Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's Day - Topic: Love

Origin of Valentine's Day.

There are several "St. Valentines" from the early church era, but our focus is Valentinus, a priest who lived in 3rd. century Rome.

Emperor Claudius II (aka: Claudius the Cruel) was having difficulty keeping the troop numbers up in his armies. Many men didn't want to leave wife and family and go off to war, AND Claudius preferred single soldiers anyway. So, he outlawed marriage among men of military age.

Valentinus continued to perform marriage ceremonies for couples - though in secret. He was discovered, arrested, condemned. He was beaten with clubs, then stoned, and then beheaded.

He was executed Feb. 14 (approximately) 269 AD. In 496 Pope Gelasius declared Feb. 14th. "St. Valentine's Day".

Valentine's Day in the US is 2nd. only to Christmas in the number of greeting cards sent.

So - the topic is love! We could go to Song of Solomon, or I Cor. 13, but instead,
Luke 23:26-48 and John 3:16

Note: this word love is not eros, stergo, phileo. It is Agape.

The definition of agape is:
1. the love of God
2. directed toward man - Rom. 5:8
3. expected of man - Matt. 22:36-40

With that as a base, let's talk about people.

I. General Observations.

#1. People are a pain (problem)
Because: A. they are sinful Rom. 3:23
Therefore: B. they are selfish
That does not mean there is no good in man. On one hand, we are made in God's image.
On the other hand, that image reflected in us is like looking into a foggy mirror.

BUT:
#2. People are God's most precious possession.
(God hasn't rejected us because of our sins.)
As seen in:
A. Christ's coming - He bore our sin, forgives, adopts, keeps
B. Heaven's landscape - only people from this world will be in heaven.

#3. People need God (which is why Christ came!
You can live without Him, you can die without Him. BUT, you can't live as you were designed to live, intended to live, should live without Him. There is a "God-shaped" hole in man that can only be filled by God.

#4. People need people. (this is also by God's design)
A person cannot be born, grow, develop, achieve, prosper, etc. without others.
It's true that "all I need" is provided by God.
However, that provision is usually met through people!
The point being - our inter-dependence

II. Personal Application

#1. You're a people - (not a Pukah, Klingon, Ewok, etc.)

Therefore:
#2. You're a pain (problem) (If you are a Christian, then you are a "sanctified pain")

BUT:
#3. You are (also) very precious to God.
No matter how big a pain you are, or how much pain you cause others

AND:
#4. You need GOD
A. you can live without Him, BUT not as you should.
B. you find Him in and through Christ

#5. You need (other) people
as you cannot prosper physically without others
so you cannot prosper mentally, emotionally, spiritually without others. God's design to fill this need is called church.

#6. (other) people need you. God's design is give and take.
John 13:35 Life is not just about you.
"One another" is used 38 times in the New Testament in command form.

love one another
be devoted to one another
honor one another
live in harmony with one another
stop judging one another
accept one another
instruct one another
greet one another (with a holy kiss)
agree with one another
have concern for one another
bear one another's burdens
serve one another
be patient with one another
be kind to one another
be patient with one another
speak to one another
submit to one another
forgive one another
admonish one another
encourage one another
spur one another on to good works
confess sins to one another
pray for one another
don't slander one another
offer hospitality to one another
minister your gifts to one another
"you also should wash one another's feet" - John 13:14

John 13:35 - "by this will all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another" - Add the proper word: feel love, claim love, seek love, profess love, promote love...... or EXPRESS it!! with Actions!!

You cannot accomplish this by merely meeting and mingling, but only by meshing, ie. letting our lives become woven together.

"VALENTINE" exchange. #1. Pray for your valentine
#2. pray for yourself that you'll become a better Valentine.

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