Faithlife Sermons

Falling in Love with the Father

Falling in Love  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Intro:
1 John 3:1 NKJV
1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
1 John 3:1 NKJV
1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
1 John 3:1 NKJV
1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
For the month of February, I want to speak on the subject of, [Falling in Love]. Each week we will look at a member of the Godhead and see how we should fall more in love with the Lord. The subject of today’s message is, [Falling in Love with the Father].
In 2015, after being at the church for nearly three months, Terry was gone on a Sunday. I told him I would contact George to see if he would care to lead our songs.
I called on Saturday and he told me he would get ready. On Sunday, he showed me his list of songs, I think there was about ten. After singing two songs he talked to the congregation.
He informed them he was glad I was here and he enjoys my preaching, but I have one problem. I thought, I guess I will find out what it is soon.
He let everyone know, “He has been bit by the lovebug. There is a girl in Indiana and she needs to get all of her stuff in a sack and come down here.”
He then shared about when he too was bit with the same love bug over sixty years before. He exhorted us on the importance of love for a few minutes and then he went and was seated.
As I prayed about the messages for February, I remembered that story. I thought of how love can make us do some odd things.
As many of you know, Bekah and I dated twice. Once for six months in 2011-2012. And then we got back together in 2014. Every now and then we will reminisce on some of the things we did then that seem odd to us now.
Nearly every time we go to Evansville, we are not overly excited about the 4.5 hour trip. I tell her, it’s something, I used to love driving to Evansville, now, not so much. She asked, what is different? I answered, well NOW you are with me, why do I need to go back?
I would drive 3.5 hours one way to Mt. Vernon, IL, for a two hour date only to turn around and drive 3.5 hours back to Vulcan.
We used to stay up until nearly midnight talking on the phone or Face-Timing, just to hear each others voice. Now we have a rule, let’s not talk too much after 10:00 pm!
We still love each other, more now than we did then. It grows every day. She still makes me happy. We still make each other laugh.
But when we get around any of our friends who are not married yet, they look at us like, it is odd that you do or say that, but love makes you do things that appear strange to those who have never been in love.
With this in mind, we often say, God we love you. Jesus we love you. I love the Lord. I love Him better every day. What does it mean to love God?
As I searched scripture to find an answer, I ended up in the book of 1 John. Before we look at the content of his letter, let’s think of the man, John. Also known as John the Beloved or John the Revelator.
John was one of the first disciples to follow Jesus. He was close to Him, often considered part of Jesus’ inner circle. When he wrote this letter, he was the only original disciple left. He was close to his nineties.
The church faced a dilemma. Physical persecution mounted from the Roman Empire. The eleven other apostles were martyred for their faith along with many other Christians.
Worse than that though, spiritual persecution threatened the church’s beliefs. Specifically, there was a group called the Gnostics. They perpetuated the myth that the death, burial, and resurrection did not literally happen.
Therefore, they could look to Jesus as an author of moral principles, but now as a Savior. Furthermore, they gave the church the option to live how they wanted because obeying Christ’s commands was unnecessary.
John, the final link to Jesus’s twelve disciples, decided to write about it and correct the false thinking. He compared both ways of thinking:
light verses arkness
love of the Father verses love of the world
Christ verses antichrists
righteousness verses sin
truth verses falsehood
the Spirit of God verses the spirit of the antichrist
John explains, if we love God, we will serve Him. There is no middle ground. There is a right way and wrong way to live. God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit provided the right way for humanity to get in right relationship with God.
Therefore, accepting Christ as our Savior is the beginning of a process of falling deeper in love with God. Today, by the end of my message, I pray we will see the Father’s love toward us.
Then we will respond to His love and it will show through our actions and lifestyle. Who wants to fall more in love for the Father?
Let’s look at the Father’s interactions with us throughout history. I have three points, [The Father’s Love at Creation], [The Father’s Love at the Crucifixion], and [The Father’s Love in Christians].
Let’s begin
1. The Father’s Love at Creation
1 John 3:1–3 NKJV
1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
In the middle of John’s thoughts on being children of God, he exclaims, BEHOLD what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us.
Let’s think of that for a moment. When we think of God, we understand Him as our Father who sent His Son, and now we have the Holy Spirit.
Imagine what it was like for the New Testament believer, specifically John. He was born in a time when God was distant. His family would have revered God as the creator.
But before the Father sent the Son, God was way UP in heaven, and His people were way DOWN here on earth. Furthermore, God was silent for 400 years.
From the close of the Malachi to the words of John the Baptist, God did not speak through His prophets. By the time John was born, he lived in a culture that anticipated the Messiah.
But they did not know what the Messiah would do. Therefore, Jesus’s ministry displayed the love for the Father. The same love He had for humanity at creation.
Remember, God did not have to create Adam and Eve. He did so because He wanted a sense of closeness with His people, which is why He spent time with them in the Garden.
But something separated God from His people. The problem was sin. Yet even when they sinned, we still see the love of God in action. He could have annihilated humanity.
Instead, in His deep love, He promised I will send Someone to stand in the place of your sin. For thousands of years God slowly and methodically showed how this would work.
Now in his 90s, John remembered how he felt when he first met the Father’s son. He was an eyewitness to what it cost the Father for us to be called Children of God.
John was alive when he knew God from a distance. He was a slave to sin, but because of the Father’s Son, the chasm of sin that separated God from His people is filled with grace.
God restored His original intent, to get close to His creation. His plan at creation was walk close to His children. Sin threw a wrench in that plan.
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us. No longer are we slaves to sin. But we are children of God! He loved us when He created us. Now He wants us to get closer to Him and fall more in love with Him!
2. The Father’s Love at the Crucifixion
1 John 4:7–10 NKJV
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 4:7–10 NKJV
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
John reminded his readers of his love for them and the love they needed for each other. Why did he have such love? Think about it, he was way past retirement age.
He could have easily stayed under the radar to avoid and future persecution. But he could not do that. He loved them to too much. Why? Because he knew God and God is love.
How does God show His love toward us? He sent His son to die for our sins. Another variation of this verse reads this way:
John 3:16 NKJV
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
When John spoke of the death of Jesus, it was personal. The other disciples had second-hand knowledge. Not John, he was an eyewitness. He stuck with Jesus through to the end.
He could feel the love emanating from Son to the Father. But imagine how hard it was on the Father to watch His perfect Son take on the imperfections of humanity.
For Jesus it was physical, emotional, and spiritual pain. How was it for the Father? What did He feel when He had to turn His face away from the Son when our sins were applied to His life.
But John explains, He did this because He loved us. He loved us so much that He sent His son to be the propitiation for our sins!
Propitiation was used in ancient secular writing for a sacrifice that appeased the wrath of an angered God. Does this mean God was angry with sin? I think it is safe to say.
Sin seemingly derailed God’s plan for connection and communion with His creation. He gave humanity everything they needed in the Garden.
Still, they decided to give into to sin. Because God is holy, He cannot look or accept sin. Therefore, God’s divine justice needed a sacrifice to appease the wages of sin, which is death.
Now notice the Love of God. He could have easily declared, humanity is so sinful, I will require every man to sacrifice His firstborn to satisfy my anger.
Instead, God took His ONLY Son, sent Him to us to die in our place. Now, the sins that separated us from God’s holiness can be erased by the blood of Jesus.
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us. We owed God a deep debt. However, He sent His Son, who endured the crucifixion, to be the propitiation of our sins.
Even as I wrote this message I thought, I really need to fall more in Love with the Father. I see His love at Creation, at the Crucifixion, but let’s look at...
3. The Father’s Love in Christians
1 John 4:11 NKJV
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:11–16 NKJV
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
How do we respond to God’s love? Think of how John felt when he wrote these words, God loved us so I love you. Remember, John could look back to a day where the grace of God was virtually nonexistent.
Everyone was on this track of trying to please God. The only problem was they did not know Him personally. They followed His law to the best of their abilities.
Furthermore, John saw the changes the Father’s love made in the lives of people. Because of the Father’s love in sending Jesus, now we have an avenue for forgiveness.
John looked as God forgave his and others sins. Then he saw the changes that took place in the lives of people!
1 John 4:15–19 NKJV
15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. 17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us.
1 John 4:15–19 NKJV
15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. 17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us.
When someone in sin confesses Jesus as their Savior, God takes residence in their life! What great love. To think that the God of the universe will live in my heart.
Therefore, we treat each other with the love that God shows to us:
God loved us in our imperfections. Shouldn’t we extend the same love to one another?
God loved us in our immaturity. Shouldn’t we extend the same love to one another?
God loved us in our shortcomings. Shouldn’t we extend the same love to one another?
Some might think, that is good and all, but how can I do that? God’s love will give us the boldness to extend the love of the Father to one another.
But what if we get hurt? Doesn’t extending love almost guarantee hurt feelings?
I like the lyrics of one song: I am loved, I am loved, I can risk loving you. For the one who knows me best loves me more.
We need not fear in extending love to each other! Because the perfect love of God will cast out any fear. We can walk through life with peace knowing that the Father LOVES us!
How do we respond to God in regards to His love?
1 John 5:3 NKJV
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
If we keep in mind God’s great love for us, we will WANT to obey His commandments. John understood this. He remembered the day when God was distant, but He was brought near because of Jesus’ sacrifice.
Therefore, when we truly love God, we will want to pray.
When we truly love God, reading the word will not be a burden.
When we fall in love with the Father, we will want to come to His house to be around other followers of Christ.
When we are in love with God, doing what is asked of us is not a burden, but it is an ACT OF LOVE!
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us. Because of His love, we should show love to each other and lovingly follow His commandments!
Close:
The wise King Solomon describes the love of the Father:
Song of Solomon 2:4 NKJV
4 He brought me to the banqueting house, And his banner over me was love.
For just a moment, let’s try to imagine where our lives would be if it were not for the Love of the Father. We would be lost, sad, scared, bitter, angry, disconnected, alone, and aimlessly searching for deeper meaning.
But the Father loved us so much, that even in our sins, He sent His Son for us. What a perfect love. The question is NEVER does God love me?
Rather we need to ask, do I adequately display my love to the Father?
Remember, John’s point in writing this letter is to show, there is NO middle ground.
We either love God or we don’t. Is He our one and only or our one of many?
Does He consume our days? Or do we think of Him only on Sunday morning?
As I wrote this message, at first thought, these questions are somewhat intense. How can we as mere mortals show this type of love to God?
Then it hit me, in His GREAT LOVE for us, He provided an avenue where we can demonstrate our love for Him.
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us. And because of His love:
we are His children
we have forgiveness of sin
we can overcome fear
we receive boldness to stand before God
In essence, because of HIs love, everything is different. We have joy, peace, love, hope, help, and supernatural power from heaven!
Every good thing we have is a direct result of the Father’s love for us. Now, who wants to fall deeper in love with Him?
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