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Summary: God's love cannot be manipulated by our actions. God chooses to love us even though we do nothing to deserve or earn His love.

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“The Good & Beautiful God:

God Is Love”

Luke 15

February 13th, 2011

"‘My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'"

Luke 15:31-32 (NIV)

Introduction:

> Last week we looked at two parallel truths that exist in our world. You reap what you sow in this world. However, God is a generous God who looks past the evil we have sown and reaps where he has not sown and gathers to Himself where he has not spread seed.

> I felt it was important to show that not all world-narratives are false. We do reap what we sow. We do suffer consequences and reap rewards. There are consequences to our actions.

> But,

How many of us here are glad that we don’t always get what we deserve?

How many of us here are glad that we don’t always get what we have coming to us?

> God generously gives us multiple chances to call out to Him. He extends His grasp of love to us and invites us to draw up close to Him.

> Romans 5:8 says…

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8 (NIV)

> We don’t deserve what God did for us through Christ Jesus. We were still sinners, yet Christ came and gave His life as a sacrifice for our sins.

> This brings us to today’s message, “God Is Love!”

A close kin to the narrative that we reap what we sow is the narrative that God’s love is based on our performance. If we are good, God will give us His love, but if we are bad, God will remove His love from us and look away.

> James Bryan Smith writes…

It’s as if God were on a kind of swivel chair, looking at us and smiling when we keep our minds, hands and hearts pure, but the moment we sin God turns His back on us. The only way to get God to turn back to us is by resuming our good behavior (Smith, The Good & Beautiful…, pg. 94).

> God is not fickle. He is not so easily controlled. How foolish we are to imagine that we can control how God feels about us.

> We like to believe that we have the power to control God’s love. This is legalism, the attempt to earn God’s love by our actions—to earn God’s favor and avoid God’s curses through pious activities (Smith, The Good and Beautiful…, pg. 96).

> God’s love is not under our control.

Jesus’ narrative says,

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."

John 3:16-17 (NIV)

> I like what James Bryan Smith wrote about this verse…

“Many people believe that God is mad at them, but for some reason he has yet to punish them fully. Such people would be more comfortable had Jesus said, “For God was so mad at the world that he sent his Son to come down and tell them to shape up, that whosoever would shape up would have eternal life. Indeed, God did send his Son into the world to condemn it, in order that the world might be saved through good works.”


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