[1 John 4: 7-10]
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so 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.”
Today’s reading passage 1 John 4:7-8 says, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
It says ‘let us love one another’, and this love is spiritual love.
The easiest way to discern between fleshly love and spiritual love is to check it against the spiritual love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13.
Spiritual love is patient, is gentle, and is not arrogant or boastful.
Those who have fleshly love express their love using so many words. But if they don’t like something about the others, they cannot be patient with them. They get angry toward them and may even begin a fight with them.
Also, spiritual love does not act unbecomingly, and it does not seek its own.
It does not look down on even little ones but considers others better than oneself.
With fleshly love they speak or behave unbecomingly just because they are close to others.
They want to give and receive love in the way that they want, according to their own benefit.
Also, when they love each other passionately, they seem to listen to the other person, but soon the passion of this love cools down and love changes.
We can understand how much spiritual love we have when we check our love with each character of spiritual love.
In the world, some people do love another person unchangingly.
Though it’s rare, sometimes they sacrifice themselves for another person.
Nevertheless, we cannot say their love is spiritual love.
It’s because they cannot give eternal life to the other person as a result of their love.
True spiritual love for another person is the love that makes the other’s soul prosper.
To have this kind of spiritual love, we have to love God first and then love our neighbors as ourselves.
If we love God and truly love the other person, we will also help the other person love God first as well, so the soul of that person can prosper and go into a better heavenly dwelling place.
If you really love your husband, your wife, or your children spiritually, you will not ask them to love you the most, but to love God above all else.
If you really love your parents, you will not only serve them physically but also spiritually.
You will desperately desire to preach the gospel to them so they can go to Heaven, too.
But you should be careful here.
You might say you love them and deliver the gospel to them, but you do not actually show any deeds of service to them, thereby disappointing them. This is not spiritual love.
If you just ask others to come to church along with you without any service or sacrifice from your side, then the heart of the others cannot be moved.
Even if you persuade them with eloquent speech, their hearts will not be moved.
Mark 7:9-12 is the words of Jesus about wrong behavior caused by misunderstanding what is flesh and what is spirit.
It says, “He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition. “For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’ and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother, is to be put to death’ but you say, ‘If a man says to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you is Corban (that is to say, given to God ,’ you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother;”
They do not serve their parents out of their own greed, using God as an excuse.
This is not to serve God but rather to violate His commandments.
Spiritual love also contains substantial service and sacrifice that is done according to the whole duty of men.
In conclusion on this, in order to check if we have cultivated spiritual love, we have to check our love against each character of spiritual love chapter, and whether we want the other person’s soul to prosper and to give our lives for that person.
Brothers and sisters, the reading passage says this love is from God.
The love of love chapter, the spiritual love that makes other people’s soul prosper and gives true life to them, is only from God.
The enemy devil and Satan cannot either give this love or know this love.
Those who belong to the world cannot have true love either.
We can love with spiritual love only when we are born of God.
Namely, we can give spiritual love to the extent that our hearts are filled with the truth after we receive the Holy Spirit and become God’s children.
That is why it says those who have spiritual love are born of God and they know God.
To know God means we do know who God is, not just as head-knowledge, but our hearts are filled with the truth belonging to God.
Because God Himself is love, those who know God, namely those who have knowledge of truth cannot help but love other people, too.
Brothers and sisters, it says God is love, and how can we feel His love?
Sometimes some people say they cannot feel the love of God in their heart.
They say they cannot feel that God loves them because God is not visible.
But God showed His great love through the great evidence that was among us.
The evidence is Jesus Christ.
Today’s reading passage 1 John 4:9-10 says, “By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so 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.”
In order to save the sinners who stood against God and distanced themselves from God, God sacrificed the life of His only begotten Son.
In this is love.
The greatest of all love was shown through this event that nobody could imagine.
God the Creator of the entire universe, and His only begotten Son Jesus came down to this earth in the physical form of the sinners.
He lived a life of poverty to redeem the mankind from poverty, and He redeemed the sinners by receiving the cruel punishment of crucifixion.
Propitiation is peace offering given to make peace between God and men.
Peace offering in the Old Testament times was given when they were thankful for a certain thing, or to please God, or when they were making a vow to set themselves apart for God or to receive an answer to their desire.
Whatever the purpose had been, the basic meaning of the peace offering is to make peace between God and men.
Once peace between God and us is established without any barriers in between, God gives us strength to dwell in the truth and answers the desires of our hearts.
But for us, who were at one time sinners, to have peace with God, there must be the sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins.
And this sacrifice was Jesus, the only begotten Son of God.
Sinners cannot meet the holy God; neither can they communicate with Him nor can they receive answers from Him.
They cannot love God either.
But God loved us first and sacrificed His only begotten Son for the forgiveness of our sins.
In this way, peace was established between God and us, so we can now love God and receive salvation, answers, and blessings.