This is our seventh and final lesson on the good influences that motivate us to obey God. We consider, in this lesson, what is arguably the most powerful influence of all.
1 Love Prompts Us to Obey God
Love is the basis of law. Even the Law of Moses (the old covenant) was based on love for God and fellow man (Matthew 22:35-40).
We walk in love. The Christian walk, our living in obedience to God, is a pathway paved with a special kind of love. We "Walk in love just as Christ loved..."(Ephesians 5:2)
Life is nothing without love. Though we do all manner of great deeds, they have no value unless motivated by love. "If I do not have love, I am nothing"(1Corinthians 13:1-2).
2 Love Can Fail
Love never fails? Paul says, "Love never fails"(1Corinthians 13:8) and this is true when love is kept in line with the love of Christ. But this unfailing love can be spoiled...
Love can grow cold. Jesus said, "The love of many shall wax cold"(Matthew 24:12). To some whose love had done that, he said, "You have left your first love"(Revelation 2:4). Their present love was not true love for it had lost the burning zeal of Christ.
Love can become hypocritical. Paul speaks of "genuine love"(2Corinthians 6:6) and says, "Let love be without hypocrisy"(Romans 12:9). That is to say, we should not put on an act.
Love can become mere sentiment. Feel-good love, that which is just a fuzzy warm feeling, is a deception, a pretty bubble that will burst at any moment. We must "receive a love of the truth"(2Thessalonians 2:10) for this is the only unfailing love.
3 Being Abundant in Love
Receive a love of the truth. The passage we have just noticed (2Thessalonians 2:10) states the first principle of love. True love is first and foremost "the love of the truth."
Love abounds in knowledge. Paul says and prays that "your love may abound still more and more in true knowledge and all discernment"(Philippians 1:9-10). Love will abound only when we "know the love of Christ"(Ephesians 3:19).Note: Paul elsewhere makes knowledge oppose love. "Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up". However he is there referring to false knowledge as against knowing as one "ought to know"(1Corinthians 8:1-2).