Have God = Have Love
In 1993 the California Milk Processor Board ran a series of ads featuring a slogan which simply asked, “Got milk?” The ads were later licensed for use by milk processors and dairy farmers nationwide. Each ad portrayed a desperate outcome of not having milk: dry cereal, tasteless coffee, nothing in which to dip one’s Oreo or to wash down peanut butter. The equation the advertisers wanted to place in consumers minds was that when you have milk, you have many other good things as well.
This past Sunday Pastor Andrew reminded us of another equation, one much more important and far-reaching:
“Have God = Have Love.”
“Love one another,” urged Christ. (John 13:34)
If any of the Apostles knew about God’s Love it was John. He was called the beloved disciple, he leaned on Jesus at their final supper as Jesus revealed the traitor among them. It was to John that from the cross Jesus entrusted the care of Mary, and John was the disciple first to arrive at the opened tomb. He was the one to whom Christ revealed end-time visions, and he was the only disciple to die of natural causes.
In his gospel account he made sure to mention Christ’s parting plea:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35).
In his epistle he picks up the theme and reveals his more intimate insight…
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. (1 John 4:7-12).
“God is love,” he writes. “Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” In essence, “Have God = Have Love.” This love, this Agapé Love of God sort of love, is never “turned off.” It is always active, always giving… to the evil as well as to the good. It is, as Pastor Andrew pointed out, “an unreciprocated love.”
And so Christ’s new command is that we display the same, regardless of reciprocation, regardless of recipient’s attitude toward us. Just as did Jesus, “…While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8)
You can do this.
How do I know? Because of the equation: “Have God = Have Love.” God is love.
Yes, it is a world full of hate and sin, but what is His promise? Again, from John, “You… are from God…. the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4).
Agapé Love is a unique love. It distinguishes itself from all others. That is why it is also a love of testimony. As Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35).
Agapé Love is within the child of God. We can release it. We must. It is a command.