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159 The Greatest is Authentic Love

The third in this series of Faith,Hope and Love takes a close look at love and what Authentic love actually is. After defining what this love is we look at how God has lived out that kind of love. He knows the worst about us but thinks the best about us. We then unpack the amazing love that God continues to have for each of us. The pdf for this episode is found on the website.

159 Authentic Love
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Authentic Love

We were made to be loved

1. We cherish love stories “They lived/loved happily ever afterwards.” It is easy to find the 20 most popular love stories on google.

  1. Babies must have love to develop!

  2. God loves us!

John 3:16-17

Romans 5:8

Water to wine at a wedding.

4. If you have ever been loved you know it is so!

20 best known love stories

1. Romeo and Juliet Two days of loving and they are both dead.

2. Cleopatra and Mark Antony Mark A gets false news of Cleopatra’s death and falls on his sword. She commits suicide.

3. Lancelot and Guinevere Lancelot ends up a hermit and Guinevere a nun

4. Tristan and Isolde Tristan is ill. White sails if Isolde is coming. Iseult lies and he dies.

5. Paris and Helena

6. Orpheus and Eurydice

7. Napoleon and Josephine

8. Odysseus and Penelope9.

9. Paolo and Francesca

10. Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler

11. Jane Eyre and Rochester

12. Layla and Majnun

13. Eloise and Abelard

14. Pyramus and Thisbe

15. Elizabeth Bennett and Darcy (Pride and Prejudice) .

16. Salim and Anarkali

17. Pocahontas and John Smith

18. Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal

19. Marie and Pierre Curie

20. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

21. Jack and Rose in the Titanic

We have trashed, trivialized and discounted the word “love.”

We love a DQ Blizzard

We love a new pair of designer jeans

We love a new house

We love a new car

Whatever happened to “like?”

Much of what is touted as love is an exchange of services.

You do this for me and I will do that for you.

Wages are not a sign of love

Gifts are not necessarily a sign of love, they could be a bribe.

Smiles are not necessarily a sign of love, they could be the avoidance of aggression.

Erotic love: man and woman.

Friendship love: Family members at least. David and Jonathan

False love: selfishness pretending to be love.

Infatuation: desire for the advantage the other brings.

Neurotic love: control of the other person

Divine love: love without any expectation except to give to the other. Emulated by good parents with a new baby.Unconditional,Everlasting,Unfathomable,Unstoppable,

Defining Love

When someone knows the worst about you but thinks the best of you then they love you.

Love supersedes Obedience

Valuable servants or employees are obedient to company policy but they may not love the owner. It is generally a good idea to observe traffic regulations but this does not mean we love traffic officers. The ten commandments forbid adultery and coveting in the marriage relationship but this does not mean there is love. Jesus says to spouses, “Be prepared to die for each other.”

Jesus wants friends not servants John 15:15.

Why are you a Christian? What do you want from God? Security? Salvation?

This is not love for God but the attempted manipulation of God. It does not last!

Think of all the people who were blessed by Jesus with miracles and inspiration who neglected and rejected him at the moment of his crisis.

Long term studies of those who have been faith healed 80% forsake their faith with time.

Instances of love in the Bible:

Moses asked God to rather save the grumbling Israelites and him to go to damnation in their place.

Ruth loves Naomi who is of a different culture and religion.

Jesus Christ and sinners (his executioners)..John 15:13 (NIV)

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

The Signs which indicate Jesus’ love for People:

1. Water to wine in large containers used for ceremonial washing rather than wine skins. Jn 2

2. Man paralyzed for 38 years. Jesus notices him and then asks him if he wants to be healed. He explains why he can’t be healed. Jesus heals him anyway. Jesus is anonymous.Jn 5

3. Man blind from birth healed by Jesus. Jesus saw him not the other way around. Jn 9

4. Jesus feeds five thousand.

5. Woman who perfumes Jesus because of his love for her.

6. Raising of Lazarus. Jn 11

7. The scandelon of the Cross is our Window into God’s heart.

8. Mary in the garden after the resurrection. All of heaven is waiting for him!

9. Jesus story about his loving Father:

Luke 15: 20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and (could not stop kissing) kissed him."

Pierre Benoit suggests that God whispered in Jesus’ ear on the Cross:

“Come now my love, My lovely one, come.For you the winter is passed the snows are over and gone, the flowers appear in the land. The season of joyful songs has come.The cooing of the turtle dove, is heard in our land.Come now my love. My lovely one come.Let me see your face, and let me hear your voice.For your voice is sweet. Your face is beautiful.Come now my love. My lovely one, come.” Song of Solomon

10. Abba Scholars suspect that where the Greek uses father it is the Armaic Abba or English Daddy. There is no OT equivalent because God was to be revered and feared.

Galatians 4:6 (NIV) Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father."We are not sons because we cry Abba! We are sons and so we cry Abba!

Romans 8:15 (NIV) For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."We are heirs of the Kingdom by God’s design.

The LORD;s prayer begins, “Our ABBA which art in heaven.”

Ode to Love1 Corinthians 13:4–7 (NLT)

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

“Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, and motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is (the) damnation (of isolation).” C. S. Lewis The Four Loves p.123

The foolishness Gr. scandelon of the Cross is the Window into God’s heart.

1 Corinthians 1:22 It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom.

Foolishness to the Jews Messiah was to beat up their enemies not be beaten up by them and executed.

Scandal to the Greeks. Their Gods were above emotion. They watched the earth on CCTV while they drank the best wine.

Modern Christians believe in Jesus BUT he still has to meet our human/OT expectations.

Jesus reveals the heart of God in the way he treated the marginalized of his day: women, children, the paralyzed, blind, Samaritans, pagans, lepers, condemned.

This is especially true in his public torture and execution. Watch how Jesus treats women, the condemned, and his executioners during his passion.

Jesus could have died in Gethsemane but it would not have been a revelation of the heart of God. We had to watch his torture and death to discover his heart.The question of God’s character had been raised before time and history began/. We know this from the suggestions put to Eve and the temptations put to Jesus by the devil.

The question is still relevant today. Is God selfish? If you can make anything and everything you want can you claim to be unselfish or loving? Calvary is drilling down into the heart of God to find out what lurks down there.

On the Calvary road we are going to strip away every cover of the heart of God to discover its essence.

His physical freedom, finally the cross

his best friends abandon him–a few at a distance

his legal freedom -guilt,

dehydration, hunger, physical abuse, lacerations from the scourging, crown of thorns

his clothes,

his father

his hope

Every OT story of rebellion against God ends with drowning, exile, war, famine, disease.

How will this one end? Will God leave and go back to heaven while we reap the consequences of our choices? Does God really love us or was it a charade? A theophany?

We have to know. Does God love us because of what he gets from us? Praise, adoration? affirmation? Service?

Try me in a kangaroo court—and I still will love you!

Forsake me, betray me—and I still will love you!

Spit in my face—and I still will love you!

Beat me to within an inch of my life—and I still will love you!

Press a crown of thorns into my scalp—and I still will love you!

Nail me to the cross naked—and I still will love you!

Break my heart—and I still will love you!

Nothing you can do will make me not love you,You will never be beyond my love for you. (Smuts van Rooyen)


Do I love God? A resounding “No!”

Does God love me? A resounding “Yes!”

Do I want to love God and you? “Yes!”

Our hope is in God.Jesus Christ longed to wash Judas’ heart. Judas only allowed Jesus to wash his feet.

1 Corinthians 13:8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.

11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became an adult, I put away childish behaviour.

12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Ian Hartley, April 2024

3 reasons not to combine Jesus with other pictures of God.

  1. Jesus is not a picture of God but the picture of God

  2. In Christ ALL the fullness of God dwells in Christ in bodily form.

John 14 look at me if you want to see God. Who ever acknowledges the Son has the Father

3. Jesus trumps all previous revelations of God

John’s testimony is greater than that of all other prophets John was not worthy to untie Jesus shoelacesJesus is the exact representation of God’s character (Heb 1:3).

Matthew 11:27-28 NLT “My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” 28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

John 1:17-18 NLT For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.

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