THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date - -3-26-06

LESSON TITLE: "HELP MY UNBELIEF: I BELIEVE IN GOD'S LOVE!"

WELCOME

Hear the words of Job as he proclaimed, "I know that my redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth." Do you believe that your redeemer is living and real? Furthermore, do you believe that He is eternal and will stand forever?

Good morning, and thanks for joining us for the study of God's Living Word on this His special day! We are glad you have put God first today and that you have decided to give this time to Him. It will be our privilege this morning to sing songs of praise, to study His precious Word, and to approach the throne of God in prayer. So, at this time may we start our praise to God by talking with our Father in prayer. Bow with me please!

(PRAYER)

Let's begin immediately with our songs of praise. Our first song of the morning has already been introduced in the passage we read a moment ago. We have already heard that our God is a great Redeemer. At this time we would like to sing about the fact that we have been Redeemed by this loving God. So won't you do your part in worship to Him at this time and join in with the congregation as we sing together, "Redeemed!"

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

Our text of the morning thus far has taught us about our wondrous Redeemer. We also have sung a song about the fact that we have been redeemed by the blood of the lamb. Brethren and friends, there is no doubt that our redeemer does live! Praise be to God for this magnificent and glorious truth. For without Jesus Christ sacrifice on the cross we could not enjoy the redemption offered for our sins.

So what does the word redeemed mean? The American Heritage dictionary gives these definitions: To recover ownership of by paying a specified sum. 2. To pay off. 3. To turn and receive something in exchange. 4. To fulfill. 5. To convert into cash. 6. To set free; rescue or ransom. 7. To save from a state of sinfulness and its consequences. 8. To make up for. 9. To restore the honor, worth, or reputation of.

With these ideas, we begin to see what true redemption is all about. It is price paid to recover, pay off, to fulfill the debt of sin. In order that we might be set free through Christ, by being restored and rescued by the love of God. Finally being paid for and bought through the precious blood of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Remember what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:20, "For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." And in chapter 7:23, he adds, "You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men." In the fact that Jesus shed His own blood for you and me, then we have been redeemed from sin through this wonderful sacrifice. And as the redeemed we are God's Children and thus slaves of righteousness. Just as Paul told the Roman brethren, "And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness," (6:18).

Have you become obedient to the teaching of Christ that you might be among those who have been Redeemed through Jesus Christ? If not, why not obey God's plan today: Confess His name, Repent of sin and wash them away in baptism - that God Himself might add you to the church, the home of the saved!

In just a few minutes it will be time to begin our main study of the day. As far as our lesson topic today, we will be continuing our series entitled, "Help My Unbelief!" The specific lesson of the day confirms this truth, "I believe in God's Love!" So, please stay with us this morning and in just a few minutes I will be leading us in this study from God's Word. Now let's join together in our second song of the day. The name of this hymn, "Our God, He Is Alive."

(SONG # 2)

LESSON

Speaker: Ray Sullins

"Lord, Help My Unbelief." This is the series we've been looking at together and I think have learned a lot about many of the doctrinal truths that are found in God's Word, and today we want to continue our study by looking at "I Believe In God's Love!"

Certainly love is of the utmost importance for many passages in the scriptures both Old and New Testaments prove to us not only that God loves, but that God is love not only in word but in deed. In fact, in 1 John chapter 4, we actually are told there by John, an apostle who certainly would have known Jesus Christ and known Him well. He said, "God is love."

We know Paul there in a very familiar passage of 1 Corinthians 13 in verse 13 spoke of faith, spoke of hope and spoke of love. But he says the greatest is what? Love. Why? Because again love is the foundation. It is that which everything else in Christianity is built upon whether you consider from the standpoint of God or from the standpoint of God's children.

So today, we want to continue by looking at our belief and being encouraged in our belief that God is love because the Bible says so. There if you'll notice with me then in 1 John chapter 4. We know then a great discussion is given about our God, not only the fact that He is love, but why He is loved and how He has proven the fact that He loves us. If you'll notice there in chapter 4, we find there clearly God demonstrating His love to us, but first of all clarifying for us that He is love. Verse 7 beginning says, "Beloved, let us not love one another in the wrong way, but let us love for God is love." He talks here even further about the fact that God loves and those who are born of God love.

But then in verse 8 he says, "He who does not love does not know God." Certainly you can't say that you do not love or demonstrate that you do not love and somehow feel you are a child of God because we know that God is love and we are to be those who imitate who? God or Christ.

But then here in verse 9 as he continues, "And in this the love of God was manifest toward us that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him." In this is love. Not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be a propitiation for our sins. You see here we find not only that God is love, but we find why and how God has proved that He is love. He gave His Son. He gave His Son to die. To die on the what? The cross. And the fact that God is love is not based on our love for Him but on His love for us because He first loved us by allowing His Son to die that His blood might be shed that it might be a propitiation, a price paid, a redemption price for our sins that we might at one point be found unacceptable and in sin and darkness away from God, but in the next moment found cleansed and pure and holy in the sight of God. We talked about redemption before and we now build even more strongly on the fact that God is love.

Verse 11 continues, "Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought to also love one another." The next thing he begins to dabble in and to look at is he said, "Look if God is love, then what must we be?" Those who love.

And not only God, but certainly Jesus said that our love is demonstrated to God through obedience. John 14:15, "If ye love Me, keep My commandments." But what is He talking about here? Not only is our love demonstrated to God, returning the love that He first showed us through the sacrifice of His Son, but also our love for our brethren, that you love one another. That's what he goes on to clarify and helps us to see there, that we cannot say that we love God and hate our brother because God is love and we must be love. And if God loves my brother, how can I hate my brother? If God loves his soul, how can I hate his soul and how could I not be willing to show the love of God and work things out to again demonstrate that love to my brother? Why? Because those who show love are of God.

That's what he goes on to say around verse 15 there of chapter 4, "Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him and he in God and we know and believe that love of God that He has for us." Why? Because "God is love." And he goes on. "And he who abides in love abides in God and God in him." You see God has shown us love. We respond to that love by showing Him love and then by showing our fellow man love, but yet he clarifies once again here when God has loved us and we love Him, what do we have? Fellowship. We abide in Him for He has chosen to abide in us, and it's our faithfulness, our love, our desire to love Him, and not again because we first loved Him, but verse 19, because "He first loved us," and He proved it and He demonstrated it to us in the things that He gave through His Son, Jesus Christ.

We back up to chapter 3 and we want take a lot of time right now, but in chapter 3 around verses 10-15, he goes even more in depth in the discussion there about loving our brethren. He says that in the way of Cain... Do you remember Cain? Cain hated and was jealous of his brother, Abel, and even killed him as we read back in the book of Genesis. He says, "Don't go the way of Cain or be like Cain, but rather be like God and be righteous and love your brother no matter what." Even if your brother is better than you or is more worthy before God or has more talents or is more holy, love your brethren. Don't be jealous and selfish and strive to seek self. Love your brethren. Love your brothers and sisters in Christ. "For the one who hates his brother," verse 15 of chapter 3 says, "is a murderer like Cain and in a murderer eternal life cannot abide." We want eternal life. Certainly we want to go to Heaven. We want to have the spirit of Christ. We want to be those who are demonstrating the life that Christ wants to demonstrate and that is the life of love. Why? Because He first loved and therefore He asked us to love.

You know as I think about these things, I certainly am reminded that these are nothing new because as we look throughout the Old Testament, we see the love of God time and time again, the great mercy, the great grace of God demonstrated over and over and over again and is demonstrated in love through proofs as He assists and cares for and protects and helps.

I remember there even in the days of Jesus that Christ spoke of a love. In fact He was asked the question about the commandments and even about what were the greatest commandments and I want you to hear His response. In Matthew 22 and verse 37 after being asked, "What are the greatest commandments?" Jesus said, "You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul, and with all of your might. This is the first and greatest commandment." The greatest commandment is to love God. Well certainly that makes sense because God first loved us and we respond by loving Him. That's the first and greatest commandment. "The second is likened to it," He continues on in verse 39, "Love your neighbor as yourself." Our brethren. Our fellow man. Those who are around us. What again is the foundation? Love. Love makes me act right, speak right, do the things that certainly bring glory to God and not dishonor. Why? Because I love God and I love my fellow man and everything I do is striving to demonstrate that.

I would like to use the remainder of our time in the text found in Ephesians chapter 3. There's a very important text there about love once again, a text that shows us the strength of love, and really love in so many ways is a difficult thing for us to comprehend because even verse 19 of our text here talks about a love that is beyond which surpasses even understanding. It reminds me of God's peace. And probably many of the things and attributes of God that are difficult for us as finite beings to understand, God is such a great God and wondrous God and how can we understand such love as this, such love that says, "I will give my only Son to die for you although you're not worthy." Now that's love and it is in this text here, again Ephesians chapter 3 beginning around verse 17 that we learn this, that "Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith that you being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width, what is the length, what is the depth and what is the height, to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge that you may be filled with all fullness of God." I want you to notice there the great spectrum of love. Why is it so hard to understand? Because if we consider its height or its width or the length or the breadth, every dimension of love is beyond our understanding because most of us would not be willing to go as far as what true love is, the true love that God demonstrated for us. Most of us would not be willing to do such good for a beggar out here or somebody who we feel is unworthy or somebody who is not doing for themselves. Most of us are not like God in that way. We want to be and we strive to be, but we still do not love as God loves. But here as He talks about these different aspects, He mentions that comprehension of love that we need. Although we cannot fully understand it, He says that we must understand its might, its greatness, its vast, vast spectrum that it covers because love is great.

In the discussion here, He then says, "the width of love." He talks about a love that is really seen as wide or universal, a love that I would demonstrate as God saying, "I don't want only my people, as the Jews, to be saved. I want all peoples, all men and women, bond or free, Jew or Greek, all nations, all peoples, all colors. I want all to be one in Christ Jesus," Galatians chapter 3, verse 26 and following. "All to be of Abraham's seed." Why? Because the width of God's love is mighty.

It is vast and it is difficult for us to understand sometimes and to believe because it is there God who says that He demonstrated His love for us yet while we were still sinners, Christ did what? "He died for you and me," Romans 5 and verse 8. That's how much our God loves us. While we were yet sinners, and brethren, while we still sin today, Christ died for us. He is willing to show us that kind of love and mercy and grace and to do all that He can to give us that second chance, that second hope and so why wouldn't we want to love Him? Understanding the width, understanding also, it says, the length of that love. How long? It's eternal. It's forever. It has no end. Why? Because God is eternal. If we know God, we know love. If we know God, we know eternity. If we know God is love and that He is eternal, then God's love is eternal. It will never end. It will never die. We see that proven in the fact that He gave His own Son, Jesus to die on the cross for you and me.

What about the depth? How deep does it go? As deep and even deeper than the greatest oceans. He was willing to do whatever it took for you and for me, as He was able to do the greatest and to demonstrate the greatest love that any man can ever show. John chapter 15 and verse 13. "That one man would lay down his life for another." That's what Jesus did. And not only a man, but a stranger, the Bible says. You know I would be hard-pressed to do it for my wife and children, let alone someone I don't know. Jesus said, "Even for a friend, even for someone who would come after Me."

And then a love that is higher, higher than anything describable, a love that is so exalted into the heavens, into the heavens where my God is, a love that says, "My God is love and if I love as He loved, I will be rewarded. I will be blessed, the love that again shows that I am a child of God," 1 John chapter 3 and verse 1, that shows that if God is love, I am love and as we who strive to be love, we bring glory to God.

But now I want you to notice the results of love because of faithfulness. We go back to our text in Ephesians 3, and we see he continues there after describing love to say this in verse 20, "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be the glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen." To who? Jesus. The one who gave the sacrifice. Who is going to do what? If we will try to understand love and respond to that love toward God and our fellow man and to live the life that we need to live and act the way that we need to act and speak the way that we need to speak, He is going to do what? Give us exceedingly and more abundantly than all that we need or ask. Our God is able to do that. You see, we certainly serve a loving God, a God who should motivate us in every moment of our lives with every fiber of our being to want to again return the love that He first showed us in the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ in the daily physical blessings and in the promises that we find in God's Word. But furthermore, that we must show and extend a love to our fellow man, a love that will not only help them to see Christ in us, but will help them to want to follow Christ that they might enjoy in that love and those promises of salvation and heaven as well.

Will you love God and others, your fellow man in that way? Will you have the love that God commands so that in all things you might be able someday to receive the reward in heaven for all eternity?

(SONG # 3 - "When All Of God's Singers Get Home!")

CLOSING COMMENTS

May I again take this opportunity to thank you for joining us today. I hope our time together has been an uplifting and an encouragement to all. Please remember that you are invited back to join us every first day of the week, at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this time of Worship before God!

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How blessed we are to know that our God is the very essence of Love. May we all teach others about this saving truth which offers salvation to all those who believe and obey.

(Program closing)