Updated: Feb 11, 2020
I. God says it to us
II. God says to show it to others
1 Peter 2:9-12 9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
In the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior, our Brother, our Motivator to let our light shine, dear Christian friends,
“I love you!” To whom will you say those three little, yet impactful, words this week? This is the week you will hear it more often than any because Valentine’s Day is Friday.
The grandma who sends her grandchildren Valentine’s Day cards will be sure to write it. The young couple who are on their first date might be inclined to impetuously say it. The gray-haired couple celebrating fifty years together as husband and wife will say it yet one more time.
Who will speak their love to you this week? Be assured that God does today! Who will receive love from you this week? Be assured that God calls on you to do so. On this Sunday before Valentine’s Day, we take as our theme: I LOVE YOU! I. God says it to you II. God says to show it to others.
I know you are saying to yourself right now, “but, Pastor, the word ‘love’ is not even in these four verses!” Right you are! But the message of God’s love certainly is!
He calls you a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God. He says you are the people of God. He says you have received mercy.
How can this be? How can we have these names and titles and honors thrust upon us? Because God says to you and to me, “I love you!”
Once, we were not a people, in God’s eyes! It was as though we did not exist in God’s mind! We were the walking dead! We were lost, confused, condemned, without hope, without direction, without a future!
We can thank our parents for that. Our first parents Adam and Eve fell for the devil’s temptation in the Garden of Eden and sin came barreling into the once-perfect world God created. Through them and all successive generations, sin has been passed down from parents to children. So, it is not actually our parents’ fault, but it is a natural occurrence that now means each of us naturally begins life with a sinful nature and an eternal death sentence to be handed out by God.
Who would love us? Who would want us to be his own? Who would give up anything— albeit the best thing— for us?
God, that’s who! The one who “does not leave the guilty unpunished” tells us he is the “compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin” (Ex 34:6-7). The one who tells us “the wages of sin is death” also comforts us with the fact that “his gift is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ro 6:23). The one who says “all have sinned and fall short of his glory” also assures us “are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Ro 3:23).
He created us physically and re-created us spiritually. He looked for us when we were lost. He rescued us from the raging fires of hell. He “did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all” (Ro 8:32).
True God Jesus became human for us in order to win our perfection needed to survive before the justice of God. True God and Man Jesus surrendered his life into death on a cross in order that we could be set free from eternal death. True God and Man Jesus rose from the dead to assure us his work of salvation is complete.
Now, we hear these terms of endearment, assuring us we are God’s people and that we are near and dear to his heart: a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God. With these terms, God says to us, “I love you”. You are mine! “I want you in heaven with me for all eternity!”
God also says to us, “Show your love to others!” He says to declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. He instructs us: dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
God speaks to us and what does our sinful nature say in response? “But, God, I don’t want to do those things! It is difficult to declare your praises! It isn’t fun to abstain from sinful desires! Others, especially pagans/unbelievers, don’t deserve my love or your love, God!”
Have you, like me, ignored the opportunity to tell others about Jesus because you were afraid what they might think about you? Were you like me last Sunday and you regretfully watched that entire Super Bowl halftime show of scantily-clad women simulating what otherwise is done in seedy nightclubs instead of turning it off because it was warring against your soul? Did you, like me, fail to live this week in such a way that an unbeliever could be attracted to God’s love because you wanted to fit in and go along with the wrong everyone else was doing?
God says to show love to others. This includes hard work on our part. This involves doing what the unbelieving world thinks is ludicrous. This means attacking and breaking down and crushing the sinful nature inside of us.
God asks a great deal of us and deserves more from us when we consider the great love he has shown to us. “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities…as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Ps 103: 10,12), so “we love because he first loved us” (1 Jn 4:19).
In thankfulness for what God has done for you, show love to others by declaring God’s praises
so they know him as the God who loves and forgives them. Show love to others by abstaining from sinful desires to protect them from your own wicked ways and to keep your own soul from being harmed eternally. Show love to others by living good lives among the pagans, even if they accuse you of doing wrong so they learn what God says about right and wrong and what God has done for all who have wronged him.
No matter what Valentine’s Day means for you or how many times you hear or say the words, “I love you!”, be assured that you are the people of God because God loves you in Christ Jesus your Savior and, because you are the people of God, that he wants you to show his love in the love you have for others.