by Jeffery Anselmi
A man was lured into a busy florist shop by a large sign in the window that read, “Say It With Flowers.” “Wrap up one rose for me, please” he told the florist. “Just one?” the florist asked. “Just one,” the customer replied. “I’m a man of few words.”
A husband was told by the marriage counselor to try and be nice to his wife. One day he comes home from work. He does the dishes, vacuums the house, and does all of the dusting and laundry. He’s dressed up in a suit, he has cologne on, and he has a bouquet of flowers and a box of candy in his hands. He’s trying to make a good impression. The wife says, “Oh, I can’t believe it! Little Johnny has been throwing up; the dishwasher just broke; your parents are coming to visit this weekend and to top it all off, you come home drunk!
Sometimes we have a hard time expressing love don’t we?
What is love? The word conjures up all kinds of different pictures. Is love a feeling or an action? For some love is flowers, candy and gifts. To some love is getting what you want from people when you give them something. For some love is an inanimate object such as a car, a house. This object will give them pleasure.
Where did love come from? Did it evolve?
What does it mean to tell someone that you love them? When we tell someone that we love them, we can mean anything from “I really like you a lot”, to “I really like what you do for me” to “I want to commit my life to you.”
1 John 4:8 says, “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
1 John 4:7 tells us that love is from God. How has God displayed His love for us? Why does God love us? Does God love us because of what we give to Him? This is t he type of love that the world has, the type of love that says, “I will love you if..”
What is different about God’s love? What can we learn about love from God?
I want us to take a look at another attribute of our awesome God, love.
I want us to see three things about the love that God has for us. The type of love that God has for you is a true love; it is not a selfish love that only loves you because you have something to offer. God’s love is a deep love, it is a love that we can look to as an example of the type of love that we are to have for the people around us.
GOD’S LOVE IS:
- SACRIFICIAL (1 JOHN 3:16, PHILIPPIANS 2:7-FF)
God’s love is a different kind of love than what the world teaches us. God’s love is agape love. This type of love means to do what is spiritually best for another because the one doing the loving sees something of value in that person.
The world’s system of love tells you that if do not get what YOU want out of a relationship that you need to move on to the next one. In our wedding vows we talk about for better or worse for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part. What this part of the vow means is that I am going to love you sacrificially. I may have to give something up to love you.
God loved us so much that He sacrificed a lot to show us His love for us.
1 John 3:16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
What did God have to gain by sending His son for us? Would you intentionally allow your son or daughter die for someone else? It reminds me of the story of a young boy and his sister.
A little boy was told by his doctor that he could save his sister’s life by giving her some blood. The six-year-old girl was near death, a victim of disease from which the boy had made a marvelous recovery two years earlier. Her only chance for restoration was a blood transfusion from someone who had previously conquered the illness. Since the two children had the same rare blood type, the boy was the ideal donor.
“Johnny, would you like to give your blood for Mary?” the doctor asked.
The boy hesitated. His lower lip started to tremble. Then he smiled, and said, “Sure, Doc. I’ll give my blood for my sister.”
Soon the two children were wheeled into the operating room–Mary, pale and thin; Johnny, robust and the picture of health. Neither spoke, but when their eyes met, Johnny grinned.
As his blood siphoned into Mary’s veins, one could almost see new life come into her tired body. The ordeal was almost over when Johnny’s brave little voice broke the silence, “Say Doc, when do I die?”
It was only then that the doctor realized what the moment of hesitation, the trembling of the lip, had meant earlier. Little Johnny actually thought that in giving his blood to his sister he was giving up his life! And in that brief moment, he had made his great decision!
Jesus said in JOHN 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. This little boy actually was willing to lay his life down for his sister.
Jesus sacrificed His life for ours. God could have turned His back on you when you decided not to live you life that way that God wants you to live, but He didn’t.
As we look at the scriptures not only do we find that God sacrificed His son for us but in Philippians 2:4-8 we see that Jesus gave up the glory of Heaven to come here so that we could have the opportunity to receive eternal life.
The world tells you that you should have it all, God tells you that true love requires sacrifice. I am not just speaking of love within marriage, but love for people in general.
There will be times that our love for others will cost us something, your love for your children will cost you time and money. If your children cause you some embarrassment, will you still love them? We have embarrassed God, but He still loves us. In the story of the prodigal son, you know the father must have suffered some embarrassment over his son leaving to live the wild life, but when the son returned, the father accepted him.
Some young men and women need to realize that when they get married, they are sacrificing their days of running wild or running with the boys. The husband’s love for his wife should make him want to settle down and spend time with his family instead of running and boozing with the boys.
Some people feel that you can love with no strings attached, but God’s true love has the string of sacrifice attached to it.
GOD’S LOVE IS:
II. UNCONDITIONAL (ROMANS 5:5-8)
Hettie Green was a famous millionaire. She lived in seclusion and became a virtual recluse. She had only a few friends and an ugly mongrel dog that kept biting the few friends she did have. One of them said, “You’ve got to get rid of that dog.” Hettie refused. She said, “That dog loves me and he doesn’t even know how rich I am.”
Let’s look at Romans 5:5-8 together for a moment.
Verse 5 tells us that God’s love has been poured out to us through the Holy Spirit.
Verse six tells us that while we were still helpless, Christ 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 give to Him, He still send His son to die for us.
Verses 7-8 makes the case that normally a person would not even allow themselves to die for even a righteous person, but God sent His son to die for us while we were still sinners.
You need to realize that God despises sin, but He loves us unconditionally. Our world tells us that you should be able to receive something for the love that you give. The worlds love us conditional.
In 1995, Christopher Reeve, the “Superman” actor, 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 both he and his mother considered pulling the plug on his life support system.
In his new memoir Still Me, which recounts how he battled back from the accident, Reeve said he first shared his thoughts with his wife, Dana. “I mouthed my first lucid words to her: ’Maybe we should let me go,’ ” he recalled.
But his wife, through tears, persuaded him to fight back, saying, “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.”
Think about the life that Mrs. Reeves was in for, yet she sacrificially and unconditionally loved her husband.
God’s love goes way beyond all that man would do or conceive and commends His love to us as deeper, stronger and purer than the human hearts can know.
It is easy for those of us who are saved to know that God loves us because we are trying to live for and please Him, but we need to understand is that God loves all people unconditionally. The person who is getting tanked up on the barstool last night is still loved by God.
This love does not mean that God likes what the person is doing or that love equals heaven, but the Bible tells us in 1 Timothy 2:4 that God desires all to come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved, despite what we have been done.
Sometimes love will require us to be tough. When a husband or wife abandons, abuses or commits adultery, your love for them at some point my require you to leave so that they will wake up and change. God loves us enough that He will not force you into heaven, if you do not want to go, He will not make you go.
The opportunity for salvation is an example of God’s unconditional love for you.
The worlds love has conditional strings attached. As long as you give me what I want, I will love you. As long as you look young and thin, I will love you.
LUKE 6:32-33 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. “If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.
God’s love is unconditional. He loves you no matter what you have done. You do not have to clean up your act before you experience His love for you.
Living for Jesus in one sense is tough because you start thinking about how your actions reflect upon Jesus, but on the other hand it is easy when you can allow yourself to experience God’s love for you and turn your life over to Him.
I have heard a statement that I have always liked, LET GO AND LET GOD.
God always has your best interests in mind, let Him love you, let Him work on your heart.
GOD’S LOVE IS:
III. PERMANENT (ROMANS 8:38-39)
In Romans 8:35-39 we find that God’s love is permanent. Let’s look at the depth of this passage.
No condition of existence (LIFE OF DEATH)
No beings (ANGELS OR PRINCIPALITIES) (Demonic or Angelic)
Nothing in time (PRESENT, FUTURE, THINGS TO COME)
Nothing in the way of powers. (earthly rulers)
Nothing in space (HEIGHTS OR DEPTHS)
Nothing in creation (ANY CREATED THING)
But God, I have lived a terrible life! God still loves you.
But God, I have allowed the devil to run my life! God still loves you.
But God, I have worshipped the creation instead of you! God still loves you.
But God, in the future I do not know if I can follow you! God still loves you.
Here is the point. Quit making up excuses as to why you will not allow God to love you. God loves you no matter what, God loved you so much that He provided a way through Jesus so that you can be with Him for eternity.
Let God love you. His love NEVER ends. God will love you if you decide to reject Him. God will always love you, but do not mistake that love for a ticket to heaven.
You can reject God’s love, but God will still love you. God loved you enough to give you a free will. God was willing to let you decide if you are going to love Him back.
The love of the world is a self-centered love; it is a love that basically says that if you can deliver for me, I will love you. God says, I love you sacrificially, (in other words, God’s love for you cost Him something).
God says that He loves you unconditionally. That is that God loves you no matter what you have or will do.
God says that His love for you transcends time. God will always love you.
I am so glad that we can look to God to see how we are to love each other.
In Ephesians husbands are told to love their wives as Christ loved the church.
Jesus gave His all for the church; He did what was best for the church.
God’s type of love, agape, always does what is spiritually best for someone.
If a person loves you the way that God loves you, they will not use you and they will always be looking out for what s best for you.