Love is one of the few attributes that seems to equate God directly to the attribute. 1 John makes it clear that God is love, yet the Bible also says that God is life, God is light and God is able. Think of the love of God as a conditioner for all the other attributes. God manifests his attributes through love. Having a better understanding of God’s love and allowing God’s love to manifest through each of us will change our lives forever. Come discover the practical application and benefits of God’s love.
God's Love and Ours
1John 4:7 ¶ Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
1John 4:8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
1John 4:9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.
1John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1John 4:12 No one has beheld God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.
1John 4:13 By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.
1John 4:14 And we have beheld and bear witness that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
1John 4:15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
1John 4:16 And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
1John 4:17 By this, love is perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.
1John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear,because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
1John 4:19 We love, because He first loved us.
1John 4:20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.
1John 4:21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.
Love is an attribute of God. Love is one of the few attributes that seems to equate God directly to the attribute.
In this passage of 1 John it says that God is love clearly two times and infers it multiple times.
I have taught on many attributes of God. Love is the most difficult to teach on.
Like all attributes of God, we cannot completely understand them yet there seems to be more handles with the other attributes in comparison to God’s love and declaring that God is love.
This message is designed to help comprehend the incomprehensible, then taking that message, preparing for consumption that anyone can understand.
It is like drinking from a fire hose, it is like trying to carry the ocean in your arms.
The best we can do with this truth is to understand what we are dealing with. We are dealing with the subject matter that is a million miles deep and a million miles wide.
The Spirit of God is going to have to make up for the inefficiencies of human intellect.
This is not a definitive description of God, nor is this a definition of God.
This is not an exhaustive idea on God’s metaphysical being. God is inconceivable and God is ineffable (too great to describe with words,). This basically means,good luck trying to describe God with words.
One word of caution, when I share that God is one type of attribute does not mean that God is limited to just that attribute or that He is simply equal to that attribute.God is always that attribute yet greater.
We can’t deny the definitive character combination when it says in first John that God is love.
The Bible also says that God is life, God is light and God is able.
The question is, “what is God trying to say about himself to us? What are we to learn about God and about love?” This is where were headed.
These attributes that seem to be pointed out are essential parts of who God is, that God wants us to know about Himself.
Knowing that God is life is a pretty big deal, knowing God is light is also a big deal,knowing God is able is also a big deal and of course knowing God is love is a huge deal.
We realize that God is the originator of these attributes. God is the originator of life, light, ability, and love. Think of the love of God as a conditioner for all the other attributes. God manifests his attributes through love.
This is a perfect template for each of us to live our own lives.
The only way we can manifest God’s love through us is by allowing his Spirit to manifest through us.
Human ego is an enemy of God’s love. It taints, distorts and is incredibly self-serving. It is one of the very things Jesus preached against.
Human ego is a false identity that we create usually to hide our weakness, insecurities and failures.
Know this to be true, God will have nothing to do with the human ego. It is flawed thinking and understanding at its core.
Human ego is the identity we become by hiding and running from our true purpose, calling and meaning of existence.
Whenever something is examined, we have to be careful not to Botinize. When this is done we reduce our subject down to its simplest forms, and once complete our subject is not the same. ex. Antique Piano
We definitely want to understand God by looking at one part of Who He is yet we cannot reduce God based only upon that part.
The manifestation of love can be experienced by goodwill. Used in the Scriptures the Angels declared goodwill toward men. Also translated “Peace.”
Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
Love always wills the good of its object and it never wills any harm toward its object.That is a tremendous concept for any person to ingest.
Every action, every reaction, every response is always in the best interest of an individual. The outcome is peace.
Love casts out all fear, which means interacting with another person in love results in no reason to fear. “No fear” can equal trust, security, peace, stability,confidence, certainty.
If you’re in a relationship that you’re concerned about, your real concern is the lack of love.
As thorough and as popular as the English language is, it unfortunately has its weaknesses.
There are certain spellings of words that sound exactly the same yet are spelled the same and differently and have different meanings.
Homonyms Same Spelling and Sound, Different Meaning: Lie or Lie (Lie Down or Untruth)Fair or Fair (Reasonable or County Fair)
Homophones Same Sound, Different Spelling, Different Meaning: Pear or pair, There or Their, See or Sea, Tear in the eye or Tear some fabric.
There are rules for vowels that are correct in one setting and not correct in another.
What’s amazing, is that we can keep track of it all and we think that it is normal or common. People who grew up speaking a different language, have a difficult time learning English.
The word love in English carries multiple meanings and applications within the same four letters.
We say we love our dogs. We also say we love pizza. If we love our dogs the same way we love pizza, we’ve got a problem.
Love can be broken down in seven different ways.
Phileo: brotherly love
Eros:passionate and or sexual love
Storge: familial love
Ludus: playful uncommitted love
Pragma: love based on duty and long-term interests
Philautia: self love, positive and negative
Agope: unconditional love from God
If we have lived for any length of time, we’ve experienced all seven types of love. It is good to delineate between them to understand the motivation behind each type of love.
A point that was made last week spoke of the direct connection with God being an attribute when it comes to love. The Bible says God is love.
What is also interesting is that other religions and belief systems say the same thing.
In 1 John it makes a clear distinction that if love is not in us, God is not in us.
The disciples,after observing Jesus asked him this question. What is the greatest commandment of them all?
Matt.22:36 “Teacher,which is the great commandment in the Law?”
Matt.22:37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
Matt.22:38 “This is the great and foremost commandment.
Matt.22:39 “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
Matt.22:40 “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
I will point out the brilliance of Jesus in these four verses. Jewish law was composed of thousands of do’s and don’ts.
In one laser guided response, out of the thousands of written laws, Jesus sums up what is most important to the Father.
Jesus gives us a glimpse into the heart of God by encouraging us to connect with God on every level.
Jesus first part of the reply not only encourage us to connect with God, but to become all seven types of love and to reflect and or become Agape love.
Jesus says,“love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
Then Jesus encourages us to be Phileo love as we exercise healthy Philautia love.
Then Jesus says that the thousands of do’s and don’ts of the law are contingent on these two of the greatest commandments.
Last week we spoke that God uses love as a conditioner for all of His attributes. All of these attributes are washed in love. This is the Father’s example to us, and Jesus said we need to be doing the exact same thing as spiritual and physical beings.
When it comes to agape love, the Father is looking for more than a reflection of Himself. He is looking for us to become agape love.
We need to be love. We need to be agape.
The challenging part at first is to understand that your agape love is not learned.It is only attained by connecting with the Father.
This was the centerpiece encouragement of our last sermon series speaking on transcendence -rising above.
In a world of human conditional love is it even possible to reflect or moreover become agape love.
It is possible, or Jesus would not have said it.
The apostle Paul supports Jesus statement speaking on spiritual gifts in which love is included.
1Cor.13:1 ¶ If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
1Cor.13:2 And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
1Cor.13:3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
1Cor.13:4 Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
1Cor.13:5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
1Cor.13:6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
1Cor.13:7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1Cor.13:8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.
1Cor.13:9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part;
1Cor.13:10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.
1Cor.13:11 When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
1Cor.13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known.
1Cor.13:13 But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
If this encouragement was subscribed to by every human being, we would live in a completely different world.
Once again,true agape love is not learned. It comes only through connecting with God.
Next week we will discuss mental and spiritual roadblocks that keep agape love from manifesting through us.
What Keeps Us From Love?
Last week at the end of our message I open the floor for questions and comments. Frank profoundly shared the greatest barrier to love.
This barrier is also the greatest division between humans and God.
The barrier that Frank spoke of is fear.
As blanket of a statement as that might sound, there are many meta-layers before we hit extreme levels of fear such as terror and paralysis.
If we live in fear, anxiety, worry, of our adrenal system will be compromised manifesting in chronic symptoms and disease.
Our adrenal system will be fatigued. The adrenal gland purpose is to help us in flight or fight response. If fight or flight is not needed we should be in a position of peace. Most people are not.
If love is present in a relationship, we are confident that the other person is not going to do harm to us. If there is any inclination of harm, we then experience fear.
That fear could start at low levels, turn off and on, can be more on that off or even never go away.
If someone loves you, you are not afraid of them.
2Tim.1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
When we know that we are loved, we are not afraid. Fear is removed. According to Scripture,perfect love removes fear from your universe.
Yet we see in first John that perfect love casts out all fear
1John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear,because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
All fear goes when we realize that God loves us. Unfortunately God has gotten misrepresented in terms of ill will, tragedy, malevolence, and sickness.
There’s an underlying pulse in human beings thinking that if they do something wrong that God will harm them.
Rom.6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
When the Bible says that the wages of sin is death does not mean that God kills you if you sin.
This passage is more of a warning that if we do not turn from missing the mark, making a mistake and growing beyond it, we will experience uncomfortable circumstances,that are not life bearing due to living our lives contrary to the design of creation.
Forgiveness does not change our circumstances until we decide to turn, learn and grow.
Carl Jung said it best, “We don’t solve problems, we outgrow them.”
This statement profoundly shines light on God’s design. Jesus, the apostle Paul and even Socrates alluded to the same idea.
Archetypes are true no matter who says them.
If we choose to live outside of God’s design, there is a lot to be afraid of because there is a lot that can go wrong.
If we choose to live our lives wondering by chance with no preparation, there’s a lot to be afraid of.
My friends, God is either love or He’s not. We need to set the record straight not only in our minds but in our hearts, spirit and flesh.
Not being able to explain human suffering seems to be the number one reason those who have believed in God become atheists according to my research.
There is no doubt the paradoxical nature of God between not harming humans and allowing tragedy to happen to humans.
I believe it’s safe to say that humans do not completely understand the purpose of creation.The issue is not God.
The issue lie sin not being able to understand the purpose of creation and the ramifications of why and how things are.
This conversation opens a Pandora’s box in regards to God’s sovereignty, human freewill, and nature (creation).
It is a good idea to allow love to fill in the blanks with trust, security, serenity, and peace not from without but from within if we don’t understand.
When the Bibles says the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom the word fear is better translated awe, reverence and respect.
These are better words that can be used appropriately with someone you love.
No matter our circumstance God chose for us to be upon the earth for a time such as this and we are in his hands.
Rom.8:38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
Rom.8:39 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.
Nothing can separate us from God. He is in us, His omnipotent power gives us life. God’s omniscient plan includes us all.
Let’s discuss love as a fixation. When there is someone or even something that falls into the object of one’s love, fixation accompanies one of the seven layers of love that we previously discussed.
If you are loving a person, you’ll find you’ll admire them and everything around them. Ex.Clothing, fragrance, vehicle, behaviors
Eternal Benefits of LOVE!
Rom.5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
God is reaching out to all people. Jesus earthly actions demonstrated the same thing.
Love can be so strong as to give your life for someone else. This could be short-term, long-term or even unto death.
Fact of the matter is that were always giving our life to someone or something whether we realize it or not.
I would encourage us all to make the giving of our life matter. Let the giving of your life be done with purpose.
Jesus gave his life with purpose.
John 3:16 ¶“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.
I believe this is why the Bible gives such a stark example of the Father giving his Son with such vivid description of innocence consumed with pain.
Why would the Father do such a thing? The writings in scripture are showing that God loves us and God wanted to show us how much He loves us.
The father’s example to us is clear. God loves His creation. Humans are a significant part of God’s fixation.
As God is our Father, we are all brothers and sisters therefore we must follow His lead in loving one another. ex. greatest command,
God wants us to love as He loves. God does not exclude anyone.
How does God view the human race? Does he play favorites? Does God only love some people?Does God create just to kill?
Theology tries to answer the question yet falls short.
Jesus was anti-tribalism. The root of tribalism is scarcity. Believing there is not enough to go around.
We have to recognize no matter who the person is, where they came from, what level their at spiritually, what their current spiritual belief is makes no difference in terms of love.
The offering is always present. “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35). “I am the living bread that came down from heaven” (John 6:50).
Whoever eats this bread receives eternal life. There is enough of this bread to go around.God is helping us with this act of love. Jesus is offering the inside scoop of how to connect with the Father.
I am convinced living my own life and watching others that love for humans does not come naturally. Love is a spiritual process of maturity that will manifest in the natural.
Like God, love is eternal. Investing in love will provide dividends immeasurable for eternity.
Let’s discuss a few dividends of love.
If were connected to God love can be sustained. Agape love can be manifested.
When I use the word manifested you can interchange the word broadcast. Love is flowing out of you into others.
This will benefit us in every area of our life through each relationship.
1. Love brings a state of knowing, trust and security.
When love is not present we begin to make lists trying to validate our involvement or to protect ourselves.
2. Love is a motivator. Love gets us to do things we normally wouldn’t do.
3. Love offsets what seems to be negative.
4. Love gets us beyond ourselves.
5. Love makes spirituality attractive and ignites emotion. Love identifies each of us as spiritual and physical beings.
We need to recognize that the goodness of God runs through the conditioner of God’s love.
Within the Scriptures it says that God created the heavens and the earth and God said that it was good.
Scripture goes on to say that God created everything on the surface of the earth from fish,birds, mammals, insects, micro-, Macro and declared that it was all good.
Scripture goes on to say that man and woman were created in His own image and that they are good.
God is an artist who creates things that are good through his being of love.
Living inside God’s design we are still faced with challenges.
If we choose to live outside of God’s design, pain, grief, suffering are a result.
The sovereignty of God allows us to choose with an outcome of some ultimate good.
Rom. 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
God in his love makes a way out of no way to grow through the circumstance.
1Cor.10:13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful,who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.
Here again: Turn, Learn, Grow.
God makes delightful reference to all the things that are made.In Psalm 104 the Lord rejoices in his works.
Psa.104:1 ¶ Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, Thou art very great; Thou art clothed with splendor and majesty,
Psa.104:2 Covering Thyself with light as with a cloak, Stretching out heaven like a tent curtain.
Psa.104:3 He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters; He makes the clouds His chariot;He walks upon the wings of the wind;
Psa.104:4 He makes the winds His messengers, Flaming fire His ministers.
Zeph.3:17 The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.
Here we see that God is happy even if no one else is.
If God sings,and according to Scripture He does, it has to be glorious.
If God’s people are connecting with Him, God will be in your midst and joy over you with singing.
Our identity in God should not be based upon the things that we don’t do out of some religious pride.
Our identity in God should be based on things we do. What’s growing within us. What is growing around us. What fruit can we see from one day to the next.
God wants us to experience Him and His love. God wants us to feel His love. God wants us to be His Love because God IS Love!