Sermon

Advent: God is Love (1 John 4:8)

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In April of 1975, the #1 song in America was Minnie Riperton’s “Loving You”. It began with this line: “Loving you is easy because you’re beautiful.” Not because you are nice, not because you are kind, but because you are beautiful. This is actually a consistent theme in modern music. Turn on “Top 40” radio and you will soon hear songs about love, but the love they sing about is actually lust. Our radios are filled with selfish music. It is music that has devolved into an obsession about how someone looks and about how someone makes you feel. It is selfish because once the object of love ceases to be desirable, they are discarded. This is not God’s love. God’s love is not selfish, it is sacrificial. When the Bible speaks of love, it speaks of an intentional decision to love others on the basis of who they are, rather than on how they look or how they make you feel. Let us consider this further: 

  1. God’s Love for Us. God’s love for us is revealed in creation, Christmas, and the cross. Psalm 19:1 says, “The Heavens declare the glory of the Lord, the sky above proclaims His handiwork.” Creation is a testimony of the goodness of God. At Christmas we have God’s love demonstrated in sending Jesus into our world. 1 John 4:9 says, “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.” In the cross, we have God’s love demonstrated in Jesus being our Savior. Romans 5:8 says, “But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
  2. God’s Love to Us. God intends for His love to come to us. This is why we stress the Great Commission at First Baptist. Matthew 28:18-20: “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” God does not withhold His salvation, He wants people to be saved and for us to know His love.
  3. God’s Love in Us. God’s love is designed to root out selfish love and replace it with sacrificial love. Milton Vincent in A Gospel Primer explains why man’s love is selfish: “I love myself supremely because I am the most worthy person I know to be loved and also because I think I can do a better job at it than anyone else.” He says there are two reasons for selfish love. The first is fear: “I fear that if I do not love myself there would be no one left to love me quite so well as I do.” The second is arrogance: “a lack of persuasion that there is someone out there who is worthy to be loved more than I.” The only thing that can free us from the futility of selfish love is the gospel. Vincent writes that: “the gospel assures me that the love of God is infinitely superior to any love that I could ever give to myself (see John 15:13). Also, “the gospel reveals to me the breathtaking glory and loveliness of God, and in so doing, it lures my heart away from love of self and leaves me enthralled by Him instead.” The gospel is liberating and satisfying.
  4. God’s Love through Us. When Jesus was asked which is the greatest commandment in the Law, Jesus replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt 22:37-39). God’s love in us works through us to love others. We have been entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18) in which we implore people on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God. God’s love works through us to testify to God’s grace and mercy.

Loving you is not easy, but it is a sign of my salvation. The love of God is sacrificial and the source of my love is God, so therefore, my love must also be sacrificial. Examine yourself: Do you regularly display selfish love or sacrificial love? Do you base your love on what others can do for you or on what you can do for others? If you are a Christian, have you lost your first love (Rev 2:4)? If you are not a Christian, you need to be saved. Admit that you are sinner and repent of your sin. Believe that Jesus is God’s Son who died to bring forgiveness for your sin. Confess your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. Find true love that is sacrificial.

Verses on the Love of God

  • Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.
  • Psalm 86:15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
  • Psalm 136:26 Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.
  • John 3:16 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 God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
  • Romans 8:37-39 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 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.
  • Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.
  • Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved.
  • 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 why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
  • 1 John 4:7-8 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.