This series by Rev. W. Antoni Sinkfield, Pastor of Bethel AME Church in Nashville, looks at the many dimensions of love and how God’s love comes to us on its way to someone else. The series is written in the preaching style the African Methodist Episcopal tradition.
Title: Love on a Cross
Text: John 15:12 – 14
Thesis: In spite of the various manifestation of love in the world, God in Christ on the cross is the only legitimate expression of REAL LOVE.
Introduction: What does it really means to love and be loved? To be loved, for many, is having a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a lover, or a significant other. But we’re not really loved if the object of our love isn’t willing to give up who they are to be a part of who we are. For the object of our love must be willing to give up and give in to some things so that we’re as blessed as we can be.
Transition: And so, when I sought real love for my life, I discovered “can’t nobody do me like Jesus!” For Jesus is the greatest price being paid; the greatest humiliation on parade; the greatest cornerstone being laid; and the greatest sacrifice being made—just for us! And when our sin was introduced to His salvation, we met and embraced Him as “Love on a Cross!” For “Greater love has no man than this that He lay down His life for His friends.” And Jesus is “Love on a Cross” for His love isHis undeserved acceptance and His unearned embrace of us on Calvary’s cross.
Points: And Love on the cross not only saves us, but it also blesses us with some other wonderful love gifts. For Love on the cross gives us. .
- Lifting from lows
- Destiny out of defeat
- Profit from a price
Close: And there is no greater love than this! For the greatest love there was, there is, or there ever will be is Jesus Christ as Love on a cross!
Title: Love in the House
Text: John 13:34–35; 1 John 4:7–8; 11–12
Thesis: God’s love sacrificed Christ to establish a place (the church) in the world that is moved, motivated, and maintained by love.
Introduction: Jesus’ love for us moved Him to offer Himself as the perfect sacrifice on the cross. For His aim for His spiritual offspring (the church) was that we would give the world the exact same thing He gave us. He sacrificed His all so that His Kingdom would come—and His Ministry would be manifested to the world in His House of Love.For He was “wounded, chastised, and bruised”that there might be “love in the house.”
Transition: And the world needs to see in us and through us how it looks when Love is in the House!
Points: For we should show the world that Love in the House includes:
- Love for one another
- Love for God’s Word
- Love for the strangers among us
- Love for praising God
Close: And so, we celebrate the fact that Jesus paid a great price for Love in the House. For the Church can only fulfill her calling to be a life-changing, haven of hope if Love is in the house. For Jesus (God’s Love) died on the Cross to resurrect, redeem, and restore love in the house.
Title: Love’s Occupation
Text: Romans 12:9ff
Thesis: The primary assignment for every Christian is to be about the business of performing the work that love manifests in our lives.
Introduction: The word occupation means one’s usual or principal work, business or vocation. And our occupation, as Christians, is to love God and one another as God has first loved us. For love’s principle work, business, employ, and occupation is to love God with all we are; and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Transition: And it is this issue of love’s occupation that Paul is addressing with this Roman Church. For Paul heard there was dissension between the Gentile majority and the Jewish minority in that church. And because of the mire of relational madness in this church, Paul wrote them to tell them about love’s occupation in the church. And love’s occupation is. . .
- To outdo one another in love (vv. 9 – 10)
- To zealously and ardently serve God and one another (v. 11)
- To humbly and harmoniously uphold one another (vv. 12 – 16)
- To peaceably live with one another (vv. 17 – 21)
Close: Paul called their attention to love’s occupation because he was fully aware of Love’s PRE-OCCUPATION! For he knew that before love could work in us, love was already working on us! “For God so loved the world. . .” THAT’S LOVE’S PRE-OCCUPATION! “But God demonstrated His love for us. . .” THAT’S LOVE’S PRE-OCCUPATION! “Greater love has no one than this. . .” THAT’S LOVE’S PRE-OCCUPATION! And since that was Love’s Pre-occupation for us, then love should find its occupation in us!
Title: Love Makes the Difference
Text: Matthew 22:34 – 40
Thesis: The love of God manifesting itself in us is the key to each church, and each Christian actualizing the true nature of the Christian faith.
Introduction: Love is the most pre-eminent, profound, and powerful forces in our world. And too often, our world unfortunately reduces this reality of love down to simple sexuality, uncontrollable emotionalism, or an irresistibly irreverent attraction from one person to another! But this kind of love is predominantly self-centered and minimally God-centered.
And so, if we want to know love that makes a difference, we should not look to the world—but we should look to GOD’S WORD!
The Narrative:For in our text, Jesus is confronted by a Mosaic Law scholar with the question: “What is the greatest commandment in the law?” And Jesus said: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. This is the first and most important commandment. The second is like it. ‘Love others as much as you love yourself.’ All of the Law and the Prophets are based on these two commandments.’”For everything in life rotates and revolves around LOVE.And the chief duty of humankind is to LOVE God with a reckless abandon and an unrestrained passion—and to make God the focus of our lives and the subject of our devotion.
But then, Jesus also said to ‘love your neighbor as much as you love yourself!”For the way for us to PROVE our love for God is to SHOW our love for our neighbor.
Close: And the question that we must ask and answer is: How close are we to understanding this love that makes such a difference in our lives?”For if we understand what Jesus is saying, then we also understand that love makes the difference in our lives and in our ministry.