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God’s Love, Three Things to Know

This week, we look at another attribute of God, His love for His people. God's love for us is Sacrificial, Unconditional and Permanent.

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Last week, we looked at God’s Holiness, which the Bible describes as His greatest attribute. God’s Holiness separates Him from us because of our sin, but God’s holiness separates Him from all of Creation, even from the sinless angels. Holiness though is not God’s only attribute. John in our reading this morning tells us that God is Love, and the love he has for us is the love we should have for others.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

John tells his readers that love originates from God. First, God created us to be in relationship with him, not just as creator/creature, but as Father/Child. And secondly, God has shown his love in that when our spiritual parents rejected this, and despite our personal rejection, God came and shed His blood to redeem us. This is how God displayed His love for us. And then, to paraphrase what John is trying to teach in the lesson, God says, “Follow Me! Love others as I love you!”

There are three main points about God’s love which He models

God’s love for us is Sacrificial.

God’s love for us is unconditional.

God’s love for us is permanent.

First, God’s Love is Sacrificial. God’s love is for the sake of those he loves, and not to receive. His love is sometimes called agape love.

Sacrificial love means to do what is best for another without any concern for self. Relationships like marriages break down when we aren’t getting what we want out of them. In our wedding vows we talk about better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. Sacrificial love means loving another regardless of what comes back, what we get out of it; very different from love that’s conditional on what’s received in return.

God shows His love for us in what he sacrificed for us. In the previous chapter, John says: 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 and sisters. 

Jesus himself says: Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

Jesus sacrificed His life for ours. God could have let us walk away, when our sin led us away from Him, and kept us from returning, but He didn’t. Philippians 2 describes how he shrouded his glory, he hid the fullness of his holiness, humbling himself to take up our nature, so He could redeem it, sacrificing Himself to buy our way Home. Sacrificial

Second - God’s Love is Unconditional.

Hettie Green was a famous millionaire. She lived in seclusion and became a virtual recluse with only a few friends and an ugly dog that kept biting her few friends. One once said, “You’ve got to get rid of that dog.” she refused. “That dog loves me and he doesn’t even know how rich I am.

Dogs are much better than humans at showing that picture of unconditional love, a love that doesn’t wait for you to do something first.

Paul says in Romans 5:while we were helpless, Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one might die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

While we were still helpless, sinners, HIS ENEMY, Christ loved us and died for us. The word helpless means that we had NOTHING to offer to God, but God’s love was such that even though we had nothing to offer, His love for us never changes, it is Unconditional in that God hates sin, but loves us no strings attached.

In 1995, Christopher Reeve, Superman, fell from a horse in a riding accident that severed his spinal cord and paralyzed him from the shoulders down. In the days which followed he felt like pulling the plug.

In his memoir, Reeve said he shared this with his wife, “Dana, maybe we should let me go.”

But his wife, in love, demanded he fight back, “I want you to know that I will be with you for the long haul, no matter what. You’re still you, and I love you.” Dana Reeves was not worried about the life ahead of her because she unconditionally loved her husband. And God’s unconditional love for us becomes our model in how we see others, lesson v 10-11:

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. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Sometimes love will require us to be tough. There are things in life which require us to let people go so that we are not enabling them to sin. Because continuing to provide for them keeps them from waking up and changing their sinful behavior. That’s true love, if you follow, because you are putting their need to get right first, above the joy you get when you receive their affection back.

God loves you no matter what you have done. He loves you even if you don’t love him back, or just right yet, at least. You don’t even have to clean up your act before you experience His love for you. And we know that because none of us has yet fully cleaned up our act.

Lastly, God’s Love for us is Permanent. Paul says in Romans 8:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? … For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 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.

Nothing can separate us from God’s Love.

Not Death, Not Principalities (those are spiritual rulers), not earthly rulers, not time, height or depth or anything that currently made or that will be made.

But God, I have lived a terrible life! God still loves you. I have allowed the devil to run my life! God still loves you. But God, I have loved the creation much more than you! God still loves you.

And there are many reasons why we think we don’t deserve God’s love, but God loves us no matter what.

Three points again. The love of the world is a self-centered love; it says that if you can deliver for me, I will love you. But God says, I love you sacrificially, no matter the cost, and then God proves His point by dying for us on the cross.

God loves you unconditionally, no matter what you have done or will do. God doesn’t wait until you are perfect to love you.

Lastly God’s love for you is permanent. God knew you in the womb, and loved you there, and will always love you forever.

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