Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Loving God: God Is Love
No Video Available

Loving God: God Is Love1

Intro.: I have here a red apple. [Show red apple]

  1. But how do you know it is red?

  2. Let's try an experiment. Close your eyes. I want you to imagine for a minute this lucious, sweet, apple. May be you will want to eat it, maybe you will want to put into an apple pie. But doesn't it sound good right now?[Exchange apples]

  3. Now, keeping your eyes closed, how do you know that it is a red apple. You cannot see it. And, even if you could smell it, it tell you nothing about its color. You see, you only have my word for it that it is a red apple.

  4. Now, open your eyes. [Show green apple]

  5. How can you know that the apple is red?

  6. But the same questions arise when we think about that statement that we have grown up, “God is Love.”

Read: I John 4:7-18


Trans: Today, we start a new series entitled “Loving God”

  1. I chose this title for the series because of this simple phrase really can have two meanings.

  2. First, it speaks of the very nature of God – we serve a “Loving God”

  3. But it also speaks of our loving God for all that He provides –

  4. Thanksgiving seems like an appropriate time for us to examine God and love.

  5. How can we know that God is Love? What proof is there that God is a loving God?

T.S. Today I want to look at four ways we can know that God loves us. These are not all inclusive – there are others, but these four focus our attention on our Loving Lord.

  1. God's love is seen in His creation

    1. Yesterday morning I looked out my front window for a few minutes – you know what I saw across the street? A lone goose. He (or was it a she) was walking on the neighbor's grass. Might not have been so strange if there were a pond or a pool on the neighbor's lot, but such was not the case. He was waddling (do geese waddle?) on the grace, made his way across the drive way. I lost track of that goose when I heard the phone ring. I went back to the window, but no goose, I looked up and down the street, but no goose.

(Ill.) I am reminded of that little trick that we sometimes see on TV in the typical detective show. The bad guy has written a ransom note for $250,000 and sent it to a set of parents who are missing a child. But, halfway through the show, the detective finds a pad of paper – now he doesn't have the original note, just the impression the writer left on the pad. But there is enough of an impression that can tell that the writer was there.

    1. Creation does not show us God, but it does show us that God was there.

(Ill.) Of course, this is similar to the argument that is currently being made by a group of very educated scientist – an argument called “Intelligent Design.” When we look at our world as we know it, when we look at life as we know it, the odds of arriving at the complexity that we see using a series of random events is impossible. In creation we see the imprint of God's presence.

    1. Part of what we see is God's love. In the beauty of a sunrise, in the wonderful patterns we see in nature.

  1. God's love is seen in His Scripture

(Ill.) Someone has called the Bible “God's love letter to man”.

    1. We sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that seeing God as a loving God is a NT concept.

    2. As early as 1440, Moses writes that “And the Lord passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, 'The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.'” Those were God's words in Exodus 34, but Moses echoes those same words as his own in Numbers 14.

(Appl.) That is often how spiritual growth happens. It is not automatic. It happens as we place ourselves in situations where we can hear God speak to us. After we hear something, we process it, meditate on it, and then it becomes ours. It becomes something that will change our beliefs, something that will change our behavior.

    1. God's love changed Moses. And it can change us.

    2. It is found throughout the scriptures. God loves His people; God loves individuals. God's love is found in the Law, the Writings, and the Prophets – the three classic divisions of the OT. Let me give you just two examples – David writes in Psalm 59, “O my Strength, I sing praise to you; you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God.” Jeremiah writes, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”

    3. God is love – it is a truth that transcends time itself. It describes the very nature of God. It may be John that declared it outright, but it is a truth that was true for all people, where'ere they may live.

  1. God's love is found in the gift of God's only begotten son.

    1. There is a hymn in our Christmas carol in our hymnal that I do not ever remember singing or even seeing. It goes like this Love came down at Christmas, Love all lovely, love divine; Love was born at Christmas: Star and angels gave the sign.

    2. God shows his love in the gift He made of Son.

    3. It was not a last minute thought, it was not a second chance, but it was a plan that originated in the earliest days of history. A plan that had its fulfillment in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    4. Paul writes, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,d neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

(Ill.) Shortly after I first gave my heart to Jesus, I became associated with our college's Campus Crusades for Christ group. You'll remember that we had Deanna Tuskas here a few weeks ago as she sought to begin ministry at SUNY Brockport. At the time that I was a part of Campus Crusades, their world headquarters was in Southern California – in the hills above San Bernadino at Arrowhead Springs. And two or three times during the time I was part of Campus Crusades, I was privileged to travel to Arrowhead Springs and hear some of the great Christians of the early 1970s. One of those speakers was the founder of Campus Crusades, Bill Bright. In 1996 Bill Bright was awarded the Templeton Prize for Progress In Religion, the largest single monetary award made to an individual for intellectual merit – larger than even the Nobel prizes. Bill Bright has said, “When we have Christ we have everything we need. He is love incarnate, so that when we trust and obey Him we have love.”2

    1. In Jesus Christ we are shown God's love.

  1. God's love is found in the gift of the Holy Spirit

    1. I fear that I have missed one of the greatest gifts that God has given to His people – the gift of His Spirit.

    2. Paul writes, “God not only provided Jesus as our Savior – he also loved us enough to provide the Holy Spirit – God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”

(Ill.) I have shown you this little token of love that was given to me by a five year old Sunday School student a good number of years ago. My wife often wears around her neck a small heart that includes a picture of me from my early 20s. That heart was a token of my love to her. And God has given us a token of His love – he has given us the Holy Spirit.

(Ill.) Somebody once said, “The baptism of the Holy Ghost will do for you what a phone booth did for Clark Kent – it will change you into a different human being.”3



1Much of today's sermon is derived from Chambers, O. (1996, c1973). The love of God. Hants UK: Marshall, Morgan & Scott Containing also The ministry of the unnoticed, The message of invincible consolation, The making of a Christian, Now it is possible.

2Bright, B. (2004). Brightside Articles. Orlando, FL: NewLife Publications.

3Water, M. (2000). The new encyclopedia of Christian quotations (488). Alresford, Hampshire: John Hunt Publishers Ltd.

No comments: