What Kind of Love Is This?
than Just a Love Story –
Feb 14, 2016 AM John 3:16 Day
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
A. I am going to ask each of you to believe implicitly, completely with no reservations what the Bible says about love
B. In just a few minutes I am going to be giving you an opportunity to receive God’s love in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ
C. I want you to know that a man, a woman, a teenager, could come in here today a lost, hell-bound sinner, and go out a Christian! A born again child of God!
D. There are many “kinds” of love
1. Infatuation – an intense but short-lived passion or admiration for someone or something. An immature, ignorant, only feelings-based love, but no stability
2. Friendly love – When you get along with someone, but the relationship is not deep and consuming
3. Physical love – brings joy to someone when they are hugged, or touched, or smiled at – love on a physical level
4. Lustful love – only looking for selfish pleasures at the expense of someone else
5. Family love – the love between parents and children, and between brothers and sisters
6. God’s love – described throughout the Bible as charity – a selfless, giving, sacrificial kind of love
E. There are many stories of love throughout history
1. History is full of love stories.
a. It is what most books are written about, and what most movies portray at their core – almost always a love story!
b. Whether tragic, or happily ever after, the human heart loves to hear about love stories
c. There is Romeo and Juliet
1) Probably the most famous love story of all was written by William Shakespeare sometime in the 1590s. Shakespeare’s story of the tragic love between Romeo and Juliet describes two families who despised each other and prevented the lovers to be together. In the end, Romeo commits suicide when he mistakenly believed that Juliet was dead. Juliet follows her lover in death upon discovering his dead body.
2) Oh, they had such love for each other!
3) It was the ultimate chick-flick
d. Cleopatra and Mark Antony
1) These two fell in love at first sight. The relationship between these two powerful people put the country of Egypt in a powerful position against Rome. But their love affair outraged the Romans who were afraid of the growing powers of the Egyptians.
2) But despite all the threats, Anthony and Cleopatra got married.
3) While fighting a battle against invading Romans, Antony got false news of Cleopatra's death. Shattered, and with no purpose now to live for, he fell on his sword and died.
4) When Cleopatra learned about Antony 's death, she took her own life.
5) All because of love.
e. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor
1) In 1936, King Edward VIII of England gave up his throne to marry “the woman I love,” a twice-divorced American woman named Wallis Simpson.
2) The scandal rocked the British Empire and captivated the rest of the world
3) But the couple remained devoted to each other until the Duke’s death in 1972.
f. Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy
1) The two main characters in Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” is one of the most well known love stories in English literature.
2) A love story between a poor but intelligent and free-spirited woman and a wealthy but reserved and misunderstood gentleman
3) Their famous romance, which at first seems unlikely and then impossible, finally showed that love conquers all.
4) For those of you who have read the book, or seen the film, “Pride and Prejudice”
g. Rachel and Jacob
1) A great biblical romance is the story of Jacob and his love, Rachel.
2) Jacob fell in love at first sight with a young lady named Rachel
3) He spent seven long years working for Rachel’s uncle Laban to earn the right to marry his true love.
4) After seven years had passed, the wedding took place
5) But, the next morning, Jacob discovered that Laban had tricked Jacob by disguising his older daughter, Leah, and passing her off as the bride.
6) Laban told Jacob he would have to work for him for ANOTHER seven years to marry Rachel.
7) Jacob easily agreed and, thought nothing of working for 14 long years, just so that he could have Rachel to be his wife!
8) Ah, young love!
h. The Beauty and the Beast
1) A classic fairy tale about the power of love that goes beyond appearances and overcomes evil.
2) The beautiful Belle agrees to live with the hideous looking Beast in his castle just so that she could save her father’s life
3) The two become friends, but she repeatedly rejects his marriage proposals.
4) When Belle’s sisters trick her in to betraying the Beast, she discovers him on the brink of death, and it is then that she realizes she actually loves him
5) And that love breaks the spell he had been living under, and reveals him as a handsome prince.
6) The two marry and, of course, live happily ever after.
2. But there is more to love than just fantasy, and infatuation, and lust, and fairy tales! And it is described in just one verse of Scripture, in words like no other ever written – John 3:16
F. What kind of love is John 3:16 talking about?
A. John 3:16’s Love is God’s Kind of Love
1. We all read and know about mankind’s kind of love – up, and down, unpredictable, usually selfish, and destructive.
2. But John 3:16 love is God’s kind of love
a. A love that is not logical – does not make sense
1) That God would love ME
2) Never mind how much He loves me – just the fact that He DOES love me makes no sense!
3) Romans 5:5-8
b. A love that only costs God, and never gains Him anything from me – what do you and I bring to this relationship he offers?
c. A love that does not change (“everlasting love”), cannot change, because God does not change!
1) Rom 8:37-39 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 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.
d. A love that is THE perfect standard by which I can strive to have myself for Him and for others
e. A Love by Choice - God’s love is a choice God made
1) Most people wonder Why does God love us?
a) He just does
2) THAT is the only reason why He loves us
3) Not because of any righteousness, any goodness, any value in US!
4) Not because we are lovable or because we deserve His love. If anything, the opposite is true.
a) A man’s life since the fall is one of rebellion and disobedience. Jeremiah 17:9 describes man’s true condition: “The heart (of man) is deceitful and desperately wicked. Who can know it?” Our innermost beings are so corrupted by sin that even WE don’t realize the extent to which sin has tainted us.
b) In our natural state, we do not seek God; we do not love God; we do not desire God. Romans 3:10-12 clearly says, “There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”
c) How then is it possible for a holy, righteous, and perfect God to love such creatures?
d) Simply because He chose to love love this world, as messed up and lost and wicked as we are (Deut 7:7,8)
e) 1Jn 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.
f. A Love Only from God - God’s love came from Himself – God is love
1) It is His character to love us – God IS love (1John 4:8)
2) Aren’t you glad?
3) Now yes, God is holy, righteous, just, good, and perfect
4) But thankfully He is love as well!
5) That means, He can love us even though we don’t love Him back
6) That ought to blow you away!
7) God so loved you when you didn’t give God a thought!
3. History is full of people who have struggled with understanding the will of God, the word of God, the mind of God, the creation of God…
4. But the greatest challenge has always been to grasp and know and experience simply, the love of God (Eph 3:19)
5. THAT’S John 3:16 Love!
6. And John 3:16 Love is the only kind of love to have!
B. John 3:16 Love, is GREAT Love – the Greatest Love Ever!
1. When I say ‘Great’, I mean BIG, Huge, Massive, Incredible, Unbelievable!
2. I have learned that there are some very long words in the world, like…
a. 'Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious', made famous by Mary Poppins - 34 letters long.
b. The longest word in any of the major English language dictionaries is pneumon-oultra-microscopic-silico-volcano-coniosis, 45 letters long, a word that refers to a lung disease contracted from the inhalation of very fine silica particles, specifically from a volcano.
c. In Welsh, the longest word is, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch
3. No! There is one word, bigger, and longer, and wider, and more massive than any other word… and it is only two letters long – the word, SO!
a. The biggest word in the world is two letters long!
b. The Bible could have just said, “God loved the world”
c. But that wouldn’t tell you how much He loved the world – how intense
d. Nor does it tell you how much of the world He loved
e. Only the word ‘so’ tells us the complete picture!
4. God ‘so’ loved unworthy, ungodly, unjust, unfaithful, unyielding, uncaring, unappealing, unbalanced, unbelieving people, like you and me!
a. Listen to 1Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. The biggest sinner, the worst sinner, the lowest sinner, the furthest away from God sinner!
5. That’s how great God’s love is
a. God loved so much of the world – ALL of the world!
1) In sheer size – He is able to love 7 BILLION broken, sinful people at one time
b. God loved the world SO much – with all of His love
1) And in sheer depth – able to love 7 billion BROKEN, SINFUL people
6. God’s love is not poured out upon a good world, but for this lost world - A love that only God could have for a lost world (Eph 2:2-7)
a. Not for good, perfect, or even practically good people
b. But for lost people, hard people, stubborn people, sinful people
c. For a world that hates Him (Gen 6:5)
d. For a nation that resisted Him at every stage of their development
e. For a people that rejected Him when face-to-face, and then murdered Him (Mt 23:37)
7. THAT’S John 3:16 Love!
C. It is a Sacrificial Love – God Gave
1. THIS is what the entire Bible is all about
a. It is NOT about YOU!
b. It is about GOD, sacrificing everything He has, to bring us back to Him!
c. GOD becoming a Man so that HE could die for the sinner – for those He loves
d. God being the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the whole world
2. God did not barter His love for favours
a. He did not offer His love for a price
b. He gave us love freely – poured it out in absolute humiliation and shame
c. He gave us His life, and in exchange, we made Him die
3. No love is real unless it costs
a. Not in flowers, or fancy dinner
b. But what it costs the giver TO love
c. What the lover is willing to put up with simply because of their love for the other person
4. How much did it cost God to love this world?
a. Everything – absolutely everything! We don’t really believe it, but it costs God to love us! To love sinful people like us!
1) Most marriages are started and endured based on what people GET out of the other person
a) They fall in love with what the other person offers, what the other person does
b) Their love is based upon
i. whether the other person is living up to the lover’s expectations
ii. Or whether the other person is easy to love, and always loving them back!
2) But God’s love is not that way
a) It cost God everything when He gave it
b) It was a loss to God every time He loved us – no gain at all
c) At every stage of human history, God gave, and we took, and God lost
i. God gave us free will to choose Him and His way, and we chose our own way
ii. God gave us paradise, and we gave the world to the devil
iii. God gave this world prophets and preachers, and the religious killed them
iv. God gave the world HIMSELF as a Man, and we even killed Him on a cross
3) So, when God stepped down from heaven, and was born as a baby, in a manger, it was ALMIGHTY GOD lying there, as a human baby, cold, and dependent upon two new flawed parents named Joseph and Mary – what a step-down! (2Cor 8:9)
4) When Jesus grew and became a Man, it continued to cost Him everything to keep loving us
a) It cost Him heaven – now only owned a pair of shoes and a robe
b) It cost Him His glory – now only a servant
c) It cost Him His power and abilities – now He was fully dependent upon the power and abilities of the Holy Spirit
d) It cost Him His ease of life – now he was tired, hungry, misunderstood, rejected
e) It cost Jesus His ministry – in the end, He lost everyone who ever had followed Him
f) It cost Him His own will – for the will of God according to a plan that had been decided before the world began
g) It cost Him His very life
b. Why? Why would He choose to go through all of that?
1) Because to love us meant He would have to take on all the responsibilities that would entail!
2) WE come with a lot of baggage – a lot of past
3) So, God loves us, baggage and all! Debts and all! Flaws and all!
5. THAT’S John 3:16 Love!
a. And it is the only way to love your wife gentlemen (Eph 5:25)
b. It is the only way to love each other folks (Eph 5:2)
D. John 3:16 Love is an Open Love
1. Open to ‘Whosoever’
a. Available, opened handed to absolutely everyone
b. No exceptions
2. Wow! No restrictions
a. Harlots, sinners, publicans, liars, murderers, haters, idolaters, queers, adulterers, drunkards, addicts, and gamblers!
b. All are whosoever’s
c. God doesn’t flinch when someone humbles himself or herself before Him, and then say, Whoa there! Back up now. You just are too sinful. Too evil for me to love
d. No! As a matter of fact, that is all there is to love!
e. Remember, there are none of us righteous, none good – all ungodly
f. So, When you are tired of living the wicked way that you do, God says, you can come to Him, and experience a love, like you have never known
3. You see, God will accept you NOT in your sin, but IN SPITE of your sin
a. Not ignoring it
b. Not making light of it
c. But His love sees beyond your sinful pride, and sinful life, and just loves YOU!
d. And He went ahead of all of us, and personally, paid for every last part of your sin on the cross, as if HE had been to blame
4. THAT’S John 3:16 Love!
5. And it is there today for anyone and everyone in this room!
E. It is a Perfect Love
1. My love for my wife is imperfect. My love for my children, is flawed, and lacking.
2. But God’s love is Perfect - Complete. Nothing more to add to it, or do to get it
3. There is nothing left for anyone to do to receive it
4. Except just believe it
a. I’m serious!
b. You cannot be loved more by God than you already are
c. But you can experience more of the love of God than you currently are
5. Example of Sunshine
a. There is nothing you can do to make the sun to shine – it just shines already
b. But there is much you can do to start to experience and enjoy the sunshine
c. Like getting outside of your house, and into the open air – too many sit in their homes with the curtains drawn, and the TV blaring – get up and out of your house
d. Like moving to a sunnier climate
e. The sun is there, but you just haven’t felt it, or seen it for a long time
f. The same is true with the love of God
6. If only you would believe it!
a. You can reject it, mock it, turn away from it, over and over
b. But is cannot change the fact that GOD loves you right now, and invites you to finally, believe that He means it!
7. If you are NOT born again, there is a barrier between you and the love of God that He has for you – like a towering wall
a. Because of sin (Isaiah 59:1,2)
b. God’s wrath rests upon the world (John 3:36, 18)
c. Due Justice will be served – because we WILL reap what we have sown
8. But God has paid for every sin you have committed and will ever commit
a. Rack up a steep dinner bill at a restaurant, and someone kindly goes back to the waitress and pays in full for the meal
b. Nothing more to pay – it is complete – you cannot pay any more in your bill because it was paid for
c. The same is true with our debts towards God – all already paid for, in full
d. That is what God did, when He paid for the sins of the whole world, Himself!
1) No more masses needed
2) No more being good
3) No more giving up sins
4) No more fear of failing
5) All there is for you to do is just accept it, receive it, and then live in it
9. And THAT’S John 3:16 Love!
F. It is a Life-Changing Love
1. Have you noticed what love does to people?
a. It gets them to write silly songs, do silly things
b. It gets them to smile and rejoice when everything else is going wrong
c. It makes people useless at work “Oh don’t mind him, he is in love”
2. The same is true when someone actually receives the love of God
a. God’s laws don’t change people
b. God’s wrath does change us
c. But love – it has a way of changing the vilest, the lowest, the most broken
3. And God’s love, changes sinners into saints
a. Changes haters into huggers
b. Changes proud, hard hearted enemies, into family
4. God’s love does that
a. No longer headed for hell
b. No longer able to get away with sin
c. No longer a slave to sin
d. No longer lost and empty and angry
e. But possessing everlasting life
f. John 10:10 life more abundant than ever imagined
1) Not abundant money
2) Not abundant happiness
3) But abundant life
4) A life we never had before
5) A life we never could have imagined before
5. God Offers Sinful People Eternal Life
6. THAT’S John 3:16 Love!
A. For God – The Greatest Love is God’s Kind of Love
B. So loved the world – The Greatest Love Ever, for the worst of us!
C. That he gave – A sacrificial, loss of everything, kind of Love
D. That whosoever - an Open Love
E. Believeth - a Perfect Love
F. Should not perish but have everlasting life - a Life-Changing Love
A. Now, the gift of God is that eternal life. Who will have the gift today? A preacher over in Manchester recently asked that question one night, to a large crowded church, and a man shouted in the meeting, "I will!"
1. I want you to know that a man could come in here a sinner, and go out a Christian! A born again child of God!
2. There has never been a conversion in the world that was not instantaneous, where there was a time when they passed from death unto life; that there was a time when they were born newly into the kingdom of God.
3. Folks, There must have been a moment where your name was written in the Book of Life. There must have been a time when you were lost, and a time when you were found
4. Or else you don’t have life – not the abundant, eternal, everlasting life of Christ
B. Well, Who will have it now?
1. Is not there some man here in Ballincollig, as there was in Manchester, who will say that he will have the gift? Isn’t is awful that I have to plead with so many to simply take the gift? "The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life." Who will have the gift now?
C. In a few days, Nita and I expect to go to Tamworth for Weston’s wedding.
1. If, when I am on the plane, my wife says, "Craig, we are on the wrong plane – this plane we are on is going to Edinburgh." I would quickly respond, "No way! Sweetheart, I know this plane is going to Birmingham – it feels fine to me. You are too worried. I am sure you are wrong. We will be fine" Then my wife would say, "Honey, you had better check."
2. It would be in my best interest to make sure that we are on the right plane, right?
3. Repentance is like discovering you are headed the wrong way, admitting it, humbly getting off of one plane and rushing into the other.
4. Folks, until you have been born again, you are travelling on the wrong plane! You are on the broad path Jesus spoke of that takes you down to the pit of hell. Get off of it today. Do an about-face! Believe that there really is a life God offers you – eternal life, forgiven, and free
D. Who will turn towards God? "Turn ye, for why will ye die?" In the Old Testament the word is "turn." In the New Testament the word is "repent." "Turn ye, for why will ye die, O house of Israel?" God does not want any man in this audience to perish, but He wants all to be saved. You can be saved now if you will. John 3:16 guarantees you will!