God’s Love Story (2/12/17)

Posted by on Mar 10, 2017 in Sermons, Worship & Prayer | 0 comments

Valentine’s Day!  Love!!!   What is Love?  More importantly, what is God’s Love?  In this sermon Pastor Jim took a look at the book of Hosea to see a demonstration of what God’s love looks like.

The following recording is from the 11:00 service. Click on the play button, then scroll down to follow along…

 

Our scripture readings were from the book of Hosea.    Open the below drop down box to follow along. Pastor Jim read from The Living Bible. The New Living Translation is shown below…

Scripture

 

Hosea 1:2

When the Lord first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, he said to him, “Go and marry a prostitute, so that some of her children will be conceived in prostitution. This will illustrate how Israel has acted like a prostitute by turning against the Lord and worshiping other gods.”

 

Hosea 3:1

Then the Lord said to me, “Go and love your wife again, even though she commits adultery with another lover.   This will illustrate that the Lord still loves Israel, even though the people have turned to other gods and love to worship them.”

 

Hosea 11:1-4

1 “When Israel was a child, I loved him,  and I called my son out of Egypt.

2 But the more I called to him,  the farther he moved from me,  offering sacrifices to the images of Baal and burning incense to idols.

3 I myself taught Israel how to walk,  leading him along by the hand. But he doesn’t know or even care that it was I who took care of him.

4 I led Israel along  with my ropes of kindness and love.  I lifted the yoke from his neck,  and I myself stooped to feed him.

Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

 

What is Love???

A group four through eight year olds was asked:

“What does Love Mean?”

Check out the answers of these 7 kids.  They range from the amusing to the profound…

Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.
Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.
When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up real fast, your heart starts beating fast, and if you’re not careful, you might pass some gas!
Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.
When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands have arthritis too. That’s love.
When you tell someone something bad about yourself and you’re scared they won’t love you anymore. But then you get surprised because not only do they still love you, they love you even more.
Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.

 

Love cards, like Valentine’s cards, say stuff on them that we’d like to say ourselves, but we wouldn’t be caught dead saying.

Why are we afraid to say those words???

Sometimes God would give a prophet a message.  Sometimes the prophet would act the message out.  Back in Hosea’s time, God wanted Hosea demonstrate His relationship with Israel.  When the Lord first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, he said to him, “Go and marry a prostitute.”

Go and marry a prostitute?!?  Imagine God asking you to do this.  This is crazy!

What does this mean?  What can we learn from Hosea’s marriage?

 

1:  God’s Love is Crazy!

It’s almost Valentinte’s Day!  Are you head over heals in love?  Crazy???

If so, you’re not alone.  Many songs have been written that describes love as crazy.  See if you remember any of these titles:

“Crazy Love”
“Crazy for this Girl”
“Crazy Little Thing Called Love”
…and of course, Patsi Cline’s “Crazy”

Crazy love is a love that is so strong that you are willing to do whatever it takes to win the person of keep that person.  Who can explain why God loves us?  It goes beyond explanation. 

We look for somebody who will be faithful to us.  But guess what God says?

“If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”

– 2 Timothy  2:13

Songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman said.

“In the Gospel, we discover that we are far worse off than we thought,
and far more loved than we ever dreamed.”

A boy was visiting a farm when he saw a sign saying, “Puppies for sale.”  Then he noticed the price: far beyond his means-  $25. 

The boy’s face dropped.  “Well  sir, could I at least see them anyway?”

The farmer whistled, and a mother and her 4 puppies obediently ran to the farmer.  Lagging behind was a fifth puppy, but this one was dragging one leg behind.

“What’s the matter with that puppy, mister?” the boy asked.

“Well son, that puppy is crippled.  We took her to the vet and the doctor took an X-Ray.  The pup doesn’t have a hip joint and that leg will never be right.”

The boy reached for his bag and pleaded, “Please mister.  I want to by that pup.  I’ll pay you fifty cents every week until the $25 is paid.  Honest, I will mister.”

The farmer replied, “But son, you don’t seem to understand.  That pup will never be able to run or jump.  That pup is going to be a cripple forever.  Why in the world would you want such a useless pup as that?

The boy paused for a minute, then he lifted his pants leg, revealing an iron brace and leather knee strap holding a poor twisted leg.

The boy answered- “Mister, that pup is going to need someone who understands him to help him in  Life!”   

 

Jesus took  on our crippled lives; God loves us so much that He sent someone who could understand us and help us along in life. 

God’s love is crazy!

 

 

2: God’s Love is Patient

Marriage is for Bettor or Worse; sometimes it takes a long time to get from the Worse moments to the Better moments.  Love requires patience.

Hosea never denied what Gomer was doing.  She left him and gave herself over to prostitution.  He couldn’t keep her from doing what she did, but he patiently waited for her to hit the bottom, and then he went and bought her back!  That’s crazy!

Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Repentance.  Forgiveness.  Are you patient with others when you are wronged?  How’s your patience on Route 55 (a local 4 lane highway)?  How patient are you when you’re in the Duncan Donuts drive thru, waiting for your morning coffee, when the guy in front of you takes forever to drive away after he’s received HIS coffee?!?!??

But God is patient with us.  You’ve got to be humble in order to see how much patience He does need with our own actions.

 

 

3: God’s Love is Unconditional

We’re pretty quick to give up on people.  Sometimes we write them off when trust has been betrayed. 

“Fool me once shame on me.  Fool me twice shame on you.”

But, God is different.  He’s been “shamed” many times, over and over, but in asking Hosea to model His character, God tells Hosea…

Go and get your wife again.  Bring her back to you and love her, even though she loves adultery.  For the Lord still loves Israel even though the people have turned to other gods, offering them choice Gifts.

And true to his mission of showing what God is like, Hosea doesn’t say “you’ve got to be kidding!  I’m not getting burnt again.  Nope.  Not me! “

But here’s what Hosea ends up doing: 

“buys her back for fifteen pieces of silver and about five bushels of barley, and a measure of wine.

Worldly / human love is not the same as God’s love.  What if every church practiced the level of love toward each other and towards the “outside world” as God does to us???  What if we “showered the people with love” as it says in the James Taylor song?

If you think about it, it’s really crazy what Jesus did.  He came and died for people who didn’t even like him.  Here’s what it says in 1 John 4:9-11…

God showed how much He loved us by sending His only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. 

This is real love.  It’s not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.

 

God’s Valentine

God loves us so much that He could have written the following Love Letter…

I had to write to tell you how much I love you and care for you.  Yesterday, I saw you walking and laughing with your friends: I hoped that soon you’d want me to walk along with you too.  So I painted you a sunset to close your day and I whispered a cool breeze to refresh you.  I waited… but you never called.  I just kept on loving you.

As I watched you fall asleep last night, I wanted to touch you.  I spilled moonlight onto your face, trickling down your cheeks as so many tears have.  But you didn’t even think of Me.  I wanted so much to comfort you.

The next day I exploded a brilliant sunrise into a glorious morning for you.  But you woke up late and rushed off to work.  You didn’t even notice.  My sky became cloudy and My tears were the rain.

I love you, oh, if you’d only listen.  I really love you.  I try to say it in the quiet of the green meadow and in the blue sky.  The wind whispers My love throughout the treetops and spills it into the vibrant colors of all the flowers.  I shout it to you in the thunder of the great waterfalls and compose love songs for birds to sing for you.  I warm you with the clothing of My sunshine and perfume the air with nature’s sweet scent.  My love for you is deeper than any ocean and greater than any need in your heart.  If you’d only realize how I care.

My Dad sends His love.  I want you to meet Him… He cares too.  Fathers are just that way.  So, please call on Me soon.  No matter how long it takes, I’ll wait… because I love you.

Your Friend, Jesus

 

He is crazy in love with you.  Will you return that love?  Will you accept Him into your heart?  He wants to forgive you and begin a relationship with you right now.

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