How do we clarify to others what God’s love really is when the world’s view of love is often opposite from the Christian view?
0:05 Probably the most famous verse in the
0:07 Bible talks about the love of God. "For
0:09 God so loved the world that He gave His
0:11 only begotten Son that whoever would
0:14 believe in Him would not perish but have
0:17 everlasting life." And so a huge part of
0:20 our message is the love of God. The
0:22 difficulty is, how do we talk about the
0:23 love of God when the world has a
0:27 different understanding of the notion of
0:29 love and, a lot of times, imports that
0:32 understanding into the notion of the
0:34 love of God? And this is where we just
0:36 have to be more aggressive in how we
0:38 characterize it. And I think of the love
0:40 of God as patient, as sacrificial, but
0:46 also as demanding. And when I say patient,
0:49 what we think of, love is patient,
0:50 that's the first part of the
0:53 description of love in 1 Corinthians
0:55 13. God is long-suffering. He is
0:59 patient with us. But keep in mind that a
1:01 love that is patient means that it's
1:03 putting up with someone who's doing
1:06 things they ought not to do and
1:08 patiently waiting for something. And
1:12 unfortunately, the way the world
1:14 characterizes love is that love is not
1:18 patient in that sense because we are we
1:22 are not waiting for something to change.
1:24 It's just a matter of accepting what
1:26 everybody does. And that's the
1:27 characterization that we have to clarify.
1:30 Yes, God is love, and God's
1:33 love is patient, but it's patiently waiting.
1:36 And what is it waiting for? And this is
1:38 the second point. These, by the way, are
1:39 characteristic of this famous verse.
1:41 God's love is sacrificial. It gives. What
1:45 does it give? It gives something on
1:49 behalf of us that we desperately need in
1:52 light of our rebellion against Him. So He
1:55 gives His son so that we might be
1:58 forgiven, have eternal life. And this
2:01 is the third thing that we need to
2:03 clarify, that God's love is also
2:04 demanding. God's love isn't this,
2:07 "Well, boys will be boys," kind of attitude
2:10 and just goes along with everything that
2:13 we want to do.
2:13 Instead, God's love requires that we
2:18 be good.
2:20 Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness.
2:21 It's because we are unrighteous that
2:25 God's love patiently indures until we
2:28 respond, if we do, to the sacrificial gift
2:32 that He gives us so that now we can lead
2:36 a different kind of life. So we talk
2:39 about love in the world's context, if we
2:42 just simply say, "God is love," and we don't
2:44 qualify it, we're gonna be in trouble.
2:46 Because they're going to insert their
2:48 own definitions in it. We have to
2:50 clarify that God's love is patient. His
2:53 loving-kindness indures forever. But He's
2:56 patient because there's something He
2:58 needs to be patient regarding, and that
2:59 is a rebellion. And so He has sacrificed
3:03 out of love something of Himself so that
3:07 we can be forgiven of the guilt of that
3:10 rebellion. And it's because God's love
3:13 does not rejoice in unrighteousness. It's
3:16 demanding. And so because it's demanding,
3:19 when we become followers of Christ, the
3:23 love of God compels us to live more
3:27 morally righteous and virtuous lives.
3:31 They all go together.
3:34 Is this like the world's love? It's
3:36 nothing like the world's love, which is
3:39 why we need to clarify exactly what we
3:41 mean when we say, "God is love." It's patient.
3:46 It's sacrificial. It's also demanding.
3:49 That's the love of God.