Summary: Sermon preached this Spring leading up to Easter morning.
What is Love?
In 1 John 4 we find an incredible passage of Scripture about the love of God.
The very concept of love is one of the most permeating themes in modern society.
Many of us remember a song that The Beatles sang about love in the sixties.
In the midst of the Vietnam era their message to a hurt and frightened world was, "all you need is love…love is all you need.”
If you go to online book retailer Amazon.com, there are at least 32,507 books currently in print with the word "love" in the title (over 145,000 that deal with the subject of love) and over 11,000 music CDs with "love" in the title.
If you were to do a Google-search on the internet, you’d discover at least 121,000,000 web-sites that that use the word "love" as one of their key words.
It is unmistakable, how important love is to our culture -- to people in general.
But with all this information available, love has also become a very confusing subject.
When I watch TV, or scan magazines in the checkout lines, it’s clear that our society has a very poor understanding of love.
Recently, I heard about a single mother with two school age children. This mother had a busy social life -- too busy, in fact.
Because the children got in the way of her fun, she loaded them up with cough medicine.
With the kids drugged to sleep, she and the boyfriend of the day were free to do what they will.
Now, I venture to say that if the authorities were to intervene to rescue those children, this woman would protest, "I love my children!"
With humanity so confused about love, who is to say what love is?
The answer is God!
One of the simplest and yet most profound definitions of love is found in 1 John 4: "God is love."
Let me invite you to read this message with me, and discover the depth and meaning of God’s love...
Read 1 John 4:9-10 and pray.
The message of Easter ultimately is about love…and seeing that love defined by action.
As we celebrate what is commonly known as “Palm Sunday”, I want us to focus on the event that defined that week for many:
-The crucifixion of Christ and how his death actually brings forth life and how a cruel Roman symbol of hate and oppression now represents love.
Three truths this morning that will help us better understand what love is.
First of all, it…
1. Begins with God
Read vs. 9
For us to fully understand and comprehend the story of Easter, I think we first of all have to get a grasp on another story for another season…Christmas.
I know, it’s Easter…the crucifixion and the resurrection should be our focus, and I agree, they should be.
But as we focus on the cross and the empty tomb, in our peripheral vision should be the manger. (Show slide)
Read Matthew 1:18-23.
This gift of love begins with God.
John 3:16 tells us that.
He gave His Son as that gift.
Not that we deserved it, in fact, we don’t.
Romans 5:8 tells us that.
Never has anyone been so unworthy of anything as we are of God’s love.
There are none righteous, and all of our righteousness is only as good as filthy rags, and our sins are deserving of death.
But God loves us.
God loves you.
Do you really understand and comprehend that this morning.
That God loves you more than you can imagine, more than you deserve.
That is part of His nature, love.
1 John 4:19 tells us that.
He is the very image of love.
That is why He gave.
God is love…beginning, end and encompassing.
The world can only guess about what love is, and has done a pretty shoddy job at defining it…it has more to do with lust and less to do with love day by day.
But not God; He defines it because He created it, it is part of who He is…His nature.
God is love and love begins with God.
And what He gave because of that love is our 2nd truth this morning.
What is love?
It begins with God but it is also…
2. Manifested in Christ
Read vs. 10.
Remember John 3:16 that we mentioned earlier.
Christ is the gift that God gave. (Show slide)
He came to this earth as a baby…born of a virgin, and without sin.
He lived a sinless life and at the age of 30 He went to His cousin John the Baptist to be baptized Himself as an example for us.
For the next 3 years he went from town to town, city to city, village to village…and He preached, He taught, He healed, He performed miracles that could only be described as being from God.