Summary: The second in the series of our five core beliefs.
God Loves Us & Has a Plan for Us
* Let’s begin our time by reminding ourselves of what our Core beliefs are. These are the beliefs on which we can build our lives. Read them with me.
1. The Bible is our Guide Book
2. God loves us and has a plan for us
3. All people matter to God.
4. We seek to honor God in all we do.
5. The local church is the hope of the world.
* Let’s take the 2nd one and consider it for a few minutes. Think with me about this statement and ask yourself this question: “Do I truly believe that God loves me and has a plan for ME?” Everyone present will probably answer this in the affirmative, but do we really believe it or the better question is “how deeply or how much do I believe it?”
* You have heard me say, we do what we believe and the rest is just talk. So the question is, “What do I (we) believe?” Most think the big question is ‘what do I so deeply believe that I would die for it?’ While that is a huge question, perhaps the question we need to grapple with is this; ‘what is it that I so deeply believe that I would LIVE for it?’ What is there that motivates me in such a way as to drive me so that with every fiber of my being and every ounce of my strength I live my life accordingly?
* As we apply this thinking (these questions) to this topic (Core Belief #2) from this book (the Bible), let us separate these two thoughts and see what answers we find.
I) God’s Love for Us – Most of us would simply accept this as truth, but were we called on by an unbeliever to establish this truth, we would have difficulty. Sadly, we have relied on that old answer, “because I said so” until the reason we say so has been lost. So let’s answer 3 questions.
a) How do we know God love? - To answer these and other questions, we need to return to core belief #1. Too often, when we encounter questions, our response is well “I believe”, or “I think”, or “the preacher said,” or some other answers like this. Candidly, God’s word is our source.
i) He Declared it – In Jeremiah 31:3, God was speaking to HIS people, this is important, because today through these same words, God is still speaking to HIS people. “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” If God says it, that settles it. He doesn’t say what He doesn’t mean and He doesn’t go back on His word. Furthermore, from history & scripture we know that God’s people were in exile in Babylonian captivity and that God’s arranged it. Why would God do this with people to whom He declared His love?” Because His love is perfect. He doesn’t hesitate to inflict a little pain, to bring us much gain. His children are priority.
God loves us & has a plan – Pg 2
ii) He Demonstrated it – Many scriptures jump to my mind as working together to show us the demonstrated love of God. Let’s bring 2 of these verses together. First, Romans 5:8 is one of the most notable scriptures. HCBS says, “God proved His own love for us in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us.” The word proved is translated and paraphrased as demonstrated, showed, made clear, and one of my favorites “put His love on the line.” Additionally, in verse 9 of our text today we read that “God’s love was revealed in this way: God sent His One and only Son to be the propitiation for our Sin.” Think about this and pair the words with some of Jesus’ teachings, “Greater Love has no man than this, that He lay down His life for His friends.”
iii) He Directed it – We also find in Romans 5:8 that this love was proved or demonstrated FOR US. His love is a directed & focused love; it is directed & focused at us, that is, you and me. If you back us 3 verses in Romans 5 there is a reminder that God’s Love is POURED out into OUR hearts. May I suggest that the love of God is poured on us lavishly? It is similar to pouring tea from a tea pitcher into a 3 ounce glass as there is many times more love left than is ever given. He love US and sent (gave, ordered to go) His Son for US.
b) How do we show God’s love? – It is one thing to KNOW God’s love but it is altogether another thing to show God’s love. When we get filled with the Love of God, we cannot contain it. When Paul wrote his first letter to what is called the “Model Church” (Thessalonica) he offered a prayer at the end of chapter 3 (I Thess. 3:11-13). I t is not enough to know the love of God; we must show the love of God. How do we do it?