1 John 4:7-9
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
- God Loves You
John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Let me give you an illustration about our helpless state. Fad diets are the rage of the land. Fitness centers all across our country are the in place to be. Exercise and workout programs abound and yet we eat, eat, eat and our waist lines keep on telling us we need to change. We simply cannot, for the most part, stop the continued trend of stuffing our face.
Here is a sample of one diet crazed day:
- One cup of coffee – black
- One piece of whole wheat toast – dry – no butter, no jelly
- ½ grapefruit without sweetener
- Two small raw carrots
- One glass of iced tea without sugar
- One water cress sandwich on bran toast – no mayonnaise or other spread, you know just bland disgusting stuff to fill the vast expanse of our targeted area.
Afternoon snack – 2:00 PM
- One Oreo cookie
Approximately 30 minutes later
- The rest of the bag of Oreo cookies
- One extra-large helping of rocky road ice cream with an over-sized helping of marshmallow sauce added
- Washed down by a large vanilla milkshake
- Two slices of cold left-over pizza
- A helping of cherry cheese cake
- Two Babe Ruth candy bars
- Followed by a large Pepsi.
Oh, the sin of that one lonely Oreo cookie! That’s the way of our diet.
- God Demonstrated His Great Love For You
That is sometimes a close example of our spiritual life also. In 2 Samuel 11 we find the story of King David’s great slip from godly living. In that story, David looks out from his castle onto the roof of a distant building where he sees the beautiful Bathsheba bathing and desire takes hold of his heart. David goes on to commit adultery after that one look, then on to plotting the murder of Bathsheba’s husband. All that after one momentary glance, but a glance that consumed him and became his mortal downfall.
Nathan the prophet came and told David a little story about a rich man taking a poor man’s only lamb and David became enraged. Nathan responded, “You are the man.” David owned up to his being responsible and did the right thing. He confessed his sin, made things right. But like us, the memory of past sin sometimes lasts forever. In fact, even knowing our sins are forgiven, the thought of failure burns a scar on our memory that often pains us and wears us down. And Satan makes sure that you remember.
Galatians, chapter 5, has something to say about the lust of the flesh and enumerates several, eighteen to be exact, although this is not an all-inclusive list of sins that separate us from God. At the close of this brief passage it states, “those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:21. That is a warning. But at the beginning of that passage is the hope for all of us in verse 16 where it simply tells us to “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”
Now, back to the Oreo cookies. Did you know that there are on the market more than a dozen different kinds of Oreo cookies? Of course, there is the original kind of chocolate with white crème filling….you know the kind we who are over the hill grew up on back in the dark ages. They were the kind all the guys in junior high used to get the entire chocolate cookie all over their teeth and then smile real big at the girls and try to gross them out. Oh, for the good old days. Now there is the same chocolate kind with double stuff filling, chocolate crème, golden crème, sugar free, spring yellow crème, reduced fat, peanut butter crème, and on and on.
You know, there was a time when the demarcation of right and wrong was a whole lot simpler than today. Like the one choice of Oreo cookies we had back when some of us grew up. Now the young people are confronted with so much more that appeals to their generation. If one type does not appeal to you, another will. Satan’s variety pack is up and running. We did not have the internet or MTV or Victoria’s Secret commercials bombarding us a generation ago.
It’s all out there…words we only saw scrawled on bathroom walls a generation or two ago are the regular language of kids in kindergarten. Sin is there and it is dangerous. It blasts at us from all directions.
1 John 2:1 – My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
Hebrews 4:15 – For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Ecclesiastes 12:14 – For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.
1 Peter 5:8 – Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
Romans 12:1-2 – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
David’s sin had been secret, but it was revealed to him. Not to hit him over the head and hold it against him, but that he might recognize his failure before God and make it right. David did that very thing and God, who is abundant in mercy and grace, restored him. David was, and is, known as a man after God’s own heart. Why? Because he failed so miserably. No, we all fall into that category. It was because he made it right. He confessed and God forgave.
Romans 5:8-9 – But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
- God Wants You to Love Him
John 14:15 – If you love Me, keep My commandments
Matthew 22:37 – Jesus said to him, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
John 15:16 – You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.
- God Wants You to Love Others
John 15:12 – This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
John 13:35 – By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.