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Summary: God’s protection, trust and hope are based upon His unfailing love not on your unfailing works.

THE MISUNDERSTOOD GOD: THE DISTANT GOD**

1 CORINTHIANS 13:7

Big Idea: God’s protection, trust and hope are based upon His unfailing love not on your unfailing works.

Supporting Scripture: Romans 8:28-39; John 13:31-35, 14:23-24; 15:9-10

INTRO

“Truck Speak”

In a humorous 2011 Chevrolet commercial titled "Tommy," a Silverado pick-up truck acts like a modern-day Lassie, repeatedly rescuing a young boy named Tommy from various disasters. The ad begins as the truck rushes into the driveway and honks. Tommy’s father listens to the “truck speak," and then the anxious father asks the truck, "What? Tommy slipped into a well?" Then the father and his faithful truck proceed to drive off and rescue the boy from danger.

This scenario repeats itself several times. The truck peels up the driveway, horn blaring and lights flashing, as it "tells" about a new episode in Tommy’s saga of getting in trouble. Each time the truck appears, the father blurts out his frustration: "Where did you get a [hot air] balloon?" or "I didn’t even know this town had a volcano!" But each time Tommy gets in trouble, the loyal truck shows up and powerfully delivers Tommy from his self-made disasters.

Like Tommy, some of us have a knack for getting in trouble.

And like the 2011 Chevy truck, God always has a knack for finding us.

Listen as I read 1 Corinthians 13:1-4 and 7 to you.

1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

4 Love … 7 always protects, always trusts, always hopes.

God’s way of loving is different than the world’s way isn’t it? As Christians we are being “perfected” in love. Our way of loving is maturing into God’s way of loving (1 John 4:18-19).

As we look at “Love … always protects, always trusts, always hopes.” It is easy to see how we distort God’s love into a love like the world’s. Let’s never confuse human love with divine love. There is a world of difference between the two. For example:

HUMAN LOVE IS CAUTIOUS. GOD’S LOVE IS INTIMATE.

As I watch people I see so many who desperately want to love but just can’t. They cannot trust the other person. This is especially true when a loving relationship has gone bad and one has been betrayed. It may be of no fault to the other but the love between them is cautious … at arm’s length.

There is no need to fear this with God. You can draw as close as you want and still be at rest.

“Marriage”

One hour made all the difference in the world. One small hour. At 10:00 a.m. on August 4, 1984 we had boundaries and rules in place that restricted intimacy and put parameters and definitions on our relationship. You see, at 10 a.m. Vickie and I were still engaged and knowing each other fully and intimately was not optional. I was not hers and she was not mine. But by 11:00 a.m. – ALL THAT CHANGED! The barriers were lifted. The boundaries removed. The expectation changed … they really really changed and for almost 30 years we have now lived without those restrictions to intimacy.

When it comes to our relationship with God the same is true. Those who follow Jesus Christ are His bride and intimacy with God has been freed from boundaries … it is a relationship of love and trust.

But some still feel God is unapproachable even though everything in the New Testament says otherwise. They still feel that the relationship includes distance; they remain at arm’s length from God.

Some of that is because:

HUMAN LOVE IS PROVISIONAL. GOD’S LOVE IS DEPENDABLE.

Too many Christians are way too familiar with human provisional love. Provisional love is cause/effect; it is “what have you done for me lately.” That is why many have problems understanding God’s love as a love that always protects, always trusts, always hopes.

I have watched with great interest how people’s faith, like my own, develops and matures over time. For example, I remember in the early stages that my faith was fear based and even superstitious. I thought that offering the right prayers, fasting, giving the right amount of money, and doing good deeds guaranteed God’s love and favor. I thought that anytime unpleasant things happened it was God’s punishment for neglecting God. And when good things happened it was God’s reward because I had been good enough.

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