“The closer we draw to one another, the closer we are allowed to God’s throne” ~ Dean Merrill, Wait Quietly (1994)
Nothing Greater in the Kingdom
There is nothing greater in God’s kingdom than love. There is no height, depth, or width that is greater. There is no person, place, or thing greater. God is love. For that reason, there is nothing greater.
What is love?
“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” ~ 1 John 4:16
Love is the sum. It is everything. It is the beginning and it is the end. It is all that God is.
Love is a creative force. Love created Heaven and all of its hosts. Love created the heavens and the earth. Love creates life.
Love is sacrificial. Love gave up peace in exchange for free will. Love surrendered the right to start over. Love gave itself for all.
Love is a restorative. Love is a provider. Love is a giver. Love is…
Love is a kind word. Love is a warm embrace, a hand, a shoulder, a kiss. Love is understanding, compassionate, considerate, merciful…
Love is a comfort. Love is a visit, a helping hand, a full plate, a warm cup… A “hello”, a “how are you?”…
What is love? Love is what it does.
The Beginning of Love
Mankind was created from the heart of God. He wanted a family to love and to love Him. His love and desire was transferred to us when he molded Adam with His own hands and He Himself breathed life into Adam. To our knowledge, Adam is the only one He created this way.
Love was the order of the day. He placed Adam in a special place created just for him. The Garden of Eden was a paradise on earth.
It contained virtually every provision, except one. That provision was a help meet for him. God created Eve. From man came woman. God had His family.
Can you remember a time when love began for you? The love for your parents, your family members? The relationship or marriage, love for your own children?
“And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” ~ Genesis 2:9
God placed in the midst of the Garden a special tree. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was created as a token of trust. God wanted Adam to rely on Him for everything. He wanted to care for Adam’s every need. Yet He placed the one thing in the Garden that if Adam had for himself, he would think he no longer needed God.
The love between God and Adam was as a Father for his son. Adam wanted for nothing. All that was required of love was trust and obedience. This was Adam’s act of worship.
But there is an enemy that desires worship for himself. He entered the garden and tricked mankind into worshipping the god of self.
“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” ~ Genesis 3:4-5
In so doing, Satan received the worship of mankind through disobedience. Thus, love was interrupted.
We live in a world where love is often interrupted. Death, infidelity, and divorce interrupts love. But more often, hatred, cruelty, a lack of compassion, thoughtlessness, unforgiveness, or being inconsiderate interrupts love more than the former. All are children of the knowledge of evil.
“But after that, the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,” ~ Titus 3:4 (punctuation added)
Leaving mankind in this condition was not an option. Because God knows the end of all things, He was ready. His love for mankind is so great that he orchestrated the plan of redemption. At the heart is His only begotten Son.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,” ~ Ephesians 2:4
His great love is one that sacrifices. His love hopes. His love is full of kindness, mercy, and forgiveness. His love does not love to be loved, but loves for love sake!
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” ~ Romans 5:8
Jesus suffered the cruelty of men and gave his life without seeking retribution, or asking for anything in return. He did it because he loves the Father and he loves mankind.
Do you know someone who truly loves unconditionally? Who loves enough to give their time, money, energy? Who loves enough to endure? Who loves enough to let go of the pain and hurt others have caused them? Who loves enough to sacrifice themselves for the good of others? A rare person these days indeed!
Love is Key to the Kingdom
“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” ~ 1 John 3:16
Do you realize how important it is to love? Not love as we think we know it. I’m talking about the God kind of love. For love is the key to the kingdom!
And God is waiting on the Church to love the way He does. That is the only way anyone will see heaven. Why?
God is Love
“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” ~ 1 John 4:8
We cannot open the bible without reading about it. In fact, its pages speak of nothing else. Why do you think this is so?
Because God is love. We know and state this fact, but do we have and practice His love? We must because without it, our living for Christ is in vain. In fact, if we don’t have His love, He said we can’t even say we know Him!
The Bearer of Love
“And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” ~ Romans 5:5
Now, if we claim to have the Holy Ghost, we have to have love, right? We think we know what love is. If we can go around not speaking to each other, think again! If we can toss a person aside because they don’t agree with us or make a mistake, nope. If we are not seeking another person’s good, I don’t think so.
If Christians mistreat each other, what can the world expect of love? Remember, charity begins at home! By letting go of selfishness, thoughtlessness, inconsideration, gossip, idle talk, slander, worldliness, and the like, love can come in. The Holy Spirit will not dwell in an unclean vessel.
“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” ~ Ephesians 5:1-5
Because we are born in sin, we do not, by nature, know the love of God. The Holy Ghost implants the love of God in our hearts. The question is, have we received it? We want the gifts of the Spirit so we can do great exploits. And we should desire spiritual gifts.
But what did Paul write about that?
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
Everyone seems to be talking about the kingdom. Kingdom level action seems to be today’s ticket to success in Christianity. But the messages are basically the same as before. What is missing? As you can see, love is the key to the kingdom! You can have the gifts and the power. You can have prosperity and success. But without love, it means nothing. And love comes by the Holy Spirit!
Only Love will see Heaven
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” ~ Matthew 7:21-23
What is the will of the Father? To keep His commandments. And what are His commandments? To love!
“And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.“ ~ Luke 10:25-28
And there it is. To inherit eternal life, to live forever, requires one thing above all other. That thing is to love.
“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:” ~ Hebrews 12:14
Love and peace are kinsmen. Don’t think so?
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,” ~ Galatians 5:22
“Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.” ~ Jude 1:2
It’s the Main Thing
People put more stock in how large a ministry is, how eloquent a person preaches, or how popular a person is than the love that person demonstrates.
What we say and do exposes who we are and where our love is. Even how we talk to people shows our love for them.
God is love. God expects love. He demands love. Anything else is heavy and weighty. When Jesus returns, only love will rise to meet him.
The End of Love
Actually, as long as God is, there is no end of love. But this is the promised end of the love saga for mankind…
“And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.
And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.” ~ Revelation 22:1-5
This is what it’s all about. Not money, power, success, prosperity, etc. Those are for this life only. But seek the real kingdom and God will give us what we need. He promised to give us richly all things to enjoy.
Still, these earthly things will pass away. And we might pass away before that happens! Then what will we have? Only what we have stored up.
“Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” ~ 1 Timothy 6:19
And so we conclude with this…
“Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.” ~ 2 Corinthians 13:11
I hope this article was helpful. Thank you for visiting!