Prepare – 1 John 4:19-21
We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
God’s love demands a response in our lives. First of all, we love not because we can, nor because we want to. Instead, we love only because God first loved us. Without God’s love for us, we would not desire to love. Our human nature is so corrupted by sin, that we would rather hate than love. So we love only in response to God loving us first. Therefore, we can only conclude that we will only be capable of loving others to the degree in which we understand God’s love for us. The more we know and rely upon God’s love for us (v.16), the more we will be capable of loving.
The second note we must make from these verses is that we love God only because He first loved us. However, if we claim to love God, and yet harbor hatred toward another, we are living a lie. We cannot love God and hate others at the same time. Where there is genuine love for God, there is no hate to be found.
~ Pastor Andy Veith