Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

God Loved Us First!

1 John 4:19

 We love because he first loved us.

Life ChangeSunday’s message was about the love God has for us. We talked about our first love. We talked about the memories we have from our first love. We also talked about our forever love with our significant other.

We talked about smells and songs and places that reminded us of our first love. We also talked about the same with our forever loves. I remember mentioning that I had loads more memories of my forever love – 38 years and counting. I’m not dumb!

We also talked about the times we have hurt our love and our love has hurt us. We talked about forgiveness and holding grudges. We talked about how we needed – this Christmas – to make amends with those we were at odds with and two persons came up to me after worship and told me they were planning to do so this week! Praise the Lord!

We began to talk about the prophet Hosea and his instructions by God to marry an unfaithful woman. How he had children with this unfaithful partner – never knowing if the children were his – maybe even knowing that they were not his. How God was using him as a teaching moment with Israel. How God commanded him – in chapter 3 – after all he experienced with Gomer – to show her love and bless her. Hosea 3:1 – The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”

God instructed Hosea to make nice with his wife – his unfaithful wife. Hosea did just as God commanded him. He could have cast her out – but instead he did as God commanded him. Hosea 3:3 – Then I told her, “You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will behave the same way toward you.”

Hosea did as God commanded – and the teaching moment was not just for Israel. After we thought of our sins – our worse sins Sunday morning – we all knew that we were Gomer – the unfaithful bride of God. Yet God still loves us and calls us to Himself and to go and sin no more – to leave our promiscuous ways.

Here’s today’s passage in partial context. 1 John 4:7–21 – 7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

God loves us – and calls us to love one another. We are to show love – even to those who do us wrong – even to those who are unfaithful to us. It is not an easy love for sure – Hosea wasn’t a happy camper – I’m certain. Yet he modeled for us the love God has for us. God loved us first and calls us to love one another!

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

December 17, 2018 - Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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