Summary: According to 1 John 4, God is love because His love is personal, proven, perfecting, and preserving. Power Point is avaible, just e-mail me.
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:
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 these two verses is that the love of God is personal. God’s love causes us to know Him, and Him to know us. I think that A.W. Tozer said it best: “The love of God is one of the great realities of the universe, a pillar upon which the hope of the world rests. But it is a personal, intimate thing too. God does not love populations, He loves people. He loves not masses, but men.”
One of the most powerful messages that we can take to people today is that God loves them. Every individual person is important to God, and He loves each one. G.K. Chesterton understood this truth when he said, “All people matter. You matter. I matter. It’s the hardest thing in theology to believe.”
When teaching His disciples, Jesus said, “Aren’t five sparrows sold for two cents? God doesn’t forget any of them. Even every hair on your head has been counted. Don’t be afraid! You are worth more than many sparrows. I can guarantee that the Son of Man will acknowledge in front of God’s angels every person who acknowledges him in front of others” (Luke 12:6-7 GWT). Isn’t that amazing!? There is not a single bird that falls from the sky without God’s notice; and how much more important are we than a few birds? So much more import that God even knows every hair on your head.
While some of us may have a few more hairs than others, the message the same: God loves you and He knows everything about you. God’s love for us is personal. Jesus illustrated this again when He said, “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep” (John 10:14-15 NLT). The image of shepherding is lost on many American’s today, but when Jesus walked the streets of Jerusalem, shepherding was as common as farming is in this part of the country. One of the outstanding characteristics of good shepherds was that they knew each one of their sheep by sight and often by name. And so Jesus says, “I know My own.”