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Bacon, Bible and the Boys 4 – United to the God of Love

Continued from here.

AUDIO HERE.

UNITED TO THE GOD OF LOVE

INTRODUCTION

Jesus is THE Revelation of God.  Not just the Best or the Final Revelation – THE Revelation.

If we want to know God, we need to begin again with Jesus and let Him reshape our vision of God.

When we do that we discover a God totally different to the Omnibeing of western imagination.

Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God: He is full of the Spirit and Son of the Father.

Therefore Jesus reveals to us the Trinitarian God

Trinity is not a maths problem but a simple truth: God is Three Persons United in Love

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Wonderfully, through Jesus, we are invited into the God who is Love.

Jesus became what we are through the crib and the cross.

Believers become what He is as the Spirit incorporates us into Jesus.

We now participate in the Son’s union and communion with the Father

In Jesus we become children of the Father, filled with His Spirit.

Thus we are christs, sons of God IN Jesus – the Christ, the Son of God.

In the words of 2 Peter 1:4 we participate in the divine nature.

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THOUGHT STARTER

“Feelings are feelings, they’re neither good nor bad, what counts is what you do with them.” Discuss.

 

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Hosea 11:1-9

"When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. 2 But the more I called Israel, the further they went from me. They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images. 3 It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realise it was I who healed them. 4 I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them. 5 "Will they not return to Egypt and will not Assyria rule over them because they refuse to repent? 6 Swords will flash in their cities, will destroy the bars of their gates and put an end to their plans. 7 My people are determined to turn from me. Even if they call to the Most High, He will by no means exalt them. 8 "How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I treat you like Admah? How can I make you like Zeboiim? My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused. 9 I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I turn and devastate Ephraim. For I am God, and not man--the Holy One among you. I will not come in wrath.”

Notice how “the Holy One among you” speaks of “the Most High” in the third person!

How are God’s dealings with His people characterized? (vv1-4)

How do they respond? (vv1-4)

What do we learn about God’s punishments for rebellion? (vv5-7)

How would you describe the emotional life of God? (vv8-9)

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Here’s a hero of mine from the 16th century on this passage.  What do you think though?

“As to this mode of speaking, it appears indeed at the first glance to be strange that God should make himself like mortals in changing his purposes and in exhibiting himself as wavering. God, we know, is subject to no passions; and we know that no change takes place in him. What then do these expressions mean, by which he appears to be changeable? Doubtless he accommodates himself to our ignorances whenever he puts on a character foreign to himself.”  (John Calvin)

Why would we want to say that God is not emotional?
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What’s wrong with denying His passionate emotional life?

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WHY GOD DOES WHAT HE DOES....

God’s being is love:  1 John 4:8,16 

The Father loves the Son:  Matt 3:17;17:5;
Mark 12:6; John 3:35;15:9;17:24; Eph1:6; Col 1:13

Father hands everything to Son because of love
Psalm 2:7f; Isaiah 42:1; John 3:35; 5:20

Father glorifies His Son because He loves Him
John 17:24

We’re chosen in Christ because of love
Ephesians 1:4f; Isaiah 55:3

The Father creates out of love:  Colossians 1:16

He chooses the patriarchs out of love: Deut 10:15

Covenant is based on love: Ezek 16:8; Is 54:10

He redeems Israel out of love
Deut 7:8; Isaiah 63:9; Jer 31:3; Hosea 11:1

He leads Israel because He loves her: Ex 15:13 

He plants them in land because He loves them
Psalm 44:3

He relents from judging because of love:
Num 14:19; Ps 51:1; 106:45; Hos 11:1-9; Jon 4:2

He will redeem in the future because of love
Psalm 130:7f

He saves because He loves:  John 3:16; Titus 3:4f

The Son is given to us because of love
John 3:16; Gal 2:20; Eph 5:2,25; 1 John 4:8-10

We’re adopted because of love
Ephesians 1:5f; 1 John 3:1

We’re regenerated because of love: Eph 2:4f

We’re forgiven because of love:  Revelation 1:5

Specifically:

The Father does all things for the sake of His Beloved Son by His fellowship-creating Spirit

Before the world began the Father has focused all His plans on the Son who He loves
John 17:5, 24; 1 Pet 1:20; Eph 1:4-6

 

Creation is through Christ and for Christ
Col 1:15-17; Prov 8:22-23

 

All history is directed towards the exaltation of Christ
Psalm 110:1; Eph 1:10

 

The Father’s will is that all should look to Christ for life and blessing
Psalm 2; Luke 9:35; John 3:16; 6:29,40

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34 For the One whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for He gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him.  (John 3:34-36)

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FOLLOWING THE GOD WHO IS LOVE

The philosopher's god The Living God
Essence Impersonal attributes Loving relationship
Glory Absolute freedom of will Freely chosen condescension - Grace!
Motivation The will Love (especially of the Father for the Son)

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It is not God’s will which determines God’s affections
His burning affections (for His Son) determine His will.

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How would you follow the philosopher’s god?

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How do you follow the Living God?

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The Bible is full of expectations for our emotional life:

Contentment – Ex 20:17; Heart-felt love – 1 Pet 1:22; Peace – Col 3:15;  Zeal – Rom 12:11; Sorrow and Joy – Rom 12:12; Phil 4:4;  Desire – 1 Pet 2:2;  Gratitude – Eph 5:19,20

How do we feel about commandments directed towards our emotions??

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1 Corinthians 13:1-3: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”

Paul lists all the kinds of super-Christian leaders we look up to but without love they’re nothing.

They’re quite different from each other, and will appeal to different kinds of Christians.

Describe what these hypothetical super-Christians are like in each of these verses

Which super-Christian model do you find yourself aspiring to?

What should we be aspiring to?

We assess our walk according to gifts and achievements, what’s the true barometer?

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WHAT SHOULD WE DO WHEN WE DON’T FEEL THE LOVE?

Our first duty is to receive the love of God.  We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19)

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Here are three pictures of how we are loved from the night before Jesus died:

First, loved in the overflow:
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” (John 15:9)

 

Second, we’re loved alongside Jesus:
“The Father Himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.” (John 16:27)

 

Finally there’s God’s love placed within us:
“…in order that the love You [Father] have for Me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” (John 17:26)

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We receive this love when we receive Jesus by the Spirit:

37 On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.  (John 7:37-39)

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So our greatest need is to continue to look to Jesus and know God’s love in Him:

16 I pray that out of God’s glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fulness of God.  (Ephesians 3:16-19)

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CONCLUSION:

A Christian is someone united by the Spirit into Christ’s own life and union with the Father.  Our life is one of participation in the eternal love of God.  And just as God’s own love is ever-out-going, so the love we receive is to be shone out into the world.  By this all men will know… (John 13:35).

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