Summary: Sermon from a series on the "needs of the heart", this one on love, and showing from 1 John how God intends to fill that need.
Trinity Baptist Church September 9, 2002
Will God meet your deepest needs?
God’s love has your name on it
Most of you know the story, but I love it, so I’ll tell it again. It’s the one about the SS teacher who was trying to illustrate a story. She asked, "Kids, what’s brown and furry and has a long tail and runs up and down in trees?" Little Johnny ventured a guess. "Well, I know the answer is Jesus, but it sure sounds like a squirrel to me!!"
When it comes to the having the right answers, Christians usually have it down. We might look at the title of our new series, "Will God meet your deepest needs?" and say, "Silly question! Of course!" Others of you may think I’m going off the deep end of heresy like a TV preacher who promises God will make you rich and perfectly healthy. When it comes to the issue of needs, Christians are typically at one extreme or the other. Either God is a vending machine kind of God who is just waiting to give us everything we want, or we believe God can and will meet our needs -- after all He’s promised to in Scripture -- but we’ve never really gone deep enough to experience that.
When it comes to The business of your "needs" we can’t skate past that word deepest. The question is whether God can and will meet our deepest needs. I’ll tell you as we begin: At the end of your search to satisfy the most critical needs of your life, there will stand the God Who loves you. Some of us wander for years, even decades, looking in all the wrong places, eating from the garbage cans of life, trying to satisfy appetites that refuse to be filled. We’re looking for love, satisfaction and contentment, chasing security, significance and forgiveness.
And the God Who is there --- remains --- waiting patiently in line, until at last, we recognize that, like Psalm 73:25 says, Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. Psalm 73:25
That’s a person whose discovered that God is the business of satisfying the deepest needs of our hearts.
There have been plenty of times in my life when I’ve heard verses like that and said to myself, "that’s living on a mystical plane, a pie-in-the-sky kind of experience, where few people live". But biblically it’s an intentional, chosen place we come to when we concede there really is nothing that will satisfy the aching emptiness of our hearts except a vital relationship with God Himself.
So, What’s a need? If we’re not careful, we slip all kinds of things into the category of need and we become like little children, demanding that every desire and appetite and lust and love be satisfied; otherwise our "needs" aren’t being met. That lie has decimated more marriages than we could count. There are of course, real physical needs, like food and shelter. But we need to explore the ones which go much deeper. The ones that keep us awake at night. They’re universal and genuine needs of the heart which will drive us our whole lives.
A need is a lack of something required for well-being; a need drives us onward, sometimes when we’re not even cognizant of it, to find its fulfillment.
Why are these needs such motivating factors?
Because they reflect who we are as human beings. They reflect how God made us: to be related to Him. Augustine said "The heart of man is restless, Oh God, until it rests in You." Pascal said, "there is a God-shaped vacuum in every heart that only God can fill."
These needs mirror the separation that came between God and man through man’s sin.
What happens if real needs go unmet?
- restlessness, - anxiety, - self-centeredness,
- unhealthy relationships. In other words, we move on and on, looking, struggling to meet the needs in our own self-willed ways.
I’d like to begin today with the area love. The urgent need of newborns is a need we never lose. It’s the need to be loved. We might hide it and not admit to it as adults, but we testify to it with every relationship we move into. But John Eldredge says, "the real issue: the buried and burning question in the heart of everyone: God, do YOU really care for me, God?"
When it comes to the needs of the heart, that’s where we have to begin! Scripture overflows with evidence that God does in reality, love you.
In our passage we look at two facets of God’s love; then we hear John describe what must be our response to God’s great love. First,
1. God’s love for you defines Him. (4:7-11)