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Valentine’s Day Service
“A Love for the Ages”
** Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNtpPrkt4kA
For centuries, if not millenniums, people have been looking for love. And if I could borrow the lyrics and title from an old country western song, they’ve been looking for love in all the wrong places.
How else can we explain the record setting number of divorces, the increase in pornography, and a society that is replacing the traditional definition of marriage with alternative lifestyles.
So where can we go to find true and lasting love? Where can we find a love that truly works in a world determined to redefine the word itself?
We can’t go to society, because it hasn’t got a clue. We can’t go to religion, because they abuse and misinterpret love with rules and regulations. We can’t go to Hollywood, because they’ve misrepresented it. We can’t go to the authors and playwrights; they have as much trouble defining it as everyone else.
So where do we go?
• Maybe it’s time we go to the source of all love, and that is, God.
• Maybe it’s time to go back to the One who created us and put within our very DNA the need for love.
• Maybe it’s time to go back to the Bible, God’s word for His creation, and back to its basics by which life gets and receives meaning.
God loves us deeply and He longs for everyone to experience the fullness of that love. If we want real love, ideal love, perfect love, it’s only found in God’s love for us. Therefore, He lures us away from all that the world calls love, and 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)
And so, when it comes to this topic of love, what we can say is that love is life’s driving priority.
And this is because every minute of every day, since we heard and met with God, He’s been pursuing a love relationship with us, seeking to draw us close to Himself just as a mother draws her child close unto herself. He wants us near Him.
And please understand that there is nothing we can do, no place where we can go, where God’s love doesn’t pursue us and meet us there. God’s love knows no bounds. No matter where we are, and no matter how we may feel, whether good or bad, God is there. We can’t get away, nor can we chase away God’s unconditional love for us.
This was at the heart of what King David wrote.
“You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.” (Psalm 139:5-8 NKJV)
What the Lord is saying is that while He cares about what we do, and is deeply hurt when we sin, He still loves us and will always love us. And He demonstrates just how far He will go to pursue us with His love.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NKJV)
Even when we were His enemy, living apart and separate from Him, God still loved us. God loves us even through the highest highs and the lowest lows, and that’s because nothing can separate us from His love.
The Apostle Paul said, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
So, when we feel like we’ve blown it, and that God can in no way love us because of what we have done, know that God still loves us and in His unconditional love towards us He is pursuing a relationship with us.
Now, while last year we spent considerable time talking about love in our series, “Faith, Hope, and Love,” today I’d like to share with you about God’s incredible, unbelievable, frightening, limitless, and uncommon love.
God’s Incredible Love
The Apostle John writes of God’s incredible love for us when He calls those who have come to belief in His Son, Jesus Christ, His children. Basically, it is through belief in Jesus Christ that God adopts us into His family.
Look at what John said.
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God.” (1 John 3:1a NKJV)
But what does it mean when John says, “manner of love?”
Kenneth Wuest in his word study says that it’s a love that is out of this world, that is, this love is otherworldly. There is nothing in this world that could ever compare to God’s incredible love.
As we looked at earlier; that while we were still sinners and God’s enemies, the Lord, in His wonderful and incredible love, sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us, and thus through the forgiveness of our sins, we can now be adopted into His family. Such love is beyond our comprehension. I mean who does that? The answer, only God!
Again, I go back to what John said, and this time it is found in his gospel, and the really neat thing about this wonderful and incredible love is that we are beneficiaries and heirs of God through belief in Jesus as our Savior and Lord.
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” (John 1:12 NKJV)
In His marvelous, wonderful, unbelievable, and incredible love, God has brought us into His family where we are now called His sons and daughters. That is how great and incredible God’s love towards us is!
Now, besides God’s love being incredible, it is also unbelievable.
God’s Unbelievable Love
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 NKJV)
God proved His love for us, in that while we were His enemies, He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for us so that we can be made right with Him. Now, while we know the words, do we really realize just how unbelievable that love really is?
As parents we give our sons and daughters to fight in the military for God and country, but not with the expressed purpose and understanding that they may have to die in that service. But would we do the same, that is, give up our sons and daughters to help save the life of a traitor, a murderer, an abuser?
The simple answer is “NO.” But not so with God! He gave His Son for the worst of the worst. He gave His Son for those who expressly are His enemies. He gave His Son to die for the ungodly, wicked, depraved, and those who expressly hate Him and actually tell Him so to His face.
This was the Apostle Paul’s whole point when he said, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Can you imagine the emotional toll that took upon God the Father? This is hard for us to understand, because we don’t equate God with having the same emotions that we have, but He does, only in a way that is holy and righteous.
So, can you imagine the hurt and pain He suffered when He saw His Son unmercifully beaten and hung upon the cross to die? Can you imagine the unbelievable love of God as He did all of this for us?
Can you imagine how God felt when for the first time since before time began, He had to literally separate Himself from His own Son as Jesus took upon Himself our sins? That is the price that both the Father and the Son paid for you and me.
That is how much God loves us. That is God’s unbelievable love.
God’s Frightening Love
During the Welsh Revival in the early 1900’s, a Welshman was praying in English but still thinking in his native tongue.
When he began to quote Psalm 130:4 which says, “But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared,” he stumbled trying to find the right words. Eventually he brought forth this translation.
“There is forgiveness with Thee, enough to frighten us.”
What a revelation. God’s loving kindness that forgives our sins is so great that it’s frightening.
This idea is not about being frightened by or of God, but that His love for us is so great that it literally takes our breath away.
Normally when we contemplate our sin and transgression there is the natural response of becoming frightened of God’s punishment. But this is not what the Psalmist is trying to convey. The Apostle John said it this way.
“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.” (1 John 4:18 NIV)
When we realize God’s love for us, that is, what He has done for us in giving to us His Son to take our place and die the death that we all deserve, it truly is frightening, and because of it, the last thing any of us would want to do is to hurt or wound such a love through sin.
And so, we truly serve an awesome loving God, and so on this Valentine’s Day, let’s all accept His loving gift, and may His gift of love overwhelm our senses and emotions.
God’s Limitless Love
God’s love has no limitations and no boundaries. It’s limitless and we’ll never be able to get away from it or go beyond it. Now, besides this word “limitless,” we may also use the word “incalculable” when it comes to God’s love. It means that God’s love is too great to measure.
The Bible says, “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 LB)
God’s love for us is far greater than anything we’ll ever know, and it’ll accomplish within us infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.
God’s love is limitless, and there is no situation that we’ll face that He’ll not give us the strength, encouragement, and hope to see us through.
The Bible also says, “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 LB)
The Lord doesn’t parcel out His love to us; rather His love is boundless and endlessly flows towards us. Literally God’s love floods our hearts.
God’s limitless loving touch gives us all the encouragement and hope we’re ever going to need, and His love will never fail, and it never gives up, because it’s given through His grace, not upon anything we do to deserve it.
God is immeasurably generous in His love. His love continues to give and is never ever depleted. And He gives us this love abundantly and without measure, and He delights to do so.
God’s Uncommon Love
The Apostle Paul declares the depth of God’s unbelievable love, and it’s probably the clearest definition we can find of “agape,” or God’s unconditional love.
“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.” (Romans 5:6-7 NKJV)
Maybe we can think about this through those who, without thought to their own lives, attempt to save people who find themselves caught in some tragedy. Like those who are first responders who run into a building to save the inhabitants whom they neither know nor have they ever met.
But it also describes those who put themselves in harm’s way for those they love.
But in all honesty, this is never a person’s first choice.
But not so with Jesus! He went beyond. Not only did he die for the righteous and moral. Not only did He die for those who were His own people, the Jews, but He also died for those who hated Him and were His enemies.
He died for the ungodly, that is, those who are the worst of the worst. He died for those who live a lifestyle directly in opposition to God and to His word, who profane God’s name and who ask God to leave them alone. Basically, He died for all of us!
He also died for those who are without strength, that is, those who are unlovely and unlovable, the cast offs of society, the untouchables, those who are destitute and without value to society. Again, He basically died for all of us!
Jesus showed then the most uncommon form of love for every one. It was a love that transcends human understanding, because it has nothing to do with human love. It is a love that can only come from God.
Now, while God’s love for us defies logic, it doesn’t defy reason.
First, it’s because God’s love for us is a part of His very nature, that is, God is love.
Second, God loves us because He made us, and while sin has destroyed some of that design, God still loves us because each of us are of unique value to Him. He made us to have a relationship with Him. We’ve been made in His image and according to His likeness, and so within us lies the potential of a loving intimate relationship.
Finally, He loves us because He knows what we will become as we dwell with Him for all eternity in joyful fellowship.
In Deuteronomy 10:15, it says that God set His affection upon His people to love them, because He chose to love them. Literally, in the Hebrew it means that God “fastened” His love upon them, therefore, God’s love will hold onto us and won’t let us go.
And so, the question becomes “Are we ready to open up God’s love for us? Are we ready to receive God’s love for us?” God wants to lavish His love upon us. Therefore, let’s reach out our hearts towards Him knowing that He is reaching out His heart towards us.
God’s incredible, unbelievable, frightening, limitless, and uncommon love is then His Valentine’s Day card for the human race.
Wednesday Evening Bible Study