Love Knows no Boundaries

1 John 3:14-16
14We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. 15Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 16By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

Webster's dictionary defines valentine as: "a gift or greeting sent or given especially to a sweetheart on Valentine's Day; especially : a greeting card sent on this day b : something expressing uncritical praise or affection a gift or greeting sent to someone special."

God has sent a valentine. It's a message of the love He has for all mankind. From the very beginning God has expressed and shown the great love He has for man.

God expressed His love---in creation. God prepared the earth for man before He created him.

God expressed His love---when He saved Noah's family from the flood. He preserved a seed so man could replenish the earth.

God expressed His love---when He sent Jesus to become a human. Love caused God to become man.

God expressed His love---in the life of Jesus on earth. Acts 10:38 says: God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

God expressed His love---in the death of Jesus. John 15:13 says: Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.

God expressed His love-------in the resurrection of Jesus. John 14:19 Jesus says: Because I live, you will live also.

A true story takes us back to 1884 when James and his friend Jack were the best of friends. So when Jim lost both his legs in a railroad accident, Jack did everything he could to help.

At first, Jim was certain his career with the railroad was finished. Then the company gave him another job: signalman. His outpost was to be a lonely little stop more than 200 miles from anywhere. Jack went along to be whatever help he could be.

Jim had barely recovered from the trauma of a double amputation when the Railroad had given him the new assignment. He would live in a little wooden shack about 150 yards from the signal tower. It was going to be lonely out there and there would be many difficult adjustments. But Jack would help for a while anyway long enough for Jim to overcome those initial adjustments.

In the beginning Jack stuck around mostly for company. He swept out the shack and pumped water from the well and tended the garden...all things that Jack could not do. There was a little trolley...a single seater that led from the shack to the signal tower. Jack pushed Jim on that trolley several times a day and stood there while Jim operated the big levers in sequence. Eventually, Jack got so familiar with Jim's routine that he began to walk out and operate the signal system himself. Sure enough, pretty soon, in addition to house cleaning and the rest, Jack gradually began to take over all the duties for the railroad...though officially he was not an employee! There was a lot to remember on that job, a lot to be done. Daily responsibilities at the signal tower included working the levers as well as the tower controls that opened and closed siding switches. But Jack never complained. After all, Jim was his friend. It was the least Jack could do.

For more than 9 years Jack kept house for Jim. For more than 9 years he made the daily trip to the tower to operate the heavy equipment, until one day when he died of tuberculosis. In all those years, Jack never made a mistake...never threw a switch incorrectly...never sided a car in error. Not one accident or even a narrow miss was reported on that line.

Jack came down with tuberculosis and died 6 months later. He is buried in Cape Colony, South Africa, not far from the outpost where he worked for almost a decade, for his love for a friend. His grave is a silent testimony to selflessness. Oh, by the way, I don't think I mentioned that Jack, Jim Wide's devoted friend, who cleaned house and pumped water and tended the garden and manned the switch tower, was not a man at all. He was a baboon!

Now if an ape can demonstrate that kind of love, can't we who call ourselves Christians be known for our love more than anything else? "God so loved" us that Jesus died for us. We must strive to be an example of that same love to a lost and dying world. Jesus says in John 15:12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. All who love Jesus should show it. His love for us should direct us to love each other. May the Lord help each of us to spread His message of love around the world until He comes.

"God teaches us to love by putting some unlovely people around us.   It takes no character to love people who are lovely and loving to you."   Rick Warren