Summary: Topical Sermon originally given for Valentine’s Day
I begin this morning with a true story about true love.
He first saw her in Sunday school when he was six and she was just five. Many years later he would recall: "She had golden curls and beautiful blue eyes. I thought she was the most beautiful and the sweetest person on earth." They graduated from high school together in 1901, went their separate ways but later both moved back to their hometown where he began his 9 year campaign to win her heart. He began by writing to her, eventually penning over 1300 love letters. Since she was from a well-to-do family, he began several business ventures, none of which were very successful. In 1911 he finally popped the question. She turned him down. He persisted. Finally, she fell in love with him. In 1918, when he left to fight in WWI, he always kept his sweetheart’s picture in his breast pocket. He was overjoyed the day he received her letter promising to marry him when he returned home. His fondest wish became reality in 1919, when he finally married the girl of his dreams. One day the world would hear the true love story of a woman named Bess Wallace of Independence MO, and her heart-sick sweetheart, whom the world would remember as the 33rd president of the USA---a sweetheart named Harry S. Truman.
Harry and Bess Truman enjoyed something spend their entire life searching for, but never finding---true love. I want to talk to you this morning about true love—what it is, how to find it, how you and I can enjoy true love not just in this life, but for eternity. But where do you start? How can I really find true love? To help us I want to read a few verses from what you could call the Bible’s Valentine---the short letter all about true love called 1 John: 4:7-11, 5:3.
I. TRUE LOVE BEGINS WITH THE LOVE OF GOD. (1 John 4:8-10)
Where does love come from? Is it just chemicals sloshing around in our brain, or hormones
pulsing in our blood? What causes us to care for somebody else so much, to want so much to be with them, to find our happiness in spending our lives with them? Where does love come from? John offers us the ultimate answer: True love comes from God.
…Love is from God… (v. 7) …God is love… (v. 8). Love begins with God. Love is not just what God does, but Who God is. Before anything in the universe was created, God was love, and the only reason love exists is because it is derived from God’s love. Right before He went to the Cross, Jesus prayed these words to God the Father:
John 17:24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.
Between the eternal Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, there is a true love that has always existed, that still exists, that will always exist. God is love.
John goes on to say All true love comes from God. God created you and I in His image with the capacity and the longing for love. You were created to love and be loved. Where does the love of a mother for her child come from? From God. Where does the true love of a man for a woman come from? From God. Where does the love for our family and friends come from? Love is from God.
But John also mentions in vs. 9-10 another important truth: God shows us what true love is.
(read). God doesn’t just tell us what true love is—He shows us when He sends Jesus to earth …to be the propitiation for our sins… that we might live through Him…
Jesus didn’t come to earth just to live—Jesus came to earth was to die--to die for you, and for me, and for everybody else in this world. The Bible says every one of us is a convicted criminal, sentenced to die for our crimes, our sins against God’s holiness. Justice demands our debt be paid. But God sent Jesus to earth to be our propitiation—to give His life to pay our sin debt---so we could go free.
But that’s not all. The apostle Paul puts it so eloquently when he writes in
Romans 5:7-8 7For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
God doesn’t wait for you to start living right to love you---He loves you when you do wrong. When you lie to save your own skin, God loves you. The man and woman committing adultery are loved by God, even in the very act. All of the murderers on death row for horrible, unspeakable crimes--God loves them. It’s scandalous, almost unthinkable. People had a problem with that when Jesus walked the earth and we still do. It boggles your mind and my mind. God loves sinners enough to send His Son to die for them, knowing they will spit in His face and beat His back, and nail Him to a Cross---God loves them all. This is why Jesus prays, almost with His last breath, He prayed, in Luke 23:34 Father, forgive them…