Today on Renewing Your Mind, the incredible love God has for His people. This is infinite love. This is limitless love.
This is love that has no boundaries. This is a love so high, so deep, that it is incalculable that God loves us as He loves His own Son. You know, it's difficult for us to even comprehend that kind of love, because even the most loving human relationship is tainted with sin. For example, we hear of people who struggle with the concept of God as a loving Heavenly Father because their own father was angry or vindictive. So it's all the more important that we understand how God reveals Himself in Scripture. Today we continue Dr. Stephen Lawson's series, The Attributes of God, and we'll learn about a love that is beyond our imagination. In this session, we come to the love of God. And admittedly, any time we speak on the love of God, there is a great inadequacy that any teacher would feel to set before people such as you this subject of the love of God.
But what I have drawn from pages of Scripture, I want to set before you that we might all in this session bask in being the objects of God's amazing love. What does the word love mean? There's various words that are used in the Greek language.
You may be familiar with some of these. There was eros, which referred to a physical attraction to someone else. That's not the word that is used here. There's another word, phileo, that speaks of a brotherly love.
Philadelphia, a city of brotherly love that is more of a friendship kind of love and affirming of another in a relationship. But the greatest word for love is the word that is most commonly used for God's love for us. It is that word agapeo, which is the highest form of love that there is. That's not based on a mere whim of a feeling.
It's not based on an external attraction. It is a love that is rooted deep within the one who loves that sacrificially gives to seek the highest good in the one who is loved. The word lust really means to take from someone else what is not lawfully yours. But the word love is the total opposite. Rather than taking, love gives, and not just gives, but gives at great cost, gives sacrificially. And the greatest love would be to love someone who is unlovely.
I can understand loving someone where in that person there is something that draws you to that person, that you would be, we would say, naturally taken and want to give to that person. But what amazing love it is when God chooses to love those who are unlovely, those who otherwise would be abhorrent to Him because of their sin and because of their disobedience. This is where we all have been and are, in that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. And because of God's holiness, God hates sin, and God pours out His wrath upon sinners. And yet we out of this fallen human race have become the objects of God's distinguishing, redeeming love, a love that is so great that He has given His only begotten Son to die for us upon Calvary's cross that we might be with Him forever and ever.
This is the very nature of God. 1 John 4 verse 8 says, God is love. And again in verse 16, God is love.
So let's think about the categories that will help us understand something of this love. First of all, and this may sound a little tangential, God's love is an inner Trinitarian love. The love that God demonstrates towards us is a love that first existed within the Godhead because God the Father has eternally loved God the Son. And as the Father has loved the Spirit, and the Son has loved the Father and the Spirit, there is within the Godhead a perfect love, a flawless, unblemished love that there could be no greater love than the love that God the Father has for His own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you remember when Jesus was baptized in the River Jordan and the heavens opened? And in Matthew 3 17, this is my beloved Son.
In Him I am well pleased. Think what must be the height, the depth, the breadth, and the length of this love. It says in John 1 verse 18 that the Son was in the bosom of the Father. And that speaks of an intimate relationship, a close communion as though the Son is laying His head upon the bosom of the Father and just resting there that describes the intimacy of their relationship. John 3 35, the Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. How many fathers here today love their sons, love their daughters?
We love them with a love that rises so high that there's virtually nothing we would not do to come to their aid. Even so, the Father loves the Son exponentially, even more than any earthly father can love his son. John 5 20, the Father loves the Son and shows Him all things. John 10 verse 17, the Father loves me because I lay down my life. John 14 9, the Father has loved me. John 14 10, I've kept my Father's commandments and I abide in His love. John 14 31, I love the Father. John 17 24, you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Now why do I begin here? You say, I'm not in the Trinity. I'm not in the Godhead. What does this have to do with me that the Father would love the Son like this? It has everything to do with us because as the Father has loved the Son, even so He has now loved you and me. If that were not in the Bible, I don't know that I could believe that.
If it wasn't in the Bible, I know I couldn't believe that. But it is in the Bible and I must believe this, that He loves me and He loves you with the same love with which He loves His own Son, which leads us to the second main heading, which is infinite. It is an infinite love that the Father has for us. In John 17 23, Jesus in His high priestly prayer said, you sent Me and loved them, referring to the elect, all the chosen ones down through the tunnel of time, down through the ages, down through the generations. You loved them even as you have loved Me.
You talk about a wow. How could any Christian ever have an inferiority complex like, so what is wrong with me? Nobody loves me.
Yeah. How about God the Father loves you as much as He loves His own Son. That'll make you sit up straight in your chair. That will humble you but also lift you up as well. What infinite love the Father has set upon us. In fact, 1 John 3 verse 1 comes to my mind, see how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us that we should be called children of God and such we are. How great a love the Father has bestowed upon us. I think in John 3 16, for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. One other verse, John 17 verse 26, the love which you loved Me may be in them and I in them. You see, when Christ comes to live inside of us, He brings the Father's love into us.
He loved us from before the foundation of the world, but it becomes real and experiential in our lives as Christ comes to live within us. This is infinite love. This is limitless love.
This is love that has no boundaries. This is a love so high, so deep that it is incalculable that God loves us as He loves His own Son. Third, it's a sacrificial love. Remember earlier we said true love sacrifices. True love must give. We could put it this way, true love costs. Even the Bible says, well it's easy to say be warm and be filled and just say that you care for someone.
True love will sacrifice and give them food and put clothes on their back and it will be demonstrated. So it is with God's love towards us. In John 3, 16, which I just quoted, which is for many people their favorite verse in the entire Bible. For God so loved the world that He what? That He gave. That He gave what? That He gave who?
That He gave His only begotten one, monogenes, which means one of a kind. It would have been amazing love if God had three or four sons and He picked one to give for us to die upon the cross. I have three sons, Andrew, James, and John.
We're in the discipleship at my house. My daughter's name is Peter and her name is Grace Ann. But God didn't have three sons. He only had one son. And to give that one son is to give everything. To give that one son is to hold nothing back. To give that one son is to give the greatest gift, to make the greatest sacrifice that God could have ever given.
Spurgeon put it like this because the son is co-equal with God the Father. God gave God. God the Father gave God the Son.
God could not give a greater gift than for God to give God as a demonstration of His sacrificial love for you and me. Romans 5 verse 8, God demonstrated His own love toward us and that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Greater love has no one than this, John 15, 13, that one lay down his life for another. Oh, it's the love of God the Father. It is the love of God the Son.
Think of the love of God the Son for us, that He would go to that cruel cross, that blood-stained cross and there be lifted up to die in the place of hell-bound, guilty, undeserving rebels like you and me. How great must be the love of the Son for us. Ephesians 5 verse 25, Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. What a sacrificial love that even the Son has for us who are true believers, that He would lay down His life for us.
In John 10 11, I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. This is sacrificial love. It is true love.
It is costly love. Fourth, it is volitional love, meaning it is a choice of God's will. And the emphasis here is that God chose to love us not because there was anything inherently within us that would draw Him to love us. This love originated in God.
It did not, in a sense, originate in us. Certainly, we didn't love Him first and then He reciprocate and love me back, but also there was nothing in us that would draw Him to us. God's love volitionally arose within Him toward us because He is love, because it's His very nature to love, because He must love. Deuteronomy 7 and beginning in verse 7, the Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the people for you were the fewest of all, but because the Lord loved you. That's the explanation, just because the Lord loved you. God's electing love for Israel is not because they were bigger.
It wasn't because they were better. It wasn't because they had more to offer God. God would have loved Egypt if that was the case. He would have loved Babylon. He would have loved Assyria.
He would have gone to the Roman Empire. He would have loved someone else if that's what it was about. No, God loved His chosen people simply because He loved them, because He chose to love them. God did not love us because we're valuable.
We're valuable because God loves us. That's Martin Luther, and that is very true. 1 John 4, verse 10, in this is love, not that we love God, but that He loved us. Verse 19, we love because He first loved us. God is the great initiator in this relationship. God is the great pursuer. God is the one who set His heart upon us, and He pursued us, and He would not take no for an answer. And though we ran away from Him, He ran after us until He found us, until He overcame us, until He turned us around toward Himself and said, I love you, and My Son, receive My Son.
And He received us to Himself with open arms and an open heart, because He is a God of enormous, immeasurable love. Number five, this love is eternal love. It's not a love for a moment. It's not a love for a season.
It's not a love that has quickly appeared and perhaps might soon fade away. No, to see the beginning of this love, we would have to fly back to eternity past. We would have to transcend all of the centuries.
We would have to go back in time to the beginning of time, but then we would have to go back yet further. We would have to then go all the way back to eternity past when the Father, the Son, and the Spirit met together and designed their eternal decree, and it was then that God the Father chose to love us, and He gave us as a love gift to His Son. We are the given ones that John 6 and 10 and John 17 speaks of. We were given by the Father to the Son as an expression of the Father's love for the Son. And in Jeremiah 31 verse 3, God says, I have loved you with an everlasting love.
You have been so loved for so long by such a great God. Ephesians 1 verses 4 and 5 says that He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us. It's an amazing thing why some people think of predestination as just such fighting words to get all angry about, to be all bent out of shape when it is one of the truths of the greatest love that there has ever been in the universe.
It is the love of God the Father for His chosen ones as He eternally loved us and in love He predestined us. The word predestined pro ridzo means to mark out the horizon. In other words, the destination was determined before the journey ever began. He marked out the horizon. That's where the destination is at the end.
It's way out there on the horizon, pro ridzo. You can hear the word horizon in it. Before we even reach the horizon, God has already determined and guaranteed the destination. And it was in love that He predestined us to be with Him and to be conformed to the image of His Son. He loved us so much He would not take no for an answer. He loved us so much that He would pursue us until He finally won our hearts over and He loved us so much that He sovereignly guaranteed that we would be with Him forever and ever and ever. What great love He has shown to us.
And finally, it's a passionate love. I don't think that it's simply a stoic sovereign in heaven making some chess moves on a computer board and I'll take this one, pass over that one and it's just all cognitive and it's all intellectual. No.
No. His heart is full of affection for us, His chosen ones. Deuteronomy 30 verse 9, the Lord will rejoice over you. Isaiah 64, for the Lord delights in you. He rejoices over you.
Jeremiah 32, 41, I will rejoice over them and do them good. Zephaniah 3.17 says, He sings over us. In Luke 15, 20, when the prodigal son comes home, do you remember what the father did?
He didn't wait for him just to come all the way home. He began to run down that road and when his son was coming back, his son began this little speech, I've sinned against you and against heaven and in your sight and the father just interrupts and smothers him with a kiss and just begins to fall all over his son and kisses him over and over and he says, kill the fatted calf, put shoes on his feet, put a robe on his back, put a ring on his finger, my son has come home. Oh, what joy is in the heart of the father for His chosen ones when He calls us and draws us to Himself. Oh, it's not just a little transaction that happens in God's ledger up in heaven and we get moved from one little column over to another little column and God's just checking a box and, yeah, I'm just keeping up with everybody down there disconnected.
No, God's heart. He rejoices when just one sinner comes home. He rejoices when just one lost sheep is brought into the fold. He rejoices over us when we come to faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. How great is the Father's love for us. You know, love is so misunderstood in our culture today. It's often thought of as a feeling or an attraction, but as we heard from Dr. Stephen Lawson today, Scripture provides a much more profound understanding of love. Thanks for listening to Renewing Your Mind on this Wednesday.
I'm Lee Webb. We are pleased this week to feature Dr. Lawson's series on the attributes of God. Why do you suppose there are so many misconceptions of God? I think most people base their assumptions on their own experiences, and truth doesn't come from within us. Our opinions don't comprise reality. As Dr. R.C.
Sproul said in Tabletalk Magazine, experience is often a good teacher, but experience is never the best teacher. We must go to God's Word to understand who God is. This 16-part series explores God's goodness, His grace, His mercy, and His wrath. For your donation of any amount today, we'll be happy to send you the two-DVD set.
You can find us at renewingyourmind.org, or if you prefer, you can call us with your gift at 800-435-4343. Let me also mention that Tabletalk Magazine is a great resource to learn about God and His attributes. When you subscribe, not only will you receive the monthly print edition, but you'll also have access to an ever-growing digital archive of past issues. You can search for articles and Bible studies by topic, Scripture reference, author, and keywords. Learn more and get a free three-month trial subscription when you go to tritabletalk.com.
Again, that's tritabletalk.com. Does God choose who will be saved? Does He know ahead of time who will not be saved? Tomorrow, Dr. Lawson turns to Scripture to explain the foreknowledge of God. I hope you'll join us Thursday for Renewing Your Mind. .
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