Summary: This sermon examines the special nature of God’s love for us.
God’s love is a special love. The person on the street and the person in church on Sunday all need to understand the love of God. An understanding of God’s love will affect your faith. An understanding of God’s love will affect your opinion of yourself. An understanding of God’s love will affect your service to God. An understanding of God’s love will affect your perspective of life. It is vitally important that we come to understand God’s special love for us.
Illustration: Last week I read a story that perfectly illustrates this truth. Dr. Howard Thurman served in missions in India. On one occasion, when he was preaching, a poor Indian boy from one of the villages heard him preach. After Dr. and Mrs. Thurman had gone to bed that night there was a timid knock at their door. Opening the door they saw this boy standing there, wearing the clothing of one of India’s untouchables. The boy said “I listened to you today and I want to ask you, Can you give hope to a nobody.” (P. 89, Living Illustrations, J.B. Fowler, Jr.) That boy needed to understand that he is special and that God loves him.
- The person who has attempted suicide needs to understand that God loves them.
- The person who has been in trouble with the law needs to understand that God loves them.
- The person who has had a personal failure in life needs to understand that God loves them.
- The person who has been through an abortion needs to understand that God loves them.
- The teenager who is struggling with self esteem issues needs to understand that God loves them.
- The adult who has been through a difficult time at work needs to understand that God loves them.
Every person needs to understand the love of God. In good times and bad, on good days and bad and even when we do not love ourselves God loves us.
The Bible helps us with our understanding of God’s love. Look at I John 4:7-21. In the original Greek language there were four words for love.
• Eros- refers to erotic love
• Storge- refers to family love
• Phileo- refers to brotherly love
• Agape- refers to God’s love
In I John 4:7-21 the word agape or a derivative occurs 27 times. When God repeats a word this many times He expects us to listen. He wants us to see the wonderful nature of His love. God cares about us! He loves us! Today, I want to define and describe the special nature of God’s love. I will define and describe God’s love under three categories.
1. God’s love is a Steadfast Love ( 9 ). Let me remind you of the definition of steadfast. According to Webster steadfast means firm, fixed, settled, or established. Thus, God loves us with a firm, settled and established love. It is not something that wavers with the changing times.
Illustration: C.H. Spurgeon told the story of the preacher who was walking in the country side and stopped by a farm house for a drink of water. The old farmer who lived there went out to talk to the preacher. As they were talking the preacher noticed that the barn had a weather vane on it that was spinning around in the wind. On the weather vane the words "GOD IS LOVE" was engraved. The preacher said to the man, "I don’t think that is a very good way to talk about God’s love. Are you saying that God’s love is Wishy Washy and changes depending on the way the wind blows?" " No, no" said the farmer. "That Weather Vane is saying, "No matter which way the wind blows, God is Love."
(Contributed to Sermon Central by Larry Jacobs)
A. God’s steadfast love continues when we do not deserve it. That is the essence of God’s relationship with man. God loves us even though we are sinners.
Illustration: On Saturday, September 18, 1982, the U.S. government released the results of a sad investigation. The government determined that an army soldier stationed in Korea had been a defector to the Communists. According to the investigation, on August 28, 1982, this twenty-year-old private willingly crossed the Korean Demilitarized Zone into North Korea “for motives that are not known.” His fellow American soldiers pleaded with him to turn back, but he did not respond.
The day after the findings were released, the parents of the young man held a press conference on the lawn of their St. Louis home. Wiping tears from his eyes, the father said that they had accepted the fact that their son was indeed a defector. “He has lost his credibility in this country, even with me, “said the man. But then he showed the heart of a father, “I still love my son,” he said, “and want him back.”