This is the first “sermon” I ever preached. It’s a talk I gave to a group of high school students on a Teens Encounter Christ retreat weekend on February 3, 2006, when I was 16 years old. It’s based on a provided outline for the “God is Love” talk. I’m posting it online for the sake of having a complete archive of my sermons.
God is Love
OK. I’m Daniel Flucke, and I’m going to talk about God.
So, what is God? How do you begin to answer that question? If someone just came up to you at school, or on the street and asked you, “What is God?” What would you say? How can you describe someone you can’t see or touch? As I was trying to decide what to say today, I read in a book this description of God: “God is the eschatological manifestation of the ground of our being, the kerygma in which we find the ultimate meaning of our interpersonal relationship.” Does that sentence tell you anything at all? At least for me, it certainly doesn’t give a satisfactory explanation of God.
So what is God? Or, more appropriately, who is God? John 1:1 says, “In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” So God is the Word, Jesus. As Michael Card puts it, “To say Jesus is the Word is another way of saying that He is God’s way of speaking to us.”
First John 4:7-8 says, “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
So God is love. What does that mean? What is love? If I say I love Star Wars, or I love chocolate, what do I mean? Does that “love” have anything to do with God? Part of the problem is the English language. Love has to be one of the most misused words there is. We have one word, “love,” that can mean at least four different things. The Greek language has four words with different meanings that are translated as love: storge, eros, philios, and agape.
Storge means love between family members. I love my family. Occasionally, they drive me crazy and especially over Christmas break I sometimes just wanted to get away from them, but I still love them. They are still special to me in a way no one else is.
Eros means love between husband and wife. Eros love is a good thing. Without it, none of us would be here. I personally don’t know much about this sort of love, and neither do you, except for those of you who are married. God created eros love and he sets the rules for it. Eros love is for one man and one woman for a lifetime. The entire book of Song of Solomon is about eros love.
Philios means love between friends. You care about your friends. You would be sad if, say, you heard today that one of your friends had died.
That is philios love. Incidentally, that is what Philadelphia means: “City of brotherly love.”
Finally, agape love is the love of God. It is sort of like the storge love of a parent for a child, but agape love is totally unconditional. No strings attached. God is love. God loves everyone He has made, no matter what they do. God loves you, and you can’t do a thing about it. You can’t make Him stop loving you, and you can’t make Him love you more, because it’s impossible for anyone to have more love than God, who is love.
We can’t pay back God for His amazing love (and it is amazing. Think about it. The creator of the universe came and died so we could be forgiven and live with Him. What is possibly more amazing than that?). We could spend the rest of our lives working just for God, and not repay Him. The people here providing food, or serving here this weekend; we’re here because of God’s Agape love for us. This weekend’s theme verse, Colossians 3:17, says “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” We can’t repay God, but He does call us to serve Him and love others that He has made. That is what everyone here is trying to do by serving this weekend; show God’s love and amazing gift to others.
So who is God? God is the Creator of the entire world, the entire galaxy, of everything that is, and He loves you. God is love. First Corinthians thirteen says, “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never ends.” That is talking about the sort of love we can know. Paul goes on to say, “Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.” In other words, no matter how great love seems to us here in a sinful world, God’s love is more perfect than we can imagine.
How do you define God’s love? How do you compare to a God who is perfect, yet loves you and me so much that He would come to Earth as a simple, helpless human baby? First John 3:16 says “We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us.” Romans 5:8 “But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners, Christ died for us.”
God loves you more than you can know. This song is written from God’s perspective talking about how He feels about you.
Song: “More” by Matthew West
Personally, that is the most encouraging, comforting thing I can think of. God loves me. God’s love means I am never alone. Even when it feels like everything is going wrong in my life, I know God is still in control, working all things together for the good of those who love Him, as Romans 8:28 says.
Next time you hear someone talk about something they “love,” remember God’s love for you that led Him to die like a common criminal. Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither life nor death, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”