Summary: This short two-point topical sermon was written as a follow-up to Group's Blast Off! VBS curriculum. Building on the outer-space theme, this message urges listeners to receive God's love and redistribute God's love.
VBS 2014: Blast Off on a Mission of God’s Love
Scott Bayles, pastor
Blooming Grove Christian Church: 8/3/2014
As you can see we had a blast at VBS this weekend. I’ll bet as you were getting ready for church this morning, you didn’t expect to be taking trip to the space station. Our outer space theme this weekend helped underpin a very down to earth concept—loving one another. In fact, our key verse for the weekend, as you heard the kids recite earlier, has been this: “Let us love one another, for love comes from God” (1 John 4:7).
Love one another. It sounds like such a simple command, doesn’t it? The problem is—our love is often lacking. Loving people isn’t easy—the vow-breakers, the truth-benders, the moneygrubbers, the backstabbers that we meet, work with, and even marry. How do you love people who are hard to love? People who have the warmth of a vulture or the tenderness of porcupine? How can we love as God loves? We want to. We long to. But how can we? Our typical strategy is to try harder, dig deeper, strain more. We’re going to love that person if it kills us! And it just might. Could it be that we’re missing a step? After all, you can’t give what you don’t have.
A marriage-saving love is not within us. A friendship-preserving devotion cannot be found within our hearts. We need help from an outside source. A transfusion of love. If we want to love as God loves, we have to begin where this verse ends—God. The secret to loving others is first living loved. The essential first step in keeping this command is receiving God’s love.
• RECEIVE GOD’S LOVE
We preachers have sometimes been guilty of skipping the first step. “Love each other!” we tell our churches. “Be patient, kind, forgiving,” we urge. But instructing people to love without telling them they are loved is like telling them to write a check without first making a deposit in their accounts. No wonder so many relationships are overdrawn. Hearts have insufficient funds. That’s why John reminds us: “love comes from God” (1 John 4:7b).
A few verses later, John makes a deposit before telling us to write the check: “We love because he first loved us” (1 John4:19 NIV). If those words are true, it changes everything, doesn’t it? Imagine what the world would be like without God’s love… A dark planet hurtling through space unguided, undirected. No hope. No future. Nothing to live for. No greater purpose to our existence. Every death would be an end. Every grave a place of despair.
But God does love us! We see it in every sunrise, every blade of grass, every fountain of water, every birth, and every child’s face. One of the sure signs of God’s love is this amazing universe He created. The universe we live in stretches out for billions of light years in every direction. It consists of billions upon billions of galaxies each containing billions and billions of stars. During VBS we talked about some of those stars, about how immense and incredible they are, but what we didn’t talk about is how essential those star are to life right here on earth.
Next time you’re out gazing at stars twinkling in the night sky, spare a thought for the tumultuous reactions they play host to. It’s easy to forget that stars owe their light to the energy released by nuclear fusion reactions at their cores. These are the very same reactions which create chemical elements like carbon—the building blocks which make up the world around us. During a supernova, when a massive star explodes at the end of its life, the resulting high energy environment enables the creation of some of the heaviest elements including iron and nickel. The explosion also disperses the different elements across the universe. Almost every element on Earth was formed at the heart of a star. The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were all forged in the interiors of collapsing stars. It sounds like a line from a poem, but we are all made of star stuff.
In other words, God created and collapsed hundreds of billions of stars, just so that he would have the materials he needed to could create you. That’s how much he loves you. In the words of Matthew West, He “loves you more than the stars in the sky.”
God loves you. Personally. Powerfully. Passionately. He loves you with an unfailing love. And his love—if you’ll let it—can infiltrate your life and saturate your heart! Receive his love—embrace the wonderful, undeniable truth that God loves you. Once you’ve received the love of God, then you’re ready to redistribute God’s love, by sharing it with others.