Summary: Message explores God's love for His people and the stability that comes into our lives through a revelation of His love.
I want to take as our subject today, the Love of God. A revelation of God’s love is foundational to everything. It is even foundation to who God is, for “God is Love.”i God exists in an active state of love. The relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is an eternal fact that defines who God is and explains what God is doing in His work of redemption. The Father loves the Son and the Holy Spirit as does the Holy Spirit, the Father and the Son. And the Son has this same love for the other two persons of the Trinity. The offer of salvation is an invitation into this perfect circle of love. Invitations to parties at the White House have very specific, limited guest lists. People are highly honored when invited into that circle. But the most elite mortal circle is nothing compared to the divine circle of the Trinity. Ponder for a moment the magnitude of the invitation you have received through the gospel call, an invitation to join God Himself in an eternal fellowship of love.
It is essential that you and I see to the fullest extent possible the love God has for us as His children. Our ability to trust Him through life’s experiences depends on that revelation. Our ability to receive correction from Heavenly Father depends on how established we are in the love of God.
That’s why Paul prayed for Christians in in Eph. 3:17 that we would be “…rooted and grounded in love” and that we would “…be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height -- 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge.” Notice he didn’t pray they would get a new car. He didn’t pray they would get a better education. That’s all fine & good, but in the grand scheme of things relatively unimportant. Paul prayed for the thing they needed most: to know the love of God: not just head knowledge, but experiential knowledge that comes out of personal interaction with God.
That knowledge lays the foundation for your walk with God. (1) It Shapes your Concept of God,ii so that you come to Him in time of need. Instead of drawing back in fear,iii you run to Him for help. “God is Love”; Love is fundamental to who God is. He lives in love. He delights in expressing that love. Love is expressed by giving. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son….”iv You know person loves you by the sacrifices that person is willing to make for your wellbeing. “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live thru him” (1 John 4:9 NIV).
To understand any subject we need sound definitions of terms. 1Cor. 13 paints a wonderful picture what love looks like; but it does not give a definition of love. Jesus’ life demonstrates love perfectly; in Him we see the love of God flawlessly manifested. It’s when we take full revelation of Scripture that begin to grasp what love really is. Love is more than a feeling, although feelings may be invoked. It goes beyond good intentions, although good intentions are essential. Love is Action. Love sacrifices. Love gives. The best definition of love, the one that has helped me most in applying love to real life experiences, is one I got from Charles Finney, a theologian and evangelist who lived in the 1800’s. Love is Seeking the Highest Good of God and the Universe (which of course includes all people).v Because people don’t understand God’s love as revealed in Scripture, they think it is simply overlooking destructive behavior. No, love calls us out of destructive behavior, so we can have life and have it abundantly.vi In addition to shaping our concept of God, our revelation of love also (2) Shapes our Concept of Ourselves. It grounds us in our Identity in Christ—that as Christians we are accepted in the Beloved (Jesus) and already pleasing to the Father--because of the gift of Christ’s righteousness. Knowing God’s love for us and knowing who we are in Christ is essential for spiritual growth and maturity.
First and foremost, we must know that God love us with an unwavering love. We must understand that the experiences He leads us throuth are working together for our good (Rms 8:28). We need to be soundly rooted and grounded in that love so that we can hear and receive correction without freeking out. As a pastor, I have learned that people have a hard time with biblical passages that warn and correct, if they are not established in a revelation of God’s love for them. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16). We are to proclaim the whole counsel of God, including the hard sayings if we would become balances, steadfast people.vii -- If a Christian is not grounded in his or her acceptance and identity in Christ, if he does not know the everlasting nature of God’s love toward him, when he is challenged to change his behavior or warned of the consequences of disobedience, his fear of God rejecting him tends to cause him to lose his footing. Because thinks God’s parental love depends upon his performance, when he performs well he thinks all is well between him and God and when he falters he thinks God rejects him. That instability and emotional upheaval robs him of reaching his full growth potential.