Summary: This message explains the meaning of real love.

Text: “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (I John 4:8).

The text tells us that “God is love.” We have heard these words many times, but have we given much thought to what they really mean?

Is it worldly to believe that “God is love?”

I believe the world’s interpretation of love is selfish love. I say this because many people believe that love is what makes one feel good. People sacrifice their common sense God has given them and in so doing let go of their moral standards or principles.

Every day we hear about broken relationships that have come about because of cheating on their spouse. We look in the daily paper and view all the divorce notices. People are killing other people because of greed, selfishness, anger, covetousness, envy, etc.

The world has turned the words “God is love” to read “love is God.” The world does not understand real love because it does not understand God. God is perfect, just, holy, compassionate, understanding and caring. God continuously reaches out to us in a Fatherly manner. No matter what we do or how little we pay attention to Him or think of Him, He is always there for us. We may not always stay focused on Him, but we are always in his midst.

Story: “God’s Great Love”

One time a father wanted to teach his son the lesson of God’s great goodness. He took him to the top of a high hill and pointed northward over Scotland, southward over England, eastward over the ocean, westward over hill and valley, and then sweeping his arm around the whole circling horizon, he said, “Johnny, my boy, God’s love is as big as all that.” “Why, father,” the boy replied with sparkling eyes, “then we must be right in the middle of it.” ---Earnest Worker

Whether people realizes it or not, they are indeed in the middle of God’s great love. God could have wiped man off the face of the earth as soon as disobedience entered the world, but instead He used his backup plan to give man an opportunity to come back into a right relationship with Him. If that is not love, then I don’t know what it is.

In chapter 12 of I Corinthians, Paul talks about spiritual gifts given to people by the Holy Spirit. These gifts, such as, wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miraculous powers and prophecy were given so they could be used to minister to the needs of the believers.

These gifts were given out of love and were expected to be used under the leadership of the Holy Spirit to lead people to Jesus. Some people possess only one gift and some possess more than one gift. The main function of the gifts is to build the church which is the body of Christ.

The Corinthian church was being torn apart because the spiritual gifts given to the believers were being misused. Some believers thought they were extra special because of the gift they possessed and used that gift in a selfish manner instead of using it with the love of God attached. They led people to believe they were teaching the Word of God, but in reality they were false teachers. The leader of the false teacher is Satan.

Paul is trying to impress upon the people that one gift is not superior or inferior to another gift, but that all gifts are necessary to build up the body of believers. Paul goes on to say that the gift of speaking in tongues, or the gift of prophecy or the gift of knowledge, or the gift of faith means nothing if one important binding ingredient is missing. The binding ingredient is love.

Love is the reason we are here today. Love is the reason God had plan 2 ready when disobedience came into the world. Love is the reason God sacrificed all He had so that we could have the option to spend eternity with Him in his Kingdom.

“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” (John 3:16).

God’s love is the silver thread that goes from Genesis to Revelation. God’s love is not self-centered, but instead reaches out to others. God’s love is the pattern we are to follow and in doing so relationships will be formed in the name of Jesus.

As Jesus went about preaching and teaching the Word of the Father, He was offering to the people a new way of life. Yes, there were some who believed and understood and followed Him, but then there were some who did not believe and the “seed of God” rolled off their backs and landed on the hard stony ground of the wayside. Satan came along and convinced these people that they were doing the right thing in rejecting the Word.

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