True Christianity is a deep and complex thing. The study of God almighty can seem daunting and overwhelming at times. His ways are far above our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). Who can find him out (Job 37:23)? I challenge you to dedicate your lives to the study of God and His ways. To walk as a Christian is to walk as He walked, as best we can, and that requires us to learn Him. Look at it like this: A marriage is a difficult thing. It is a life of studying your spouse. Learning them, pursuing them, and living for them in every way. The truth of marriage is, that it isn't easy or everyone would do it. I have enjoyed 20, almost 21, years of marriage. I want to learn more and more about my beautiful bride, so that I can love her better. I enjoy that study and enjoy experiencing the connection that comes from that study. She may argue that I'm not good at that study at that times, but I sure enjoy the effort. Sometimes though, it's nice to stop studying and just enjoy the simple truth that I get to come home to a beautiful, redheaded, warm hearted, real woman, that loves me, and I love her. Just get lost in the simple truth that I am, indeed, a blessed man to have her in my life. The life of the Christian is much the same. The more we work at this relationship, the better it gets for us. However, sometimes its awesome, and needed, to just dwell on the simple truths of God. If you're going to get lost in a simple truth of God may I encourage you to get lost in His love.
God is indeed the God of Love. Simply stated in Scripture, God is love (1 John 4:8). It is hard not to, and tempting to, delve off into the deep things about that verse and statement, but that is not the goal at this time. Suffice it to say that God is much more than love, and His love is much more than today's watered down version of that word. When we get into the deep side of God's love we can, if we are not careful, sterilize it from its goodness. Often, when ministers look at the love of God we want to go into the Greek and show the multiple meanings and uses of that word in Scripture to show the fullness of God's love. We want to show the division between the Eros love, Philo love, and Agape love and even try to define one of these as the God- type of love. I want you to know all forms of this word apply to God. God loves His people. He has loved us before we existed, when we were, and are, at our worst, and will love us for all eternity. He loves us deeply and personally. I want us look at all these types not to show one greater than another, or one godly and others manly. Rather I want to show the depths of His love and the peace that comes from knowing these things when we just want to dwell on the blessing of God's love.
I want to start with the love we mostly abuse, yet we need to know the most. Eros love is that emotional love that comes early and often. It is that feeling I get when I sit down on the couch and my wife puts her feet in my lap. That feeling I got when I first saw her all those years ago in Jr. High. That connection and draw I had towards her, and still have for her. While we often abuse and confuse this aspect of love, especially in our youth, God has it and uses it perfectly. Our text today states plainly He first loved us. I have loved thee with an everlasting love, He tells us in Jeremiah 31. God loves us! Do you hear that? Do you understand that? God loves us! Do not sterilize his love to an emotionless God. We are not a chore to Him. We are not an obligation to Him. His actions in our lives, we are told in Scripture, are seated in His love. The love we share with others is only an extension of the love that He gives us. In Romans, when it gives us the truth of our salvation, in Romans 8, it tells us that whom He foreknew- That is telling us of those He loved before their existence. God had and has an emotional draw towards His people. He saved us because He loved us.
The love that He had for us drove Him to action. This is that Agape love we tend to call the Godly type of love. We say that because it is the complete and perfected form of love. In John 3:16 it speaks volumes of this love, and truly defines it. For God so loved the world He gave. God did not only emote for us. He acted on this love. When I'm on that couch with my wife's feet in my lap, if I sat there and failed to do anything with that Eros love I am feeling, I would fall short of the Agape love I should share with her. When she puts her feet there, completing that love is when my hands start rubbing her feet, looking to see her pleasure and feeling the love I share with her. That is what God did in giving us His Son. Understand that God gave up His only begotten Son. He was willing to give him even unto death, because He loved us that much. That is awesome! Not only that Jesus loved us enough that He gave his own life up for us. Can you imagine that the God of the universe would be willing to die for a worm like us? Can you imagine being loved that much? He loves us!! Our salvation was driven by His love, and is sealed by His love.
Spend time enjoying the truth of God's love for us His people. If you think I'm leaving out the Philo love, I'm not. God's brotherly love and mutual friendship with us is found in the person of Jesus Christ Himself. He lived the life He did, for us. A life of ridicule and rejection for us. None of the rejection He experienced washed one sin away. Every time the world and His apostles ran from Him changed our destiny. Yet, He was willing to walk through that for our example. So that He can relate to us in this life. Much of this fallen world is looking for someone to love them. Find that answer in Christ. God loves us wholly and completely. What an awesome truth.
God bless you all, and come and worship with us soon.