The Love of God

Posted on 06/17/2007 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

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TRANSCRIPT:

Good morning and welcome! Please make yourself at home in the presence of the Lord, as we invite his Holy Spirit here with us today.

Stand to your feet, and let's lift our hands and our hearts in love and surrender to the God of Glory!

Lord God, we welcome you here this morning! We invite you to have your way here today. And we ask you, we seek for you, to let your fire fall. Let your Holy Spirit fall upon us today, like rain from heaven, as we seek a closer walk with you.

Lord, we agree today with our brother who wants to see his friends and loved ones saved. Move through him in a mighty way. When he prays they will find you, he is praying your will. Pour out your Spirit on him, and may his friends and family be draw to you!

We join with Alfred in praying for Eric, that Eric will find your peace, your love, your forgiveness, your cleansing, your restoration, and your reconciliation with God that comes only through Jesus Christ. Surround Eric with your Holy Spirit, and do what it takes to bring him into the Kingdom, in Jesus' name.

We pray for Anthony's financial and transportation needs. You are Jehovah Jireh, God our Provider. We know that our God shall supply all our needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. And we ask that you meet Anthony's needs as he continues to walk in obedience to you.

We pray for Isabel, that you would heal her from the allergic reaction she had. Bless Isabel with health, may she be healthy and strong, in the name of Jesus.

We pray for Betty, that you would meet her financial needs as well. As she continues to seek after and obey you, we ask that you pour out your blessings upon her business, her finances, and her household, keeping them safe and secure in the shadow of your wing.

And now Lord I ask for a special anointing to rest in this place today. Stir up something within us, a burning desire for more of you, and teach us to walk closer and closer with you.

And it's in Jesus' name we pray.

Amen.

Remaining standing, click-touch the pulpit for a notecard, and follow along with the overhead as we worship God with song.


HIS BANNER OVER ME

He is the Vine and we are the branches,
His banner over me is love.
He is the Vine and we are the branches,
His banner over me is love.
He is the Vine and we are the branches,
His banner over me is love.
His banner over me is love!

He is the Shepherd and we are his beloved,
His banner over me is love.
He is the Shepherd and we are his beloved,
His banner over me is love.
He is the Shepherd and we are his beloved,
His banner over me is love.
His banner over me is love!

He calls us to His Banqueting Table,
His banner over me is love.
He calls us to His Banqueting Table,
His banner over me is love.
He calls us to His Banqueting Table,
His banner over me is love.
His banner over me is love!


MIGHTY IS OUR GOD

Mighty is our God
Mighty is our King
Might is our Lord
Ruler of everything

His name is higher,
higher than any other name
His power is greater,
for he has created everything


TO HIM WHO SITS ON THE THRONE

To him who sits on the throne
     and unto the Lamb
To him who sits on the throne
     and unto the Lamb

Be blessing and glory
     and honor and power forever
Be blessing and glory
     and honor and power forever


Lord, we love you, and we thank you for your love for us. You are the One who sits on the throne. You are the spotless Lamb of God, the Lion of Judah, the one who purchased us with your blood, purchased us from the evil task master of sin, so we could walk in complete liberty and freedom.

Teach us now by your Word. Reveal yourself to us in a deeper way. And may none of us leave here the same.

And we ask these things in Jesus' name.

Amen.


You may be seated.


Today we're going to talk about "The Love of God." We hear the phrase "Jesus loves you" so often, that it has become a cliche. But do we really know just how much God loves us? And do we realize what love really is?

Let's turn to Scripture today for the answer. I'm going to keep my comments to a minimum, as we let the Word of God speak for itself. And I pray that you would listen with your spirit and with your heart to what God is saying personally to you today.


Let's start by reading the 23rd Psalm:

"The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, 
he leads me beside the still waters, he restores my soul. 
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me; 
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever."


We generally think of this passage as one of peace, protection, and promise; and indeed it is all three. And yet, God gives us his peace because he loves us. God protects us as a loving Father protects his children. And God protects us as a loving husband protects his family.

It is the love of God which makes him the Good Shepherd. We can rest in his great love, knowing that we are safe and secure following him, for in his goodness, wisdom, and love he will never lead us astray. And at the end of the journey, we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.


In the book of Psalms, we see the love of God over and over again:

Psalm 31:7. "I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul."
 
Psalm 48:9. "Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love."
 
Psalm 57:2-3. "I cry out to God Most High, to God, 
who fulfills [his purpose] for me.
He sends from heaven and saves me, 
rebuking those who hotly pursue me;
God sends his love and his faithfulness."

Psalm 59:16. "I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble."

Psalm 68:1-8. "O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; 
my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, 
in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary 
and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live, 
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
On my bed I remember you; 
I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.
My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me."

Psalm 86:13-15. "For great is your love toward me;
you have delivered me from the depths of the grave.
The arrogant are attacking me, O God;
a band of ruthless men seeks my life-- men without regard for you. But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness."

Psalm 89:1-2. "I will sing of the LORD's great love forever;
with my mouth I will make your faithfulness 
known through all generations.
I will declare that your love stands firm forever,
that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself."

Psalm 90:14. "Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days."

Psalm 103:8-14. "The LORD is compassionate and gracious, 
slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;
He does not treat us as our sins deserve 
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is His love for those who fear Him;
as far as the east is from the west, 
so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust."

These songs of praise and adoration were written out of a heart which was well-aquainted with the mercy, forgiveness, restoration, and unending love of God.

To know God is to love God, for when you feast daily at his table, and walk every journey by his side; when you make every decision according to his counsel, and measure your every thought by the holy perfection of his mind; the closer you become to Jehovah God, the One True and Living God of the universe, the more you will love him and the people in whom his Eden breath ebs and tides.

You cannot truly know God without loving him, just as you cannot truly love God without knowing him.


As we pass into the New Testament, we see this central theme of love continue.


In John 13:35 Jesus says, "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

In John 15:12-13, "My command is this, love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: that he lay down his life for his friends."

In 1st John 3:16-18 we read, "This is how we know what love is" Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions, and sees his brother in need, but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth."


Just as we cannot know God without loving him and we cannot love God without knowing him, so we cannot know God and love God without loving the people around us.

In the parable of the Sheep and the Goats, Jesus tells us that if we help those in need, we help him, and if we don't help those in need, we don't help him. And we see this reinforced in these Scriptures, as we are told these three things:

1. They will know we belong to Jesus by our love. If we appear as though we belong to someone else, how can we reach a world whose deep inner emptiness can be filled by no one but God? Loving one another is a prerequisite to truly reaching the lost.

2. We can love God only by helping those in need. If we preach and teach and tell people they need Jesus, but we ignore their needs and refuse to love them like Jesus loved us, will they be drawn to the Jesus we claim to represent, or will they dismiss him as a fraud? Helping those in need is a must if we are to truly love God.

and 3. True love is self-sacrifice for the good of another, and cannot be truly attained through pride. Scripture tells us that Jesus humbled himself to the point of death on the cross.

The One who created the Universe and all the tiny, weak people on this speck called Earth, allowed himself to appear weak, helpless, under the control of evil men, ridiculed, beaten, and hung in shame and agony for all to see.

He left eternal glory and angelic worship to be humiliated for us, because it was necessary that he make such a sacrifice to save our souls and to set us free from the sin that separates us from him.

And then he tells us by his Word that we are to love others the way he loved us. We are to forsake our own pride, self-importance, self-seeking, our own dignity and self-respect, our own comfort and our own desires, and instead take on the mantel of a servant.


First John 4:16-20 says,
"God is love. Whoever lives in love, lives in God, and God in him.
In this way, love is made complete among us, so that we will have confidence on the day of judgement. In this world, we are like Him. There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.  We love because He first loved us.

If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar.
For anyone who does not love his brother whom he has seen,
cannot love God, whom he has not seen.
And He has given us this command: whoever loves God must also love his brother."


Romans 13:8:
"Let no debt remain outstanding, 
except the continuing debt to love one another,
for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 
The commandments, 'Do not commit adultery,'
'Do not murder,' 'Do not steal,' 'Do not covet,'
and whatever other commandment there may be, 
are summed up in this one rule:
'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
Love does no harm to its neighbor. 
Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law."

1 Corinthians 8:1:
"Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up."

1 Corinthians 13:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy,
it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love."


In Ephesians chapter three, verses seventeen through nineteen, we see that love is necessary for the power of God to flow through us, both individually and as the Body of Christ. Love is vital for us to grasp the width, the breath, and the depth of the love of God which goes beyond our ability to grasp with our intellect. And love is vital if we are to be filled with the measure of all the fullness of God.

Let's read this in Ephesians 3:17-19:
"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 
may have power, together with all the saints, 
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep
is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."


And finally, love is the message of Salvation, for in John chapter three and verse sixteen, we read this:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not  perish but have eternal life.

Romans 5:8
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 8:38-39
38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things  to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to  separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 John 3:1
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and  so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

1 John 4:9-18
9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so  that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have 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. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is 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 his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever  confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know  and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the  day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but  perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been  perfected in love.


So it is not power, nor posessions, nor conquest, and certainly not pride that brought Jesus to the cross as our only way to God; rather, it was his everlasting love for you and for me.

If you ever doubt that God loves you, just remember the sacrifice he made so you could be forgiven, so you could be freed from your slavery to sin, so you could have that weight of guilt removed from your shoulders, and so he could enjoy fellowship with you, the one he made so special and unique, and so you could enjoy fellowship with him and be immersed, healed, and transformed by his love for you.

Just believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved!


I'd like for the altar workers to come stand at the front.

The Spirit of God is here, and his presence is all around each and every one of us.

If you feel lonely and afraid, Jesus is here to fill your emptiness and wrap you securly in his arms.

If you feel broken and abused, Jesus is here to mend your broken heart, and to replace the violence of your past with the peace of his presence.

If you feel forgotten and alone, Jesus is here to remind you that his thoughts about you are more than the sands of the sea, and he is holding out his hand to walk through all of life beside you as your closest, dearest friend.

And if you feel ashamed, rejected, and used, Jesus is here to wash you with his healing oil of joy, to wipe away your every sin with his crimson blood, to wipe your slate clean and make you a brand new creation, and to adopt you into his royal family as a son or a daughter of the Great King.

Each and every one of us desperately needs the love of God.

If we are proud and believe we're doing pretty well, then we need the love of God to reveal our weakness and expose our pride for the crippling disease it is, so we can become humble and broken, breaking free from the prison of the mindset of the world.

If we desire more of God's power in our lives so we can reach out more effectively to those in need of his touch, then we need the love of God to continue increasing in our hearts, as he makes us more and more like Jesus.

If we have sorrows and regrets, then we need the love of God to wrap us in his comforting embrace, allowing our tears to flow, and beginning the deep healing that only the love of God can bring.

If we have addictions and bondages to sin, then we need the loving hand of our Father to pull us from the mire, stand beside us, strengthen us, and walk with us through to freedom.

And if we have not yet surrendered our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ, then we need the love of God to answer our hearts as we cry out, "Lord Jesus, have mercy on a sinner like me! Forgive me for my sins! Come into my heart! Make me a brand new creation!"

Step out of your seats and come to the front, as we kneel, sit, or stand at the altar, accepting the love of God that he is holding out to you today.

If you would like someone to pray or talk with you, please instant message one of the altar workers or ministry team. In a few minutes we'll all meet in the room to your left for fellowship, so please head over there when you're ready.

Come to this altar, run to the arms of the God who loves you and is closer to you than your own breath, and let him make you whole.

Come.