We’re back with Part 2 of our August Series: Power to the People! We’re diving deep into the power of God’s love as we’re encouraged with His basic, yet fundamental truths. Here’s the deal: God loves us and God loves others through us!
In The Power of Love, Founding Senior Pastor Beth Jones shares everything we need to know about these 2 truths and supports these lessons with foundational Scriptures that highlight the all-encompassing, overwhelming, never-ending power of God’s love for us!
Remember those old school bumper stickers that said “Smile! God loves you!”? For the non-believer, that phrase may seem cliche and trite, but in reality, it’s such a rich revelation. It’s true–God loves your neighbor, He loves the whole world. But it’s important to realize that he loves you specifically. The is an incredible life-changing truth!
1 John 4 9-11 (NKJV) - 9In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
This is a passage we could never be reminded of too many times. One of the countless amazing things about God is that He’s not distant from us; He’s not a theory. He’s not a judgmental ruler in Heaven with a giant fly swatter waiting to punish us.
The God of the Bible is the God that manifests His love for us! God’s love is tangible and He wants us to experience His love in a real, concrete, tangible way.
The lord is not distant, he’s not theory
Before coming to know Christ, our lives felt empty. We realized that we had been putting a square peg in a round hole up until that point; many of us felt like something was missing. We were surrounded by loneliness and guilty and shame and regret, wondering why we were put on this earth. Even when we were empty, with absolutely nothing to offer Him, Jesus came into our lives and we became overcome with His love and His mercy and His forgiveness.
Somehow or another, as we walk with the Lord and grow with Him, we somehow get back into the rut of legalism and things we’re “supposed” to do. This looks like…
I’m supposed to read my Bible.
I’m supposed to pray.
I’m supposed to go to church.
I’m supposed to serve.
I’m supposed to avoid sin.
I’m supposed to stop swearing.
We end up so busy trying to accomplish our “supposed tos” in order to love God back. Now, all of these things we mentioned are good things; it’s not a bad thing to want to please the Lord! But we need to do it for the right reasons…not because we’re back under the law and a system of checklists. We can’t earn God’s love, and no amount of “supposed tos” will help us keep it.
It’s not that we love God; it’s that He loves us. If we can get that fundamental truth flipped correctly in our hearts, we’ll feel an instant weight lifted off our shoulders. We can relax in the peace and comfort of the revelation knowledge that God loves us. It’s time to rest in His love!
Romans 5:8 (NKJV) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
God is the initiator; we’re just the responders. God demonstrated, exemplified His own love for us while we were far from Him, enemies of God, apathetic, passive, sinful, empty, lonely, helpless–while we were all of those things with nothing to offer in return, Christ died for us. We were in need of a rescue, and that’s exactly what God did for us. Without Christ, we were doomed! Amen!
We all know the verse…”For God so loved the world, He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.” Did you catch that? ALL we have to do is believe in Him! At our absolute worst, God still loved (and still does love!) us so much that He demonstrated it and paid a high price for us. So how does that now become practical for us?
1 John 4:16-19 - 16And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. 17Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19We love Him because He first loved us.
So many of us have known the theory that God loves us. But knowing isn’t what makes it real to us; the part that makes it real is believing. Believing is a simple choice! We just choose it in our heart. When we know and believe that God loves us, the trials and tribulations and unforeseen circumstances we will inevitably face no longer seem detrimentally daunting because we know that God loves us and has our back. We know and believe that He makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him. Choosing to believe brings so much peace to our lives!
Before we even existed, God front-loaded us with grace and forgiveness and His righteousness. He perfected love for us through Christ on the cross. He set everything up in our favor; all we have to do is believe!
We may have boldness in the day of judgment because there is no fear in love. The recipe to fix anxiety, panic, phobia, and fear is God’s love and the revelation of 1 John 4:16-19. Perfect love casts out all fear. Praise the Lord! Not only is there no fear in love, but we can also have boldness in the day of judgment because as Jesus is loved, so are we loved by the Father in this world.
Check out these 3 verses that describe exactly how the Father loves Jesus. As Jesus is loved, so are we. Which means these 3 verses apply to us, too!
John 3:35 (NKJV) The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand.
John 5:20 (NKJV) For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.
Mark 1:11 (NKJV) Then a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
In our humanness, we’re not like Jesus. But when we believe in and receive Jesus as Lord, the Bible says become in Christ. When God sees us, He sees us in Christ! He loves us just as He loves Jesus. Just like God is never mad at Jesus, disappointed in Jesus, or irritated or frustrated with Him, so it is true for us. Amen!
Hebrews 10:10-14 (NLT) - 10For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time. 11Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. 12But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 13There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet. 14For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.
When we talk about holiness, it’s easy to get back into works and legalism…all those “supposed tos” we talked about earlier. But the Bible saysGod’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ! When He died, we were made holy for all time. He forever made us perfect! Praise the Lord!
John 17:20-23 (NKJV) 20“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
Our behavior does not change God’s love for us! Whether we love God or not, He loves us. Always and forever, just as He loves Jesus.
King David, who committed adultery and murder, wrote in Psalm 136 that God’s love never fails 26 times. Our failures in life will not nullify or stop God’s unfailing love towards us. We must learn to forgive ourselves because God already has! Praise the Lord!
Psalm 146:1-3 (NLT) 1Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. 2Give thanks to the God of gods. His faithful love endures forever. 3Give thanks to the Lord of lords. His faithful love endures forever.
God’s loving-kindness is better than life! Lord, let the revelation of your unfailing love penetrate our spirit in a fresh way. Let freedom and rest and joy fill our hearts because of this reality. Amen!
How would you describe the difference between knowing God loves you and believing God loves you?
Have you ever tried to earn God’s love? How does it feel knowing God’s love for you is never-failing and timeless?
2 Timothy 3:1-4 (NKJV) 1But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.
This perfectly describes the world we’re living in right now. However, this is the world that GOd has called us to love! It’s easy to love lovely people, but we’re called to love the world. People at our workplaces, at our schools, in our neighborhood. We are called to love people! The more of a revelation we get on God’s love, the easier it is to love people who aren’t always so loveable.
“You can’t hate people and engage them with the gospel at the same time. You can’t war with people and show the love of Jesus. You can’t be both outraged and on a mission.”
This begs the question, can you have a righteous indignation? Yes–Jesus did. Jesus had a righteous indignation about things that were unjust and things that weren’t right and things that were evil and wrong. And at the very same time, He loved us. We can stand for truth and things that are right, but we can’t be outraged and hate the very people we’re called to love.
Not only does God love us, but He also loves them–the unlovable, the sinners, the whole world. And He wants everyone to come into a relationship with jesus. God wants everyone to come to the place where we recognize that we are sinners and we need a Savior.
However, we can’t force that upon someone! That wasn’t how it happened for us and it won’t happen for anyone else, either. It’s the kindness of the Lord that draws us to Christ. The Bible says that His kindness leads us to repentance. How do we love people around us more boldly, more graciously, more Christ-like?
Lord, how do you want to love through us? How do we love people that we completely disagree with? How do we love the people who agitate us? God did not condemn us, so we should not condemn others. God help us to love the way you loved!
How can you love those in your world who are challenging to love in a way that Jesus loved us?
In what ways have you seen the love of Jesus through someone else?
1 John 4:7-8 (NKJV) 7Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
God is love and He doesn’t condone sin, He still stands for everything in the Bible, but He is love. With all the isolation and polarization flooding our world, we need the power of love! Let’s both remember and embody these 2 powerful, fundamental truths from The Power of Love: God loves us + God loves others through us!
Father, thank you so much for your Word. Thank you for your Holy Spirit. Thank you for your presence, Lord. You are the only one that can do what you do and touch hearts. You have given us a spirit of wisdom and of revelation and the knowledge of You. God we pray for a revelation of the length and depth and breadth and height of your love for us. We pray for supernatural time together. In Jesus’ mighty name we pray, Amen!