Preaching summary of Dr. Péter Hack 2022.02.13
The concept of love in the Church is not identical with the world’s concept of love. Love in the Bible is victorious: it overcomes the world. One can only win through struggle which is against obstacles and enemies. The love in our heart is created by the Holy Spirit.
Apostle Peter went through a huge tribulation during the night when Jesus was arrested. Peter disowned him three times, he did not dare to make a stand for Jesus. After Christ resurrected, he asked Peter to confess that he loves Jesus three times. Peter could truly perform this after he had been filled with the Holy Spirit (in other words, after Pentecost). He did this without having any interest in doing so, but merely, because he knew that Jesus is the Son of God who “was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification”. This love motivated Peter to spend even more time with the Lord and to get to know him better.
The Apostles were ready to give up everything to follow Jesus. They even became martyrs. Seeing this, A vast number of people conversed and followed God disinterestedly.
The Church goes through a test of love which reveals who belongs to God. Jesus said that greater love had no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. This godly love makes sacrifices. Relate to God in the same way in which we want to be treated. According to Apostle Paul, conversion is an engagement with God. The Holy Spirit prepares the Church (the bride) to the wedding. Only the Father knows the date of the wedding. Jesus comes back for the Church and brings it into heaven.
One has to renew his way of thinking after conversion. The relationship of the bridegroom and the bride requires a mutual commitment. The aim of the engagement is to find out whether the relationship is functional or not.
It is normal in this period of life to experience a mutual longing for each other: the engaged couple enjoys spending time together. It is not easy to find your true love. If you manage to find him or her, the world almost narrows down to that person.
God claims about himself that he is a jealous God. He compares the relationship of God and Jerusalem to marriage. He found his people in the desert. They were similar to an abandoned person who was noticed by God, cleansed and beautifully dressed for her husband, the Lord. We go through the same by conversion. There is a correspondence to this in terms of the marriage between a man and a woman depicted in the New Testament.
The role of a husband is to feed and adorn his wife not only in a physical sense but also by honouring her and letting her know that she is the most beautiful and most valuable woman.
In biblical marriages the wife mirrors the condition of her husband. Therefore, if there is a problem with the wife, problem solving has to be started with the husband. The relationship of them has to be renewed every now and then so that it does not get cold. Similarly, we feed the fire in the stove, otherwise the fire goes out. The relationship of God and Jerusalem was spoiled because of unfaithfulness. The people of Judah, as the symbol of God’s wife used the blessings of God – the beauty and wealth he gave her – to seduce other men and to become a prostitute. Judah followed untrue ideologies and used its blessings to get in touch with other ungodly people. This resulted in God’s judgement; the same can happen to the Church if it becomes unfaithful. The promise of God’s mercy means good news. He enters into a covenant with Judah and Jerusalem, and with the Church. One’s relationship with God should be similar to his relationship with his most beloved one: he should please God.
Those who love God love to spend time with him and to listen to him. Time spent together should be the kindest and most valuable for a married couple. There is no room for any stranger in this relationship.
According to apostle Paul, the members of the Church have to be obedient to Christ, just like a wife to her husband. Both in engagement and marriage those involved should provide their best, as he wants the same from the other.
If you really love your spouse, you are ready to make a sacrifice for him or her, to change and to leave bad habits.
If the love of Christ reaches you, it overflows and makes you able to hand it on to your family members. By depicting the engagement and marriage between human beings in the Bible, God gives a motif of His Love.
People of the world confuse the concept of love with their own desires. They expect from the other to fulfil their desires and they call it love. The love of Christ is different: it primarily longs to give. If you own this love, it appears in your family, too. This love circulates between God and you only if you have the present of celibacy, which is not based on human decision. However, for those who do not own this, “it is better to marry than to burn with passion”. In this case, love circulates among family members and neighbours, fulfilling the two most important commandments, which are to “love the Lord your God” and to “love your neighbour as yourself”.
You need to reinforce this love in your life to reach victory. The relationship of God based on love manifests itself in engagement, marriage and relationships between the members of the Church, too.
One can be transformed by love. If you long to be united with Christ, you have to follow him unconditionally. If you fulfil this, your marriage will become a standard for the people in the world because they will see the harmony in a long marriage, too. This harmony reaches all your relationships and you become “the light of the world”. God’s desire is to transform us through his love because the time of mercy is still here. The time of judgement will come, but you should aim not to meet that.
The love of Christ seeks how it can do something good for others. It is best if everyone in Church aims to reach this in order to expel jealousy from Church. Cleansing ourselves – as it happened many times before – will be followed by miraculous signs and wonders.
- John 5:1-5
- Corinthians 11:2
- Matthew 25:1-13
- Ezekiel 16:1-2, 8-19, 25-26, 36-40, 60-63
- Ephesians 5:22-33
- Corinthians 7:32-33
- Romans 13:8-10, 8:37-39
The text was translated by Janina Dezső on the basis of the notes of Hrabovszki György.