Date: Sunday 9 August 2020
Topic: God is Loving
Texts: Jn 3:16 and 1 Jn 4: 7 – 8; 16
It is a great privilege to be among those called by The name of The LORD God, Most High, “who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and LORD of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen (1 Tim 6 15(b) – 16).” It is indeed a privilege to be known by God and we have every reason to be grateful for being His sons amongst the dwellers of earth. Our Topic for today is ‘God is Loving’ and if you have really encountered God in your Salvation experience, you will have no doubt at all of the Loving Kindness of God. It is important to note the difference between ‘God is Love’ and ‘God is Loving’ to help us better understand the topic for today. God’s Love is His Nature, and while God Loves, He also hates (Heb 1:9a) “Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity”. While God loves righteousness, He also hates iniquity, which is also His Nature. Loving on the other hand is the active expression of God’s love towards us. Without the active expression of God’s Love which is evident in His actions, it would be difficult to comprehend and understand the Love of God.
The expression of God’s Love is evident throughout the Scriptures, but still, we cannot fully comprehend it. Like a Hymn writer rightly expressed that, “Could we with ink the oceans fill, And were the skies of parchment made; Were every stalk on earth a quill, And every man a scribe by trade; To write the love of God above, Would drain the oceans dry; Nor could the scroll contain the whole, Tho stretched from sky to sky” 1. Eph 3: 19(a) (NLT) puts it this way “May you experience The Love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully”. As we reflect on God’s Love in today’s message, may our eyes of understanding be opened by The Holy Spirit to see how much He loves us and have it engraved in our hearts to enable us respond appropriately. In today’s meeting we shall be reflecting on God’s Ultimate expression of Love and look at a few example of how God expresses His love to us, before finally considering the implications for us.
THE ULTIMATE LOVE OF GOD
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The Ultimate expression of God’s Love to mankind is in the giving of His Son, The LORD Jesus, who died for our sins “For he hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Co 5:21). Isaiah the prophet, by God’s inspiration, told us “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isa 53:6). Hence, all our iniquity, expressed in the works of the flesh such as fornication, adultery, witchcraft, pornography, lesbianism, homosexualism, abortion, and all other sins, from what you may consider the smallest to the greatest, were all laid on him. A lot of us will not even want to identify publicly with people practicing some of these sins, yet, they were all laid on Christ on the Cross. This made God turn His back on Him at Calvary, for He hates iniquity and cannot behold it, which made The LORD Jesus cry “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Mat 27(b). The Justice of God struck Him for my sins and yours, and all mankind. This is the Greatest expression of God’s Love, for His Son, who is very God Himself, to identify with these iniquities and die, that we might be saved. No wonder Charles Wesley in his Hymn said “Amazing Love! How can it be, that Thou, my God shouldest die for me” 2.
The inexplicability of this Ultimate Love of God is that; it was expressed to the ungodly, sinners, lost souls, fragments not fit for use, those who hated Him and would not even seek Him. Yet, He died for us all. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins”. (1 Jn 4:10). Romans 5:8 tells us “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
The Ultimate Love of God cannot be experienced doctrinally, intellectually or theoretically. It is a personal experience you must have with Him, which will never leave you the same. This experience transforms you and gives you new passions, new hungers and new aspirations in life. Above all, you will experience peace and forgiveness of sin, because He’s taking it all away, He’s deleted all your transgressions, no matter what they are, He’s taken them away. He gives you a new direction in life, and His Word becomes your chart and compass for life. Our first challenge this morning is to examine our lives and sincerely ask ourselves, Have I truly experienced Him? If you have, His Spirit will constantly witness in your spirit, that you are His child. If you have not, today is the day of Salvation for you. Do not let this day pass without entrusting your life into the care of The Most High God through His finished work of Salvation in Christ.
VARIOUS WAYS IN WHICH GOD EXPRESSES HIS LOVE
As humans, we always expect love to be expressed in nice gifts, kind words, thoughtful notes and all those things that reflects deep show of intimacy and emotions. If anything goes in the contrary, we feel insecure and unloved. God’s Love, is His Nature, which is unchanging and we need to live in this assurance, irrespective of how His love is expressed to us. The expressions of God’s Love we shall be examining today is just to draw our attention on how much He cares for us, and is not exhaustive. As believers, we need to remind ourselves that the only way we can fully understand and benefit in the Love of God is to Trust and Obey. God’s promises and expression of His Love fully understood is premised on our Obedience.
Expression of His Love in providing for us.
Rom 8:32 “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”
Deu 7:13 – 14 And He (God) will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: He will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee. Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle.
God’s expresses His Love to us in His provision of all our needs (not wants), though, He gives us even the desires of our hearts. In whatever area of life we have a need, you should be “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. ” “For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” (Phil 4: 19, Psa 84:11). Having an understanding of God’s promises and His willingness to provide for us should make us trust in Him and wait on Him till His promises come to pass. “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Heb 13:5). God’s timing for each individual is different and God’s time alone is the best time. Let’s wait on Him and we shall see a performance of all that He has promised. Wait on Him, whatever it is, wait on Him.
Expression of His Love in His Protection.
(Num 23:23) Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel: according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought!”. Again it was revealed to us that “Nevertheless the LORD thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the LORD thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the LORD thy God loved thee.” (Deu 23:5) There is no curse, sorcery, witchcraft, enchantment or divination that can come upon us as children of God. We have an all-round protection against any of these in Him and there is no need for us to be afraid. They can’t harm us. God’s love expressed to us will not allow any activity of the kingdom of hell in this regard come near us. It is also written that “..The LORD will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; and also promises to preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.” (Deu 7: 15 and Psa 121: 7 &8). We can all testify to the Goodness of God. He has not allowed anyone of us to suffer any devastation throughout this period of the Covid-19 Pandemic that is ravaging the whole world and men are living in fear. He has kept us through all these years in our going out and coming in. The LORD has been our stay, and will continue to be our stay.
God’s Love Expressed in His Discipline.
Pro 3:12 tells us “For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” which is corroborated in Rev 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
God’s chastisement (discipline, correction) is an expression of God’s Love that many don’t like. A lot of people don’t like being corrected when they err, such people are obstinate in their hearts. It is more troubling when it is evident they have erred and they are unrepentant. God will always rebuke and chasten those whom He Loves to bring them back on track. This chastisement may come in whatever form like the Psalmist said, in Psa 119: 67 (GNT) “Before You punished me, I used to go wrong, but now I obey Your Word”. Having the right attitude when we realise that we are being chastised for our sins is to respond as the Israelites did in Jer 31 (GNT): “We turned away from you, but soon we wanted to return. After you had punished us, we hung our heads in grief. We were ashamed and disgraced because we sinned when we were young.” Having the right disposition to this expression of God’s Love will work out for our good and bring us back on track. We should not forget the exhortation in Heb 12:5 – 6; 11 ….which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Men like Nebuchadnezzar, David, Manasseh are examples of those who came to a realization of God’s rebuke and repented instead of becoming obstinate. On the other hand, men like Saul, Ahaz, Judas hardened themselves when they were rebuked or chastised, and all ended up in perdition.
God’s expression of Love that Purges and Refines us.
(Rom 5:1 – 5) Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
It is this expression of God’s Love aimed at purifying us through experiences of trials and challenges in life that has made several to depart from the Faith. When things are fine, a lot of people follow and will continue to follow The LORD. But the moment any sign of trial or affliction comes, and they have prayed with no results, many back out and seek for help elsewhere. Those who know The LORD know that all those things
are working out together for good (Rom 8: 28) and will like Job say “Though He (God) slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” (Job 13:15). Testimonies of men who understood this, like James and Peter, was just to encourage others. “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (Jas 1:2 – 4) exhorting them to “….greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” (1 Pet 1: 6 – 7). When our hearts trust in Him and we allow Him carry us through the storms of life, He will bring us into His promises and eventually our Testimony will be that “For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.” (Psa 66:10 – 12). When people are passing through this stage of life, they question God and have doubts. I have had, and still have questions myself, but I have no doubt ‘God is in Control’ and will only allow that which will work out for my good. Let’s keep praying, hoping and trusting as we allow The Holy Spirit open our eyes to whatever work of Grace God is doing in our lives. Men like Abraham, Joseph, David are examples to us of God’s faithfulness in the midst of their challenges and how He brought them into an expected end, even greater than what they could ever think or imagine.
Like we had said earlier, the expressions of God’s Love cannot be exhausted in any number of messages preached on earth, even if we are to preach on it daily for 24 hours a day, we will not be able to exhaust the message of the Loving God on this side of eternity. His Love is continuous and never ceases. Having reflected on a few of this Grace, let us reflect on the implications for us as His children.
IMPLICATION OF EXPERIENCING THE LOVE OF GOD
In the course of our reflection on the Nature of God, Bro Prosper in his message ‘God is One’ emphasized the fact that some of God’s attributes are incommunicable (exclusive to God) while others are communicable (transferable). Love is one of those attributes that is communicable and we shall do well to grow in the expression of our Love to God and also to fellow mankind. These should be such that it would be evident to all the people around us (believers and non-believers) that we love God (by doing what is right always and in our devotions) and we also love the brethren (evident in our relationships).
1 Jn 4:7 – 8; 16 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
We should express our love to God by repenting from any form of disobedience, sin, procrastination and remain steadfast and committed to Him in all that He has taught us.
We should express our love to our families by providing for them, protecting them (in whatever way we can), discipline our children when we have to, and deliberately let them learn some lessons in life to build character and value of hard work in them. May The LORD continue to keep and preserve us as we continue in His Love in Jesus Name. Amen.
1. Thank God for His Loving Kindness He continues expressing on us and every member of our families.
2. Appreciate Him for His provision for us and our families.
3. Appreciate Him for His protection and assurance that He will never allow satan or his cohorts prevail over us.
4. Appreciate Him for the times he’s disciplined us and the benefits that came out of it, and also ask Him to teach us to be humble in accepting His discipline and repent when they come.
5. Appreciate Him for all that we have been through in life and where He has brought us to and where He is taking us to, and for us to completely trust in Him and know that all things are working out for our good.
6. For God to engrave His Love in our hearts that we should in turn express it to the fullest to Him first and all around us, especially our families and those of the household of Faith.
1 Frederick Martin Lehman (1868 – 1953).
2 And Can it Be? Written by Charles Wesley 1738.