How Christians Should Celebrate Valentine’s Day
1 Corinthians 13:8-13
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
9For we know in part and we prophesy in part.
10But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Thursday is Valentine’s Day.
For those who aren’t aware f it…
Brother Gerald has a tradition for the special days in a year.
So this Monday Gerald will take his wife Toni to Wal-Mart…
they will stand together in the Greeting cards section
and Gerald will read the Valentine Cards to her.
Now, that seems to work fine for Gerald…
But I doubt that many men could get away with that.
I asked Iris what she wanted for Valentine’s Day…
And she said “nothing”.
I suppose I’ll find out Tuesday if she was telling the truth!
Have you ever wondered how Valentine’s Day got started?
Here’s the story:
Approximately 250 years after Jesus was born in Bethlehem, there was a priest by the name of Valentine. He lived in Rome. At that time, Claudius was the Emperor of Rome. Some people called him Claudius the Cruel. St. Valentine didn’t like Emperor Claudius, and he wasn’t the only one! Many people felt the same way. Claudius wanted a big army. He thought men should volunteer to join. Many men just did not want to leave home and go off to fight in wars. They did not want to leave their girlfriends and wives. So, not many men volunteered for the Roman army. This made Emperor Claudius very angry. He had a crazy idea that if men were not married, they would be more inclined to join his army. So Claudius decreed that there would be no more marriages. Young people thought his new law was really cruel. Valentine thought it was ridiculous! One of his favorite duties as a priest was to marry people. After Emperor Claudius passed his law, Valentine kept on performing marriage ceremonies – but secretly. He would whisper the words of the ceremony, while listening for soldiers on the steps outside.
We’ll get more of the St. Valentine story a little later!
The title of today’s sermon is:
“How Christians Should Celebrate Valentine’s Day”.
Stand up for the truth and proclaim the Gospel of God’s love
9 I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness
In the great assembly; Indeed, I do not restrain my lips,
O LORD, You Yourself know.
10 I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart;
I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation;
I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth
From the great assembly.
Sometimes it is dangerous
to stand up against injustice, hatred, and prejudice.
Sometimes it is difficult to oppose the world’s view of things.
Sometimes it’s difficult to proclaim the truth of God’s Love.
But that is what St. Valentine did!
And that is what we are called to do!
1 Cor. 1:18 says:
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing…
So we can expect opposition from the unsaved!
Our message is foolishness to them!
It’s not always going to be easy to stand up for Jesus!
It won’t always be easy to tell of His love!
But that doesn’t give us an excuse for remaining silent!
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit
The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 1:16
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
Paul explains how boldness to proclaim the truth comes to us.
Romans 5:5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
It was Holy Spirit power and agape love for Jesus
that transformed a band of scared disciples
on the day Jesus was crucified
into a bold team of Gospel proclaimers.
According to tradition,
all of Jesus’ disciples except John
died horrible deaths rather than deny their Lord.
They all went out under dangerous conditions…
to spread the Gospel.
Paul wrote a letter of encouragement to Timothy.
2 Tim. 1:8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God,
Paul tells Timothy to not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord!
And then he tells Timothy what he might have to face!
“share with me in the sufferings for the gospel”
Not everyone we speak to about Jesus will want to hear it!
Some people may try to stop us!
Some people may choose to avoid us!
Now, let me make one thing very clear!
We should be willing to tell people about Jesus!
But we should never try to ram it down their throats!
Jesus said in John 3:17
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
Unfortunately, many Christians think they are doing right
By running around shaking their judgmental fingers
At lost sinners!
They hit people over the head with a bunch of Bible verses
Trying to convince them that they are going to hell
If they don’t change their ways!
We should never try to lead them to Christ
by being mean-spirited and hateful!
The Gospel is a message of Love!
God loves the sinners!
Jesus loves them so much He was willing to die for them!
But you won’t convince them that the Gospel is true..
And that God really does love them…
If they don’t see some love in you!
Let’s get back to our story about St. Valentine!
One night, Valentine did hear footsteps at his door. The couple he was marrying escaped, but he was caught. He was thrown in jail and told that his punishment was death.
And that brings me to the next point of this sermon!
Die to self for the sake of others.
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
Jesus says that genuine love is seen in a person
Willing to lay down his life for his friends.
When I meet with couples before performing their marriage
I ask them if they would be willing to die for the other.
They always say, “Yes!”
They would die for the one they love.
But in our daily lives
Not many ever face a life or death situation.
We may never ever get a chance to die for another person!
However, every day we do get opportunities to die to self.
We are presented with many situation
to sacrifice our wants for the wants of another.
1 John 3:16
By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
Jesus said in John 15:13
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
Now again, this doesn’t have to be confined
to actually dying for another person!
It can also mean sacrificing your wants for the needs of others!
It can just as easily mean
placing other people’s feelings above your own!
Galatians 2:20 says:
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Paul explains further in Galatians 5:24
And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
The old carnal nature within us that causes us to be selfish people
must be crucified!
The Holy Spirit within us persuades us to think of others!
Ephesians 5:2 says:
And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
You can not “walk in love” and be selfish at the same time!
Try it this Valentine’s Day.
Sacrifice what you want for what your loved one wants.
Let’s get back to our Valentine story!
St. Valentine tried to stay cheerful. Many young people came to the jail to visit him. They threw flowers and notes up to his window. They wanted him to know that they, too, believed in love.
One of these young people was the daughter of the prison guard. Her father allowed her to visit him in his cell. They often sat and talked for hours. She believed he did the right thing by ignoring the Emperor and performing marriage ceremonies.
Let’s move on now to the next point of this message!
Give your life to Jesus
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
O.K. We claim to believe in Jesus and so we are saved!
But are we loving people?
1 John 4:8-9 says:
He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.
If we are truly living through Him then we will walk in love!
1 John 4:16
And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
If we have given our lives to Jesus then we will abide in Him!
To give your life to Jesus means becoming a new creature!
2 Cor. 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
A truly “born again” Christian wants to please Jesus!
1 John 5:3 says:
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
And what commandments is this talking about?
1 John 3:23
And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.
So, we believe in Jesus as the Son of God
who came to save us through His death on the cross
and we choose to love one another!
This “love” that the Bible talks about…
Is the sacrificial “agape” love
That desires nothing but the best for others!
God is love and the source of true love.
Well, let’s see how our Valentine story ends!
On the day Valentine was to die, he left her a note thanking her for her friendship and loyalty. He signed it, “Love from your Valentine.” That note started the custom of exchanging love notes on Valentine’s Day. It was written on the day he died, February 14, 269 A.D. Now, every year on this day, people remember. But most importantly, they think about love and friendship. When they think of Emperor Claudius, they remember how he tried to stand in the way of love, and they laugh — because they know that love can’t be beaten!
God loved us enough to die for us!
St. Valentine loved God enough to die for God’s Truth.
What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day
than to commit or recommit your life to Jesus?
I want to close by sharing some Bible verses about love!
Psalm 36:8 O Lord, how precious is your love. My God, the children
of the earth find refuge in the shelter of your wings.
Psalm 40:12 Your merciful love and your truth will always guard me.
Psalm 13:5-6 But I have trusted in Your steadfast love; my heart
shall rejoice in thy salvation. I will sing to the
Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.
Psalm 19:20 The Lord came to my support. He set me free in the open,
and rescued me, because He loves me.
Psalm 63:3 For Your love is better than life; my lips will praise You.
Psalm 86:15 But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow
to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
Romans 8:35, 37-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall
tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?….No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else is all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
And our Scripture for today says:
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Love is the greatest thing we can possess as Christians!
It is the thing that will last!
When I was in Grade School, we gave out valentines.
That was good for some kids in the class.
The boys and girls who were popular
received more valentines than anyone else.
Some of my classmates got lots of nice valentines!
Others got a few.
And some did not get any.
These Valentines from God are not just for a few.
They are for you…for me… for everyone!
And they are not just for February 14th..
But for every day of the year.
Each day is Valentine’s Day when you are the beloved of God!