Summary: God is Love. But even the wrath of God is an attribute of God as much a part of God as any other attribute, an attribute without which God would be less than God. I would be delighted if you could rate this sermon and give brief feedback.
God’s Love and God’s Wrath
(Preached first on 09/08/09, Sunday)
Introduction (Secure Attention) and FCF:
Do you want to know as to why sometimes you are not able to love the Lord?
Take feedback from the congregation.
This morning, you will discover the secret of loving the Lord more than ever before!
Today, we are going to close the series on the “Attributes of God”.
This morning, I’m going to talk about God’s love and God’s wrath.
I. God’s Love.
The Bible specifically identifies three aspects of the nature of God:
1) "God is Spirit" (Jn. 4:24)
2) "God is Light" (I Jn. 1:5)
3) "God is Love" (I Jn. 4:8, 16).
This means that God is not merely one (among many) who loves, but that God is Love itself.
When we say that "God is Love" today, people have the wrong idea of what love is.
God’s love is NOT a passionate desire to have (a lust).
God’s love is NOT a compromise on truth and justice.
God’s love is NOT a sickly sentiment, patterned after human emotion.
God’s love is His voluntary decision to do what is best for anyone irregardless of their worthiness.
A. THE MOTIVE OF HIS LOVE.
What would cause God to love a people who do not deserve His love, perhaps do not want His love, but desperately need His love?
God loves us because He is love!
God’s love is unconditional, yet conditional.
Illustration: A mother is having a test of wills with her two-year-old. The young boy wants to continue playing, but it is time for bath and bed. Mom has already given him a five-minute grace period. Now she insists he will do as she says. If the child could speak articulately, he might say, "If you really loved me, you’d let me do what I want." As adults, we can identify with Mom here. She is expressing love, but is it unconditional? Yes, in the sense that she will love her son even if he disobeys. But no, in the sense that she is requiring conditions.
But if we continue to disobey, the Lord may even discipline us or punish us.
B. THE MANIFESTATION OF HIS LOVE.
Jn. 15:13 – Christ’s sacrificial love.
God’s Love is Sacrificial.
Illustration: A certain medieval monk announced he would be preaching next Sunday evening on "The Love of God." As the shadows fell and the light ceased to come in through the cathedral windows, the congregation gathered. In the darkness of the altar, the monk lighted a candle and carried it to the crucifix. First of all, he illumined the crown of thorns, next, the two wounded hands, then the marks of the spear wound. In the hush that fell, he blew out the candle and left the chancel. There was nothing else to say.
"How did God love us?"
Verse 9 - "showed"
While love is an unseen virtue, love that is unseen is not love (the unseen virtue of love will always make itself seen).
1. GOD’S SACRIFICIAL LOVE WAS COSTLY (V. 9a).
The price tag on God’s love was His Son.
Agape love gives - Jn. 3:16.
You can sacrifice without loving (I Cor. 13:3), but you cannot love without sacrificing.
God sacrificed what was dearest to Him.
Illustration: How hard it would be to give up one of your children to save someone else.
2. GOD’S SACRIFICIAL LOVE WAS GRACIOUS (v. 9b).
The purpose of God giving His Son was so that we might live by means of Jesus.
Agape love is selfless. Our best interest was in His mind.
God did not send Jesus into the world just to show us that He loved us, but to do something for us, to give us life.
3. GOD’S SACRIFICIAL LOVE WAS UNDESERVED (v. 10a).
God loved us when we did not love Him.
Nothing in us attracted us to God or made Him love us.
We were sinful, depraved, corrupt, with "no good thing" in us (Rom. 3).
Rom. 5:8 – While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
1 Jn. 3:1 – God has lavished His love on us.
In a sense, as Christians, nothing we give to God is a sacrifice.
We are merely doing our duty, paying a debt of love, and rendering a "reasonable" service (Rom. 12:1).
4. GOD’S SACRIFICIAL LOVE WAS DESPERATELY NEEDED (v. 10b).
Jesus became the "atoning sacrifice for our sins".
Agape love meets needs.
We had a problem that we could not solve, nor could all the angels in Heaven -- only God’s Son could solve it.
We needed propitiation. We needed to have our sins paid for (covered or atoned for).
5. GOD’S SACRIFICIAL LOVE WAS RIGHTEOUS (V. 10b).
Jesus became "the atoning sacrifice for our sins."