Sermons

Summary: We are never nearer God than when we love, and we are never nearer to being what he wants us to be than when we love.

Tolstoy wrote a story called "Where Love Is, God Is." It is about

an old cobbler named Martin who lived alone. One night as he read

the story of Jesus visiting the Pharisee, and the poor welcome he

received, he prayed that the Lord would visit him. In his sleep he

heard a voice saying, "Tomorrow I shall come."

The next day Martin waited all day for his visitor. He saw a poor

old man sweeping snow, and he called him in from the cold and gave

him some hot tea. He kept looking out the window and the old man

asked, "Are you expecting someone?" Martin told him of the voice.

Sometime later he saw a shivering mother with her crying baby, and

he brought them in and gave them some warm soup and a cloak to

shield them from the cold. He told her about the voice as well.

It was getting late, and still the Savior had not come. He looked

out one last time before closing, and saw an apple woman scolding a

boy who had stolen an apple. He rushed out and made peace. He

paid for the apple and persuaded the woman to forgive the boy, and

they departed with the boy carrying her basket. That night Martin

heard the voice again saying, "Martin, Martin, don't you know

me?" "Who is it," he asked? "It is I," and he saw the old

snow-sweeper. "It is I," and he saw the mother with the baby. "It is

I," and he saw the apple woman with the boy. Then they all

vanished, and Martin realized that Christ had visited him that day

after all, and his heart felt strangely warm.

Tolstoy was saying by this story that where love is, God is. The

presence of God and the Lord Jesus Christ is directly linked to love.

Love is the fruit of the Spirit, and so if the Spirit is present, the first

evidence will be love. If God is love, then love is a sign of His

presence, and lack of love is a sign of His absence in Spirit. John say

in verse 12 that no one has ever seen God. So how can we know if

God is present? John says we know God is present because of love.

If we love one another that is the evidence that God dwells in us.

When you see love, you see God. When you feel love, you feel God's

presence. God is present in love, for God is love. Where love is God

is. The more we love, the more we experience the presence of God.

No wonder that Paul said everything without love is nothing. Even

faith and great knowledge, and even sacrifice, are not worth

anything without love, for love alone is our link to God, and only in

love do we experience the authentic presence of God. Everything we

do in worship is much ado about nothing if it does not lead us to

love. Therefore, there is not greater good than to gain an

understanding of what the Bible is saying in this simple but sublime

sentence stated twice in this fourth chapter of I John: "God is love."

The implications of these three words are so vast that one message

on them is like trying to harvest a million acres of corn with a comb.

There is no way to get all of the infinite riches they contain, but we

will at least get a taste of what this love is. First lets taste

I. THE INEXHAUSTIBLE ILLUMINATIONS OF IT.

R. A. Torrey, the great evangelist, said this is the greatest

sentence ever written, and voices without number in heaven and on

earth echo with an amen! Three little words made up of just 9 letters

in English, and yet they are saying something that all the words of

every language can never fully convey. They are giving us an

inexhaustible illumination as to who God is. Read all the books of

men, and search the universe, and you will not find a more

important truth about God than these three little words that God is

love. It is the brightest light we have by which to see who God is.

Torrey said if he had to choose one sentence to sum up the entire

Bible and is message to man, it would be these three words.

D. L. Moody, another great evangelist, felt it was the essence of

the biblical revelation as well, and he had it put above the pulpit in

the famous Moody Church in Chicago. This is the Gospel in a

nutshell. This is why God sent His Son to die for us. This is why

Jesus paid it all, and why he left his church here to carry this

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