God Shows Us How to Love

God’s love is sacrificial; God’s love is unconditional; God’s love is eternal

God’s love is sacrificial

Philippians 2:5-8 

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

God’s love is unconditional

Nehemiah 9:17

They refused to obey, And they were not mindful of Your wonders That You did among them. But they hardened their necks, And in their rebellion They appointed a leader To return to their bondage. But You are God, Ready to pardon, Gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, Abundant in kindness, And did not forsake them.

Romans 5:8

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

1 Jn. 3:1

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us that we should be called children of God.

We tend to like others because they are like us or do things for and with us that we like. God’s love, however, is unconditional. He decided to love us despite the fact we were unlovely. The unlovely, ungodly sinner was loved and offered a place in God’s family … through Christ’s substitutionary death and resurrection.

God’s love is eternal

Now therefore, our God, The great, the mighty, and awesome God, Who keeps covenant and mercy ...

John 3:16  (KJV)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Romans 8:35-39  (KJV)

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.God’s love is sacrificial; God’s love is unconditional; God’s love is eternal

Our love should be sacrificial

From Philippians 2 we saw what Jesus gave up when he humbled himself and took on human flesh. 

J. Hudson Taylor was once given a very glowing introduction. To which he responded, “Dear friends, I am the little servant of an illustrious Master.” A.W. Tozer also was given a flattering intro. When it was his turn to speak he remarked, “All I can say is, dear God, forgive him for what he said – and forgive me for enjoying it so much” (Warren Wiersbe, On Being a Servant of God, 21).

In order to show God’s sacrificial love, we must take the focus of that love off of self and shine it brightly on someone else.

Tim Kimmel told the story of a woman he named Peggy from whom he got his hair cut frequently. She was single, in her mid-20’s. She lived with her boyfriend. In the process of time, Peggy got pregnant. She was delighted and even told Pastor Tim that she believed that this is what her boyfriend needed to step up to the plate and finally marry her. When the big day arrived, Pastor Tim was getting a haircut from one of the other stylists. One of them was on the phone with Peggy. The baby was breech. The docs wanted to do a C-section. Peggy was adamantly against it because it would leave a scar to what she considered her cute body. She worried about the reaction from her boyfriend. So, her little boy was forced out backwards. Serious damage was done to the baby’s leg sockets. He lived in a brace for 18 months. Today he is better and walking fine but one day, these things tend to get out, he will find out why he went through that. His mother genuinely loved him but not sacrificially. And as for the boyfriend and the prevention of the scar? He hung around until the baby was born and he was gone 
(Tim Kimmel, Grace Based Parenting, 53-54).

In order for our love to be sacrificial, we need to forget about ourselves and put someone else first. It’s the way Jesus put aside His personal best interest in being in Heaven and being adored and immediately obeyed for this sin-filled Earth. He did that because we were worth it to Him. He placed that value on us sin-broken beings. That’s sacrifice. Not only what He put up with on this Earth and on the cross but what He left behind out of love for us.
1 Jn. 4:7-11

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. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Ephesians 5:25

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her

1 Jn. 3:18

My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue but in deed and in truth.

Our love should be unconditional
1 Cor. 13:4-5 (NIV)

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

1 Peter 4:8 (NIV)

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins

In This Momentary Marriage, John Piper gives two reasons why we can be free of shame with our spouse. One is that I am perfect and therefore have nothing to be ashamed of. The other reason I could be free from shame is that even though I am imperfect, I have no fear of being disapproved by my spouse. The first way … is to be perfect; the second way to be shame-free is based on the gracious nature of covenant love. In the first case, there is no shame because we’re flawless. In the second case, there is no shame because covenant love covers a multitude of flaws (John Piper, This Momentary Marriage, 33).

How is your love with your spouse? With your boyfriend or girlfriend? Is it conditional? Based on how he or she does what you want? How he pleases you? How she treats you? Do you let her know EVERYTHING she does wrong when she does it? Or do you really believe the Bible that it is the glory of a man to overlook a matter (Prov. 19:11)? Do you keep a record of wrongs? Is shame part of how you seek to control your spouse or is your relationship aiming to be shame free? Does she know she is loved simply because you have chosen to love her and you intend to keep that commitment? Or does your love and the expressions of your love have conditions attached?

Our love should be sacrificial, our love should be unconditional and …

Our love should be eternal

1 Cor. 13:6-8a (NIV)

6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails …

A pastor urges us to think of our marriage as a grassy field. You enter in at the beginning full of hope and joy. As you look into the future all you can see are beautiful flowers, trees and rolling hills.
But before long you begin to step into cow pies. Some seasons of your marriage they seem to be everywhere. These are the sins and flaws and idiosyncrasies and weaknesses and annoying habits in you and in your spouse. You try to forgive them and endure them with grace.

But they have a way of dominating the relationship. It may not even be true, but sometimes it feels like that is all there is – cow pies. However, you need to create a compost pile where you can shovel those cow pies… We will pick some favorite paths and hills that we know are not strewn with cow pies. And we will be thankful for the part of the field that is sweet.

Our hands may be dirty. And our backs may ache from all the shoveling. But one thing we know: We will not pitch our tent by the compost pile. We will only go there when we must. This is a gift of grace that we will give each other again and again and again – because we are chosen and holy and loved (John Piper, This Momentary Marriage, 59).

Eternal love is not based on perfection. It is based on grace, mercy and patient-endurance. You don’t have a perfect relationship with your friend, with your spouse, with your children or with your parents. However, you can have a life-long relationship with this kind of spirit that we found in God. A spirit that says that I will love and continue to love, not because of the absence of flaws but because of what I have learned from God (I’m not flawless, I’m not worthy of love, yet He poured out His love upon me. I was the object of His love and I still am. Not because I have been perfect since salvation but because when God said “I do” He meant it, not only for a lifetime buy for an eternity).

Unless otherwise noted, Scripture passages are from the New King James Version (NKJV). Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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