By Pastor Tommy Pophin
Perhaps the most loved verse in the entire Bible is John 3:16, which says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (King James Version). Even in explaining the verse, the only word to use is “love.” The reason why the verse is such a favorite is that it’s about real love. And it has everything to do with the One who loves us most, Jesus Christ. Neither a thing, nor person, nor other living being in this world loves you to the same extent that Jesus does. Think about that for a moment: “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”
So, what do we do with this love that Jesus has for us? There are basically three choices: 1) accept it, 2) reject it, or 3) pass it on to others who need to know of His love. My choice is the same as every Christian’s should be: accept it and then pass it on to others.
Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, expressed the love of Christ to such an extent, he sounded like Christ Himself. He wrote, “It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:7-8).
According to a Gallup Poll published in December 2012, 77 percent of U.S. citizens consider themselves to be Christians (www.gallup.com/poll/159548/identify-christian.aspx). With this in mind, we assume that many in our country have received the gift of love that Jesus has offered. But have they taken the next step? Have they passed on that gift of love the same way Jesus gave it to us, freely and without precondition? Precondition is defined in Webster’s New World Dictionary as “A condition required beforehand if something else is to occur.” That “something else” is salvation.
Paul continued by writing, “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.”
This abounding love takes place as a result of Christ’s love for us. It is not based on emotion, but rather on 1) knowing Christ; 2) reading & studying His Word, the Bible; and then 3) loving people God’s way.
Is that your goal? Abounding love? Webster defines “abound” as “to be plentiful; exist in large numbers or amounts.” So, God has poured out His love on us through His Son’s crucifixion. Christ’s death on the cross paid the price for our sin, giving us the gift of eternal life. Having received that gift, we must love others with an abounding love that will result in others receiving that same gift from God.
The love we share with others will be discovered as we enter into Heaven and see all those around us who are there because of Christ’s love for us and our abounding love for them.
God Bless you! Have a great week! Participate in church this weekend! Be joyful in abounding love!
Tommy Pophin is the pastor of Beulah Baptist Church. You are invited to join him and the congregation on Sunday Mornings at 9:45 a.m. for Sunday School and 11 a.m. for worship. The church is located at 350 Beulah Lane @ Fox Road in Millsap.
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