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God’s Love For Us
Alice thought she had the perfect fiancé. As she was getting to know Michael and his family, she was very impressed by how much his parents loved each other. “They’re so thoughtful,” she said. “Why, your dad even brings your mom a cup of hot coffee in bed every morning.”
Alice and Michael got married, and as they were leaving the wedding, Alice again remarked on Michael’s loving parents and his mom’s morning coffee in bed. She said, “Tell me, does it run in the family?”
And Michael replied, “It sure does, but you should know that I take after my mom.”
One morning a woman woke up and told her husband of a dream. “I just dreamed that you gave me a pearl necklace for Valentine’s Day. What do you think it means?”
Her husband replied, “Honey, you’ll know what it means tonight.”
That evening, her husband came home with a small package and gave it to his wife. Delighted, she opened it to find a book entitled, “The Meaning of Dreams.”
When it comes to relationships, love isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, but when it comes to our relationship with God, His love exceeds our wildest imagination, and that’s because from the very beginning, from the time God created us, and here’s the really neat part, He didn’t have to love us.
Think about this, God doesn’t need us; rather He wants us. God loves us, and it isn’t something He’s forced to do; rather He loves us because He chose us from the very foundation of the world to be His special people, that is, His bride.
In the song we sang earlier, “The Love of God,” it describes God’s love as “greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell.” It goes on to say that if the skies were a scroll, the oceans full of ink, and every stalk on earth a writing quill, we still couldn’t write of how much God loves us.
God loves us deeply beyond anything we could ever imagine, and He longs for every one of us to experience the fullness of His love. And here’s something else that’s neat, God offers us the kind of love we need the most. If we want real love, ideal love, perfect love, it’s not going to be found in any relationship outside of a relationship with God. Only God’s love is big enough to meet all of our needs.
What I’d like to do is to share some ideas and concepts about God’s love for us.
1. God Loves Us Just Because
While Valentines Day is long gone and over, God’s love for us will never be over. As I stated earlier, God loves us deeply and He longs for us to experience that love.
One significant aspect of God’s love is that God loves us just because. Why “just because,” because we are His special treasures and He desires to draw us into a deeper love relationship with Him. Therefore He lures us away from those things that compete for our affection.
“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” (Jeremiah 31:3 NKJV)
Every minute of every day since we heard God’s call to come and meet with Him, He’s been pursuing a love relationship with us, seeking to draw us close as a mother draws her child. He wants us near Him.
God loves us “just because,” which means that while His love defies logic, it still has reason.
First, it’s because God’s love for us is a part of His very nature. God is love. And because of His love for us He tells us to love others.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7 NKJV)
In fact, God loved us so much He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for us, to take our place and die the death we deserve.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
And so God loves us because God is love.
Second, He loves us because He made us, and while sin has destroyed some of that design, God still loves us because each of us has a unique value. In fact, God made us to have a relationship with Him.
“God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.’” (Genesis 1:26 NKJV)
We’ve been made in God’s image and according to His likeness, and so within our DNA lay the potential of having an intimate relationship with God.
The Bible says God set His affection upon His people to love them, not because they were more numerous or greater than all the other people groups, but rather quite the opposite, He chose to love them. It says He “set His love,” that is, God fastens His love upon us, meaning that God’s love will hold onto us and won’t let go. The Bible says that nothing can separate us from the love of God. (Romans 8:38-39)
And so God loves us just because, and it’s not because of anything we’ve done, quite the opposite, we’ve done everything wrong, and still He loves us.
Next, going back to what our verse in Jeremiah said in how God has loved us with an everlasting love, we then enter into our second concept about God’s love.
2. God’s Love Is Everlasting
This tenacious steadfast love God has for us is seen in what the Psalmist says.
“But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him.” (Psalm 103:17a NRS)
Before we ever existed, God loved us. Long before we were ever born God fastened His affection upon us and decided to love us, not because we earned it, but because that’s who He is.
Before we were born God knew the worst about us, therefore nothing we do will disillusion Him where He says, “Didn’t see that coming. I guess I made a mistake.” God doesn’t make mistakes.
J.I. Packer in his book, “Knowing God,” said,
“God’s love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on the prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery now can disillusion Him about me in the way I am so often disillusioned about myself.”
And so God says, “It’s not because you’ve earned it or worked hard for it that I have loved you, rather I love you because I made a choice to love you.”
God not only loves us from everlasting, but He will love us to everlasting. His love will never end. This is a lifelong and eternity long love relationship.
In the chorus, “One Thing Remains,” it says, “Your love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me. On and on and on it goes. It overwhelms and satisfies my soul. And I never, ever, have to be afraid. One thing remains.”
The one thing that remains is God’s unchanging love towards us, which bring us to the next concept about God’s love.
3. God’s Love is Unchanging
Does God ever change? Through the prophet Malachi the Lord said no way. God said,
“I the Lord do not change.” (Malachi 3:6a NKJV)
But we also read numerous examples of God changing due to the people’s repentance. In fact, this is actually a promise God gives.
“Perhaps they will listen and each will turn from his evil way. Then I will relent and not bring on them the disaster I was planning because of the evil they have done.” (Jeremiah 26:3 NKJV)
God is creating opportunities for us to turn from our sins and escape His intended punishment.
So, when the Lord said, “I do not change,” what is God’s unchangeable nature? May I suggest that it’s His love and purpose to bless us! I believe this is indeed the case when through Malachi the Lord went on to say,
“So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.” (Malachi 3:6b NKJV)
(Repeat verse with our name inserted)
But when we turn away from God and rebel against His word, then He changes His method of blessing and turns it into punishment. But He does so not to hurt us, but to help us and to bring us back into relationship with Him.
“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.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
When we repent of our evil and our sin, then God relents, that is, He changes His method from punishment to blessing.
This is the heart of God. Listen to what He said through the prophet Ezekiel.
“But if a wicked man turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he will save his life.” (Ezekiel 18:27 NKJV)
In grace God relents of His judgment when we repent of our sins. Therefore, God’s love toward us is unchanging.
4. God’s Loves Us In Rebellion
We can see God’s amazing unchanging love for us in the Old Testament book of Hosea. Even though the people turned to other gods, even though they rebelled against God and His love for them, God still declared His unfailing, unchanging, everlasting love for them.
“Oh, how can I give you up, Israel? How can I let you go? How can I destroy you like Admah and Zeboiim? My heart is torn within Me, and my compassion overflows.” (Hosea 11:8 NLT)
This was God’s love toward Israel, even though Israel continually broke His heart by rebelling. In this love God continually warned the people, but the people refused to listen. Finally, in love He disciplined them, and the Bible clearly states God disciplines those He loves. (Hebrews 12:6)
And the purpose is to bring us to Him, because God cannot stand to have us separated from Him. God will never give up on us, nor will He ever abandon us, even though we may have given up and abandoned Him.
And that’s comforting to know. That while we may put other things in front of God, God still loves us, and will discipline us so that we will not stray too far.
And so, while we may have failed in one way or another, God’s love never fails and is always going to be there fore us, and in His love for us He always brings us back to Himself. For this to take place we must confess our sins and repent, that is, we must turn away from our sins and turn towards God. When we do, God’s love will overflow into our hearts and into our lives.
5. God Loves Us Without Limits
God’s love is infinite. His love has no limitations or boundaries, thus we’ll never be able to go beyond His love.
The Apostle Paul said,
“May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love really is.” (Ephesians 3:17b-18 NLT)
Apostle Paul then said we’d know and experience the greatness of God’s love, and that’s it’s far greater than anything we’ll ever know, and it’ll accomplish within us infinitely more than we would ever dare to hope.
God’s love is limitless, and there’s no situation we’ll face that He’ll not give us the strength, encouragement, and hope to see us through.
“May our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father, who loved us and in His special favor gave us everlasting comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and give you strength in every good thing you do and say.” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 NLT)
In other words, God doesn’t parcel out His love; rather His love is boundless and endlessly flows towards us. It literally floods our hearts.
God’s limitless loving touch gives us all the encouragement and hope we’ll ever need, and His love will never fail, because it’s by His grace, and not upon anything we do.
This leads me then to another aspect of God’s love, and that is,
6. God’s Love is Filled With Grace
God’s love is inseparably linked with His grace, which is the basis upon which He first chose us, and His grace is the basis upon which He continues to lavish His love.
“But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.” (Romans 5:20b NKJV)
Some commentators translate “abounded much more” as “superabounded.” God’s love is so great that no sin is too great for God to forgive. We just have to confess and repent.
We see God’s grace and his unchanging love in the story of the prodigal son.
Here the son asked for his inheritance early, in essence rebelling against his father’s rule. He then took that money and committed all kinds of sin until the money ran out. Having no money he hired himself out to a pig farm where he had to muck the stuff and feed the pigs their swill. It got so bad that the pigswill started looking good.
He then realized how his father took good care of those who worked for him, and so he headed back home hoping just to be hired on as one of the workers.
Now the father was just waiting for his son to return home keeping watch day and night. And when the father saw his son coming, he ran to him, put his arms around him, put upon him new clothes, and put upon his finger the family’s signet ring welcoming him back into the family.
And this is the grace we all need. Anyone who’s in desperate need and willing to admit their condition, God shows His love. But we must be willing to say, “I’m messed up, I’m needy, and I’m unable to do this in my own strength. So, I bring all of my messed up, needy, and weak self to You Father.”
And God says, “Come, I’ll take it, because I love you.”
God’s love for us is based upon His grace, and in God’s grace He’s made the way for us to come to Him, through His Son, Jesus Christ.
7. God’s Love is Sacrificial
When it comes to human love we like to see more action behind the words. As the saying goes, “Action speaks louder than words.”
The Bible is full of words about God’s love for us, but God also put those words into action when He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die upon the cross. God paid the highest price possible so that we could experience the fullness of His love and have that personal relationship with Him.
It was a costly love, a sacrificial love.
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13 NKJV)
Now, such love is foreign to us, and our sinful nature.
“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8 NKJV)
Jesus went beyond dying for His friends, He died for His enemies, that is, He died for you and me, because we are all sinners. He sacrificed Himself for us so that we could have an everlasting loving relationship with Him. And so God’s love is truly the greatest love of them all.
God is immeasurably generous in His love for us. His love continues to give and is never depleted. And He gives that love abundantly and without measure.
The question becomes “Are we ready to receive it?” God wants to lavish His love upon us, and so this morning let’s reach our hearts out to Him knowing that He is reaching His heart out to us.
Wednesday Evening Bible Study