• The Encourager

No Greater Love - February Edition




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. (John 3:16)


We often think of February as a month that we express love to those very special in our lives. This love is very unique and wonderful to each of us. But there is no love that can compare to the love God has for each of us. This love surpasses all understanding.


God so love the world (unconditional, by choice, an act of free will, unconquerable benevolence and good will). “So loved” is a term marking the degree of intensity. God thus loved; not passively, but actively to the extent of giving His beloved Son for human redemption. God’s deepest desire is to have man restored to Himself. In order for that need to be met “He gave”.


World stands for all people. This passage of scripture therefore emphasizes the universal love of God. He loves the whole world and wants all to be saved, but He will not force no one to yield to His plan. When He made man, He gave him freedom of choice. He will not invade this freedom. Jesus said, Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me. (Revelation 3:20)


Let’s take a deeper look at the chosen scripture, this verse reveals the heart and purpose of God’s love. God gave His Son as an offering for sin on the cross. The atonement proceeds from the loving heart of God. It was not something forced upon Him. There is also something man must do, that is to believe. To believe includes a sure conviction that Jesus Christ is God’s Son and the only Savior for lost humanity. It also includes a self-surrendering and obedience to Christ.


The scripture also says “should not perish,” perish is often the forgotten word in this verse. It points to the dreadful reality of eternal punishment. The Bible teaches that one’s existence does not end at death, but continues on forever either in the presence of God or in a place of punishment. Eternal life is the gift God bestows on those who believe and who are born again. Eternal not only expresses perpetuity but also the quality of life, a divine type of life that frees us from the power of sin and Satan.


God gave to us first. He is our role model for giving. God’s motivation for giving was love. Ours must be too. All our actions must be promoted by love. If love is not the compelling force it’s all in vain. I Corinthians 13:2–And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned; and have not charity, (love) I am nothing. God gave His very best! He expects the best from us.

God’s love is full of compassion. But thou, O Lord; art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. (Psalm 86:15). Compassion in Latin means “suffer with.” It also means someone else’s heartbreak becomes your heartbreak. Another’s suffering becomes your suffering. Isaiah speaking of Jesus; Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God; and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:4-5)


One day while Jesus was teaching His disciple, He suddenly changed the subject and spoke these words to them: This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:12-13).


No higher expression of love could have been given. It also shows us the extent of His love. He gave Himself up, not to common suffering, but to the most bitter, painful, and protracted sorrow. Christ says here that the greatest love that anyone can show toward his friends is to die for them. He says for His friends because He is addressing His friends. Verse 15–Henceforth I call you not servants for the servants knoweth not what his lord doeth; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. One of the highest honors on this earth is to be a friend of Jesus and for Him to be your friend.


Jesus is a friend that sticks closer than any brother. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Even when your back is against the wall, He’s there to give you a helping hand. You can call him any time of day or night. He’s never too busy to answer your cry. He is a present help in time of trouble. He’s a burden bearer and heavy load sharer. He’s a great listener, you can talk to Him about anything and He will never reveal your conversation. In those lonely hours, He’s a great consolatory.


I have tried to express in part the love of God, demonstrated through His Son Jesus Christ. This same love according to Romans 5:5... Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. This type of love is called Agape. It describes the unconditional love God has for the world. It is self-giving love that gives freely without asking anything in return, and does not consider the worth of its object. It also denotes an undefeatable and unconquerable goodwill that always seeks the highest good of the other person, no matter what he or she does.


Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and every one that loveth is born of God; and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. (1 John 4:7-8). Love is a character trait of God. This verse makes that clear. We love God because He first loved us. Because God loved us, we are to love one another the same way with unconditional love.


Love has patience with imperfect people and is kind, active in doing good. Love vaunted not itself and is not puffed up, treating others arrogantly. It does not behave itself unseemly, but displays good manners and courtesy. Love seeketh not her own, insisting on its rights and demanding precedence; rather, it is unselfish. Love is not easily provoked; it is not irritable or touchy, rough or hostile, but is graceful under pressure. Love thinketh no evil; it does not keep an account of wrong done to it, instead, it erases resentment. Love rejoiceth not in iniquity, rather rejoiceth in truth. It beareth all things; defending and holding others up. Love believeth the best about others, crediting them with good intentions. Love hopeth all things; never giving up on people, but affirming their future. Love endureth all things; persevering and remaining loyal to the end.

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Harris Temple has a very interesting journey in which few to none are able to accurately account when the church was actually formed. Harris Temple, formerly known as Elba Church of God in Christ is believed to have started in the early 20s in a building behind the home of Scott & Christine Lindsey on Adams Street. The saints held prayer meetings and bible studies on a weekly basis and began to search for a preacher to help them organize a church.

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Phone: 334.897.2332

 

747 Adams Avenue

Elba, Alabama 36323

 

harristemplecogic@yahoo.com

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Harris Temple Church of God In Christ - Elba, Alabama