Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
Email Preach Him with Dr. Jim

LOVE IS....
1 John 4:8-17 NAS

8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so 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. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has beheld God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is 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 beheld and bear witness that the Father has sent the Son to be the 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 come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this, love is perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.

Introduction Some illustrations of what love is not.
Dearest Jimmy,
No words could ever express the great unhappiness I've felt since  breaking our engagement. Please say you'll take me back. No one could ever take your place in my heart, so please forgive me. I love you, I love you, I love you!

Yours forever, Mary

P.S. And congratulations on winning the state lottery.
 

Are You In Love?
A young man said to his father at breakfast one morning, "Dad, I'm going to get married." "How do you know you're ready to get married?" asked the father. "Are you in love?" "I sure am," said the son. "How do you know you're in love?" asked the father. "Last night as I was kissing my girlfriend good-night, her dog bit me and I didn't feel the pain until I got home."

Those obviously are not expressions of true love.  What is love?   Lets look at several passages where the words _____ is love or love is _____ are used.
 
 

1.    Love Is . . A Penetrating Attribute of God. v 8 & 16


v  8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. . . . 16 And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
 

A.    Penetrating As God Sent His . . Son. 1 John 4:9
" By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.
 

B.    Penetrating As God Sent His . . Salvation. 1 John 4:10
" 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.
 

C.    Penetrating As God Sent His . . Salvation. 1 John 4:13
13 By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.

Illustration He Loved Me First
In 1976 Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme exploded on to every front page in America. She had pushed her way through a crowd and had tried to kill the President of the United States. She was 17 years old. Investigators found her proud that she was a follower of Charles Manson. The world knows Manson as a crazed killer who worked through his small, dedicated band of fanatical "disciples."

News magazines began to dig into the background of this tragic young woman. Their reports found that Squeaky had felt like a misfit in her town, and so she wandered across the country until she reached California. There Manson met her and promised to take care of her. She went with him and was willing to kill and die for him.

Reporters wanted to know, "Why would you give your life to a man like Manson?" I read her explanation in a magazine, and I have never been able to forget it. Squeaky explained that she had made a choice early in her teenage years.

Here it is: "Whoever loves me first can have my life." Someone probably had loved Squeaky, but she was ready to give her life to whomever made her feel loved first. Ron Hutchcraft, Five Needs Your Child Must Have Met at Home, Zondervan, 1995
 

Application

How sad that she did not understand that God loved her first. 1 John 4:19 We love, because He first loved us.
 
 

2.    Love Is . . A Perfected Quality. 1 Jn. 4:16-17 


A.    Perfected As We . . Affirm the Love of God. v 16 a
" And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us.
 

B.    Perfected As We . . Abide In the Love of God. v 16 b -17
"...God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this, love is perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.

Illustration Great ways to tell of your love to your mate.

Write a poem. It doesn't have to rhyme. (My Pillow Poem)

Send a love letter stating "Why I love you so much."

Plan a surprise lunch, complete with picnic basket, sparkling grape juice and goblets.

Make a coupon book and include coupons for a back rub, a compromise when about to lose an argument, a listening ear when needed.

Hide little love notes in the car, a coat pocket, or desk.

Prepare a surprise candle light dinner for two.

Make a paperweight from a smooth stone, paint it, and write a special love message on it.

Promise to work on changing a habit that your mate has been wanting you to change.
 

Application

As we believe and abide in Christ Love CAN BE perfected
 
 

2.    Love Is . . A Primary Virtue. 1 Cor. 13:13 



"But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

 


A.    The Primary Virtue In . . Lasting. v 13
            ". . . "But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; . . . "

        1.    Think what last today, Young Lovers Vs Senior lovers.

Illustration
Alvin Straight, age seventy-three, lived in Laurens, Iowa. His brother, age eighty, lived several hundred miles away in Blue River, Wisconsin. According to the Associated Press, Alvin's brother had suffered a stroke, and Alvin wanted to see him, but he had a transportation problem. He didn't have a driver's license because his eyesight was bad and he apparently had an aversion to taking a plane, train, or bus.

But Alvin didn't let that stop him. In 1994 he climbed aboard his 1966 John Deere tractor lawn mower and drove it all the way to Blue River, Wisconsin.

B.    The Primary Virtue In . . Loftiness. v 13
        ". . . but the greatest of these is love. "

        1.    Think about this verses comparisons.

Illustration Your Lover Shall Live
During the 17th century, Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England, sentenced a soldier to be shot for his crimes. The execution was to take place at the ringing of the evening curfew bell. However, the bell did not sound. The soldier's fiancée had climbed into the belfry and clung to the great clapper of the bell to prevent it from striking. When she was summoned by Cromwell to account for her actions, she wept as she showed him her bruised and bleeding hands. Cromwell's heart was touched and he said, "Your lover shall live because of your sacrifice. Curfew shall not ring tonight!" Our Daily Bread

Application 1 Peter 4:8

Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.
 
 

4.    Love Is . . A Product of God's Spirit.   Gal 5:22-23


22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

A.    It Is The . . First Fruit of the Spirit. 22 a
        ". . .But the fruit of the Spirit is love, . . . "

Vines Defines Love Abbreviated
agapao: Described
1) the attitude of God toward His Son, the human race, generally, and to such as believe on the Lord Jesus Christ particularly.
2) to convey His will to His children concerning their attitude one toward another, and toward all men,
3) to express the essential nature of God, "Love can be known only from the actions it prompts. God's love is seen in the gift of His Son,

B.    It Is the . . Freeing Fruit of the Spirit.
        ". . . against such things there is no law."

        1.    Love Frees you in many area of a relationship.
        2.    It is not a legalistic relationship of the law.

Illustration
I (Doris Sanford) was deep in thought at my office, preparing a lecture to be given that evening at a college across town, when the phone rang. A woman I had never met introduced herself and said that she was the mother of a seven-year-old and that she was dying. She said that her therapist had advised her that discussing her pending death with her son would be too traumatic for him, but somehow that didn't feel right to her.

Knowing that I worked with grieving children, she asked my advice. I told her that our heart is often smarter than our brain and that I thought she knew what would be best for her son. I also invited her to attend the lecture that night since I was speaking about how children cope with death. She said she would be there.

I wondered later if I would recognize her at the lecture, but my question was answered when I saw a frail woman being half carried into the room by two adults. I talked about the fact that children usually sense the truth long before they are told and that they often wait until they feel adults are ready to talk about it before sharing their concerns and questions. I said that children usually can handle truth better than denial, even though the denial is intended to protect them from pain. I said that respecting children meant including them in the family sadness, not shutting them out.

She had heard enough. At the break, she hobbled to the podium and through her tears she said, "I knew it in my heart. I just knew I should tell him." She said that she would tell him that night.

The next morning I received another phone call from her. She could hardly talk but I managed to hear the story through her choked voice. She awakened him when they got home the night before and quietly said, "Derek, I have something to tell you." He quickly interrupted her saying, "Oh, Mommy, is it now that you are going to tell me that you are dying?" She held him close and they both sobbed while she said, "Yes."

After a few minutes the little boy wanted down. He said that he had something for her that he had been saving. In the back of one of his drawers was a dirty pencil box. Inside the box was a letter written in simple scrawl. It said, "Good-bye, Mom. I will always love you."

How long he had been waiting to hear the truth, I don't know. I do know that two days later Mom died. In her casket was placed a dirty pencil box with the letter inside.

More Stories For The Heart Alice Gray, Multnomah, p. 121.
 

Application

1 Cor. 13:4-8 a
4 Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails; . . . "