First Baptist Church of Minneola
Gigantic Love of God
RUrecovery Discovery TripApril 5, 2019 - 7:00 PM - 9:00 PMPastor Lane and William, the church leader of Astatula Baptist Church's RU recovery invite us to attend their 9th year celebration of their RUrecovery program. Astatula Baptist Church ministered to the needy in the area and sense then has doubled in membership. Please plan to be part of this discovery.
- Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend. --Martin Luther King, Jr.INTRO - This past Thursday we celebrated Valentines Day.Kids and couples exchanged gifts.Men and women enjoyed romantic suppers. Love is the theme of Valentines Day.This morning we are taking a break from our series covering the book of Acts to focus on the greatest of all loves; God’s love for us.TRANS - Perhaps one of the better know Bible verses addresses the theme of God’s great love.It tells of of his love and then goes on to detail that love.What does it say?“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.EST - The Bible’s greatest love verse.ESS - The greatness of God’s love and what that entails.OSS - To respond by loving as God loves us.TRANS - Let’s shift our minds to consider the timing of this verse.This verse presented the clearest picture of the good news.God loves you.God sent Jesus to tell us about His love.Anyone that believes in Jesus will not die, but live forever with God.In ancient Jewish literature’s mention of God’s love, especially for Isreal, there is nothing that can compare with this sacrifice.We know the OT emphasized God’s love:In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them; in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.And this passage:When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.This verse was given to all people.The only Son, or only begotten son is literally “special beloved.”The phrase was familiar to Hebrew people as was often applied in Jewish literature to Isaac.It emphasized the greatness of Abraham’s sacrifice in offering Isaac.Despite ancient Jewish literature of God’s love for their nation, nothing compares with this sacrifice for the “world.”TRANS - Let’s turn now to inquire what this passage means.What does it mean?I mentioned the historic setting and briefly discussed the meaning of this text to those who first heard these words.However, we need to dig a bit more to grasp the principles of God and make application of them to our lives.TRANS - Let’s consider our first point.The area of God’s love. “God so loved the world”This establishes the reach, extent, or area of God’s love.God’s love includes the entire world, all time, and every person.It includes both the good, bad, and indifferent.God’s love embraces all people.This shows the greatness of God’s love.You may love, family and some friends.You may love a few neighbors and distant relatives.You may think you are a loving person.Compared to the area of God’s love, we haven’t even started to love.Jennifer and I watched a movie “The Rev.” on FaithliveTV last week. It made us laugh. The main character was a white boy raised in a black family. His daddy was a preacher and his momma knew he was called to preach. However, he wanted to work in Vegas. Once he decided momma was right, he landed a church. One the way to the church he picked up a burnt out musician, a hooker, and a gang member soon joined the group. Entering the church, people expressed how “those people” didn’t belong, much less a “white preacher.”Point is, God loves all people.Last Friday I attended a RUrecovery at Astatula Baptist Church.Pastor Lane called me Monday and told me that part of their struggle brining this much-needed ministry to the church involved addressing the “those people” problem.BTW, We’re invited by Astatula Baptist church Pastor Lane to attend their ninth year RUrecovery celebration.I believe we need to attend and see if this is what God is asking from us to reach our community.I can tell you it greatly increased the membership at Astatula and a similar thing happened at FBC Leesburg.God blesses churches that love on “all” people.TRANS - In addition to the area of God’s love, our verse expresses the proof, evidence, or authentication of God’s love.The authentication of God’s love. “that He gave”God “gave” is the loving proof of his great love.When you love, you give.I know without a doubt that my mom would have given, and still would, her life for any of her children. She loves so much, that she is willing to die for her children. I’ve heard her say it often and I know it is true. Great thing about love, it gives without holding back.God hold back nothing, He gave the world Jesus.His character is disclosed in His gift.The other John 3:16, first John that is, explains it this way:By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.God’s character is authenticated by his gift and jumping ahead on chapter is noted in Scripture: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.A parent’s most cherished thing is a child.God had one Son, and He gave Him to the world.People who love God are not stingy.They give generously financially.They give generously to groups they belong.The give earnestly, as we noted last week, to corporate prayer.When you love like God loves, you become a great giver.Not only do you say “He owns it all,” you give because “He gave us is all.”Real love gives greatly.TRANS - Area of God’s love, authentication of God’s love, what more does this verse tell us of God’s love?What more does this verse tell us.He gave, but just how much of His love does God give?The all of God’s love. “gave his only Son”God gave his only son.God the Father gave His Son Jesus.ILL - This past Valentines Day I gave Jennifer a gift. My mother-in-law knew about it for about two weeks prior. She said Jennifer would love it.Sure it was nice. I wanted it to be special. Jennifer is sentimental. Her engagement ring belonged to her grandmother. Our anniversary date is the same as her parents. Now she has a diamond pendant that matches her ring. All these things special, the gift thoughtful, all good.But, a gift is not alway needed. Sometimes, but in our society we have most everything. Quite often gifts are nice things that communicate our love, but not needed.God gave the gift that we needed most.God has the ability to give each of us our own planet.God has the ability to give any of us anything.But, God loves us and gives us just the right gift.There is no other gift that means so much to God and desperately needed by humankind.God gave us “all” He could give in Jesus.Nothing in all creation matches the bigness, the brightest, the gift of God in Christ Jesus.God gave us His Son for our redemption.No other gift would do, would satisfy, would fit the greatness of God’s love for the world.Love knows, discerns, understands, and is wise.True love gives the right gifts for the one they love.God gave us His best, His all, His Son Jesus.TRANS - We’ve noted the area of God’s love, the authentication of His love, and that He gave all His love to us in the gift of His Son Christ Jesus.Let’s move on to our last point which really is two things. One point, two things.The assurance and arrangement of God’s love. “not perish but have eternal life.”First “Not perish”God loves us.When you love someone, you protect them.When you love someone, you encourage them.When you love someone, you assure them of that love.God assures us that he is protecting us.“Not perish” tells us that God loves us so much that He protects us spiritually and that protection is permanent.Second “but have eternal life.”God gives great gifts, we already touched on this.His greatest gift is Jesus and the great gift of life we receive in Christ.Now, this is not second class seating, no God gifts us His best; first class all the way.God gives us the best life free from worry of what happens when we die.In addition to the best life, God gives us life eternal.Yep, the best is yet to come and it will not end.Kind of hard to wrap our minds around the greatness of this kind of love.Why would anybody chose anything else?How should we react?We discussed the area of God’s love, the authentication of His love, that He gave all, and that we have assurance of life with God in eternity.God’s love is truly great!Makes me super happy to belong to God.Brings a smile to my face and joy to my heart.ILL - Sometimes my day starts out slower. I might be dragging and not too alert. This past Tuesday was one of those days. It was a good day for coffee.Starting a little slower, I didn’t start out the way I typically do with a devotion. I was dragging and Jennifer already had breakfast prepared by the time I emerged from my sleepy state.Perhaps it was the previous day’s conversation with my mom. Mom shared how she enjoyed walks and seeing God’s hand in nature. For me, Tuesday devotion started in the back yard as I looked at the clouds rolling in from the south.The clouds offset the hue of the morning blue sky and I noted how lovely God’s canvas was that day. From there my attention was drawn to a little lizard crawling across a screen. I say in the lanai and contemplated how amazing it is that humanity continues to discover previously unknown species of plants, of animals, and the distant universe.As I closed my eyes, I heard the sounds of birds, trucks running, and the general roar of the city waking up. I allowed myself time to use my senses and thank God for all sorts of things from the texture of the fabric of the chair in which I sat to the smells of the breakfast Jennifer prepared.While a slow start, a different start, I still was disciplined. When I recalled what I read in the Bible that morning, how God extends his hand as he waits for people to turn to Him, I thought, “How could anyone miss God’s hand in creation?”I think our reaction to this often quoted verse needs to be considered differently that just some one of the more recognized.In the same way I started my Tuesday devotion, differently, and blessed for doing so, I think we looked at this passage differently this morning.I hope and pray you were blessed by doing so with me this morning.In a moment I’ll thank God for this time and His guidance.Following that we’ll have a time of invitation.I hope you will take a moment to tell God how much His love means to you.(end)
1 John 3:16ESV
1 John 4:16ESV
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