gift of eternal life purchased by the loving sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  You do this by simple faith.  Have you trusted in Jesus to forgive your sin and give you eternal life?

Once you have trusted Christ for salvation, only then can you experience true love in this earthly life.  Instead of looking to find or receive true love, you will start giving it to others.  True love gives because it has received.  Find someone to really love today…true, Christ-like love.

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Podcast

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Subscribe to our podcast by searching for “WCTS Radio” on iTunes and listen to a variety of sermons and Truth Talk with Pastor Matt Morrell!

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Upcoming Series on Truth for Life with Alistair Begg

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Spiritual Warfare

March 21 – April 3
Scripture: Selected

There are two common mistakes people make when thinking about the devil: we become preoccupied with his existence or ignore it altogether. In this series on spiritual warfare, Alistair Begg helps listeners understand the often overlooked reality that there is a war happening all around us every day. As Christians and soldiers in God’s army, The Bible calls us to understand who our enemy is, where this battle is taking place, and how to defend ourselves before we can be successful in this ongoing, unseen, and unavoidable war. Though the fate of our enemy has been decided, the battle rages on, and each of us must make use of the armor and weapons that God has given us to defend ourselves from Satan’s attacks.

Listen to this series


Some Strange Ideas

April 4 – April 14
Scripture: Selected

It could be the plot for a movie: an oppressed nation is looking for a liberator, but there’s a plan in the works to kill him before he can act. An innocent man dies willingly for guilty men. People come back to life from the dead, and a body disappears. Centuries’ worth of prophesies were about to be fulfilled, but not in the way anyone expected… and conspiracies and political intrigue surround it all.

By any measure, the final days of Christ’s life and the weeks and months immediately following His resurrection were filled with strange and perplexing events, themes, and ideas. If someone made up the story, we might accuse him of sensationalism, yet these historical events are at the turning point in redemptive history. In this series of messages, Alistair Begg explains how God used these strange ideas to accomplish His great plan to redeem mankind and reconcile us to Himself through Christ’s death and resurrection.

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The Fruit of the Spirit

April 17 – May 4
Scripture: Galations 5:22-23

“The fruit of the Spirit.” It’s a well-known phrase from a much-loved passage of Scripture. The challenge is in the details, as we pause to consider what the fruit of the Spirit is and to reflect on how well it is displayed in our lives.

In this series, Alistair Begg explains that the fruit of the Spirit is the character of God reflected in the lives of those who are united with Christ. It cannot be produced by an outward change of habit or a system of self-improvement, but is cultivated as God works to conform us to the image of His Son. As we consider the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, Scripture guides us to examine our hearts, challenges our progress, and encourages us to trust God’s promise that He began this work and will complete it. The Fruit of the Spirit provides a study in practical godliness, reminding us that faithful Christian living demonstrates the attractiveness of the Gospel to the world around us.

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