But For The Love Of God
Scriptures: John 3:16; Matthew 4:8-10; 1 Timothy 2:3-4
The last time that I spoke to you I delivered a message about knowing THE Name. The name everyone will bow to and confess is THE Name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. In that message I stressed the importance and power of His name and the fact that our enemy has attempted to minimize our knowledge and understanding of the power in the Name of Jesus. He has done this by making us think that words do not matter. Let me give you a few examples of how the enemy has stolen the power of the name of Jesus in the lives of many.
If you have watched movies throughout the years, writers in Hollywood have been blatant in disrespecting the name of Jesus. They use His name when they are cussing; as a form of cussing; and they use His name to express all forms of frustration. While I refuse to give you specific examples, I know that you understand and have witnessed what I am saying. So when the name of Jesus becomes a cuss word or is used to express frustrations, it becomes easy for the world to miss the true importance of the name. It also becomes easy for the Church to miss what THE name can produce when used in faith. Think about this, how many times have you heard someone cuss using the name Muhammad, Buddha, Moses, or another religious figure/icon? Doesn’t that tell you that there is a reason that the name of Jesus is singled out to be abused or blasphemed?
Let me give you another example where the world has applied this to God the Father and how the Church has been drawn into this same way of thinking. How many times have you heard someone say in frustration: “For the love of God……” or “For the grace of God….”? Let me ask you something: when people use these terms are they reflecting on God’s love for us or the grace He extends towards us? You know the answer and it’s a resounding “No”! Once again these expressions have become a means of expressing frustration and contempt in certain situations. This morning and next week, I want to talk about both of these expressions, but not in the way the world and many Christians use them today. What I want to share with you in these messages is why the love of God and the grace of God should be so important to us that we will never feel compelled to use either as an expression of frustration, just as we must never use the name of Jesus to cuss or express frustration. The title of my message today is, “But for the LOVE of God.”
Before I get into the message, let me share something that I hoped you noticed in my introductory remarks. As I look at the standards of scripture, the biggest failure that I see in the Church today is that it is becoming harder and harder to see how it and the world are different. So many of us think like the world and so many of us talk like the world. And that’s why I made the statement earlier that Satan wants us to believe that words do not matter. New Light, the truth contained in the spoken word is what Jesus lived by. And there is no truth in the words spoken by the world. No Christian should feel comfortable using the name of Jesus or God the Father as a means to cuss or express frustration but the world does this all the time. Why, you ask? The reason is the world does not value God, Jesus or things pertaining to them. And when something is not valued, it is often devalued. So Christians must make a conscious effort not to fall into the trap of talking like the world.
Again, the title of the message this morning is “But for the LOVE of God.” The love of God is mentioned many times in the Bible. We see it demonstrated through stories and proverbs as divine, true and everlasting. In fact, the Word of God says that God is love! This morning I want you to understand that “but for the love of God” our lives would be totally different if we existed at all. God is not a ruling dictator in heaven looking to squash us when we do wrong. No, God’s love is characterized by grace and forgiveness and is eternal and unconditional! Remember what was written in the book of First Timothy? First Timothy chapter two records, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (First Timothy 2:3-4) God loves us and it is His desire that all be saved! He desires that every man should be saved even though He knows many are rejecting Him. His love for us is so vast that even when we reject Him He continues to love us and desire that we would turn from our wicked ways and be saved. That, my friends, is Who God is! So let’s examine what it means for God to love us. I want to approach this by demonstrating through His Word what our lives would be like if His love was not available to us.
John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The word “love” in this verse is the Greek word “agape.” This means that when God looked upon the human race, He stood in awe of mankind, even though man was lost in sin. God admired man; He wondered at man; He held mankind in the highest appreciation. The human race was so precious to God and He loved man so deeply that His heart was stirred to reach out and do something to save him. In other words, God’s love drove Him to action. Now I want you to pause and think about what God did. I want you to think about a “what-if” situation. Imagine if you will that God did not love the world enough to send Jesus to save us. Imagine God creating Adam and Eve, placing them in a garden that was perfectly suited for them and there was total peace and harmony. Now imagine Adam and Eve sinning against God, forcing Him to remove them from that perfect garden so they couldn’t eat of the Tree of Life and live forever in their sinful state. Continue imagining now that as they leave the garden they turn their backs on God because in their hearts they believe He first turned His back on them. Can you see it?
Now think about the world that would exist in that situation. Even after Adam and Eve left the garden they maintained a relationship with God but soon after God had to destroy the world because of sin. Now God had to do this even though there was a remnant still serving Him. But imagine if no one served Him and Satan had and maintained his control of the earth. Can you see it with your mind’s eye? No one served God and lived however they chose. Imagine a world without Christ and Satan in total control. What we have witnessed in our world with all the killings, racism, distrust, people only looking out for themselves, etc. doesn’t come close to describing what things would be like if Satan was in charge.
Remember the story recorded in Matthew chapter four when Jesus was tempted by Satan. I want to point out something from verses eight through ten as they will show us the power that Satan had prior to Jesus’ death and resurrection. “Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’” (Matthew 4:8-10) When we read this account did you notice what Jesus did not say to Satan? Jesus never said to Satan that he did not have the power and authority to do exactly what he was promising. At that time Satan surely could have given Jesus all of those kingdoms if Jesus had bowed down and worshipped to him. He had that power and control. Jesus never denied it, but simply told Satan that the Word said about serving God only. There are many people bowing down and selling out to Satan today for all the things he can provide them, but thank God for His remnant! Imagine a world where there is only evil and the most evil of people won because the one in charge was evil through and through. Oh, but for the love of God!
First John 4:7-8 says, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loves is born of God, and knows God. He that loves not knows not God; for God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8) God is love and if we are His sons and daughters, we will be about love. There is enough hatred in the world, but for the love of God there is a remnant that is more than able to be a light in a dark place when we allow our Father’s love to shine through us. God is love and within Him is no darkness at all. I want you to see this. What is the first thing you do when you walk in your house at night? You turn on a light. Why? So that you can see clearly and be able to walk into the house without bumping into things. What do you do if you go outside at night because you heard a weird noise? You grab a flashlight, turn it on and go and investigate the noise. In both cases the light allows you to see. Well Christians are supposed to be a light in this dark world that allows others walking in darkness to see. The difference is that our light is supposed to always be on and shining bright. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16) This is who we are supposed to be – light bearers! Our ability to be a light bearer comes from the love of God that dwells within His children. But for the love of God I would live and exist in a very dark place. But because of His love, not only can I see clearly, the light that shines within me allows others to see also. Look at First John chapter three.
“Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew Him not.” (First John 3:1) But for the love of God, I am adopted. I am His child. Satan no longer owns me! He no longer has authority over me. I am no longer his slave. I belong to God! And because I belong to God, when I leave this world I transition to a better place. Turn to First John chapter four.
But for the love of God eternal death would have been in my future because my sins would have remained and the price would be owed and paid for by me. But First Johns 4:9-10 tells me, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (First John 4:9-10) It is a comfort to know that when I take my last breath I will transition from the world to a place that has been prepared for me. My new home is available to me because Jesus gave His life so that I could live. He took the penalty of my sins so that I would not have to die and be separated from God forever. God loved me that much that He sacrificed His only Son. Look at Romans chapter eight.
But for the love of God I am more than I see myself to be. Paul wrote the following in Romans 8:37-39: “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creation, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39) I am more than a conqueror!!! In the Greek, that phrase “more than conquerors” depicts something that is way beyond measure. It carries the idea of superiority, first-class and first-rate. Paul says that we are “greater” conquerors, higher and better conquerors. You see, there are conquerors and then there are “greater” conquerors. Through Christ we are all “greater conquerors!” So yes, I am more than a conqueror over my fears! I am more than a conqueror over my doubts and frustrations. I am more than a conqueror on my job and in my home! I am more than a conqueror in life – PERIOD!
But for the love of God! New Light, everyone who is born again lives in “but for the love of God” because we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior. The world is not living in “but for the love of God” because the world doesn’t know Him and most have rejected Him. When we face life’s situations which cause our emotions to scream and holler, we can draw upon “but for the love of God” because we know that, without that love, the situations in life would rule what we think and how we respond. But for the love of God that lives inside of us, we know – we know – that what we read in First John 4:4 belongs to us. “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you (the love of God) than he who is in the world.” Praise God New Light! But for the love of God has made us overcomers!
New Light, there many people in the world who do not understand God’s love for us or them. They do not understand or recognize the love that it took for God to send Jesus to die for our many sins. They do not understand what eternity will be like without accepting Christ on this side. Because of their lack of understanding, they blaspheme the name of God, His Son Jesus Christy and the love He has bestowed upon us. They do this easily and without thinking. It is so common that even Christians will make statement in frustration utilizing God’s name or Jesus’ name. But I want us to be reminded of the love that God has shown towards us. The love that enables us to exists in this world. The love that provides His shining light around us so that we do not walk in darkness. A love that is so vast that when we leave this world for the next we are enveloped into it fully. We get a glimpse of God’s love on this side, but when we enter His presence we will truly know what love is. For that reason, when we say “for the love of God” hopefully we are saying it in frustration, but in awe of what His love is doing every day in our lives. We will continue next week with “But for the Grace of God.”
Until next time, “The Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up His countenance on you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)
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