class=MsoNormal align=center style='text-align:center'> 1. Opening –
Ø The story is told of Archbishop Usher who was once shipwrecked on the coast of Ireland, and in rather sad shape he wandered to the house of a local pastor. The pastor was quite wary and somewhat cold and incredulous not believing this man to be an archbishop. “How many commandments are there?” he suddenly asked, thinking to detect an impostor. “I can at once satisfy you that I am not the ignorant imposter you take me for,” replied the archbishop; “there are eleven commandments.” “No,” was the sneering comment, “there are but ten commandments in my Bible. Tell me the eleventh and I will give you all the help you need.” “There it is,” said the archbishop, pointing to this verse: “A new commandment I give unto you that you love one another as I have loved you.”
Ø This morning I want to talk to you about that love, the perfect love of God that we are to emulate toward one another.
Ø But how can we love as God has loved us if we don’t better understand what the love of God is?
2. Message = “God is Love”
Ø Turn with me to 1st John 4:7-10 (pg 906) -- READ
Ø Out of this text I want to concentrate on just three words – “God is love.”
3. God is love. This is such an important basic truth, yet, like so many important basic truths in the Word of God, it is frequently ignored, forgotten, or just overlooked.
Ø Read illustration – “Survey . . .”
Ø “62% believe that “there is no such thing as absolute truth.”
Ø Beloved, the Bible is full of absolutes! If you believe that this is the inspired, inerrant Word of God, you must accept what it says absolutely!
4. Now our text – “God is love.”
- You will note that this is not an ambiguous statement.
1) This is an absolute statement about God.
2) This is an absolute statement about the very nature of God.
- This love, which is part of the very essence of God’s being, is agapao love.
1) The Greeks had five words for love (Notice here the limitations of the English language!)
2) Agapao, or agape, is the purest and highest form of love that can exist.
3) It is a love that is totally unconditional (that is, there are no strings attached).
4) It is a love that is not dependent on the response from the one to whom the love is given.
5) It is a love whose heart and soul are wrapped up in God.
- Even though the biblical truth – “God is love” – is not an ambiguous statement, there seems to be much confusion about what love means.
1) As humans, we tend to look at biblical truths from a human perspective – no absolutes, everything relative.
2) We cannot understand what agapao love is if our perspective is clouded by the input of a corrupt world. Instead, we must view agapao love from the pureness of God’s perspective.
3) Love to us has become what the world says that it is:
a) A warm fuzzy feeling.
b) Something that leads to pleasure and/or the avoidance of pain.
c) Something that meets my needs immediately. And, by the way, with no consequences.
d) Love, according to the world, is something that makes me feels good – now.
e) It is all take and no give.
f) For my generation, those of us who grew up in the 60s:
Ø Love means if it feels good, do it.
Ø Unfortunately, we are now paying for that type of “love” with broken homes; drug and alcohol abuse; kids killing kids; aids; suicide; total hopelessness, and despair.
Ø Looking for love in all the wrong places and paying the supreme price for selling our souls in order to find the “love” we thought we wanted but a love that left us empty and void.
g) A current illustration of “love” from the eyes of the world can be seen in the marriage of basketball player Dennis Rodman and rock star Carmen Electra.
1. Rodman and Electra were married last Nov. 14th. After which he is quoted as saying: "I love Carmen and am proud to be married to her."
2. Nine days later on Nov. 23rd, Rodman filed annulment papers to end his marriage to Electra. A spokeswoman for the bride said: "Carmen and Dennis spoke several days ago and mutually agreed (to end the marriage)."
h) This type of “love” has absolutely nothing to do with the selfless love that helps define who God is.
i) It is important to note here that our text == “God is love.” – cannot be translated – “Love is God.” The Greek language will not allow for that. “Love is God” is definitely not a true statement.
j) If it were, man’s definition of love would make God into a self-seeking, sensuous, hedonist.
- In order to understand the truth that “God is love”, we must separate ourselves from all that the world has taught us of love and try to understand love from God’s perspective.
1) When God says that He is love, remember He is speaking from a sinless point of view.
a) God’s love is totally pure! Not only is God sinless, but He has never sinned and never will sin!
b) God does not love intending to get something for Himself in return.
c) God does not love to protect Himself from others.
d) God’s love doesn’t to manipulate others to do His will.
2) When God says that He is love, remember that He is sharing part of His very essence with us.
a) We think of God as being holy – and He is.
b) We think of God as being righteous – and He is.
c) We think of God as being all powerful – and He is.
d) We need to begin thinking of God as love – because He is.
e) He is the perfect example of an unconditional commitment to all of the imperfect beings that walk the face of this earth.
f) His love, so pure and undefiled, led Him to send His Son J.C. to die on the cross for me – and for you! A totally pure and giving love that neither expected nor required anything in return.
g) God’s love is the antithesis of what the world says love is; i.e. His love is the exact opposite of everything the world calls love. Never forget this when speaking of God’s love.
- This brings us to some important questions:
1) If God is a God of love, and He is, then why do so many bad things happen?
2) Why do bad things happen to good people?
3) Why to bad people seem to get all the breaks and good people just get hurt?
- I don’t claim to have all the answers to these and other questions like them. In fact, I have asked these questions myself many times.
- But I believe that a proper understanding of God and His love will give us guidance and will help us as we seek answers to these questions for ourselves and for others.
1) When bad things happen or things happen over which we have no control, remember: 1st that GOD IS! Or in His own words – He is the “I AM”
Ø Without a belief that God IS the very Creator of the universe and IS totally, we can never come to that place where we totally trust Him.
Ø As long as we want to be the “captains of our own fate” we will not submit to God’s lordship.
Ø As long as we allow ourselves to be in control, we will never understand His love.
Ø Until we truly believe that God IS we cannot respond as Paul exhorts us to in 1 Thess. 5:16: “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Ø God is the only One what can see the beginning from the end. He alone knows what will happen in each and every situation and circumstance.
Ø If we believe that God truly IS, then we must learn to look at all our situations through the eyes of trust believing that He knows what is the very best for us. We must die to self and rest completely in Him.
n As a grandfather would I allow my two-year-old grandson to go out into our cattle lot by himself because he sees a little calf that he wants to pet? NO!
n Even if he thought it was cute and he begged me to let him go out there and play with it? NO!
n Even if he cried and pleaded with me? NO!
n Why? Because I know more about the situation than he does. I know that the calf’s mother would not take kindly to him approaching her calf. I know, also, that there is a bull with very large horns lurking around somewhere who could do great bodily harm to him.
n How much more our heavenly Father knows what is best for us! We must trust Him because He IS the very Creator of the universe, IS totally in control, and sees all that is happening !
2) When bad things happen or things happen over which we have no control, remember not only that God IS, but 2nd that God is love.
Ø 1 John 4:10 “This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (atoning sacrifice) for our sins.”
Ø If God said that He is love and that He loves us, we have a choice. We can either believe Him and trust that He is love or we can choose to not believe Him and place our trust in the worldly love of the here and now.
Ø We can choose to allow Him to take control of our lives or we can choose to continue messing our lives up in our self-centeredness.
Ø How does knowing that God is love help when we are faced with difficult times that seem too much for us to handle? Remember:
n God’s perspective is eternal He can see it all. Our perspective, on the other hand, is earthly and therefore limited to only what we can see.
n Our life on this earth, even if for eighty plus years, is but a drop in the ocean of eternity.
n By concentrating on God’s perspective we can learn to say like Paul: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Rom.8:18)
n That glory about which Paul was speaking is a result of God’s wonderful love for us.
3) When bad things happen or things happen over which we seem to have no control, remember not only that God IS and that God is love but 3rd that many bad things happen to us not because of God, but because of sin.
a) We may be suffering because of our own bad choices, the bad choices of others, or because we are a part of a fallen race. Since Adam and Eve, the human race has been subjected to the consequences of sin and death.
b) That’s not God’s fault! It’s our fault!
c) But God in His infinite love and mercy shows us the way even when we are suffering because of sin. He promises that:
n “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful, He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted He will also provide you with a way out so that you can stand under it.” (1 Cor. 10:13)
n James 4:7 “Submit yourself, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you.”
- The Word of God is a black and white Book. There are very few, if any, gray areas in the Bible.
- One of the absolute truths that God wants everyone here this morning to know is that He is love!
- Some of you have never asked J.C. to come into your life and to be your Savior, His love is calling you.
Ø It matters not what you have done in the past, how bad or how good you have been.
Ø God wants to make you a new creation in J.C.
Ø He wants you to know that He is love.
Ø I urge you to allow Christ to have control over your life today. Respond to His love now.
Ø See me after the service, or Pastor Shayne, one of the deacons, or a trusted Christian friend if you have questions about salvation in Jesus. We would like to help you.
- Many of you believers are suffering physically, or emotionally, going through financial difficulties, losing the battle with sin, or struggling with a relationship; God wants you to know that He is love. His love is calling to you this morning.
- God’s pure sinless love is being poured out this morning to all who will receive it. “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” J.C. laid down His life for us – the perfect example of perfect love.
- As we face life’s trials and temptations, remember that GOD IS LOVE! He never tells us that He will remove the trials and temptations, but He does promise to be with us through those trials and temptation.
- Without Him and His love we face a dismal future of self-centered relativism – everyone doing what is right in there own eyes leading to a godless chaos.
- With Him and His wonderful love we face victory over sin and Satan in this day and the beautiful hope of a day when sin will be no more, when sickness and death will be no more, when relationships will be whole, and when we will walk hand in hand with our Savior basking in His perfect love.
- God is love.