· What is God like? People tend to view God according to their own thoughts.
· God makes Himself known:
(i) By His ways – what He does (Psalms 103:7).
(ii) By person of Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:19).
· In this series:
(i) God is holy – Isaiah 57:5 “… who inhabits eternity whose name is holy.”
(ii) God is love – 1 John 4:5 “He that loves not does not know God, for God is love.”
(iii) God is powerful – Genesis 17:1 “I am Almighty God.”
(i) What love is not
· Word ‘love’ has been devalued so have no understanding of the meaning.
· Example: I love McDonalds; I love that outfit; I love you; You don’t love me.
· Common wrong concepts associated with “love”: weak; emotional feeling; indulgent; tolerant (accepting everything); unmanly; conditional love (must be earned). Titus 2:11-12
(ii) What love is
· 1 John 4:7-8 “Love is of God … for God is love.”
· “Of God” (1537 Strongs) = origin or source. God is the source of love.
· “Know” (1097 Strongs) = feel, be aware of, to gain experiential knowledge.
· Love is the very nature of God. His love is personal and can be experienced.
· Love of God changes peoples nature and life when they experience it.
· Jesus came to represent and to reveal the Fathers love for people.
(iii) Definition of love
· Love is a loyal sacrificial commitment to act in the best interests of another with no hidden agenda for personal gain.
· 1 John 4:9 “Herein is the love of God manifested.”
· “Manifested” (5319 Strongs) to disclose, reveal true character, make visible.
· “God sent” (649 Strongs) apostello – Greek = to send on a mission.
· “Propitiation for sin” (2434 Strongs) = mercy seat; the means by which sin is covered and removed to bring restoration of relationship.
· “Might live” = that we might experience supernatural life of God.
· The love of God expresses the true character of God – generous, kind.
· Luke 6:31-36 “… for He is kind to the unthankful and the evil.”
· “Kind” (5530 Strongs) = to provide what is needed.
(iv) Checed – lovingkindness
· Exodus 34:6 “… the Lord God, merciful … abundant in goodness.”
· No English word accurately describes the Bible word for love.
· Checed (2617 Strongs) = to bend down and express kindness Ž (i) strength (ii) steadfastness – faithful to fulfil commitment (iii) Love – not sentimental feeling but covenant commitment.
· Won’t abandon us if unfaithful and need discipline.
· Commitment to act as He sees fit for our best interests.
· John 14:8-9 “He that has seen me has seen the Father.”
· Jesus came to represent and to reveal what God the Father is like.
· People’s view, attitude to natural Father often impacts the way they see God.
· Failure of natural fathers can greatly impact attitude to God as Father.
· Bitter root expectancies.
· Father’s love is revealed in two ways (i) Gentle (tender) (ii) Strong (tough)
a) Gods’ love is tender
· John 8:3-11 “Woman caught in adultery”.
· Love accepts (vs11) – receives and welcomes the person without accepting sin.
· Love forgives (vs11) – releases demand for payment.
· Love handles gently with respect (vs11) – values people.
b) God’s love is tough
a) Love sets standards (John 8:11 – “Sin no more”). Firm but not judgemental.
b) Love confronts with truth (Matthew 21:12-14 – “You have made it a den of thieves).
c) Love disciplines (Hebrews 12:6-7 – Whom Lord loves – disciplines).
d) Love perseveres, doesn’t quit on us (Luke 22:31-32 – Peter’s failure).
e) Loves sets personal boundaries (John 2:22-23 – Loved but did not entrust).
f) Love identifies with broken people rather than rejecting them
1. What has been your thinking about love in the past? How did your thinking form?
2. How would you describe the Bible kind of love in one sentence? Also look at 1 Corinthians 13
3. Is the Bible kind of love based in feelings or action?
4. Love is tender, love is tough. How do you see the two sides of this in God’s love in the above verses?
5. What do you need to adjust in your thinking about love?
6. What is your biggest challenge in applying these verses to your life (vs8)? (Marriage, family members, work, teachers, parents, others in church)
7. What barriers do you have to overcome to let the God kind of love work through your life?