The Attributes of God's Love
Today's Theme “The Attributes of God's Love” Marks a continuation of last week's theme of love: The nature of God. This clearly means God is love, and love is His nature. Therefore we cannot fully comprehend the attributes of Christian love without appreciating who God is! God is love. His love is manifest in his attributes within the shared experience of the believers in the common wealth of their life together. Love is NOT passive but an ACTION that must be experienced in human interactions and even within human activities that touch on our relationship with the entire creation.
The scripture clearly speaks out a vivid and unassuming declaration of the identity of God, that God is love. It means then if the attributes of God are in great measure manifested in our lives, then God actually becomes a PRESENT experience. Therefore we literary “TOUCH” God through acts of love through other people as we experience our human interactions – God is love! [1 John 4: 16b].
It follows then that our knowledge of God is limited to our human experience of love in our interactions. We know God through acts of love from other people. Titus 1:16 declares that “they profess to know God but they deny him by their works”. Therefore knowing God is not just limited to our profession but living the attributes of love within and out of the Christian community.
We must appreciate with humility that love puts a demand on our lives to live within certain parameters that declare and describe God's love as attributes that should NOT just be memorized as tenets of faith but should be able to influence the Christian practice of faith. Christian witness is a matter of orthodoxy and praxis. God's love therefore put a demand on the lives of believers to live differently in a world that is so much ordered by chaos, hatred, jealous, cruelty and many more vices. Paul's delves into the subject of love in 1 Corinthians 13 in a way that creates a balance between the spiritual gifts that are vital in the exercise of Christian ministry.
However, he is quick to point out that such gifts get their empowerment through love. He points out that gifts can cease while love is indestructible. Finally, we can conclude that the gifts of the spirit are continually sustained by love who is God as source of all good attributes that are above any human law.
As we endeavour to grow into evidence of God's grace, let us aim to be mature in the attributes of love that display Christian maturity in patience, kindness, trust and hope among other attributes. May the Lord grant growth in these attributes to His glory as we grow in love.
The More Excellent Way: Love - The Nature of God
Today we begin a new series titled “the more excellent way” focusing on God's love. We will be examining how different God's love is from human love, and how we can appropriate God's love into human situations to mitigate our circumstances. We shall be examining the difficulties encountered in situations where God's love is not sought, and obtained.
As we kick off today, we focus on love as being the nature of God. In the first reading, we are told that “love is from God” [1 John 4: 7]. This means that God is the source of love, and everyone who loves must procure it from him. This leaves us with no choice but to pursue him in order to obtain this precious gift. Secondly, it says “everyone that loves is born of God...” [1 John 4:7]. This means that in order for us to love, we must be regenerated by the spirit of God. The Holy Spirit must infuse our very being, remove all elements of selfishness and bitterness, and perfect us with the pure love that issues forth only from God.
Thirdly, he says that everyone who loves “knows God” [1 John 4:7]. The word “know” in this regard refers not only to acquisition of information, but the experience of the divine attributes of God. We must interface with God in order for Him to produce in us the elements of divine love. This comes from intimacy with God.
Fourthly, it says “let us love one another” [1John 4: 7]. This means that we cannot love one another appropriately unless and until we have been enabled divinely by God through the Holy Spirit. The Command to love can only be fulfilled when we choose the way of God and He sills us with His love, which we can then shower one another with.
Fifthly, it says, “anyone who does not love does not know God” [1 John 4:8]. And therein is the truth brutally spelt out before us. We cannot make excuses for not loving one another, we either love or we don't. When we love, it shows that we know God; when we do not love, it shows that we do not know God.
Sixthly, it says “.... God is love” [1 John 4:8]. This is the core of our message today. That all that God is and has can be quantified and qualified in one word – love. Therefore if we do not reflect the godly qualities of love, we are not connected to Him and we are living a lie.
Seventhly, God decided to demonstrate His love for us. It says “In this the Love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only son into the world, so that we might live through Him” [1 John 4: 9]. In this gesture, God demonstrates that love is a word that must have meaningful and godly actions.
When we love, we must act in a manner that reflects godly attributes. In these actions, God is represented to a world that is hungry for love and thirsty for direction and fulfillment.
The Power of Cheerful Giving
Cheerful giving refers to the attitude of joy and readiness that must accompany every meaningful act of giving to God. Cheerfulness may have very little to do with smiling as it may to do with a sense of release from pressure and the yoke of expectation. A cheerful giver fosters the following tenets in his attitude!-
Growing in the Grace of Giving
We consider today the aspect of growing in the grace of giving. The template we have as a perfect example is the Church at Macedonia. This Church was not financially endowed. It has people who were poor and of low social standing.
The Grace of Responsibility in Giving
We continue our series today and consider the biblical mandate and instruction pertaining to the believers obligation in giving to the treasuries of the Church. However, giving, as an act of worship, must be according to the guidelines set forth in scripture. Anything less than this results in serious error. Let us, therefore, give attention to the divine pattern relative to giving, as expressed in our text today, setting out both the instruction and in principle. When Paul wrote, the 16th chapter of Corinthians with the instruction: “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I gave order to the churches of Galatia, so also do ye.” Proposed very basic instruction to Christian stewardship:
The Sacred Obligation: First, there is the term diatasso, rendered “order.” The word is employed some sixteen times in the New Testament. It presupposes a subordinate relationship of one who is commanded to do something (cf. Acts 18:2; cf. Luke 17:7-10). Second, the verb “do” reflects, in the original text, a command which rather summarizes the obligation of both the Galatian churches and the Corinthian congregation. . While the immediate context pertained to a specific need (relief for the churches in Judaea), the text provides a precedent for determining how any and all churches are authorized to meet their financial needs.
The Specified Time: The Christian is not limited as to when he may give for the benefit of others. For example, the poor we have with us always, and whenever we will, we may do them good (Mark 14:7; cf. Galatians 6:10). Be that as it may, Paul's injunction is that each Christian contribute upon “the first day of every week.” The Greek expression is kata mian sabbatou, literally “every first [day] of the week” (cf. NASB, NIV). The preposition kata is used distributively, indicating a succession, e.g. every city (Acts 15:21), every year (Luke 2:41), and, in the present instance, every first [day] of the week Individual Obligation.
The responsibility to worship in giving rests upon every child of God. The apostle charges that “each of you” is to contribute to the Lord's work.. Every Christian with an income must express his devotion to God in the grace of giving (cf. 2 Corinthians 8:1, 4, 6-7).As the antitype of the temple, the church also has a “treasury” to facilitate its financial operations. Paul says the Christian is to “lay by him (or by itself) instore.” The word thesaurizoon, rendered “in store” is literally, “put into the treasury.. Proportionate Giving: The Scriptures are eminently fair in imposing an obligation upon each saint to give into the treasury every Sunday. In connection with the amount, there are biblical principles to guide the conscientious child of God. Giving, as an act of worship takes a certain priority in terms of one's income.
Reflect upon the following precedents. Each Christian is to give “as he may prosper,” or “according to his ability'” (Acts 11:29). This is proportional giving. Amazingly, some in the early church gave even beyond their ability (2 Corinthians 8:3), and they were commended for it. Those who have more should give more (both in amount and percentage). When the more prosperous generously give of their abundance, to compensate for the deficit of the poorer folk, the type of “equality” that God desires among his people will prevail (see 2 Corinthians 8:12-15).
The least God ever stipulated for his people in the support of his work was 10% (cf. Genesis 14:20; 28:22; Numbers 18:21-24); the most he has accepted is 100% (Mark 12:41-44) — which, of course, is not required. But surely, somewhere between these two examples, the child of God can find his appropriate level of giving. The Generous Disposition: In his letter to the Romans, Paul exhorts that those who give should do so with “liberality” (12:8 ASV). And to the Corinthians, in urging these saints to fulfill their commitment to needy brethren, the apostle promises that God would “enrich” them unto “all liberality” (2 Corinthians 9:11 ASV).
What have we learned in this survey? As an act of affection and devotion, motivated by the love of Jesus himself, each Christian must contribute into the church treasury each Sunday. Acknowledging that he is but a manager of vast blessings that God has placed at his disposal, the Lord's disciple must contribute generously and cheerfully, confessing that he is the recipient of more than he can ever repay. It is the responsibility of elders to counsel the flock of God in fundamental principles of biblical giving. Gospel preachers must never refrain from teaching on this vital theme. Our prayer should be that the Lord will help us to grow in “this grace also” (2 Corinthians 8:6-7).