I. The Preeminence of Love
A. Last time I taught I spoke about how important the grace of God is and how the New Testament is all about grace while the Old Testament is all about mercy and the difference between the two. Mercy is not getting what you deserve; grace is not getting what you deserve and getting what you don’t deserve.
B. This morning I want to talk about the preeminence of love as taught by the scriptures or in other words that love is more important than anything else.
C. This morning we will define what is love, why is it important and how we should show it.
III. What is Love?
A. We love to use the word love and many times the word love in the way that we use it is not the way that God intends to communicate what He means when He says He loves us. You say I love this chair, it’s my favorite chair and you also tell your spouse that you love them but you clearly mean a difference in the type of love.
B. What is true love? First true love comes from God. Why? Because God is the author of love, in fact God is the very definition of love.
1. 1 John 4:8b “…God is love.” The Bible tells us that God is love. Not that God has love but that He is love.
2. What does God, being love, do? Because if we can see what God does it will show us what He means when He says He is love.
3. John 4:9-10 says “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.”
a) Lets break this verse down. “In this the love of God was manifested toward us…” That means that the love of God was made shown to us through this action.
The word “manifested” in the Greek is phaneroō and it means “to make manifest or visible or known what has been hidden or unknown, to manifest, whether by words, or deeds, or in any other way. a) make actual and visible, realized b) to make known by teaching c) to become manifest, be made known d) of a person 1) expose to view, make manifest, to show one’s self, appear e) to become known, to be plainly recognised, thoroughly understood 1) who and what one is”
b) So God made it known and visible what had been hidden or unknown about who and what He is so that we could thoroughly understand in plain view through the actions and words of sending His son Jesus Christ, His only unique Son, into the world to be the propitiation(the means of appeasing for, or paying for) for our sins, so that we could have the free gift of eternal life through Him. That, is love, even though we didn’t necessarily love Him when He did that. But He did it to show us that He loved us.
C. So God is love and He showed it to us through sending His son, Jesus Christ, to the earth to pay for our sins through His sacrifice on the cross. When you think to yourself what is love like remember the selfless sacrifice that God made by dying a painful death on behalf of those who hated Him so that they might have the chance to know His love.
IV. What is love? (Extended)
A. Ok we have seen then that God is the very definition of love and this definition is demonstrated very clearly by the actions of sending His son to be the propitiation for our sins that we might have life, but the Bible actually gives us more details on the definition of love.
B. The most famous definition of love in the Bible is found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8  Love suffers long [and] is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;  does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;  does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails.. – 1Cr 13:4-8 NKJV
C. The NLT version says Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud  or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.  Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! – 1Cr 13:4-8 NLT
V. Why is love important?
A. Ok, so I understand what the Biblical definition of love is, and it sounds great, but why is it so important? There are a few reasons and we will take a look at them.
B. First let’s go back to 1 John 4:1-21 where we started and see the context about why John was talking about how God is love.
1.  Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,  and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the [spirit] of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.  You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.  They are of the world. Therefore they speak [as] of the world, and the world hears them.  We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.  By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.  And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son [as] Savior of the world.  Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.  And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.  Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.  We love Him because He first loved us.  If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?  And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God [must] love his brother also. – 1Jo 4:7-21 NKJV
2. So the reason that John was speaking about how God is love is because there were false prophets and false teachers out there who were saying they love God but were showing hate to their Christian brothers. We are to test the people who claim to be from God and the first test is to see if they show love or not. If God is the very essence of love then how can you say you know God and hate your brother? That would be impossible. If God lives inside of you then you become incapable of hating your brothers and sisters in Christ. That makes love pretty important because if you don’t have it then you don’t truly know God.
C. Ok so if I don’t have love then I don’t know God. What else does the Bible have to say about the importance of love?
1. Back to 1 Cor. 13 and we see Paul making the case for love. Right after listing all the spiritual gifts in Ch. 12 Paul says this as a heading for chapter 13 stating  But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way. – 1Cr 12:31 NKJV He says that in showing us about love He shows us a more excellent way than all gifts of the Spirit, as excellent and as wonderful as they are love is still more excellent.
2. Why? Because He states “ Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.  And though I have [the gift of] prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” – 1Cr 13:1-3 NKJV
3. We are nothing without love and no matter how amazingly gifted we may be if we do not have love as the motivation for it then it will mean nothing. I mean look at that, though you give your body to be burned and give all your goods to feed the poor but have not love it profits you nothing? Those are some pretty intense good works, but if you don’t do it with love and for love then it means nothing. Later on in this chapter Paul says in verse 13 “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these [is] love.”
VI. How can we show love?
A. We must first know how much God loves us. See Ephesians 3:14-19. If we know the love of Christ which passes all knowledge we will love others. In order to show love we should probably go back and meditate again what is love, in fact we should memorize 1 Cor. 13:4-8.
B. In the end though love is a fruit of the Spirit, so in order to love like God you have to let God love through you.
1.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, – Gal 5:22 NKJV
2. Notice here that the fruit of the spirit is singular notated by the word “is” instead of “are”, this is not a grammatical error. The fruit of the Spirit is singular through love. Then love will produce the rest of the list.
C. How do you do that? It starts by you first coming to know Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Check. Next by asking God to fill you with His Spirit and His love. Check. Ok, now keep praying every day that He keeps filling you with His love. Check. The rest just comes naturally from a daily relationship that you have with the Lord. The more often you spend with the Lord the easier it will be to love like He loves.