Love Is Series
1 Corinthians 13:1-8, 1 John 4:19
Part 1: The Unrelenting Love Of God
In this series we will be talking about how – deep, powerful and unrelenting God’s love for us really is. It’s beyond all reason!
HEY – anybody out there excited, pumped, grateful for the ‘Reckless Love Of God?’
NOW – there is a good chance that you have heard them before in church our at a wedding… 1 Corinthians chapter 13 beginning in verse one…
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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. – 1 Corinthians 13:1-8
“What does love mean?”
Love is probably the most misunderstood word in the world.
NOW – the Greeks didn’t have that problem because they had more than one word for love… Basically that had 4 words…
- Phileo ‘ fee leo’ (brotherly love, friendship)
- Eros (passionate or sexual love)
- Storge (parental or family love) and
NOW – the word agape was not used all that much in ancient literature but it is all over the NT.
IN FACT – 92% of the time you find the Word love in the NT it is the Greek word agape… which describes
(a selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love of the will)
IT’S – A love that is not dependent on there being any lovable qualities in the object being loved. IT’S – love when it is undeserved. IT’S – the kind of love that Paul describes for us in 1 Corinthians 13…
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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 – 1 Corinthians 13:1-8
We love, because He first loved us. – 1 John 4:19
Understanding and experiencing God’s love is the foundation, the fuel for loving others the way God calls us to love them.
LIKE – the key to living out ‘love is patient’ is experiencing what Paul calls (in 1 Timothy 1:16) the unlimited patience of God.
Repeat… Me – “we love” You – “because He first loved us”
I want to share several things about God’s Love.
Why we are doing this series, Love Is…
#1 – because there is nothing more important than love
Look at what Paul is saying
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
I MEAN – do you see what Paul is saying in those 3 verses?
He is saying that without love…
- what you say,
- what you know (and we live in an age of exploding knowledge and information… like human knowledge doubles every 12 hours. In the 1900’s it doubled every century… in 1950 every 25 years…. BUT (have you noticed that) we still have the same old problems – abuse, prejudice, hatred, violence, war, crime. Why? Because what the world needs is not more information, not more education… NO – despite what the world thinks that is not the solution to the world needs… LOVE is. Knowledge is not the answer, love is… Checkout what
God’s word says in 1 Cor 8:1, “knowledge puffs up, but love builds up…”
- Without love – what you say, what you know, and
- what you give, what you sacrifice, what you accomplish and even your faith does not matter… gains nothing.
UNDERSTAND Your relationships are more important than your accomplishments
AGAIN – we are doing this series
#1 – because nothing is more important than love
#2 – because nothing is as powerful as love
love has the power to change people…
WHEN A PERSON – is loved by someone with God’s kind of love… it changes them. They are not the same anymore
AND WHEN A PERSON – loves someone with God’s kind of love… it changes them. They are not the same anymore.
You cannot be loved that way or love others that way and remain the same.
Love has the power to change people, and…
LOVE – has the power to show the world that we are Jesus disciples…
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. – John 13:34,35
YOU SEE – according to Jesus the way we love one another is…our greatest apologetic,
AGAIN – we are doing this series
- because nothing is more important than love
- because nothing is as powerful as love
- because nothing is more needed in our world and in our homes, community and relationships) than a bunch love people living out God’s kind of love.
UNDERSTAND – 2 times the bible comes right out and says that God is love. NOT – that God loves (which he does).. BUT – that God is love.
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.– 1 John 4:8
We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in him. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. – 1 John 4:16
A.W. Tozer, made a quote to try to explain God’s love. He wrote:
I can no more do justice to this awesome and wonder-filled topic than a child can grasp a star. Still, by reaching toward the star the child may call attention to it and even indicate the direction one must look to see it. And so, I stretch my heart toward the high, shining love of God so that we may be encouraged to look up and have hope. – AW Tozer
5 powerful truths about God’s love
1. God’s Love…. Is A Love Beyond All Reason
YOU KNOW – as I read of, and reflect on, the unrelenting love of God, that I see so vividly displayed on the pages of Scripture. I find myself going back to that same little word that 3 years olds love to say so much…
A WORD – that pretty much sums up the entire thing. Why?
I think that is exactly what David is saying in Psalm 8…
Lord our Lord, your name is the most wonderful name in all the earth! It brings you praise in heaven above… I look at your heavens, which you made with your fingers. I see the moon and stars, which you created. But why are people even important to you? Why do you take care of human beings? Psalm 8:1,3,4
The unrelenting love of God…
One of the reason why God’s love is so hard for us to wrap our brains around is because God’s Love is unconditional.
The reason we have such a hard time getting our hearts and minds around unconditional love, is because most of us have had more experience with unconditional loves evil twin ‘conditional’ love…
A LOVE – that loves only because of what it gets in return.
A LOVE – where that places expectation on us that we constantly fail to measure up to.
MAYBE – some in this room up in a home like that…
QUESTION – have you ever experienced conditional love? Have you ever loved conditionally?
UNDERSTAND – when I say ‘I love McDonalds fries, I love my car, I love chocolate, I love Maryland Crab Cakes..’
IT IS – a conditional kind of love… BECAUSE…
- IF – McDonald fries started tasting like BK fries,
- IF – my car broke down
- IF – chocolate suddenly turned into onions…
- AND IF – the crab cakes have more fillings then crab meat
I would no longer love those things…
YOU SEE – I love those things because of what they give me in return… IT’S – a conditional love.
YEAH – I get it, and I admit it… it’s a conditional kind of love
Here is the truth of the matter…
WE ALL – at times love conditionally…
AND WE ALL – have been loved conditionally…
BUT – the good news is… God’s love is unconditional – it is beyond all reason.
Scriptural Facts on love in the Bible
366 verses that have the word love in them…
Of those 366 verses 204 (54%) are talking about God’s love?
[the remaining 162 verses talk about; our love for God, our love for His word, our love His wisdom, our love for our friends, romantic love… and several verses talk about our love for wrong things… LIKE – sin, idols and money]
175 of those 204 verses (that’s about 86% – nearly 9 out of every ten verses) said the exact same thing about God’s love.
THAT – God’s love is unconditional.
THAT – God’s love is not based on who we are OR what we have done…
BUT RATHER – on who God is. AND REMEMBER – God is love!
111 times God’s love is described as “unfailing”
40 times His love is described as ‘enduring forever…
NOTHING – you could ever do, could make God love you more than He loves you right now.
Not greater achievement.
Not greater beauty.
Not wider recognition.
Not even a greater level of spirituality and obedience.
AND NOTHING – you have ever done can make God love you less.
Not any sin.
Not any failure.
Not any guilt.
Not any regret.
An unconditional love, a beyond all reason kind of love.
God’s love for us will always be beyond our understanding. LIKE – it will never make complete sense to any of us.
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! – 1 John 3:1
‘what great’ (‘potapos’ in Greek ) – from what country
This love is like from another country, another place…
Even though God’s love is beyond all reason…
This morning, this moment, could be the day that many on this call will STOP questioning God’s unconditional love and begin to simply accept and embrace it.
What in the world would happen if people actually began discovering the actual message of Jesus Christ – that love is unconditional? What would happen if we began to realize that God was not, in fact, waiting for us to earn His love, but that He was passionately pursuing us with His love? What would happen if the word God out that Jesus was offering His love freely and without condition? – Erwin McManuel
2. God’s Love… Is A Love That Delights In You
The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” – Zephaniah 3:17
As man rejoices over his new wife, so the Lord rejoices over you. – Isaiah 62:5
UNDERSTAND – God does not love you out of obligation or duty. HIS LOVE – for you is not an in spite of kind of love…
God doesn’t just love you because he has to…
He loves you because He wants to.
IN FACT – God delights in you.
HE – rejoices over you as a man rejoices over His new wife!
HE – loves you not because of what you do but because of who you are.
AND LISTEN – His love for you, when you begin to plunge it’s depths will as Zephaniah wrote..
he will quiet you with his love
he will rejoice over you with singing.
That doesn’t mean that God delights in everything you do…
The fact that you exist – is a very good thing in God’s eyes and HIS face lights up whenever you walk into the room…
Food for Thought
“It may be a very bad thing that I needed God to die for me, but it is a wonderful thing that God thinks I’m worth dying for.”
“You’re worth dying for”, “I’m worth dying for”
Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings – Psalms 17:8
David speaks of being the apple of God’s eye. NOW – that little phrase ‘apple of your
IT’S – based on what happens when you look a person in the eye at point-blank range.
WHEN YOU DO THAT – you see an image (a reflection) of yourself in the eyes of the other person.
WHEN – you look into GOD’S eyes you will see an image of what The Almighty is so fixated on…
YOU – will see an image of you! The apple of God’s eye!
Show the wonder of your great love… Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings – Ps 17:8
God’s love is…
- a love that is unconditional and beyond reason
- a love that delights in ‘you.’
3. God’s Love.. Is A Love That Is For You
UNDERSTAND – when we love someone, it means that we are in their corner, we are on their team, that we have their back, that we have their six.
IT MEANS – that we want to see them realize their FULL potential and become all God made them be.
GOD (The King of Glory, The LORD of all creation) is not just with you…
HE – is for you.
HE – is on your team…
HE – is in your corner.
HE – celebrates you victories and mourns your setbacks.
AND HE – He most definitely regardless of where your life is at the moment… (mountain high or valley low, hopeful/hopeless, faithful/unfaithful, fallen or standing)…
HAS – plans, dreams, thoughts and intentions for your life.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jer 29:11
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. – Eph 2:10
God is FOR you and He has awesome plans for your life. PLANS…
- to prosper you
- to give you a hope and a future
- to create you anew in Christ
- to put your life on display as one of His masterpieces.
- For you to do the good things HE PLANNED for you to do long ago
Yes God is for us!
What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? – Romans 8:31,32
YES – God’s love is a ‘for us’ kind of love…
4. God’s Love… Is A Love That Pays Attention To You
UNDERSTAND – attention is one of the most powerful forces in the world.
AND – for that matter no one can… We all need attention.
One of the great miracles of life is that God pays attention to us. This is partly why the writers of Scripture speak so often of God’s face. This is the hope of the great priestly blessing that God himself taught the people of Israel.
‘The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make his face shine upon you And be gracious to you; The Lord turn his face toward you And give you peace.’ – Numbers 6:24-26
Psalm 139:1-3. “You have looked deep into my heart, Lord, and You know all about me. You know when I am resting or when I am working” “You notice everything I do and everywhere I go.”
God pays constant attention to you… He never takes His eyes off of you. IN FACT – He never stops thinking about you.
HAVE – you ever wondered…
- does anyone care
- does anyone notice
- do I matter
- Is anyone paying attention to me
God answers – “I am!”
God’s Love is…
- A love that is unconditional and beyond reason
- A love that delights in you
- A love that is for you
- A love that pays attention to you
5. God’s Love… Is A Love That Unrelentingly Pursues You
Unrelenting – that which does not diminish in intensity or in effort.
750 years before Jesus would come to this planet and solve the sin problem. God’s – extraordinary, ridiculous, illogical, unconditional, reckless, unrelenting love shows up in full display through the life of a young man named Hosea.
Hosea is a prophet in the northern kingdom of Israel. Now a lot of prophets in the OT were given some pretty crazy or challenging assignments… BUT – I dare say that Hosea is given the most ridiculous, difficult and embarrassing assignment.
God comes to Hosea and says, ‘Okay, Hosea this is your assignment. I want you to marry a prostitute.
BUT EVENTUALLY – God comes to Hosea and says, “Okay Hosea, here’s the plan. I want you to go find your wife and marry her again.”
Then the Lord said to me, “Go again; show love to a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, just as the Lord loves the Israelites though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes.” – Hosea 3:1
A Love that’s Not Real Love
Carnal lover has 3 primary philosophies of what love is.
- they believe that love can be purchased
- they believe that love is just about self-gratification
- they believe that is found or can be discovered in things, in inanimate objects.
Parallel to our world today. Where the meaning of love has been so convoluted.
Love ya, Love ya
AND LISTEN – it is into this environment where people believe…
- that love can be purchased
- that love is about self
- and that love is about things
This is not love… So God says I will demonstrate to ‘my people’ what love really is.
Other than the crucifixion and the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Undoubtedly the story of Gomer and Hosea is the greatest expression and demonstration of God’s love in all of Scripture.
Then I told her, “You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will behave the same way toward you.” – Hosea 3:3
QUESTION – who is Hosea? …God
Hosea means ‘salvation.’
Gomer means ‘completion.’
Whose Hosea… that’s our God.
Whose Gomer? Me, you
He won’t stop will He?
He won’t stop… He’s unrelenting.
To find you, and to pay the price for you.
Whose Gomer? Me… and Jesus is my Hosea.
UNDERSTAND – nothing needs to be added when I meet my Hosea
Nothing can be added… I am complete, He’s paid the price.
And Jesus quotes Hosea…
Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.” – Matthew 9:13
Have not come to seek those who think they are righteous but those who know they are lost and they are desperate.
What is Jesus saying, “I am your Hosea”
Go and learn what this means. Whose He talking to? He’s talking to Jews who understand and would have heard stories of the great prophet Hosea.
He’s saying ‘I am Hosea. I am your salvation. And I will go and I will look, and I will search and I will pay whatever the cost… for you…
Next week we are going to start unpacking Paul’s definition, in a conversation simply called, ‘Love is patient.’