Advent 1996 -4- Love Endures Forever

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Readings: Isaiah 55:1-13; and 1 Corinthians13:1-13
Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.  Isaiah 55:3 (NIV)

[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.  1 Corinthians 13:7-8a (NIV)

I.   “All we need is Love” ?

     A.  We need to Give and Receive love

           1.  We all have a need to be loved

           2.  We all have a need to love

           3.  Loving and being loved is an essential part of our human experience

     B.  People deprived of love Die

           1.  It has been scientifically demonstrated that infants in orphanages who do not experience love just die.

           2.  Adults who live without love shrivel up and though they might exist, they feel dead and lost.

     C.  The love of the Bible is Unconditional

           1.  The Greeks distinguished 4 kinds of love

                 a.  Storge - familial love

                 b.  Philos - the love between friends

                 c.  Eros - the kind of love between boyfriend/girlfriend; husband/wife

                 d.  Agape - self-giving love — the only love that does not need to be reciprocated.

           2.  God’s love for us is rooted in his nature (not our lovableness).

           3.  The kind of love we are to have for each other is like that: rooted in our new nature as God’s children. We love to express our need to love, needing nothing in return.

II.  God gives us His love in Jesus

     A.  Jesus fulfills God’s promise to David

           1.  Is.55:3 remembers God’s promise to David in 2Sam 7:11b-16
‘The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’” 2Samuel 7:11b-16 (NIV)

           2.  Though Jesus did no wrong, he paid for our wrong by the “rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men.”

           3.  Jesus, the Son of David, born in a stable, raised by inept people like you and me, preaching God’s love to people who didn’t know how to understand it, executed by the religious and political establishment, bearing the penalty for the offenses of humanity — this Jesus is God’s greatest act of love toward us.

     B.  Jesus Restores our relationship with God

           1.  Jesus builds a “house” for God — a spiritual house this time, that can’t be torn down.

           2.  Jesus does this by bearing the burden of our offenses satisfying God’s justice so that God’s love can flow freely.

     C.  Jesus in us, is God’s Love in us

           1.  When we come to trust Jesus and follow Him, He takes up residence in our hearts.

                 a.  We are “in Christ” and he is in us.

           2.  Nothing can separate us from God’s love when we are in Jesus (Rom. 8:39).

III. Love is our highest Calling

     A.  The Greatest of these is love

           1.  Faith, hope and love are essential qualities. But of those three the most significant is love.

           2.  Why? Because all our obligations and our whole relationship to God and his people depends on that activity.

           3.  Because love is a matter of the heart, not of following a grocery list of rules and regulations.

     B.  If it’s not about love it’s not about Jesus

           1.  There’s a lot of activities masquerading as Christianity these days.

                 a.  Some seem strong, no-nonsense, cut-to-the-chase.

                 b.  If there’s no love in it, it’s not about Jesus - God is love.

           2.  Legalism, and do-what-you-want religions are both devoid of love, as defined by 1Cor.13:4-7.

           3.  When asked what the greatest commands were Jesus said Love God with your all, and your neighbor as yourself. He gave a new command Love each other as I have loved you He said By this shall everyone know you follow me: you love each other.

     C.  Love will Never end

           1.  There are a lot of temporary things in this world, and many of us spend a great deal of energy trying to get them.

           2.  Love is the one thing that costs nothing but time and patience and honesty, yet it will outlast almost everything else in your life.

           3.  Even greater than that, God’s love for us will never end, will never be withdrawn, will never hang on whether we’re able to jump through the next hoop. His love endures forever.

           4.  It will never end, but it has begun for all who have opened this gift.

The Bottom Line:

Open God’s Gift of love to you this Christmas. Give the gift love to those around you.


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