Los Alamos Church of Christ

Let the Word Dwell

#38 1 John 4:16

God Is Love

 

This morning we are going to talk about love.  We have already learned two memory verses about love.

 

#4 Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 

 

 

Love is the fruit of the Spirit.  This love which comes from the pouring of the Spirit upon all flesh…

--produces joy;

--nourishes peace;

--gives resilience to patience;

--creates authentic kindness;

--generates goodness and faithfulness and gentleness

-- and is permeated with self-control. 

 

The Spirit produces His fruit in us so we can be love. 

 

We also memorized…

 

#8 1 Corinthians 13:7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

 

All of the spiritual gifts, we have received from the Spirit, are done for the love of the gathered body of Christ!  We bear all and believe all and hope for all and endure all… in order to be that love… where the Spirit can work within us! 

 

We have already memorized these two amazing verses about love.  This morning I want to add another love verse to our 40… this one is about God.  But before I do that, I want to talk about what we mean when we use the word love.  That might be important.  We need to make sure we are saying the same thing when we talk about love; when we talk about God’s love. 

 

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Love is a big word.  Love has lots of meanings.  There are all kinds of subtle shades of meaning to the word love. 

 

If I say…

 

1) I love Green Chili Cheese Burgers… hmmm…  I mean I savor the taste.  There is something about Green Chili Cheese Burgers that I find…savory.  The taste, the smell, the enjoyment of eating a Green Chili Cheese Burger is love.  At least that is one meaning of love. 

 

2) I love the Broncos…  I don’t savor the taste and the smell.  Rather, I mean I identify with them.  I have chosen, for some arbitrary reason, to connect to the Broncos as my team.  I share the joy of their victories… like over Green Bay.  I connect to the tragedy of their defeats. I might even say “we” won or “we” lost or “we” played well.  When I did nothing to help at all…but cheer.   I wear shirts and hats to identify with “my” team.  When I say I love the Broncos I mean identify with them. 

 

3) I love my wife, I don’t really mean I savor her or identify with her… so much. But, what I mean is I am attached to Tanya.  Attachment is a meaning of love.  She is the one person in the world to whom I am attached.  Where she is… is where I am.  When we are apart… there is angst; disharmony; I am out of sync.  When we married we decided to be attached to each other.  Love of a spouse is a level above cheese burger. 

 

4) I love my children… that is different than savor or identify.  I’m not attached; I was happy when they moved out.  Love for children means… devoted to their good. I want what is best for them.  I am willing to do whatever I can to make their lives better.  Grandchildren would be the same, only more.  I am willing to make any sacrifice for their good.  Love of kids means a devotion to them! 

 

5) I love my country… I mean something different than spouse of kids or sports team or cheeseburgers.  It means I am filled with a sense of loyalty.  Because of my gratitude for what my country is and for what it has given me… I am loyal.  Patriotic would be another way of saying love of country… once again willing to sacrifice for my country because of my loyalty. 

 

6) I love my cat… you would know I have lost it… lock me up.  But for those who love their cats or love any pet… It means something different.  It means an affection; a fondness of engaging; a simple joy of connecting.  Those who love pets may feel just as strong as any of the other loves.  It is pure affection. 

 

7) I love golf… I do not mean savor or identify or attached or devoted or loyal or affection; I mean, more, an enthusiasm of participation.  There are few things in life that feel as good as hitting a drive off the tee box 280 yards right down the middle of the fairway.  There is an enthusiasm for competition, for the challenge for the play.  I love golf… means enthusiasm! 

 

8) I love classic music… like Three Dog Night, or CCR or Dire Straits, I am not talking about attachment or devotion or affection so much as I am passion.  There is something stirred within us when we listen to music we love.  There is a passion moved within us!  I love music is a connected passion. 

 

--I might note here, that I am making all of this up.  None of these definitions are Webster.  These are just my thoughts.  But I am working toward a challenge about love; a challenge about God. 

 

9) In our culture, frequently, love is used for sexual attraction and sexual interaction.  Our physical connections are often called love.  This is a different meaning.  This usage of the word love means… physical stuff. 

 

10) Plants love sunlight… this seems to be something altogether different.  Plants aren’t passionate about sun.  Plants love sunlight as a need or a requirement for life.  Plants love sunlight because they have to have it.  Love means requirement. 

 

11) Those kids have “Puppy” Love…   I am not talking about cheeseburgers, although that is close.  I am talking about infatuation, a crush, an intense feeling of attraction.  “I love that boy he is so cute.” Infatuation is a meaning of love. 

 

12) The New Testament word for love it is agape… It is a selfless love.  We would say benevolence.  There is a doing good for another person that is without infatuation or even enthusiasm… doing good for the sake of doing good… altruistic benevolence.  Agape loves what is best for the other person. 

 

Since I just kind of made these up… I suspect there are more than 12 meanings to the word “love”.  But, I wanted to share these 12 meanings in order to do a challenge; a challenge about God; a challenge to help us understand who God is.  Theology is important.  Our understanding of God and His love is vital.    

 

But, before we do the challenge about God and love, let’s do our memory verse. 

 

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#38 1 John 4:16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

 

Tree List 30s are dirty. 8 is skate… so dirty skating what about… Roller Derby.  God loves roller derby. 

 

Here is the challenge…

 

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When I say, “God is love” which of my 12 meanings… do I mean?

 

Let’s see…

 

1) Does God love like I love Green Chili Cheese Burgers?  hmmm…  I think so.  I think God savors who we are.  Paul tells the Corinthians they were the aroma of Christ.  The God of infinite variety made each of us completely different for a reason.  So, that he could take pleasure in enjoying each of us… in much the same way I savor cheeseburgers.  That’s interesting. 

 

2) Does God love me like I love the Broncos?  I think so.  God identifies with me.  For some arbitrary reason, God takes joy in my victories!  And God shares the hurts of my defeats.  I can see God wearing my ball cap.  I can hear God saying, “We won that one!”  God identifies with me.  Wow!

 

3) Well, does God love me like I love Tanya?  I think so.  One of the metaphors in the Old Testament for the relationship between God and Israel was husband and wife. 

 

ESV Isaiah 54:5 For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.

 

God is attached to me.  We share the same name.  God lives inside of me.  God - the Spirit is where I am.  We are together forever… that’s certainly attachment!

 

Let’s keep going.  This seems to be working.

 

4) Does God love me, like I love my children.  Most certainly.  We call him… “Abba Father.” He calls us sons and daughters.  God is devoted to us.  He has made every sacrifice for our good! 

 

5) Well what about the loyalty I feel toward my country?  He has called us to join Him in the kingdom of God!  We live in a kingdom that surpasses all other countries.  We are citizens of His Kingdom.  Loyalty is what God is all about toward us for we are His Kingdom.

 

6) Surely, God doesn’t love us like cats.  I don’t know.  He made us to shower his affection upon us.  He is fond of us.  God takes simple joy in playing with us.  We are His pets… who will worship him forever!

 

7) God doesn’t play golf.  Maybe not.  God is not a deist.  God didn’t create us and walk off to let us figure it out on our own.  God is very much involved in us.  God has an enthusiasm of participation in our lives.  We are the game.  We are the competition.  We are God’s golf.  Maybe, I’m a slice. 

 

8) Does God love us like music?  That sounds like a great metaphor for who we are.  I am the music God plays to the world.  God has a passion for me to be his music. 

 

9) What about physical love.  Not literally, but metaphorically…

 

ESV Isaiah 62:5 as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.

 

ESV Revelation 21:2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

 

God knows his people. 

 

10) Certainly as a plant needs sunlight, we need God as a requirement for our life.  This relationship between  us is for the His glory.  We give God the one thing he can’t give himself… praise! 

 

11) It might be hard to argue that God is infatuated with us; that God has a puppy love for us, might be a bit much.  But it would be fun to say… God has a crush on us.  God thinks we are cute. 

 

12) Most importantly God agape’s us.  God is Agape.  God is benevolent!  God does good for us altruistically. 

 

ESV 1 John 4:7-10  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.  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 this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

 

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I think answer to the challenge is yes.  God loves us in all 12 meanings of the word.  We are made in the image of God… our love is God’s love.  He loves us so much…in so many different ways!

 

I think this makes a huge difference in our lives. 

 

If I can conceive of God…

--savoring who he has made me to be…

--identifying with me as his team…

--as attached to me…

--being devoted to me…

--as loyal to me…

--as affectionate toward me…

--as enthusiastic about me…

--as passionately enjoying me…

--as my husband knowing me…

--needing me for his glory…

--having a crush on me…

--agaping me with an agape that is beyond all I can understand…

 

Then… I would be content knowing… I abide in God and God abides in me! 

 

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Say it with me.

 

#38 1 John 4:16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

 

 

Tim Stidham

November 8, 2015

Los Alamos Church of Christ