In the sermon above (which kicked off our 8-week series on Love that leads up to Easter) my goal was to help us define love through a careful examination of Biblical principles, theological vision, and a rich understanding of God and the Gospel.
To Define Love
One of my friends, Ronnie Worsham, has this great saying. The basic logic runs like this:
God is the only being in the universe that does not need anything. Therefore, that sets Him apart to be the being who gives and gives and gives. Giving (love) is in God’s essential nature. This reality about God will free Christians up to be able to also give and give (love) because Christians have confidence that God will fill them back up.
Two thoughts on Ronnie’s idea:
- In terms of the sermon above, the working definition of love that I arrived at goes something like this: Love is imitating God by giving of ourselves, especially when it is inconvenient. This is, in essence, my summary of Ronnie’s summary of Ephesians 5:1-2. Ronnie is merely trying to articulate what Paul is saying in Ephesians 5 about love and imitating Christ, who demonstrated love amidst inconvenience throughout His earthly ministry.
- This idea of the Gospel having some element of risk, and yet an element of assurance, is what my friend Owen Strachan was trying to articulate in his book Risky Gospel (I recommend that book to anyone who is interested in this take on the Gospel). Because God is God, we have the freedom to risk in attempting grand endeavors to do Kingdom ministry, such as how we attempt to love people in a radical way or in how we build systems and institutions that promote Gospel ideas for long sessions of ministry.