What is this current series about?
This four week series explores our identity in God and God’s own identity. This series will focus on the element of Worship within discovering more about Who Am I and Who is He?
Who Am I? – Week 4- Mark Freeman
Big Idea: The Scandalous Love of God
Scripture Reference: Isaiah 6:1-8 (ESV)
- Focal verse: “‘And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me.'”
What is love? God is love.
Scripture Reference: 1 John 4:16 (NLT)
- “We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in His love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.”
Scripture Reference: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NLT)
- “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its’ own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
Scripture Reference: Hosea 2:19-20 (NLT)
- “I will make you My wife forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion. I will be faithful to you and make you Mine, and you will finally know Me as the Lord.”
Questions to Ponder:
- How would you say our concept of love is normally incomplete?
- What is most amazing to you about how Isaiah’s encounter with God ends?
- Which of the descriptions of love in 1 Corinthians 13 connects with you most?
- Does Hosea’s pursuit of his wife shed light on God’s love for you? How?
Love in the Face of Brokenness
By Ashley Bumgarner
Before beginning, you must understand that you are being made into the likeness of God. That just as Christ appears, so we also will appear. He who called you is faithful and will do it. This is the word of the Lord for you.
The love of God is one of the most powerful, yet controversial of subjects. “How could a loving God murder?” “How could a loving God take my child?” “How could a loving God send souls to eternal damnation?” How could a loving God be wrath?”
Beloved, these matters must be spiritually discerned. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:11).
The understanding of God’s love must pass beyond sensuality. God is not all hugs, kisses, and pats on the back. God is fire, a burning flame! A refiner! He is Judge, Ruler, King, and Master. God is perfect in His judgments, and righteous in all of His ways. He has committed no sin, nor has He done any wrong. The temptation is to see death, division, sickness, infirmity, poverty and choose to blame God. “Lord, you could make this stop! You could make it never happen! Why?”
Beloved, we live in a fallen world; full of sin and the cause and effect thereof. We live in a world that has been suffering since man ate of the fruit. Oh, how that sensual fruit still seems to bite if we are not careful with our reasoning.
Consider Hebrews 2:10, “God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that He should make Jesus, through His suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation.” God knows the suffering of sin. He bore it in the body of Jesus Christ; His flesh. He is our perfect leader of suffering unto glory.
Yes, God is love when we are chastened by Him. How? Does not a parent obedient to the Lord chasten their child if they are disobedient? Oh, how our perfect Father is chastening us unto obedience, producing fruit and righteousness, if we allow.
We can choose to be the screaming four year-old in the grocery store with a world of temptations and a lot of selfish wants! We can choose to be the teenager who, despite warning, still refuses to obey and regrets the decision many years later. We can choose to be the unbelieving and rebellious. But, we have a loving Father who will chase us down with compassion, warn us with understanding, comfort us when we have fallen, cover us when we are naked, and cause our suffering to turn to gain; all for His glory, for He has accomplished this.
Yes, God is love in wrath. He is righteous. Who are we to question the vessels of honor and dishonor? God knows those in whom He has called and those in whom are veiled from the Truth. We must not let pride ask such questions. Trust Him.
Yes, God is love in the trials and tribulations. How is this possible when a parent has lost a child? Death is no small matter. The pain that a parent endures is beyond reason. It is in this place that grace comes and comfort encompasses those who have suffered loss. It is then that the power of the Holy Spirit presses through the loved ones causing for them to have an effectual ministry and to be a blessing to many. Suffering has then been turned from evil to good, to those who have loved God and obeyed Him in the process.
But if the decision is made to resent God, we allow the carnal man to yet rise again with all of his sinful deeds. Our lives become fruitless, painful, and trapped. All the while, God is calling, “Come! I am healer! I am restorer! I am He who sets captives free.” He is your answer. He is love. The question is not, “How could you let this happen, God?” Rather, we are to humbly say, “Teach me how to trust You, God. Teach me how to know you are good. Show me Your glory in the face of brokenness.”
Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.
“I pray that out of his glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:16-21)