I can’t say I was ever much of a Beatles fan. They broke up before I started really enjoying music…and, other than a few of their tunes like “Hey Jude,” “Yesterday,” and “Come Together,” none were my favorites.
However, they did one song that is fitting for this sermon:
Love, love, love
Love, love, love
Love, love, love
There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung
Nothing you can say, but you can learn how to play the game
Nothing you can make that can’t be made
No one you can save that can’t be saved
Nothing you can do, but you can learn how to be you in time
All you need is love, all you need is love
All you need is love, love, love is all you need
So, what do you think…is all you need is love?
First of all, what is love? It’s a word we throw around a lot. For instance, I love cookie dough ice cream. I love the way you did your hair. Didn’t you love how that movie inspired you?
Don’t worry…I’m not going to do a sermon on the three types of love in scripture: brotherly, erotic, and agape.
But I do think it’s important to note that when, up here at the pulpit, I speak of love I am speaking of a biblical love, not a worldly one.
Not one of desire or one of flippant use.
But is love all you need?
[ These are quick sermon notes…not cleaned-up…and missing the “extras” that come out in the audio (which is available here). All quotes are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted. ]
And Scripture makes it clear that love, the correct kind of it that is, is important. Perhaps the most obvious time it does this is when it puts love above all else:
13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:1-13).
I suspect everything would be better if, every morning, the whole world read those versus before interacting with another human being.
The greatest of these is…?
Not only does 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 tell us that, but it tells how true love is. True love isn’t lust. True love isn’t getting what you want. True love isn’t of wrongdoing.
It is patient. It is kind. It isn’t arrogant. It isn’t rude.
Well, if I am not careful, I’ll just regurgitate the whole chapter again. 🙂
But, going back to my original question, is all you need love?
Here we’ll use a little, simple logic to answer that question. 1 John 4 gives us the foundation for our logical conclusion in its eighth and sixteenth verses:
8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love (1 John 4:8)
16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him (1 John 4:16)
Have any of you had a math class where you had to do logical proofs? There is a fundamental property…the symmetrical property…that if a = b then b = a.
First John tells us that:
God = love.
Thus, based on the symmetrical property:
Love = God.
Obviously, we have to be cautious and not suddenly assume every time in the Bible we see the word “love” we can just substitute “God”…but it can be very fitting. For instance, looking at 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and doing the replacement:
4 God is patient and kind; God does not envy or boast; He is not arrogant 5 or rude. He does not insist on its own way; He is not irritable or resentful; 6 He does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 God bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
That substitution works pretty well, doesn’t it?
God = love.
Love = God.
Now, given that, is all you need is love?
Not The Beatles’ kind of love.
All you need is love because God is love and God is all you need.
God So Loved…
Considering the discord in the U.S. That we are all constantly bombarded with…and perhaps…to often involved with…I want to pretty much stop here and just ask you all to consider your great need…my great need…our great need…
However, before I end, let’s consider two more scriptures. What good is having love…or rather…how can we think we have love…have God…if it…if He…does not affect our behavior?:
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us (1 John 4:7-12).
If we have love…
And yes, in over-simplified terms, all we need is love…
If we have love…we will exhibit the characteristics discussed in 1 Corinthians 13 and in 1 John 4.
And we should…because it is love that saved us:
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
Beatles “Love” album cover from Amazon Music.