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The Love of God

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
February 19, 2021 7:00 am

The Love of God

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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February 19, 2021 7:00 am

The word love gets used a lotand it’s been associated with everything from fast food to fast cars! Although it is tied to feelings, Dr. Evans says love shines brightest when it’s put to work. In this lesson, he’ll take a look at the ways God demonstrates love and the example He sets for us.

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It's not that God does love, it's God is love.

It's part of His essential being. And Dr. Tony Evans says that's one reason why pursuing what's important to God should be so important to you and me. The more you seek His will and the more you seek His glory, the more you experience His love.

Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is the alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative. The word love is used a lot in this world, and it's been associated with everything from fast food to fast cars. Although it is tied to feelings, Dr. Evans says love shines brightest when it's put to work. Today, he takes a look at the ways God demonstrates love and the example He sets for us.

Let's join him. For some, love is a fuzzy feeling in the pit of their stomach. For others, it's a deep caring or sense of excitement about something or someone. It's a highly valued word.

Yet it is a word that is only relatively understood, not fully understood. And I want to give you a perspective on love today that comes from the Word of God because of a definition about God. Please look at 1 John 4, verse 8. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. Verse 16, we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love. Well if God is love, then that means that the concept of love pre-existed human beings. Because it's not that God does love, it's God is love.

It's part of His essential being. So love then exists in the being of God, it exists outside of man, and it has always existed even before the creation of the world since it's part of God's self-definition and self-identity. Which goes to say, the better that you understand God, the more accurate you'll be about love. The less you understand God, the less accurate you will be about love, because love is rooted in God's self-identity. Now in the book of Ephesians, chapter 1, verses 4 to 6, we're told that love is intrinsically tied to the will of God.

Let me read that. It says in verse 4, which He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world and that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love, He predestined us to the adoption of sons through Jesus Christ to Himself according to the kind intention of His will. So that in love, God executes His will. So love is part of God's essential nature. God is love. And love, as God defines it, is intricately tied to His will, which lets us know that the object of God's love is Himself. Let me say that again. The object of God's love is Himself. Why? Well, when there was nobody else to love, the only one He could love was Him.

Follow that now. Because God is love, and God existed before creation, and He's always been love, for Him to love is to love Himself. Well, that would raise a question. Is not that self-centered and selfish? Well, it would be unless you understand that God is a Trinity. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. So for Him to love Himself means that He is loving others within Himself, because He's composed of three distinct persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. So it is not—it's self-centered in that it is God, but it is not individualistic, because it's three co-equal persons who are in this community of love, which embodies the triune God. That's why only the God of the Bible can be spoken of as a God of love, because only the God of the Bible can have a definition of love that predates creation and still has somebody as an object of the One doing the loving, which is in Himself, because He's composed of more than a single person.

Are you following the concept here? So God's love is intricately tied within Himself, and God's love exists for the accomplishment of God's will and the execution for God's glory. Ephesians 3, 18 and 19 says that the love of God passes understanding. So we're dealing with a concept we cannot fully grasp. And how could we grasp it since it's in an eternal being? It's existed for eternity, and it will exist for eternity. So when you and I enter heaven, we will enter into the non-stop experience of what it means to be fully loved, because it will be uninterrupted love.

It will be love that will not have any interruption in it. So God's love is expressed within His triune nature, and that's why the Father and the Son keep bouncing off of each other. For example, in St. John chapter 13, verse 31, therefore when He has gone out, Jesus said, now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. So God is glorified in the Son of Man who is being glorified.

Verse 32, if God is glorified in Him, God is glorified in the Son, God will also glorify Him in Himself and will glorify Him immediately. So the Father glorifies the Son, the Son glorifies the Father, so they glorify in each other. There is this intimate love within the Godhead between the triune members of the Godhead. So love is getting in on a relationship that already exists, that God Himself possesses. The better you understand that, the better you'll understand love.

So we are invited into something. God is love. God is inviting us into Him since He is love, which will always encompass His will and His glory. So what do I mean that God is love?

Let me try to give you a definition. God is love is His self-determination, because it's already embedded in Him, His self-determination to reflect and manifest His own will and glory. God is love means He is self-determined to express and reflect or make known His own will and glory. Since God is love, the best way for God to love Himself, which is to love the community of the Trinity, is to make sure that the will of God and the glory of God is being expressed to, through, from, and for every part of the triune being of His nature.

Which shouldn't surprise us, then, that Romans chapter 11 says this, Romans 11 verses 35 and 36, or who has first given to Him that He might be paid back to Him? For from Him, through Him, and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. From Him is everything, through Him is everything, and to Him is everything.

Ain't nothing left. Everything is from Him, everything operates through Him, and everything boomerangs back to Him, because He loves Him. God is love. So we're starting with that theological understanding, which means the more you seek His will and the more you seek His glory, the more you experience His love.

Okay, follow me now. God's love is His self-determination to reflect and manifest His own will and own glory. So that's how God loves God. So if you want to enter into God's love, that means you want to reflect His will and amp His glory, which means you enter into His love, because that's how He loves him. Am I losing anybody?

Are you with me? So the less you are connected with His will and His glory, the less of His love you experience, which means you have to satisfy yourself with human love, which is a downgrade, because it's not God's love. So let's now go into a description of God's love from this passage. This is the most comprehensive passage on God's love in Scripture. We're back to chapter 4 of 1 John, where we have a detailed description. Okay, first of all, verse 8, for the love of God was manifested. Manifested is to be made visible or made known. When you manifest something, you show it. So the first thing we need to know about God's love is that it is verbally and visibly expressed.

It's not hidden. It's like the wife who told her husband, you never tell me you love me. He said, we got married 15 years ago. When we got married, I told you I love you.

If I change my mind, I'll let you know. The love of God is manifested. It's a love you can see. It is manifested in—look at 1 John 3, verse 16 and 17. We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. Whoever had this world's goods and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? In other words, his love acted. It wasn't just disgust. It wasn't just felt.

It motivated movement. For God so loved the world that He gave, John 3.16. So a love that does not act is not God's love. God's love is in motion. It's not theory.

It is an action taken whether or not a feeling is felt. Dr. Evans will come back to examine another aspect of God's love when he returns with part two of today's lesson in just a moment. But first, I want to tell you about Prayers for Knowing God. It's a brand new book that will help you better understand God's nature and attributes as you seek His help and direction. In it, Dr. Evans provides 50 prayers that can be prayed word for word or used as a starting point for your own conversation with God. This book is a great complement for God's Heart Revealed, Tony's current teaching series that we've been listening to today. For a limited time, we'll send you all 12 full-length messages from the series on CD and digital download, as well as the Prayers for Knowing God book. It's our way of saying thanks when you make a contribution to support Tony's ministry here on the air. We're completely listener-supported, so your faithfulness is the only way we can keep bringing you this broadcast each day.

So please, let us hear from you right away. You can make all the arrangements at tonyevans.org or give us a call at 1-800-800-3222. Again, that's 1-800-800-3222 or online at tonyevans.org.

Dr. Evans will come back with more of today's lesson right after this. Dr. King said, we must learn to live together as brothers or we will perish together as fools. Sadly, America today is closer to being fools together than living as brothers. So how do we change that? How can we get beyond our racist realities and move toward a greater unity together? In his book, Oneness Embraced, Dr. Tony Evans explains why we don't have God's kingdom-focused unity, what we need to get it, and what it will look like when we do.

Visit tonyevans.org to find out more. Let me look at another characteristic. The love of God is judicial.

What do I mean? Verse 10. In this is love. So you see how many times the word love is used in this passage. Not that we love God, but that He loved us and sent His only Son to be the propitiation for our sins. The word propitiation is a big theological word that means satisfaction. God was satisfied with the death of Jesus for our sins.

Jesus died as our substitute. Or to put it another way, He was judged on our behalf. So love does not skip sin. Love does not excuse wrong if it's wrong. You can love and still call wrong wrong. You can't say, well, if you love me, you wouldn't condemn me.

No, if you wrong, I'm loving you by telling you you're wrong. Love is judicial. It makes judgments. Now, I know we got this thought of going around here, it's about, well, I can't judge. Let's clarify something. That is an insufficient statement. What you can't judge are opinions and preferences.

You can have the right and responsibility to judge right and wrong. But at the same time, love is emotional. Verse 11 starts off with beloved. That's a term of affection. It means I'm gonna judge the sin but I'm gonna care about the sinner. It calls him beloved.

That's a personal touch. That's kindness in the context of judging sin. So God is love. That is, He has a self-determination to reflect His will and manifest His glory. So what does it mean for us to say we love God? Because people say that all the time, I love God. But what does that mean based on this definition? Well, now that we know God's definition, self-determination to reflect His own will and pursue His own glory, then to say that you love God means that you passionately and righteously pursue His will and glory.

So here's the key. Our love, which is pursuing His will and glory, will determine our level of intimacy with God. So if you do not love God like this, with this definition, you are limiting your intimacy.

Let's stay with the same passage, verse 7. We love, let us love one another, for love is from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The word knows is an intimate, it's a sexual term, Adam knew Eve.

He had sexual intercourse with her. It's talking about intimacy. All through the book of 1 John, you'll see the word no, no, no, no, no. He's not talking about whether you're saved or not. He's talking about whether you are intimate or not, because He's already said you're saved.

He calls them beloved. They're Christians. A lot of people misunderstand 1 John, they think it's talking about how do you know you're saved. That's not what it's talking about.

It's how do you know if you're intimate? And he says the people who really are intimate with God is the people who understand love. Verse 8 says, the one who does not love does not know God.

Not saying they're not saved, they're saying they're not close to God. Look at verse 12. No one has seen God at any time. If you think you saw God, you had too much pizza.

No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us. In other words, you get more of His love, more experience of His reality at work in your life. Look at verse 16. We come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love. The one who abides, hangs out in love, abides, hangs out in God. And God, guess what, hangs out in Him, abides. Verse 20, if someone says, I love God, so here are the religious folks, and hates his brother, okay, who is he hating?

His brother. So he's talking about not liking other Christians. I'm not talking about disagreeing. He's talking about hatred, wishing the worst. He is a liar, meaning he doesn't love God.

I don't care what he says. For the one who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. That takes care of racism, classism, culturalism, prodigal son. The prodigal son comes home. What happens with the older brother? The older brother rejects the brother that's come home. And the father says, well now, I'm gonna hang out with your brother to come home.

You decide what you're gonna do, but I'm going with him. In other words, his fellowship with the father was being jeopardized because he wouldn't love his brother who came home. So a lot of us are keeping God away. A lot of Christians are keeping God away by our refusal to love. Look at verse 18. It says, there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.

Did you know if you learn to love God's way, he'll deal with your fears? So this is deep to say God is love. So to love one another is the decision.

Let me say that. It's the decision. It's what? It's the decision.

To compassionately, righteously, and responsibly seek the well-being of another. It's a decision. The emotion may or may not be there. My father decided to love my mother when he became a Christian and she didn't go for it, and she made it hard. He made a decision that I'm going to love you whether you love me in return or not. He made that decision. And after months and months and months of verbal abuse and rejection and all of that, she came downstairs one night crying and she says, I keep abusing you and you keep loving me. So whatever this is you have must be real.

How can I have it too? And he lettered a Christ that night. Biblical love, not just emotional love, not chocolate cake love, but the will and glory of God is powerful. Remember the commercial Alka-Seltzer, plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is.

You drop the two Alka-Seltzer in the water and then it releases. You see the bubbling up. As we love God's way, God releases His love in us. Doesn't mean everybody's going to accept it. Some people will reject it and walk away.

You can't be responsible for that. But there still should be walking away from love, not walking away from Him. Dr. Tony Evans, with a compelling study of the love of God.

And he'll come back with a final word in just a moment. In the meantime, if you're ready to experience God's love in you, bubbling up and flowing to others, it all starts with accepting the love He offered through His Son Jesus. You can learn more about that today by visiting tonyevans.org and following the link that simply says Jesus. There Dr. Evans will explain everything you need to know about what it means to be a real Christian and how to start a brand new life filled with God's love. That's tonyevans.org. And while you're there, don't forget to take advantage of that special offer I mentioned earlier, Tony's brand new book, Prayers for Knowing God, along with all 12 messages from his God's Heart Revealed series. If you contact us right away and make a contribution toward the ministry, we'll say thanks by sending these helpful resources to you. You can make the arrangements online at tonyevans.org or give us a call any time of the day or night at 1-800-800-3222. Our helpful resource team members are standing by waiting for your call.

Again that's 1-800-800-3222. Well on Monday, Dr. Evans will tackle an aspect of God's nature that most people would rather ignore, His wrath. It's a discussion of God's righteous response to human disobedience and why we need the Lord's grace and mercy.

Right now Dr. Evans is back to close our message for today. As you can see, this concept of love is deep because it's rooted in God. It's rooted in a trinitarian theology. When you understand that, then we begin to act on that, which doesn't mean skipping wrong, doesn't mean you don't get upset, doesn't mean you don't get frustrated. What it does mean is that you're entering into the sphere in which God operates. The reason we have so much contention in our world and our families and our races and all of that is people don't know God, and thus they don't know love. They know it on a human level, but not the kind of stuff we're talking about where God is love.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-23 19:02:50 / 2023-12-23 19:11:06 / 8

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