There are different kinds of love
To say the “God kind” of love implies that there are other kinds of love. For the world, when they speak about love, they are mostly talking about the eros or romance type of love and, on a day like this, that is what is on the minds of most people but that is not the true kind of love. It is based on passion, senses, what I can get form you. It is earthly and it does not show that true love that God gives to us. It comes in for what it wants and the moment it gets it, it withdraws.
When you read 2 Samuel 13, there was a tragedy in the family of David when one of his sons who happened to be the firstborn developed this kind of love for his own half-sister and had his friend help him hatch a plan. His friend told him to pretend to be sick so that when his father came to visit he would tell him to let his half-sister, Tamar, bring him food. When she came, he raped him. The result of this was murder as Tamar’s brother Absalom took revenge on Amnon for what he did.
This kind of love was also seen in the life of Samson where he was led away when he fell in the hands of Delilah. She pestered him to tell her the secret of his strength. She persisted so much that Samson gave up and revealed the secret. In Judges 16 we see the sad story of a man of promise whose birth had been foretold but was now bound with chains and doing menial tasks. When Samson’s eyes were taken out, his vision for Israel was aborted but that is not the destiny of the child of God. God has said in Isaiah that the days of the tree shall be the days of his children it means we will have long life.
In 1 John 2.15 the Bible says do not love the world nor the things in the world for if anyone loves the world, the love of the father is not in him. It then says all that is in the world, the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, are not of God.
There is a kind of love that is close to the God kind of love—the philia love. It is brotherly love. It is the kind of love that is mentioned in Hebrews 13.1 when the Bible says to let brotherly love continue. Jesus tells us to love all and not only those who love us.
But beyond philia, there is another kind of love. The Greeks call it agape. That is what I want us to share briefly this morning. God sent his son as an atoning sacrifice to repair the damage that sin had done in our relationship with God.
Characteristics of the God kind of love
1. The God kind of love is sacrificial
God did not withhold his only begotten son. Eros is not sacrificial. God showed us so many times how the sacrifice of his son unto the world was a demonstration of this love. Before Jesus came physically into the world, the lives of the Jews were completely consumed by sacrifices. Leviticus 1.6-13 mentions a type of sacrifice—burnt offering. The whole congregation had to present a bullock without blemish to be burned as a sweet aroma unto God. In addition to that, everybody had to bring something, whether a sheep, a goat, or a pigeon. There was also the sin offering (Leviticus 4.12-15). These were sacrifices for inadvertent sins. Then there was the peace offering. But in 1 Peter 3.18, we see that Christ has suffered once for our sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us back to God. So, he is our peace offering, our Passover lamb, and he is the complete and perfect sacrifice. That is why Romans 5.8 says God commends his love to us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.
2. The God kind of love has selected us
He chose us before the foundation of the world was laid that we should be holy and blameless before him. So, when I go and stand by the seashore and see the waves moving, I remember that God chose me before all those. In Romans 8.29 he says for those he foreknew, he predestined them to be conformed to the image of his son that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called he justified; and those he justified he glorified. The love of God knew you even before the world was created.
3. The God kind of love is unconditional
It is not based on your beauty and what you do. It is not based on where you come from or the family you come from. If it were conditional, we would not have had any portion in the love of God. So, Jesus said in Matthew 11.28 to come unto him all who labor and are heavy-laden and he will give them rest. He calls out to the poor, rejected, dejected, and desperate, it is a call to everyone. It reminds me of the rich man in Luke 14.16 who threw a party and invited those that needed to be invited but who all turned him down. They gave all kinds of excuses so he finally asked his servants to go into the highways and byways and invite others—anyone who would attend. That was the invitation thrown to us. It is the God kind of love that does this. That is the gospel—the good news. It is not for any specified or special class of people but to everyone. I pray you accept the invitation God has extended to you.
4. There is security in the kind of love God gives to his children
There is no fear in that kind of love (1 John 4.18). Fear has dominated the lives of people. In a world afflicted by a pandemic never before seen, there is fear but I recommend Christ to you for in him there is safety. The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and they are safe. Even the fear of retirement makes people try all kinds of schemes to reduce their ages. When you have not accepted Christ as your savior you have fear because your future is not secure. It is not when you die that you are going to decide. God is patient with you. There is a reason you did not die in that accident and that sickness did not kill you and God is patient with you. This is the moment of decision. Greater love has no man than this that a man should lay down his life for his friends (John 15.13).
When Joshua was old and near death, he gathered the whole of Israel at Shechem and told them the history of Israel and how God had been with them and taken them out of slavery in Egypt and used them to conquer nations much stronger than they. He then presented two options to them: to serve the living God of Israel or other gods but he said as for him and his house, they would serve the Lord. We shall never taste death nor fear but eternal bliss. When you understand this you also begin to love him with all your heart, soul, and mind and you begin to ask, like Paul, what shall separate us form the love of Christ.
Who is willing to make the decision to accept the son who was brought as an atoning sacrifice for our sins?
Judges 14-16, 1 John 2.15, 1 John 4.7-10, Romans 5.8, Matthew 11.28, Luke 14.16, 1 John 4.18, John 15.13