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God's Greatness Revealed Through Love

God's Covenant Love  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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God's Covenant Love is wrapped around His greatest attributes: His strength, faithfulness, goodness, kindness, mercy and grace.

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Congregational Reading
1 John 4:8 ESV
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
See also

His love is perfectly expressed within the Trinity

Mark 1:10–11 ESV
And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
See also ; ; ; ;

Characteristics of God’s love

It is eternal

Jeremiah 31:3 ESV
the Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
See also ; ; ; ;
Deuteronomy 7:6–11 ESV
“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. 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. Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, and repays to their face those who hate him, by destroying them. He will not be slack with one who hates him. He will repay him to his face. You shall therefore be careful to do the commandment and the statutes and the rules that I command you today.
Deuteronomy 7:9 ESV
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,

It is a covenant love

This is about the love of God.
Deuteronomy 7:9 ESV
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,
Recap.
See also ; ; ; ;
Jeremiah 31:2–3 ESV
Thus says the Lord: “The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest, the Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
Jeremiah 31:2–3 ESV
Thus says the Lord: “The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest, the Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.

It is lavish

Exodus 34:6–7 ESV
The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”
the Lord appeared to him from far away.
As I explained last week God’s love is very much unlike the word love as secular culture and many Christians define it.
See also ; ; ; ;
Jeremiah 31:2–3 ESV
Thus says the Lord: “The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest, the Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
Love as defined by secular culture is sentimentalized.

It is holy and just

You see this definition of God’s love in many of the popular songs.
Psalm 33:5 ESV
He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.
- What the world needs now by Burt Bacharach
I shared on the five ways the Bible speaks about God’s love:
- All You need is love by the Beatles
- Love is all that matters by Eric Carmen
See also ; ;
If you carefully study these songs you’ll see that love is reduced to just an emotion, a feeling or a pleasure (just like in “free love”).
Love as defined by many Christians is universalized.
Love as defined by many Christians is universalized.
God loves everyone equally or God loves everyone the same way. Who among you hear embraces this statement as true?
Does this mean that God loves the Christian the same way as the the heathen or non-believer?
Does He love me in the same manner as the most evil man who ever lived? (Example, Hitler)
This questions make the doctrine of God’s love difficult and often leads to questions about God’s character. It doesn’t seem fair if he just loves everyone the same way, but if he doesn’t does that mean that God shows favoritism?
What is the answer to this?
These questions confuses the love of God that is providential, His benevolence to everyone that He has created and His specific or particular love to His chosen people.

Images of God’s love

The goal of my message last week was to give us a biblical understanding of God’s love. This equips us to be able to articulate God’s love the right way.
I shared on the five ways the Bible speaks about God’s love:
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
God’s Peculiar Love

God as a father:

God’s Providential Love
God’s Pursuing Love
God’s Particular Love
God’s Provisional Love
God’s Peculiar Love.
The unique love between God the Father and God the Son.
; ; ; ;
God’s Providential Love.
God’s benevolence over all He has made. This is where the statement God loves everyone equally is true.
God’s Pursuing Love.

God as a husband:

God’s love that yearns to save a fallen world.
God’s Particular Love.
God’s affection towards the elect, His chosen ones. This can refer to Israel in the Old testament and the church in the new. This is the love that is unconditional and based solely on God’s sovereign choice or election.
; ;
God’s Provisional Love.
This is God’s love directed toward His own people in a provisional or conditional way.
God’s provisional love is the same as God’s covenant love.
The Big idea of my message today:
The Big idea of my message today:
God's Covenant Love is wrapped around His greatest attributes: His strength, faithfulness, goodness, kindness, mercy and grace.
What is God’s Covenant Love?

God’s loving actions

The gift of God’s Son is a unique act of love

therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you
1 John 4:9–10 ESV
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 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.
What is God’s Covenant Love?
See also ; ;

God sets his love on the unlovely

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.
This is the kind of love where we see God’s sacrificial and loyal commitment to His covenant people.
See also ; ;
Love as defined by secular culture is sentimentalized.
Love is reduced to just an emotion, a feeling or a pleasure (just like in “free love”).
Love as defined by many Christians is universalized.
L
The Hebrew word for God’ covenant love is Hesed. His love that is strong and steadfast.
There are 246 times that the word Hesed appears in the Old Testament.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.Israel - The Old Covenant People of God
It is important that we understand God’s covenant love.
You see, many people think of God as loving only in the context of the New Testament, as seen in the person of Jesus. a God that is tender and more laid back. In contrast people think of a God that is not so loving and sometimes even angry in the Old Testament that it results in a duplicity of the character of God. That the God of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New Testament. This is why we need to study God’s covenant love.
Old testament God is angry.
New Testament God is loving.
A study of God’s covenant love will reveal the true nature of God that is consistent between the Old and New Testaments.
We will see the true nature of God’s love by looking at what a covenant is and the characteristics of God’s covenant to His people.
What is a Covenant?
Jeremiah 32:40–41 ESV
I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.
A sacred kinship bond between two parties, ratified by swearing an oath.
Jer 32:40-41
Hahn, S. (2016). Covenant. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Covenants are different from contracts in that contracts are limited to the exchange of property (“that is yours, this is mine”) while a covenant is much bigger that it involves an exchange of one’s self (“I am yours and you are mine”)
This is seen in the Covenants that He entered into in the Old Testament:
God doesn’t need anything. In fact He is never in need, He is all-sufficient. Yet He chose to enter into a covenant relationship with people that He created. This in itself speaks of God’s character, that because He is a loving God, He wants people with whom He enters a covenant relationship with to have and experience the very best - that is Himself.
This is seen in the Covenants that He entered into in the Old Testament:

God always acts in love towards believers

God’s Covenants:
With Adam
With Noah
With Abraham
With Moses
With David
All of which were fulfilled in Jesus Christ by Whom we now enter into a New Covenant by His blood.
If we look at this definition of the word covenant where it is basically an exchange of life, of one’s self. If it is a covenant between God and people - who gets to gain the most out of this relationship?
Let’s study the Characteristics of God’s covenant love by looking at one of these covenants as an example - The Mosaic Covenant.
God doesn’t need anything. In fact He is never in need, He is all-sufficient. Yet He chose to enter into a covenant relationship with people that He created. This in itself speaks of God’s character, that because He is a loving God, He wants people with whom He enters a covenant relationship with to have and experience the very best - that is Himself.
Let’s study what we actually gain by love by looking at one of these covenants as an example - The Mosaic Covenant.
God’s Covenant love:
Treasures us.
6 For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
If you treasure someone you will love that person unconditionally. Not because of the intrinsic value in the person but because of the value you see in him or her. Illustration of this between husband and wife. I hope that the husband and wife relationships here are not reduced to just putting up with each other, having to endure because I have to.
If you treasure someone you will love that person unconditionally. Not because of the intrinsic value in the person but because of the value you see in him or her. Illustration of this between husband and wife.
We don’t stay in a relationship only because we have to but rather because God gave you that husband or that wife to cherish as your own body.
In , the Apostle Paul said that husbands ought to love their wives as their own body. He who loves his wife loves himself.
I have no major complaints about my wife.. now I am opening up as your pastor..
She is in the shower so long that there is fog on all the windows of the house. I would be like, what’s going on..
I love her anyway. Actually that is the greatest of her faults, that is nothing compared to mine and the things that she has to put up with.
God’s Covenant Love:
2. Is Trustworthy
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.
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.
You see the trustworthiness of God’s covenant love here? He loves His covenant people because He swore an oath and when God swears an oath it is not like the kind of oath that we swear to. God swears by Himself.
People focus on the pain of God’s punishment rather than the foolishness of not remaining in His covenant love.
In general, one may identify three basic meanings of the word, which always interact: “strength,” “steadfastness,” and “love.” Any understanding of the word that fails to suggest all three inevitably loses some of its richness. “Love” by itself easily becomes sentimentalized or universalized apart from the covenant. Yet “strength” or “steadfastness” suggests only the fulfillment of a legal or other obligation.
Romans 8:38–39 ESV
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
See also ;
The word refers primarily to mutual and reciprocal rights and obligations between the parties of a relationship (especially Yahweh and Israel). But checed is not only a matter of obligation; it is also of generosity. It is not only a matter of loyalty, but also of mercy. The weaker party seeks the protection and blessing of the patron and protector, but he may not lay absolute claim to it. The stronger party remains committed to his promise, but retains his freedom, especially with regard to the manner in which he will implement those promises. Checed implies personal involvement and commitment in a relationship beyond the rule of law.

13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” 15 And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. 16 For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. 17 So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.

Israel - The Old Covenant People of God

God loves you not for who you are but just because he chooses to do so.  Tonight we will see Jonah discover one of God’s main attributes-His love and this passage will teach us some things about God’s love. 
Isaiah 43:4 ESV
4 Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.
Today we are going to focus on God’s Covenant Love from the Old Testament.
13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” 15 And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. 16 For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. 17 So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.
See also ; ; ; ; ;
Romans 11:28 ESV
As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers.
Exodus 33:19 ESV
And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.
Romans 9:15–16 ESV
For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.
Matthew 15:24 ESV
He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
2 Chronicles 9:8 ESV
Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and set you on his throne as king for the Lord your God! Because your God loved Israel and would establish them forever, he has made you king over them, that you may execute justice and righteousness.”
God swears by no other than Himself.
Deuteronomy 10:15 ESV
Yet the Lord set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day.
Much is made of God's wrath and punishment in the Old Testament, God punishes, it is with reluctance.
Ezekiel 33:11 ESV
Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?
God
If God is a God of love, why did become so angry with people and severely and punished them?
People focus on the pain of God’s punishment rather than the foolishness of not remaining in His covenant love.
If you look at it closely the answer is really very simple. God was angry because of His love for people:

The Church - The New Covenant People of God

God wants you to have the full assurance of hope—no weak and flimsy hope, but a strong, full, confident hope.
Nations were punished because their citizens were cruel to other people, oppressing the needy and killing innocent adults and children (e.g. , ). One reason God punished people was to get them to stop hurting other people (). Because God loved the people who were being oppressed, he intervened on their behalf; because God loved the oppressors, he disciplined them and taught them to do good instead of evil (), that he might bless them instead of punish them ().
Jeremiah 5:26–29 ESV
For wicked men are found among my people; they lurk like fowlers lying in wait. They set a trap; they catch men. Like a cage full of birds, their houses are full of deceit; therefore they have become great and rich; they have grown fat and sleek. They know no bounds in deeds of evil; they judge not with justice the cause of the fatherless, to make it prosper, and they do not defend the rights of the needy. Shall I not punish them for these things? declares the Lord, and shall I not avenge myself on a nation such as this?”
The answer is that God was angry with people because of his love for people: nations were punished because their citizens were cruel to other people, oppressing the needy and killing innocent adults and children (e.g. , ). One reason God punished people was to get them to stop hurting other people (). Because God loved the people who were being oppressed, he intervened on their behalf; because God loved the oppressors, he disciplined them and taught them to do good instead of evil (), that he might bless them instead of punish them ().The Church - The New Covenant People of God
The Church - The New Covenant People of God
God wants you to have the full assurance of hope—no weak and flimsy hope, but a strong, full, confident hope.
Revelation 1:5 ESV
and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood
I want you to focus on these two words from verse 18: “Strong Encouragement”.
Isn’t it amazing that God in His greatness wants to encourage you today with a strong degree of encouragement? All we need to do is to hold on to His promises.
If we are in need of healing today, hold on to the promise of God’s word from am the God that heals thee.
Feeling weak, discouraged, downtrodden with a low sense of self esteem? Claim the word of the Lord from , for wherever you are God can mount you with wings like eagles, you will run and not grow weary they shall walk and not faint.
Feeling that you have been taken advantage of? In we are given the promise that the LORD is a God of justice, blessed are those who wait on Him!
Are you afraid this morning? Trust in God Who said “fear not for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for I am your God, I will strengthen you, surely I will help you. I WILL UPHOLD YOU WITH MY VICTORIOUS RIGHT HAND!
In need of deliverance this morning? Scripture says that our God is mighty to save. His hand is not short to save nor His ears dull to hear.
The foundation of God’s covenant love my dear brothers and sisters is the greatness of who He is . He is trustworthy, He is faithful, He is kind and he is true. He is all these and yet He chose to put Himself on the hook of that covenantal relationship.
God is our reward!
God’s Covenant Love:
God really ha nothing to lose in the covenant relationship. He is God.
3. Is steadfast.
It will endure.
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
It will endure.
I want to talk about one word that has been eroded in our generation. That word is COMMITMENT.
God is committed to loving you in that covenant relationship that you have with Him.
People just throw this word commitment out the window. Just look at the divorce rate. The divorce rate in America is now at 50%, and divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher.
Just look at celebrities, these people marry left and right. I hope you are not getting your values from Hollywood. What a sorry dysfunctional bunch!
Pastor Ramon you are being mean. Truth is these celebrities need Jesus, even though they are the champions of immorality, hedonism and instant gratification. I recognize that they need Jesus and I wish there are more celebrity Christians out there but here’s the deal. Don’t you dare lecture us on how to live our lives, how to choose our leaders, how to decide on our future from your million dollar ivory tower. Look at the mirror you hypocrites!
This is why commitment is no longer a value that is cherished in our generation.
But God is highly committed to keep His covenant to whom? To those who love Him and keep His commandments.
God’s Covenant Love:
God really has nothing to lose in the covenant relationship. He is God.
4. Is merciful and gracious.
10 and repays to their face those who hate him, by destroying them. He will not be slack with one who hates him. He will repay him to his face. 11 You shall therefore be careful to do the commandment and the statutes and the rules that I command you today.
10 and repays to their face those who hate him, by destroying them. He will not be slack with one who hates him. He will repay him to his face. 11 You shall therefore be careful to do the commandment and the statutes and the rules that I command you today.
Ah, pastor Ramon it appears you made a mistake. The passage you took doesn’t seem to match God as being merciful and gracious.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
God punishes because of His love. Jesus Himself said those I love I rebuke and discipline.
God is a holy God and He will not compromise in His holiness. In reality God does not want us to lose the benefits of His covenant love.
The Mosaic Covenant that we studied today was eventually violated and thrown out by the nation of Israel and eventually they were punished and they reaped the consequences of their evil choices. So their punishment culminated in being thrown into exile. But even before they were went to exile to Babylon, God was already planning His exit strategy for them. He was already extending His grace.
God really has nothing to lose in the covenant relationship. He is God.
Jeremiah 32:36–41 ESV
“Now therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning this city of which you say, ‘It is given into the hand of the king of Babylon by sword, by famine, and by pestilence’: Behold, I will gather them from all the countries to which I drove them in my anger and my wrath and in great indignation. I will bring them back to this place, and I will make them dwell in safety. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.
Jeremiah 32:36-41
God’s covenant love is everlasting. This promise eventually gave way to the New Covenant in Jesus Christ.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.God really has nothing to lose in the covenant relationship. He is God.
God really has nothing to lose in the covenant relationship. He is God.
People focus on the pain of God’s punishment rather than the foolishness of not remaining in His covenant love. (Hebrews 6:13-18)
See also ;
John 17:23 ESV
I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
John 16:27 ESV
for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.
People focus on the pain of God’s punishment rather than the foolishness of not remaining in His covenant love.
;
See also ; ; ; ;

God’s love for individuals

“Jedidiah” means “loved by the Lord”.
See also Benjamin

David:

;
Ezra; Solomon

God’s love transforms human love

Human love must respond to God’s love

1 John 4:19 ESV
We love because he first loved us.
See also ; ; ;

Human love must be modelled on God’s love

Matthew 5:44–45 ESV
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 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.
See also ; ; ;
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