Summary: It is important to understand there is a huge difference between knowing that God loves you and experiencing God’s love in your life. This is where so many people fall short.
If you would ask somebody to quote John 3:16, there would be few people who could not do it, particularly people who attend church. But, if you would ask them what it meant you might not get the right answer.
They could tell you the Bible says that God loves the world, but many would not be able to explain it in the scope of personal experience.
If you would ask them why God loves them and how God expresses that love, you might not get much of a coherent answer.
Most people who have gone to church would respond by saying that God died on the cross for our sins and rose the third day and is now in heaven waiting for them to join him.
It is important to understand there is a huge difference between knowing that God loves you and experiencing God’s love in your life. This is where so many people fall short.
Out in the world they believe that they are experts in love. However, they are only experts in lust. All of the songs in the world about love are really about lust. Those who sing the most about love have been married and divorced half a dozen times. As far as they are concerned, love does not last very long.
The love we are talking about when referring to God’s love is that which is eternal. There are no time limits when we are talking about God’s love. One of the attributes of God is “love.” So when God is talking about love he is not talking about it within the confines of time, but that love which is rooted in eternity that has no beginning and no end.
This is something that we cannot really conceive, but through the Lord Jesus Christ we can experience.
The question I posed today is simply this, what is the path that leads us to discover the depths of God’s love?
If I can discover this path and then find out where I am on that path, my life will take on a dynamic I have never experienced before.
The passage in 1:2-4, sets the picture for us as far as divine love is concerned. The woman, The Bride of Christ, is referring to a love here that is “better than wine.”
Wine has to do with time. There is an aging process associated with wine, and so, she is setting the picture here that God’s love is better than anything time could ever produce.
This creates within her a passion to be with him. Human love has a time frame.
In our passage today, I want to point out three stages involved in our discovering the depths of God’s love.
I. The Reality Stage (5-7).
This is the most important stage. This is where it all begins, but many people do not survive this stage.
Most people do not want a real picture of themselves. Even celebrities have their pictures “Photoshopped” so they look a lot better than what they really are. Have you ever seen one of those celebrities without makeup on? It is hard to recognize them.
The woman in our text came to this reality, “Do not look hard at me because I am dark, for the sun has burned me. My mother’s sons were angry with me, and made me take care of the grape-fields. But I have not taken care of my own grape-field.”
Up to this point, she allowed other people and circumstances and situations to define her. Everything that defined her was external.
The point of reality came when she said, “I have not taken care of my own grape-field.”
This is an important crisis in a person’s life. Many people simply collapse here allowing external elements to define and control their life.
This is where we need to come. If we are going to understand God’s love for us, we need to come to this reality stage. I believe this is the initial work of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life.
To break through the exterior influences and get people to see the reality of their own life.
They are not as good as they thought they were…
They are not as bad as they thought they were…
Simply put, they are out of sync with God. God created them for his pleasure, but they are not pleasing God in their present condition.
Along with this moment of reality comes a deep passion for God. “Tell me, O you who my soul loves. In what field do you feed your flock?”
The reality brings her to a point of desiring God.
The harsh reality of this brings a person to the next stage.
II. The Restoration Stage (1:8-11).
The restoration stage is based upon the reality stage. Once a person comes to understand who they are and where they fit in with God, they then come to a point where God can do a work of restoration life.