We have been looking at characteristics (or attributes) that key missionaries in the Bible had in common. Each of these men were different. Each of them had different backgrounds, different “mission fields”, different results. At the same time, each of these missionaries had things in common. Today we are going to be looking at love. Love should be the driving force of every missionary. It is not the love for people (although that is important), but love for God that should propel the believer to the mission field to proclaim salvation in Jesus! Although I think that most don’t need examples of this, here are a few…
- Paul spoke of love in 1 Corinthians 13. The word in the KJV is charity, it simply means “love”. The Greek word “agape” (in one form or another) is used 258 times in the New Testament. The word means “a sacrificial love in action”. This is best exemplified in Jesus (more on that later).
- “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling 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, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
- Paul speaks to the Corinthian church about love. He explains that if he had all sorts of spiritual gifts, but did not have agape love, he was nothing more than a “tinkling cymbal”. Spiritual gifts are wonderful, but do not take the place of love. Paul went on to explain that good works and great acts of sacrifice is worth nothing apart from love.
- Paul showed the love of Christ to people who believed, to people who would turn on him, to people who rejected the Gospel, to people who maliciously sought to kill him!
- Jesus spoke of love many times. In fact, the “agape” word was used by or about Jesus in the Gospel records 49 times!
- Here are a few examples…
- “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
- “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:35
- “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
- “But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” Luke 6:35
- One of the first attributes of God that comes to mind is love. Jesus has great love for the Father and great love for the world!
Again, there are many different examples of this, these are just examples. How can we be missionaries, ambassadors on the behalf or our God is we are not filled with, motivated by, and driven by love? Our God is love. God loves His children. God loves the lost! We should be filled with this same love!