The Love Test Matt. 22: 36-37 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
When you go to the doctor for your annual physical, he or she sends you to the lab for a blood test to see how you are doing physically. When you take a class in school, the teacher gives you a comprehension test to see how well you are learning the material. When you apply for a driver’s license, you are given a driving test to determine your driving proficiency. Tests that “check you out” are common.
So, today you are going to take the love test to see how much you love the Lord. I am sure that you believe that you love him. Just as I’m sure that when you take these other tests, you want to believe that you are in good health, that you are knowledgeable of the information required to pass the test, or that you are a skilled driver. But not until you have completed the test do you know for sure whether you are in good health, knowledgeable or proficient.
We need the love test. Even the great church of Ephesus [patient, hardworking, separated, truthful, and steadfast] in Rev 2:1-5 had left her first love. If a church like that could leave her first love, we need to test our love to be sure that our love for the Lord Jesus Christ is strong and growing. Like Paul said, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves,” [2 Cor 13:5]. We need to be “rooted and grounded in love” [Eph 4:18]. We need to “walk in love” [Eph 5:2].
So, here is your love test. You can tell how much you love the Lord by how much you:
Love the following: (these are a negative test – if you love them you don’t love the Lord)
- Pleasing people – Jn 12:43 – they loved the praise of men
- Yourself – 2 Tim 3:2 – they love themselves
- Pleasure – 2 Tim 2:4 – they love pleasure
- Sin – Matt 24:12 – they love iniquity [therefore their love waxes cold]
Obey him – Jn 14:21, 23 – He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. If you’re not even reading his words, how in the world could you say that you are keeping them?
People say that in the New Testament we don’t keep the law and others say that we can’t keep the law. But 1 Jn 5:3 says, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” So, your obedience is a great way to evaluate your love.
Sacrifice yourself to him – Rev 12:11 – they loved not their lives unto the death – Acts 20:24 Paul said, “…neither count I my life dear unto me” – Phil 1:21 Paul said, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” – we are to present our lives a living sacrifice to God – if you’re still having trouble making just one service every week or so, don’t give yourself a very high grade on the love test – you are far, far from making a sacrifice and from fully loving God.
Labor for him – in 1 Thes 1:3 Paul commended the Thessalonians for their labour of love – when you love the Lord, you desire to labour for him and to serve him – Peter’s love was proved by feeding the Lord’s sheep [Jn 21:15-17], Epaphroditus’ love was proved by serving Paul on behalf of the Philippians – what are you doing for the Lord that proves your love for him?
Give to him – 2 Cor 8:8 Paul said, “I speak… to prove the sincerity of your love.” Men who concern themselves with whether the tithe is for New Testament Christians don’t love the Lord nearly as much as they think they do. If they loved him fully, the thought of giving less than the tithe would never even cross their mind. Men and women who love the Lord, love to give “for God loveth a cheerful giver,” [2 Cor 9:7] – your check register will tell you what you love.
Love his brethren – you may not think that your love for the Lord is measured by your love for the brethren, but it is. Look at these verses:
- 1 Jn 4:20-21 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also
- Jn 13:34-35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
- Jn 15:12-13 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
- 1 Pet 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently
Conclusion: There are not any folks here today who would stand up and say, “I don’t love the Lord.” To the man, the woman and the child, we would all stand and say, “I love the Lord.” So, if it is your intention to love him, you should love him with all of your heart, soul and mind. If you have discovered an area of deficiency in your love for the Lord this morning, then, like the church of Ephesus, “Remember therefore from whence thou are fallen, and repent, and do the fist works,” [Rev 2:5].