Summary: Reveals how God has loved us in the past, How He loves us in the present and how He will love us in the future.
“God’s Love – Past Present and Future”
February 10, 2009
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17
Valentine’s Day was yesterday. We gave and received cards and letters expressing love to each other. We sent emails. We gave candy. We said “I love you!” Isn’t love a wonderful thing!? I love - love. I love to love and I love to be loved. And I feel a lot of love in this room.
I can remember a time in my life when it wasn’t that way. I can still remember vividly when I was without love in my life. In my youth, when I was little more than a boy, I remember those days in the army where we were told we were unlovable. We were lower than scum sucking dogs and even our own mothers didn’t love us. It’s almost laughable now. It wasn’t then. I reached a place where I felt unloved and I was without love. I didn’t care about anyone – and was so cold and dead inside that I could have killed anyone. In every relationship, I felt used or exploited – and I used and exploited others.
That’s a miserable way to live. Even when I came to Jesus, it wasn’t His love that drew me. That wouldn’t have worked with me. I wouldn’t have believed it. It was ‘purpose’ that drew me to Jesus. I needed a reason to live – to exist. When I discovered that God had a plan for my life – it changed me forever. But one of the wonderful benefits of developing a relationship with Jesus is love. After I found out He had a purpose for my life – I found out He loved me. He really loved me – just the way I was. With all my faults and failings; with all my sin and ugliness; with all my imperfections – Jesus stilled loved me. When you realize that – it will blow you away! It will change you forever!
As I became acquainted with my Lord, I learned a little bit about love. I learned first of all, that I had always been loved. Just because we don’t ‘feel’ love – doesn’t mean it is so. God had always loved me. He had never left me. I was never really alone – even though I felt that way so often. God is omnipresent. That means He is present in the past and future- just as much as He is in the present. This morning I want to take a look at God’s love – past, present and future.
Can you image this scene? God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, enveloped in perfect love and goodness, creating. For five days they had created a beautiful world. It was Utopia. It was Shangri-La. It was Eden. Can you imagine what it must have been like? Chrysanthemum, roses, lilies, sunflowers, flowering trees and flowering shrubs! It must have been a feast for the eyes. The perfume of flowers and trees and bushes scented the air. The sounds of birds happily singing and cats purring. Pups and colts and calves playing. It must have been a delight to every sense. But one thing was missing. And God turned to God and said, “I’ve got an idea! Let’s make a new creature! Let’s make him like us – in our image. He can take care of this for us. He will be the boss of all this beauty we have created.”
Sound a little far-fetched? Read it for yourself.
“Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:26-27
We were created in God’s image. When you think of God – what image do you think of? Holiness? He certainly is holy. Justice? He absolutely is a just God. Good? He is pure goodness. But the Bible, when it lists the fruits of the Spirit, reveals the true nature of God. This is what God, the Spirit, God the Son, and God the Father is really like.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…” Galatians 5:22-23
When you are describing God, you can say He is good; He is faithful; He is patient; He is gentle. All these things describe God. But the essence of God is love. His disciple who was most acquainted with love, John the Beloved, wrote in 1 John 4:8, “God is love”. He then repeated it again in the 16th verse. Do you understand that He really wanted you to get it? You need to know that the essence of God – is love. “God is love”