1 Peter 4:8
As I knelt in prayer the other day the most amazing thought came into my mind and I joyfully uttered it back to the Supreme One in prayer. The thought was He knows all about me and still loves me. He loves all of me – body, soul and spirit; past, present and future. Sometimes it’s hard to fully comprehend that, even the part we try to hide from everybody else. He knows all about it, and He still loves us. I really think that will preach - not just on this Valentine Day 2021, which happens to fall on a Sunday, but every day. It’s still the best sermon that any of God’s messengers, sent to represent Him, can deliver and convey to a dreadfully lost and dying humanity – the love of God, not just for good and righteous people but especially for the lost and dying.
Preachers let’s tell them again “For God so loved the world, that He gave us His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth it in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Thank God for John 3:16! What majestic words! How beautiful and simple! It simply describes the love of the Infinite/Creator God for His cosmos. The cosmopolitan love of the Eternal One for all of His creation, is herein expressed and described. It tells of the Creator/God infused with so much love for this world of His creation, that He devises a way of redemption in order to bring fallen humanity back into fellowship with Him and only for the now, but for the eternal hereafter. Some of this is captured in the lyrics of that beautiful contemporary Christian song:
“You didn’t want heaven without us
So Jesus, You brought heaven down,
My sin was great, Your love was greater
What could separate us now?”
Thank God for loving us! Thank God for the reality and power of His divine agape love. The love that sees us and knows us as we are but is possessed with so much love for us, that His love covers all our sins and gives us the grace to come out from sin and to do like He tells us “. . . Go and sin no more” (John 8:11). Thank God we get to bask in that most unusual love every day. Truly in the words of Johnathan McReynolds, we concur “I’m not lucky, I’m loved.” We still raise our voices and sing lustily “Jesus loves me this I know . . .” He sees us just as we are, knows all about us and still loves us.
If Jesus who is the Son of God and God the Son can fully truly know us and love us still, surely we can genuinely know each other and still truly genuinely love each other. Let us keep it plain and real and not get it twisted, the Bible says, “Love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). It commands us “ . . . Love each other deeply” (1 Peter 4:8 NIV). Notice carefully how it is foreworded “Above all, love . . .” (1 Peter 4:8 KJV). This is primary! This is essential to our Christian faith and testimony. We are nothing, become nothing, have nothing, without love (1 Cor 13:2,3). This is not a church – without love! In Christian theology when all other virtues fade or pass away, love shall forever abide (1 Cor 13:13). It is the greatest of all virtues! “My little children let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18), John the apostle of love states. The apostle Peter says, “. . . See that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently” (1 Peter 1:22). “. . . Love one another deeply, from the heart” (1 Peter 1:22 NIV).
Leroy V. Greenaway
Regional Bishop – Northeast Region
February 13, 2021
In collaboration with our District Overseers, the Church of God of Prophecy submits to the wisdom of continuing to ‘Shelter in Place’ for the safety and protection of the flock. This is to be observed until further notice and the present virus is better contained. Should the need arise to meet, we are advised to meet in groups of no more than 10, while we strictly observe the protocols of social distancing, wearing of masks and aggressive sanitizing of our hands and surfaces frequently touched.
Please let us patiently observe these practices to keep each other safe and alive. We are reminded that we are indeed our brother’s keeper. Stay home! Stay Healthy! Stay Hopeful! We shall soon get through this! Premature re-openings of our churches seem not to be the wisest way to go at this point. Let us continue to pray, caring for each other and staying connected.
Leroy V. Greenaway
Regional Presiding Bishop — Northeast Region