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Summary: If we really believed God’s love for us, how would it change us?

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Have You Believed the Love?

December 8, 2002

TEXT: 1 John 4:8-19 (key verse 16-18)

PURPOSE: Reassurance of God’s love for each one of us

SEMINAL: If we really knew we were loved . . .

How has He loved us . . .

Have you believed the love?

INTRO: If we really knew we were loved by God . . .

1. Begin with this question: “If we were totally and continuously convinced that God loved us, would we be any different than we are now?”

2. Counseling woman this week - anxiety attack - temporary paralysis - Why? Insecure in her husband’s love …

3. Verse 18: “Perfect love casts out fear” - we would be fearless, free, on fire . . . Ps. 56:11 “In God I have put my trust - what can man do to me?”

4. Different levels of Christian “knowing” . . . “head knowledge”, “heart” (18 inches down) “gut” (bowels); “top of head to the bottom of your feet” . . .

5. This a.m. - want us to be baptized in His love!!! Drenched, saturated, overflowed ... Classical Greek (according to Dennis Bennett “a sunken, water-logged ship…”) Navy seals are drowned …

6. Like kids in a pile of leaves! … a pig in a pool of mud - otters at play in a northern lake, or Abby & Hannah picking raspberries on a warm June day at two and three years old …want to revel in the love of God! and suggest that this Advent season - Let’s put 7 ornaments on our tree this year.

BODY: How has He loved us?

1. He chose us!

A. Many people are uncomfortable with the idea of being chosen … “suck it up, Jim,” “65-year-old youth leader.”

B. Nevertheless, Gabriel to Mary “Hail favored one!” - means “You - chosen”!

C. O.T. and N.T. Theme … Deut. 7:6-9; Jn 15:16; Eph. 1:3-5

D. Do you remember the doctrine of ** grace? Respected devotionalist, Tozer, writes: (cf.p.11, 12 of The Pursuit of God)

E. The bride and groom - “I choose you!” (of a before and after)

F. vs. 10 of text (seal it)

G. Ornament #1 on our tree - ”He chose me!”

2. He has lifted us up!

A. Turn to Ezek 16:4-14 (read it)

B. Recite Ps. 68:19, 20 and Ps. 3:3

C. He meets us at the point of our shame, and restores our dignity through Christ (Eph 2:4-7) He has delivered me.

D. Illustration. No nation I know of is intentionally Christian in its founding as the USA … prosperity, freedom, rights of women, social status, education, legal rights, job opportunities. Walt Williams asks “Where would you want to be a woman in a minority?” Thailand, India, etc.

E. Ornament #2 He is our deliverer - He has lifted us up!

3. He has forgiven us!

A. Angel said to Joseph, …”do not be afraid to take … Jesus … it is he who will save His people from their sin …”

B. Illustration: The Nurse, Daughter and bedside note …

C. Verses: Ps. 103:11,12; Titus 3:3-5; 1 Jn. 1:9

D. Ornament #3 He has forgiven me!

4. He has set His steadfast love upon us!

A. Hebrew word “hesed” = “determined loyalty” … “dedicated loyalty”

B. We sing, “the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases … (Lam. 3:21ff)

C. Responsive reading based on Ps. 136; Is. 7:14 He is Immanuel … Heb. 13:5 - “I will never leave you or forsake you”!

D. Ornament #4 His steadfast love is resting upon me!

5. God’s love is tender!

A. Adam and Even in the garden - naked and afraid … God rebukes them and then what does He do? Makes them garments … (reference Gen. 3:21)

B. Many verses display His tenderness … will you receive these as verses for you? (read starred passages from “Smorgasbord” addendum from sermon, “See How Great a Love”

C. Ornament #5 God tenderly loves me!

6. His love is changing us!

A. Look again at our text … whole message here - “because God has loved us, we are set free to love” 8, 9, 11, 17, 19

B. How does the Bible say the world will know we are disciples? Yes, by our love for one another … Jn. 13:35 “By this all men will know…”

C. Ever seen a hard man tenderized by the Lord? (Story of John Newton)

D. Ornament #6 - God’s love is changing me!

7. He has given us eternal life!

A. God has given us the most precious things: Himself, His Son, Salvation, and eternal life … and then combined them … eternal life with Him and the ones we love …

B. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life” … (recite Jn. 11:25,26)

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