Sermon:
If this sermon is helpful to you look for my latest book, “The Greatest Commands: Learning To Love Like Jesus.” Each chapter is sermon length, alliterated, and focuses on the life and love of Jesus. You can find it here:

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GOD IS LOVE
Scott R. Bayles, preacher
First Christian Church, Rosiclare, IL

There’s an old song that says, “Love is many-splendored thing.” The very concept of love is one of the most permeating themes in the world today. The Beatles sang about in the sixties. Their message to a hurt and frightened world was, “love is all you need.” According to Amazon.com, there are at least 32,507 books currently in print with the word “love” in the title (over 145,000 that deal with the subject of love) and over 11,000 popular albums/CDs with “love” in the title. If you were to do a google-search on the internet, you’d discover at least 121,000,000 web-sites that that use the word “love” as one of their key words. It’s deniable, how important love is to our culture—to any culture really.

But with all this information available, love has become a very confusing subject. When I watch TV, check the internet, or scan magazines in the checkout lines, it’s clear that our society has a very poor understanding of love. Not long ago, I heard about a single mother with two school age children. This mother had a busy social life—too busy, in fact. When the children got in the way of her fun, she loaded them up with cough medicine. With the kids drugged to sleep, she and the boyfriend of the day were free to do whatever they wanted. Now, I venture to say that if the authorities were to intervene to rescue those children, that woman would protest, “I love my children!” But is that really love? With humanity so confused about love, who is to say what love is?

The answer is—God! One of the simplest and yet most profound definitions of love is found in 1 John 4:8. John, who by the way was known as the apostle of love, wrote, “God is love.” Those three little words ought to fill our hearts with warmth and hope. If those words are true, it makes all the difference in the world! But we need to understand this rightly. “God is love” does not mean that “love is God.” In other words, love does not define God; rather, God defines love. Much of what we call “love” in modern America bears no resemblance or relationship to the holy, spiritual love of God. So it is important that we dig a little deeper into this passage to discover what God’s love really is. In this chapter, John indicates four characteristics of God’s love for you and me, the first of which is that God’s love is a personal love.

• A PERSONAL LOVE

John begins this section of Scripture by saying, “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:7-8 NLT).

I think the overriding impression of
Pastor Bayles, your sermon on God''s love is one of the most beautiful and profound messages I''ve heard. Thank you for sharing this teaching.