True Love Includes Animals
An all-creatures Bible Message
True Love Includes Animals A Sermon Delivered to The Compassion Internet Church 18 February 2018 Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
Psalm 25:1-11 Mark 1:12-13 John 3:16 1 John 4:8-9, 16-18
True love includes animals, which is something we should all think about as we enter this Lenten season, for without this pure and unconditional love, we are ignoring what this spiritual season is all about.
Love is also a spiritual commodity, for it can’t be packaged or bought and sold ; it can only be shared with others as many of us did this past Valentine’s Day, but true love includes animals, so we need to share it with the whole of creation, without exception, for that is the only way we are ever going to be able to help free creation from its present corruption.
And while on this subject of true and perfect love, let’s take a look at what we are told in 1 John 4:8-9…
8. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
John is telling us that if our love it not true, or unconditional, or perfect, and includes the whole of creation, then we don’t truly know God. And then John goes on and tells us why.
9. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.
And this is the reason that the Lord gave the gift of the Holy Spirit to all who truly believed, and why when we are born again we receive the same Holy Spirit, to help us live true and loving lifestyles as witnesses to the whole world around us of His love for us and the whole of creation, which includes the animals and the environment in which we all live. Then in 1 John 4:16-18, he expands on his theme of God is love. 16. And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. This abiding love is a two way street between us and God, for we abide in God just as He abides in us. As a result, we share this unconditional abiding love, which in turn we are to share with the whole of His creation, just as if God were doing it Himself.
17. By this, love is perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment ; because as He is, so also are we in this world.
One day in the not too distant future we will all have to come before God and account for the way we have lived. How much better to have lived our lives in this abiding love, rather than live like the rest of the world who cause so much pain, suffering, and death to millions of humans and billions of other animals every year. And hopefully many people have some fear about not living in this abiding love, and not realizing that true love includes animals, for at least they have a chance to repent and become the peacemaking children or God that Jesus calls us all to be. For as John says…
18. There is no fear in love ; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
We can all do better, for if we all abide in this perfect love, we can make a positive difference in this world. And while we are thinking about this perfect abiding love let’s remember why God sent Jesus to be born in this world, as we are told in John 3:16.
16. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. NASB
Note very carefully that we are told that God so loved the whole world, and not just part of it, or certain individuals in it, but He loved the whole world, which includes every other human being, and every animal, and the environment in which we all live. Think about these things as we continue with our Bible lesson for today. David did many evil and ungodly things, including killing humans and other animals, but in Psalm 25:1-11, in his prayer to God, he seems to mostly understand how God wants us to live.
1. To Thee, O LORD, I lift up my soul. 2. O my God, in Thee I trust, Do not let me be ashamed ; Do not let my enemies exult over me.
This could sound like a selfish prayer, unless it also includes the fact that if we are seen as a Godly person, and we inadvertently do something to bring shame upon ourselves, it may cause some people to think that is the way God wants us to be, or that such sins don’t really matter.
3. Indeed, none of those who wait for Thee will be ashamed ; Those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed.
If we are truly intent upon living in the heavenly will of God, then we could never do anything that is treacherous, so anyone who does anything that is treacherous is not a child of God. Waiting upon the Lord means that we are not to act without fully knowing what God wants us to do in that situation and it will always be in His heavenly will. And remember that God’s heavenly will includes unconditional love, and that true love includes animals as well as humans. Then the psalmist adds a personal prayer…
4. Make me know Thy ways, O LORD ; Teach me Thy paths. 5. Lead me in Thy truth and teach me, For Thou art the God of my salvation ; For Thee I wait all the day.
This is the way that we all should be. We should always seek to live in the heavenly will of God, and remember that if anything is unloving, it can’t be from God.
6. Remember, O LORD, Thy compassion and Thy lovingkindnesses, For they have been from of old.
We don’t have to remind God about these things ; He already knows them ; it is we who all too often forget these things.
7. Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions ; According to Thy lovingkindness remember Thou me, For Thy goodness’ sake, O LORD.
If we are truly repentant, then the Lord is faithful to forgive our sins and set us on the path of righteousness. And if we are truly repentant, we will do everything in our power to live and follow this path of righteousness.
8. Good and upright is the LORD ; Therefore He instructs sinners in the way.
The unfortunate problem is that most sinners don’t listen to the instructions of the Lord ; instead they mostly follow the corrupt and evil ways of this world which leads to destruction.
9. He leads the humble in justice, And He teaches the humble His way.
And if these people include truly repentant sinners, then they too will become peacemaking children of God who live in God’s heavenly will and know that true love includes animals as well as humans.
10. All the paths of the LORD are lovingkindness and truth To those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.
So true, and we hope and pray that we are all like them.
This is also why we say that true love includes animals, for in the process of raising and killing animals there is no true lovingkindness.
Even if animals are raised humanely, to slaughter them is an unloving act of betrayal.
Think also about the true aspect of God’s heavenly will and ask ourselves, why are all those engaged in animal agriculture doing everything to hide many aspects of the process from the general public ?
The simple answer is that they are unloving and not in the heavenly will of God.
11. For Thy name’s sake, O LORD, Pardon my iniquity, for it is great. NASB
David’s iniquity was great, as indeed has been many of ours, but as we said, if we are truly repentant, then God is faithful to forgive us and set us up on the path of righteousness and love. Mark 1:12-13 tells us about the time when Jesus was tested in the wilderness…
12. And immediately the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness. 13. And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan ; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him. NASB
And we know that Jesus never succumbed to the temptations of this devil, hopefully as an example to us that we would do likewise. We also find it very interesting that we are told that while being tested by the devil, He was also with the wild animals, and this reminds us that He was also born in a stable with domesticated animals. Animals seem to have always played a part in Jesus’ life, just as they have done in most of our lives, and we are to love them just as God loves us, for true love includes animals. Amen.