Summary: The candle of Love is one that God offers us and He wants us to shine this candle brightly to a lost world so those who are lost can experience the love of Jesus. This candle has always been shining from our GREAT God!
• PC VIDEO
• SLIDE #1
• I like the video because I hope it serves as yet another reminder about the real reason for the season!
• Today we light the candle of LOVE.
• The way we celebrate Christmas today can easily take one off track as to the real reason for Christmas.
• BUT there is one thing the giving of gifts can remind us of; love!
• MOST of the time we give gifts as an expression of our love toward another person, or your dog.
• I know sometimes we give gifts out of a sense of obligation, but more times than not, we give to those whom we care for and love.
• Those whom we love, we want to give them the best gift we possibly can get them.
• When I get gifts for my family and friends, I want to get them something that will bring some joy into their lives.
• The best gifts are gifts which are given from a heart of love.
• When Mary, Joseph, the shepherds peered down into the manger, what they were viewing was a gift of love to humanity from God; a God who loves humanity and wants the best for humanity.
• Today we will examine the advent candle of LOVE!
• We are going to examine what is probably the most cited biblical passage in Christianity in the 20th century and perhaps since the 16th Century according to the College Press Commentary.
• Today we will look at John 3:16-17 as so that we can gain a deeper understanding
• Let us turn to that beautiful passage together this morning.
• SLIDE #2
• John 3:16–17 (HCSB) — 16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
• SLIDE #3
I. The character of love.
• The beginning of verse 16 we catch a view of the character of love. The verse begins with FOR GOD LOVED…
• The small word FOR offers us insight to to how God’s love in action. God’s love in action, reaching back to eternity and coming to fruition in Bethlehem and at Calvary, is viewed as one, great, central fact.
• That love was rich and true, full of understanding, tenderness, and majesty.
• FOR opens the door as to why we had that baby in the manger in the first place. (Baker NTC)
• 1 Corinthians 13 reveals what love is all about, it reveals the character of love.
• Listen to the words of Paul from God. We tend to relegate these words to weddings.
• SLIDE #4
• 1 Corinthians 13:1–7 (HCSB) — 1 If I speak human or angelic languages but do not have love, I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body in order to boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, 5 does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. 6 Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
• These words are not just meant for a wedding, they are a revelation of the kind of love God possess.
• The character of love centers on hope, forgiveness, and it does not wait to drop the hammer on another.
• The manger came before the cross, from that manger, Jesus would live a sinless life, and then He would go to the cross to pay the sins of mankind, even the sins of those religious leaders who sent him to the cross.
• He died for the sins of those Romans soldiers who beat, abused, and nailed Him to the cross.
• As we sing AWAY IN A MANGER, to remember also, WHAT CAN WASH AWAY MY SINS, NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS!
• The nature of love is selfless, not selfish, Jesus would grow out of that manger to demonstrate a selfless love that is unparalleled by anyone.
• SLIDE #5
• Romans 5:8 (HCSB) But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!