Pastor and author Rubel Shelly shared this dramatic true story about the power of Love.
Jason Tuskes was a 17-year-old high school honor student. He was close to his mother, his wheelchair-bound father, and his younger brother. Jason was an expert swimmer who loved to scuba dive.
He left home on a Tuesday morning to explore a spring and underwater cave near his home in west-central Florida. His plan was to be home in time to celebrate his mother’s birthday by going out to dinner with his family that night.
Tragically Jason became lost in the cave. Then, in his panic, he apparently got wedged into a narrow passageway. When he realized he was trapped, he shed his yellow metal air tank and unsheathed his diver’s knife. With the tank as a tablet and the knife as a pen, he wrote one last message to his family: I love you, Mom, Dad, and Christian. Then he ran out of air and drowned.
A dying message –communicated in the last few seconds of life – is something we can’t be indifferent toward. Christ’s final words to us are etched on a Roman cross. They are blood red. They scream to be heard. They, too, say, “I love you.”
Today is Valentine’s Day and people near and far are celebrating romantic love. Romantic love – that exceptional bond of affection between a man and a woman – is special and longed for by many. Thankfully we can know a love that will last, not just for this life, but for all of eternity.
Martin Luther called John 3:16 “the heart of the Bible – the Gospel in miniature.” It is so simple a child can understand it; yet it condenses the deep and marvelous truths of redemption into just a few beautiful words: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Amazing unconditional, unlimited, divine Love motivated the Father to send His beloved Son to earth to die on a cross in order to take our place and pay the penalty for sin that you and I could never pay.
Eleanor Whiteside described it this way, “To make a Valentine God took two shafts of wood and on that wood in love and anguish placed His Son, who gave His heart that mine might be made new.” Isn’t that beautiful! The Father was the first Valentine giver and Jesus was the first Valentine gift!
1 John 3:16 continues this Love theme, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers” (and sisters). How did the Father communicate His love for us? Did He shout it from the heavens: “World, I love you!”? No! He gave His one and only beloved Son for us. How did Jesus communicate His love for us? Did He write a love message on the clouds? No! He gave His life for us. Love is active. It requires giving – not just chocolate and flowers – but a giving of ourselves. Agape love is a sacrificial giving. It is more than simply speaking words of love; it requires the giving of love. True love costs!
1 John 4:19 gives us more insight, “We love because he first loved us.” What God does To you, He wants to do Through you. The Father loves you that you might also pass His love on to others. We know what true love is because He first loved us. We are able to love Him in return because He first loved us. And we can love others because He first loved us. I invite you to receive the Father’s incredible offer of love for you, and then pass it on to someone else.
This Sunday, February 19, will be about Love, specifically Paul’s Love Letter to the Philippian church (Philippians 1:1-11). It’s all about Thanksgiving, Affection, and Intercession. May Honolulu AG truly be a House of Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness! Please invite someone to join you at 10:35am either in the building or online for the Live broadcast on Facebook (Honolulu AG) or our YouTube channel (Honolulu Assembly of God). We Livestream every Sunday morning at 10:35am to both locations.
The 9:30am Adult Bible Class will begin its study of the Book of Romans (1:1-17) this Sunday so please start your day with Bible study.
Aloha ke Akua!