Summary: Everyone loves love! We want to be loved and we want to give love. The problem is—our love is often lacking. This four-sermon series explores 1 John in order to discover a love that's truly worth having and giving: real love! PowerPoint available.

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Scott Bayles

Blooming Grove Christian Church: 6/9/2013

There’s an old song that says, “Love is a many-splendored thing.” The very concept of love is one of the most permeating themes in the world today. The Beatles sang about in the sixties. Their message to a hurt and frightened world was, “love is all you need.” According the New York Public Library database, there are at least 35,533 books currently in print with the word “love” in the title and over 12,958 music CDs. If you Google the word love on the internet, you’ll find at least 11,160,000,000 web-sites that that use “love” as one of their key words, including, which calculates the probability of a successful relationship between two people. All you do is type in two names, click “calculate” and Dr. Love will tell you the likelihood of a lasting relationship. I couldn’t help myself, so I typed in mine and Ashley’s names and according to Dr. Love we have a 61% chance of things working out. I thought maybe that was because we have the same last name, so I tried again with Ashley’s maiden name, but then it dropped to 47%!

I think the Love Calculator is a good example of how confused our culture can be when it comes to love. When I watch TV, browse the internet, or scan magazines in the checkout lines, it’s clear that the world has a very poor understanding of real love. And we’ve talked about that the last couple of weeks. In 1 John 2, the Apostle John describes a worldly type of love that’s all about selfishness, sex and stuff. Then in contrast, in 1 John 3, he describes three characteristics of real love—sacrifice, service and security.

But in 1 John 4, John gives us the ultimate definition of love—a simple, yet profound description that knocks the walls out of any definition that would limit the scope and intensity of love. Are you ready for it? Here it is:

“God is love” (1 John 4:8).

Those three little words ought to fill our hearts with warmth and hope. If those words are true, it makes all the difference in the world! But we need to understand this rightly. “God is love” does not mean that “love is God.” In other words, love does not define God; rather, God defines love. Much of what we call “love” in modern America bears no resemblance or relationship to real love. So it is important that we dig a little deeper into this passage to discover what God’s love—what real love—is all about. In this chapter, John reveals four characteristics of God’s love.


First, God’s love is a personal love. John begins this section of Scripture by saying, “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:7-8 NLT).

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