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2 Questions You're Afraid to Ask About God's Love

2 Questions You're Afraid to Ask About God's Love

Michael Turner / General

Malachi: Confronting Complacency in Marriage, Money and Ministry / God’s Love; Election; Jacob (son of Isaac); God: Love / Malachi 1:1–5; Romans 8:31–39; 1 John 4:7–21

God's Divine Love for us should elicit a thankful response of words and actions.

God’s Love

BOLD STATEMENT: Spending time in jail is nothing fun nor anything to brag about, but getting out sure taught me something about love.

Let’s read our scripture together

Malachi 1:2–5 NKJV


2 Questions You’re Not Afraid to Ask

God, through His anointed men writing scripture, employs 3,100 Questions to pick our brains, stimulate our thoughts, and to challenge, convict and change our hearts.

Yet, I bet there are 2 Questions each of you and myself also are afraid to ask about God’s love.

This passage certainly presents us with some difficult theological issues and implications (which I will touch on), but the 2 questions do not come from those things.

The scripture here begs another question that is revealing of God’s character

1500 Illustrations for Biblical Preaching Election of Judas

A man once asked a theologian, “Why did Jesus choose Judas Iscariot to be his disciple?” The reply was insightful, “I do not know, but I have an even harder question: Why did Jesus choose me?”383

Why has God loved us?

Malachi opens his message to God’s people with an affirmation of His love for them, but before we discuss the obvious and stated question, let’s discuss why God has loved us:

If you are familiar with 1 John 4 you know that the apostle declares not that God loves greater than anyone else. He declares the very essence of God. He states that God IS love.

Love is the expression of His personality corresponding to His nature. {Vincent, M. R. (1887). Word studies in the New Testament (Vol. 2, p. 357). New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.}

Later in chapter 2, Malachi will ask the question, “Has not one God created us?”

God was not lonely or needing a friend. He didn’t need Adam, Eve nor any of us, yet as one commentator so greatly declares, “love desires to share itself, so he crafted us.”

God loved us because it is who God is.

Looking in the mirror many Christians might have the tendency to think it is about themselves. “Hey I am a good person. I was raised right and lived right.

Even lost people, non-Christians, many of them look around at the evil in the world and say, “you know what, I am not like what I see.” People who come into my office and many that I talk to in the community about what it takes to enter heaven say the same thing. “Well I try to be good. I try to treat other people right. I pray almost every day when I get up. I read the Bible. I think God will let me into heaven.”

“If goodness were the condition for God’s love and saving grace, nobody would enter heaven.” - unsure of author

At the end of v. 2 God says, “Jacob I have loved but Esau I have hated.” Was there anything good about Jacob? Was he better than his brother? Let’s see, his very name means “trickster” or “cheater.” If you don’t know the story, he swindled his brother out of his birthright and inheritance. Esau being a worldly person made it easy, nonetheless, Jacob was not innocent. This nature of Jacobs carried on through his life, favoring one wife over the other, favoring one kid, Joseph.

God’s choice of Jacob is just one in a long pattern of choosing the unexpected, the younger or the apparent weaker one. It’s about God, not about the person.

It wasn’t about the people either. No, they were continuing in the rebellious traditions of their ancestors.

Here is the 30 second history of Israel up until this point, from Abraham til here. God loved Abraham, Issac and Jacob creating the nation. The people are captives in Egypt. God loved Israel delivering them by hand of Moses. Israel rebelled and captives many times over finally in Babylon. God continues to love them bringing them back here to there land. They continue to rebel. God continues to love.

God loved us but not because of who we are.

These people knew this history. These people lived part of this history. They saw His divine hand at work.

They trusted God through the 900 mile dangerous journey from Persia to Jerusalem. They came home though to terrible conditions. Poverty. Slavery. High Taxes and Astronomical Mortgage rates. Opposition everywhere with no wall. Rebuild the Temple but the political and economic conditions remain the same, so they are thinking:

How has God loved Us?

The people were too focused on their immediate and temporal circumstances.

When you and I become like them we have the same failings as them.

1. to remember God’s past evidences of His love in our life.

2. to Recognize His present work in our life.

Malachi is basically saying, stop complaining for a moment and take a look around. God restored Israel but brought ruin to Edom (either then or eventually). The area of the Edomites in Jesus time is like Malachi describes it here. Even today the area is a place of desolation and one can hear the jackals howling at night.

God again showed His love to Jacob/Israel and his hate to Esau/Edom.

Here is one of those theological difficulties. Does God really love some people and hate others? Does God choose to save some and not others?

If we apply this in a more spiritual sense Jacob represents those who are “in Christ” and Esau represents those who have continued in their rebellion against Christ. God did not choose one group over the other for salvation, but He did choose one over the other through which salvation would come. Jacob is the ancestor of Jesus.

You cannot wipe from your Bible the words predestination, election or foreordination, no more so than you can wipe from your Bible the words all, world and whosoever. Peter, in his Pentecost sermon refers to the concept of predestination, God determined before even creation, to offer up Jesus, and when the time came he gave men the choice of what they would do with Christ. They chose to crucify Him, leaving them responsible for their act. God’s hate is in response to an individual decision of continued sin.

God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility run like parallel rails on a train track through scripture. You to lean to one side over the other one then your theological train gets derailed because it becomes unbiblical.

Salvation begins and ends with God period, end of sentence.

So, how has God loved you and me? It was on a tree. God is a missionary God.

Rom. 5:8 and 1 John 4:7-11 - God the Father sent.

John 19:17 - God the Son went. All the way to the cross and stayed there, not because of nails. Love laid Him there and love kept Him there.

There were no cords could have held him to the whipping-post but those of love; no nails have fastened him to the cross but those of love.[1] - Thomas Goodwin {[1] Ritzema, E. (Ed.). (2012). 300 Quotations for Preachers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.}

How has God loved us? Doubting is where disbelief and disobedience begin. Doubt comes from looking around at your circumstances and thinking that because of what you see God must not love you, or at least as much as that Christian over there.

Eve doubted God’s love and satan works every day to cause us to do the same. We may not do it with our words, but we certainly do it with our worries.

Satan told, Eve “certainly God didn’t say that, surely you will not die.” “God most not love you that much because He want let you have that fruit.”

Now he tells you and me, “Look at your life. Look at your family conditions. Look at your job. Look at your church situation. Look at your friendship problems. Look at your health or your bank account. Surely God doesn’t love you, because if He did it would not be so bad or so difficult.” Sadly, too often we believe satan, and turn our back on God in some way. But God still love us.

Some of you were like me when I was younger, you chose to rebel in the face of the father’s love like the Israelites did.

Remember I told at the beginning that jail was not fun and nothing to brag about, but getting out taught me a lot about love. 18 yrs old for a stupid teenager decision put me 2 weeks in Howard county Indiana jail. It was enough for me. The day of my release was a day of big surprises. You see I was expecting to walk out the doors not knowing what to do next or how to get back home. So, I walked out the door and looked up to see the very last person I thought would be there, my daddy. See, he had booked a flight to as close as he could get, and rented a car for the rest of the way and the trip home.

That day my daddy became a baptist preacher for a day. We stopped, got a bucket of chicken and he preached to me for 8 hours, but I learned just how much my daddy did love me even though I had rebelled and doubted it so.

Conclusion: God loved us and continues to love us. When I stop to remember and recognize God’s love for me I get afraid to ask the 2 questions I want to ask:

Have I said enough to God in thanks?

The problem of the nation of God becomes the problem of the church of God. His people in both can very easily develop the insensibility of ingratitude. In the OT, relationship always precedes requirement. Where God’s grace is given, thanks to God is expected. Words will never be enough but do I try? Do you try?

There’s another old saying, “When it is all said and done, there is usually more said than done.” So:

Have I done enough for God in thanks?

God’s choosing to love Israel was an evangelistic choice. He expected them to be thankful for God’s love and develop a deeper conviction to be missionary minded.

God called out to you, offered you the gift of salvation. Many of you in response, repented or turned to God. He washed your soul clean from sin. He gave you a new heart and a new life. God’s choosing to save you, was an evangelistic choice. God’s choice of you was to help others be saved.

In 1 John we are told that because God loved us we must love one another. We thank God for loving us by loving others he loves. Is there doubt in this church of God’s love because there needs to be more love for one another?

The Missionary Son left the comforts of heaven. The Missionary Holy Spirit now empowers each of us Christians to leave the comforts of the church building and home to witness for Christ.

We must be a missional group of Christians. To fail to do so, makes us like these people here, seeing salvation as a thing of pride rather than a thing of purpose.

Invitation to Respond: The offer of God’s salvation is to everyone. The call goes out to all, and the responsibility is on all to repent, confess your sinfulness and turn to God in faith.

Have you asked those 2 questions lately. I have had to ask God’s forgiveness, repenting for not doing so. Do you need to fall before God today in repentance?

Is there someone or a group of people you have not been very loving to that you need to ask forgiveness from?

God’s call is touching your heart right now. The responsibility to respond is upon you. How will you answer Him? What will it take for you to recognize God’s love and respond in word and deed?

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