Faithlife Sermons

Attributes of God - God is Love

Attributes of God  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 12 views

A short overview of God's love. Discussed the Words related to love in the OT and NT; the definition of Love, the ways that God loves, and the application of the Doctrine of Love.

Notes & Transcripts | Handout | Sermon Questions
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →
CAVEAT: I must stress that this is not an exhaustive study. We could spend many weeks reviewing and thinking about God’s love. I know I have said that several times, but in this particular doctrine I cannot state that enough. This is a huge doctrine with multiple categories. This study is to provide a quick overview and a reminder why the Doctrine of God’s love matters. Nothing more.
This is not an exhaustive study, but provides a brief overview and application with a devotional focus.
(Slide 1-2)

What event in Biblical history most expresses God’s love?

(Slide 3)
1 John 3:16 ESV
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
1 John 3:16 ESV
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
(Slide 4)
The most distinctive demonstration of love by God is bound up in the Crucifixion. It is by the crucifixion that we know that God loves us.
Much of the doctrine of God having the attribute of love, is bound up in the historical-redemption story.
Philip Ryken, Discovering God, pg. 197.
(Slide 5)
“The Crucifixion is the climatic chapter in the greatest love story ever told”.
Philip Ryken, Discovering God, pg. 197.
“The Crucifixion is the climatic chapter in the greatest love story ever told”.
John 13:1 ESV
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
John 13:1 ESV
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
“Jesus had always loved his disciples, but now he would show them the height, the length, the width, and the depth of His love.”
“Jesus had always loved his disciples, but now he would show them the height, the length, the width, and the depth of His love.”

What verse gives us the boldest declaration of God’s attribute of Love?

(Slide 6)
1 John 4:16 ESV
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.
1 John 4:16 - “God is Love”
1 John 4:16 - “God is Love”
First and foremost, God cannot simply be defined by the fact that God loves.
God is love.
(Slide 7)
God cannot simply be defined by the fact that God loves because God is love.
This does not mean that God is metaphysically love.
The predicate verb “is” means that God’s character is so defined by His love that it is an attribute of God.
This does not mean that God is metaphysically love.
The predicate verb “is” means, that God’s character is so defined by His love that it is an attribute of God.

Words Associated with the God’s Love.

OT Words:

(Slide 8)
[אהב] and [חֶ֫סֶד ]
(Hesed) and (‘hb)
(‘hb) [אהב] has a wide meaning and is used nearly as widely as the English word love.
(Hesed) [חֶ֫סֶד] is often referred to as the word of “covenant love”.
(Slide 9)
The reason is that the word [חֶ֫סֶד] the majority of the time is used in the context of covenants.
However, Scripture uses both words in the context of covenants.
Examples: Deuteronomy 6:5, Deuteronomy 7:13.
(‘hb) [אהב] has a wide meaning and is used nearly as widely as the English word love.
(Hesed) [חֶ֫סֶד] is often referred to as the word of “covenant love”.
The reason is that the word [חֶ֫סֶד] the majority of the time is used in the context of covenants.
However, Scripture uses both words in the context of covenants.
Examples: Deuteronomy 6:5, Deuteronomy 7:13.
Deuteronomy 6:5 ESV
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
Deuteronomy 7:13 ESV
He will love you, bless you, and multiply you. He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your wine and your oil, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock, in the land that he swore to your fathers to give you.
Further, Hesed [חֶ֫סֶד] is used outside covenants.
Further, Hesed [חֶ֫סֶד] is used outside covenants.
Example: Ruth 3:10, 1 Kings 20:31.
Example: Ruth 3:10, 1 Kings 20:31.
Ruth 3:10 ESV
And he said, “May you be blessed by the LORD, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich.
1 Kings 20:31 ESV
And his servants said to him, “Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings. Let us put sackcloth around our waists and ropes on our heads and go out to the king of Israel. Perhaps he will spare your life.”

NT Words:

There are two major words used in Greek to describe love, especially God’s love. (φιλέω) Phileo and (ἀγαπάω) Agapao.
There are two major words used in Greek to describe love, especially God’s love. (φιλέω) Phileo and (ἀγαπάω) Agapao.
What have you always heard about (φιλέω) Phileo and (ἀγαπάω) Agapao?
(Slide 10)
- Phileo is brotherly love.
- Agapao is unconditional love.
Is that an accurate statement?
Before I began I would like to first say that in many cases the context does allow us to say an unconditional love.
But can we say that based on the root. That unconditional love or brotherly love what it always mean?
D. A. Carson makes an excellent argument that the differences are not near as drastic as it might seem.
Exegetical Fallacies 1. The root fallacy

Is that true? How often do preachers refer to the verb ἀγαπάω (agapaō, to love), contrast it with φιλέω (phileō, to love), and deduce that the text is saying something about a special kind of loving, for no other reason than that ἀγαπάω (agapaō) is used?

Exegetical Fallacies 1. The root fallacy

Is that true? How often do preachers refer to the verb ἀγαπάω (agapaō, to love), contrast it with φιλέω (phileō, to love), and deduce that the text is saying something about a special kind of loving, for no other reason than that ἀγαπάω (agapaō) is used?

Exegetical Fallacies 1. The root fallacy

All of this is linguistic nonsense.

Exegetical Fallacies 1. The root fallacy

All of this is linguistic nonsense.

Reasons for questioning this view:
(Slide 11)
Rape of Tamar (Agapao used)
Reasons for questioning this view:
Rape of Tamar (Agapao used): 2 Samuel 13:10, 2 Samuel 13:15
2 Samuel 13:10 ESV
Then Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the food into the chamber, that I may eat from your hand.” And Tamar took the cakes she had made and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother.
2 Samuel 13:15 ESV
Then Amnon hated her with very great hatred, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, “Get up! Go!”
Interchangeable use of Phileo and Agapao:
John 3:35 (Agapao)
John 5:20 (Phileo)
Interchangeable use of Phileo and Agapao:
John 3:35 (Agapao)
John 5:20 (Phileo)
John 3:35 ESV
The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand.
John 5:20 ESV
For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel.
Exegetical Fallacies 1. The root fallacy
My only point here is that there is nothing intrinsic to the verb ἀγαπάω (agapaō) or the noun ἀγάπη (agapē) to prove its real meaning or hidden meaning refers to some special kind of love.
Exegetical Fallacies 1. The root fallacy

My only point here is that there is nothing intrinsic to the verb ἀγαπάω (agapaō) or the noun ἀγάπη (agapē) to prove its real meaning or hidden meaning refers to some special kind of love.

(Slide 12)
The fact is that Phileo can be used of unconditional love just as much as agapao can be used for selfish love.
When we understand the use of “love” in the NT, including our understanding of God, it should be based on context. The context should suggest an unconditional love, regardless of which form is used.
The fact is that Phileo can be used of unconditional love just as much as agapao can be used for selfish love.
When we understand the use of “love” in the NT, including our understanding of God, it should be based on context. The context should suggest an unconditional love, regardless of which form is used.
Summary: OT and NT words are often used to describe an unconditional love of God.
Summary: OT and NT words are often used to describe an unconditional love of God.
I realize that this word study is not as interesting as others, and perhaps a little more technical. But it is important that we think through how we understand the meaning of words in our Bible.
Just because someone says the Greek says this, does not mean it is true. That should be evaluated just as much as when someone says a bible verse means something.

The Love of God Defined:

(Slide 13)
“God’s love is an exercise of his goodness toward individual sinners whereby, having identified himself with their welfare, he has given his Son to be their Savior, and now brings them to know and enjoy him in a covental relation.” (J. I. Packer, Knowing God, Pg. 123)
“God’s love is an exercise of his goodness toward individual sinners whereby, having identified himself with their welfare, he has given his Son to be their Savior, and now brings them to know and enjoy him in a covental relation.” (J. I. Packer, Knowing God, Pg. 123)
1. God’s love is an exercise of His Goodness.
2. toward individual sinners whereby
1. God’s love is an exercise of His Goodness.
2. toward individual sinners whereby
What is the importance of this statement?
God’s love is not dependent on us.
God’s love is not dependent on us. This is demonstrated by his choosing of Israel and his predestination of NT believers. (Deuteronomy 7:7-8; Ephesians 1:3-6)
Deuteronomy 7:7–8 ESV
It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
Why did God show love to Israel?
Because he choose too, for no other reason than His sovereign good pleasure. The qualification for God’s love is that he choose you.
Notice the relationship of predestination to God’s love.
Ephesians 1:3–6 ESV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
God’s love is not about our being good enough or even deserving it. It is because choose to love us.
In fact in our pre-salvation state, we were in rebellion against God.
Colossians 1:21–22 ESV
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,
God’s love is principally towards the sinners he chooses to express love towards.
3. having identified himself with their welfare
3. having identified himself with their welfare
For God, loving someone is to care for their welfare.
Thus, in God’s principal act of love, he identifies our welfare with him.
For God, loving someone is to care for their welfare.
Thus, in God’s principal act of love, he identifies our welfare with him. (Colossians 3:3-4)
Colossians 3:3–4 ESV
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
In the most literal sense, God has identified His welfare with ours. Our future is secure, because, our future is the same future as Jesus Christ, the sovereign God of the universe.
4. he has given his Son to be their Savior
4. he has given his Son to be their Savior
1 John 2:1–2 ESV
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
God’s love is foremost demonstrated in the Cross. Through the cross he is our savior, redeeming us from sin.
God’s love is foremost demonstrated in the Cross. Through the cross he is our savior, redeeming us from sin.
5. and now brings them to know and enjoy him in a covental relation.”
5. and now brings them to know and enjoy him in a covental relation.”
I am less than enthusiastic about this last part.
What do you suppose he means by this?
(Packer, Knowing God)
“A covenental relationship is one in which two parties are permanently pledged to each other in mutual service and dependence.” and understand us being under the Abrahamic Covenant.
(Packer, Knowing God)
“A covenental relationship is one in which two parties are permanently pledged to each other in mutual service and dependence.” and understand us being under the Abrahamic Covenant.
I would disagree with Covenant theology that we in any form are under the Abrahamic Covenant. Instead, I would see us as being blessed by the Abrahamic Covenant, and the party of the Abrahamic covenant being the descendents of Abraham, Israel.
Therefore, I propose that we instead should modify this definition to say this:
(Slide 14)
and we now are adopted as sons of God being free to know and enjoy God.
Therefore, I propose that we instead should modify this definition to say this:
and we now are adopted as sons of God being free to know and enjoy God.
Ephesians 1:5 ESV
he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,
(Ephesians 1:5)

In what ways does God show His Love?

(Slide 15)
- God's Providential love (Matthew 5:45)
Matthew 5:45 ESV
so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
- God's Yearning, Salvific Love (Provision of Salvation)
- God's Elective Love (Application of Salvation)
- God's Shepherding Love (Jude 21) [Modified]
(Blessing/Love the comes from yielding to God; Chastisement that comes to redirect us to God.)
D.A. Carson, Love, found in
Alexander, T. Desmond, and Brian S. Rosner, eds. New Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000.
- God's Providential love (Matthew 5:45)
- God's Yearning, Salvific Love
- God's Elective Love
- God's Shepherding Love (Jude 21) [Modified]
D.A. Carson, Love, found in
Alexander, T. Desmond, and Brian S. Rosner, eds. New Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000.

Application of the Doctrine of God’s love:

(Slide 16)
God’s Love extends to unbelievers, even though they will face punishment in the final judgment.
We ought to be thankful for the Cross. It is God’s greatest love act towards us.
Our righteousness or even love is not a prerequisite for God’s love. (Election)
God’s love should cause us to desire to respond with love for God. (1 John 4:10)
1 John 4:10 ESV
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
5. God’s love should cause us to demonstrate Christ-Like love towards others. (1 John 4:8, Ephesians 5:2)
Ephesians 5:2 ESV
And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
What is the proper response to God’s Amazing Love?
(Slide 17)
“Is it true that God is love to me as a Christians? And does the love of God mean all has been said? If so, certain questions arise.
Why do I ever grumble and show discontentment and resentment at the circumstances in which God has placed me?
Why am I ever distrustful, fearful, or depressed?
Why do I ever allow myself to grow cool, formal, and halfhearted in the service of the God who loves me so?
Why do I ever allow my loyalties to be divided, so that God has not all my heart?
(J.I. Packer, Knowing God, Pg. 127)
1. God’s Love extends to unbelievers, even though they will face punishment in the final judgment.
2. We ought to be thankful for the Cross. It is God’s greatest love act towards us.
3. Our righteousness or even love is not a prerequisite for God’s love. (Election)
4. God’s love should cause us to desire to respond with love for God. (1 John 4:10)
5. God’s love should cause us to demonstrate Christ-Like love towards others. (1 John 4:8, Ephesians 5:2)
What is the proper response to God’s Amazing Love?
“Is it true that God is love to me as a Christians? And does the love of God mean all has been said? If so, certain questions arise.
Why do I ever grumble and show discontentment and resentment at the circumstances in which God has placed me?
Why am I ever distrustful, fearful, or depressed?
Why do I ever allow myself to grow cool, formal, and halfhearted in the service of the God who loves me so?
Why do I ever allow my loyalties to be divided, so that God has not all my heart?”
(J.I. Packer, Knowing God, Pg. 127)
Related Media
Related Sermons