Summary: A sermon that uses river analogies - i.e Revelation 22 psalm 46 and Ezekiel 46 to talk about how to understand God's love in a white water world
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
Seeing God Through Love
12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
The Consummation of Love
17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him[b] because He first loved us.
Obedience by Faith
20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can[c] he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
Trust the river
There is something about rivers in the scriptures in Revelation 22 and Ezekiel 47 there is this amazing picture of a river flowing out with beauty and healing in the waters. But when you try to navigate the rivers of life there are some harsh lessons to be learned. For example -
Ever Kayaked down a river – astonishing things can happen – Once when I panicked the current took the canoe down and stayed down for a long time – fortunately I was,by then, hanging from the branch of a willow tree. at other times you are just calmly going along long serene stretches of water, then anything might happen - a waterfall for example – Here is what that felt like to one person.
“Riding a kayak over a waterfall isn’t just a matter of flinging yourself off a cliff, but there’s a moment when that’s exactly what you’re doing. Just before you get to the lip of the falls, all you see is the horizon line, quivering at the edge of a big empty space. It’s like those ancient maps that show parts of the world getting swallowed up by the ocean. I had reached the end of the earth. The whole world just dropped away, and I felt very small. And then I really had to pay attention because I was falling facedown into a speck of water seven stories below me.
“I snuggled into the kayak. I was sitting cross-legged with my knees hooked under the sides. You have to tuck your body in right before you land, altering the direction of the kayak slightly so it will hit the water at the right angle. But if you tuck in too soon, you’ll lose your grip on the kayak—like flipping over the handlebars on a bike.
“It takes such a long time to fall. I counted one, two, three, four. I felt a little sick to my stomach, but I couldn’t take a breath, because I was falling so fast.
“I tucked in and set my angle for landing. I went from hurtling down inside a curtain of falling water to being enveloped by the white water, to bobbing on the surface of a pillowy white pool. My touchdown was actually very soft, like landing in bubbles. I was exhilarated when I finished, then totally exhausted for the next two days. It was a completely satisfying experience. I might do it again someday. Just walk out one afternoon and do it.”
Glissmeyer is a nursing student at Columbia George Community College in The Dalles, Oregon.
I think understanding God’s love is a bit like that we understand and espect the serene stretches but struggle to comprehend his love when we face sudden – dangerous and even deadly drops.