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Real Love Is Tough Love



" Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us." 


Good Morning my beloved,


We welcome you to worship this Lord's day! We're so pleased to have you join us today. We continue to lift all of you up in our prayers. We respectfully ask that you would pray for this ministry to continue to reach the lost, the broken and the hopeless. And for us. We are so grateful for those of you who have been sharing the ministry website with all of your family and friends. Your faithfulness to share God's Word with others has brought about tremendous results. Where will God's Word be heard today? With your help, and God's blessing, it will reach those that need it most. May God richly bless you for helping spread His Word.


The great theologian and preacher, Charles Spurgeon once told the story of the preacher who was walking in the country side and stopped by a farm house for a drink of water. The old farmer who lived there went out to talk to the preacher. As they were talking the preacher noticed that the barn had a weather vane on it that was spinning around in the wind. On the weather vane the words "GOD IS LOVE" was engraved. The preacher said to the man, "I don’t think that is a very good way to talk about God’s love. Are you saying that God’s love is wishy washy and changes depending on the way the wind blows?" "No, no" said the farmer. "That Weather Vane is saying, "No matter which way the wind blows, God is Love."

God loved us even while we were yet sinners. That is the essence of God’s relationship with man. God’s steadfast love continues when we do not deserve it.

While love is the inevitable result of being born of God, it is not however, the automatic result. If we are children of the One whose very nature is love, then it would stand to reason, that being born of God, we will be like our Father. God loves us with a firm, settled and established love. It is not something that wavers with the changing times. God loves us, even when we do not love ourselves.

It is our nature, to love and be loved. We long to love and be loved. The human heart cries for love more than anything else. Man, being created in the image of God, was created with the capacity to love God, and to love others, within the frame of that love there is fellowship, care, sharing of thoughts and attitudes and experiences that makes love the richest of all human experiences. Man was created to love. 

Man, being created in the image of God, has the capacity to think abstractly, because that’s necessary in relationships, to appreciate beauty, to feel emotion, to be morally conscious, to reason, to acquire wisdom. Man has been given that ability to personally relate to other people and especially to relate to God, to be able to love others and to love God. 

The image of God, then, is the capacity for personal relationships, which come down to giving and receiving love. It is amazing to me, that even after all these millennia, this still resides in the human heart.


Let us pray

Heavenly Father,

Father, we again thank You for Your Word. Lord, we know that when we love one another, sacrificially, as You have commanded us, that love becomes visible to a world that otherwise cannot see You. Help us, that we may display, before the watching world, the perfect love which You have graciously given to us. Let love be our testimony. Unless we are manifestly loving one another as we should, let us not witness about Christ, because when we love Christ Himself taught us, we reveal that He abides in us. Thank You Father, for not just giving us love but for giving us Christ, Who is our example of sacrificial love.
In His name we pray

Today's Message: Real Love Is Tough Love
If you are a true Christian, you not only have the capacity to love, you have Christ, Who is your example to love, and you have the responsibility to love. Love, is how we witness to the watching world. Love, is how we express His love in sacrificial service to others. Love, then, is core to our Christian experience. 
In the remainder of this wonderful epistle, John presents for us a study of perfect love.What then, is perfect love? Perfect love, is a love that cannot be added to. It is a love that cannot be improved on. It is the perfected love with all the completeness that could only come from God. 
The Word of God itself, can create the capacity to submit, believe and love. That is why we are called to preach the gospel to those who in themselves, cannot hear, believe and love. The Word of God contains warnings, promises, and commands. God has ordained to keep us alive in love by the regular feeding on His Word. God, in His Word, has pledged to the true Christian, perfect love. That is the experience of the love of God in all its fullness. Perfect love is the legacy that God has left to His children. And that’s what John is talking about here in our text.
Today, as we begin our study of the Word of God, open with me your Bibles to I John chapter four, we will be looking at verses seven through twelve. The love John is talking about a love that is directly connected to salvation and sanctification, a love that is directly connected to knowing and obeying Jesus Christ.
This is not the first time John has talked about love. In fact, it's actually the third time he's gone into a rather significant dissertation on the subject of love. In chapter 2, John discussed love as a proof of true fellowship. In chapter 3, he said "Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue but in deed and truth. We shall know by this that we are of the truth and shall assure our heart before Him."
Now, here in chapter 4, this time when he discusses love, he identifies it as that perfect love which is not just a proof of fellowship, not just an evidence of sonship, but a manifestation of the presence of God in us. If you love, you will obey. If you obey, you will demonstrate love.
I invite you to follow along with me as I again read to you the entire passage to set the text in our minds, while we prepare our hearts for what the Spirit of God has is saying to each of us. Listen for the voice of our Lord. I John 4:7-12. In chapter 4, verses 1-6, John explained the first part of that commandment,  believing in the name of His Son Jesus Christ. Now, he turns to the second part of the commandment, which is the need to love one another. We should love one another because God is love.
"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us."  
As John begins verse 11, he is practicing what he preaches by addressing his readers as "beloved." Of course, genuine biblical love requires much more than words. However, his readers knew that John's words and his behavior were in harmony.
In our culture today, the word "love" has nearly lost its true meaning, it is over used to refer to almost everything, such as "I love that song," or "I love pizza." Therefore, it is important that we remember the biblical definition of love. Biblical love is a self-sacrificing, a caring commitment that shows itself in seeking the highest good of the one who is loved. At its core, biblical love is a loving action, which often requires self-sacrifice. This is best illustrated in Jesus’ going to the cross. John wants us to know that whenever we see genuine biblical love, it did not originate with the person. Genuine love comes from God. God, then, is source of love in the world. 
Biblical love says "Though you that have hated and rejected Me, I love you." It says "Those that confess me as Lord and Savior but still live the way you want, I love still you." It says even if you are Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Mormon, Roman Catholic, Jehovah's Witness, even after all that you have done to deny Me, My love is so great that I am willing to forgive you."
Though the world puts limitations on its forgiveness, Jesus loves you and is willing to forgive you. Regardless of what you have done, if you will confess your sin, He is faithful to forgive you, and purify you from all unrighteousness!
Let's look at verse 7, "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God."
Doctrine is not sufficient evidence of true conversion. True salvation will demonstrate itself with action, in love. Though we have been given the capacity to love, we are commanded to love more. This is both a test and an exhortation. In the strength of the Holy Spirit, we are to love to perfection.
The word "beloved," is the Greek word "agapētós," meaning "divinely-loved-ones." Those whom God loves. So, then, John is saying "Those whom God loves, let us love one another." It comes from the root word "agapáō," the love of the will. We are commanded to love one another with a love of the will. Allow me to just remind you, that this love, is love of self-sacrificing service. It chooses to love because there is a need to be loved. Granting love to someone who needs to be loved.
This level of love is consistent with who we are as believers of Christ. It is evidence that we are sons and daughters of God. It is the manifestation of the life of God in us. Love, is the very essence and nature of God. In other words, John is saying is let us who are the beloved of God, who belong to God, love one another, because love is consistent with who God is. 
Therefore, in verse 8, he says "The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love."
If you will remember, in chapter 1 verse 5, we learned that the essence of the nature of God is light and that God is life. God is light, God is life and here we learn that God is also love. If we walk in the light, if we possess the life, we have received the love. As God’s children, we are to be manifesting His nature. We are to literally reflect God.
If you’re going to call yourself a Christian, if you’re going to say you area child of God, if you're going to say you belong to God, then conduct yourself as God would, with love. I believe that if you truly are a Christian you won’t have to go around telling people, they will know it by your love. Sadly, there many so called Christians think that being a Christian in today’s culture means telling others that God hates them. In spite of what Christians are commanded in God's Word, some Christians love to hate. They may call themselves Christians, but are they Christ-like?
If we are followers of Jesus Christ, if we are the children of God, the proper response is always love. Jesus Himself said in Matthew chapter 5, "You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."
I believe that if you are telling the world you are a Christian by broadcasting it with your words, you're doing it wrong! Because if you don’t love, even those who don't deserve it, it is clear evidence that you don’t know God. It’s so important to understand this. God doesn’t force His presence on those who don’t love Him. He provides it for those who do. And, because God is love, He fills this world with evidences of that love in all the wonder and beauty of life.
I have often heard, that "If God is love, why does He allow all these bad things to happen?" The worlds problems demonstrate to us is what sin has done, and they provide a background, a foundation for us to understand the greatness of God’s love. There’s a sense in which He shows love to the unregenerate, even to those who ultimately will go out of His presence forever. 
Scripture says the sun shines on the just and the unjust; the rain falls on the just and the unjust, by His common grace. God finds no pleasure in the death of the wicked, the evil. In fact, all the warnings of the Bible are evidences of the compassion of God. That's why God sends His ministers to preach the gospel, all over the face of the earth that the lost, may come to know His love. However, that love has its limits, because it does not transcend this life.
Verse 9, "By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him."
If God was so inclined to manifest His love that way in Christ, so that we might be the recipients of eternal life. Should we, who have been given unspeakable gift, not manifest the love that He’s given us to others sacrificially?  Love functions in selfless sacrifice.This is the model of love for us. We did nothing to deserve to have Him come to this world to redeem us. Christianity is a matter of God imparting new life to those who are dead in their sins. That new life manifests itself in willing acts of sacrificial love. 
Luke 12:48 says "From everyone who has been given much, much will be required." In other words, we are held responsible for what we have been blessed with to glorify God and benefit others. We have all been given much, we have been granted the abundant grace of God, we have been granted undeserved forgiveness. And, we have been given unconditional, sacrificial love.  God, the giver of all good things, gives us everything we need to fulfill His will. 
When Jesus said we are to love our enemies, He was creating a new standard for relationships. Jesus demonstrated God’s undiscriminating love to all people. What is impossible for man becomes possible for those who give their lives to Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives in our hearts. By loving others, as we ourselves have been loved, then you are truly revealing that Jesus is Lord of your life.
In verse 10, John says "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." 
The word  "propitiation" means to appease, to satisfy God’s holy, just requirement for sin. Jesus became the propitiation, the final and complete and full propitiation. Do not think for one minute that God just brushed your sin aside. His great love for us moved Him to send His own Son, who bore the penalty that we deserved. He didn't wait until we demonstrated signs of changing! John’s conclusion is inescapable, because we have been so loved, we had ought to love others.
Romans 5:8 says "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Verse 11, "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."
This is missing in Christianity today. God made the ultimate, extreme sacrifice, sending His Son in our place. Therefore, because we have seen the example of what love is, there's no excuse. We are called to this love because we have been given the capacity to love by the very nature of God's Spirit dwelling in us. 
Jesus said in John 15, "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you."
Love that can be commanded shows that it is not an emotion or a sentimental feeling, but rather an action based on commitment. If loving others were easy, we wouldn’t need this powerful example of God’s love, would we? I find it interesting that most people today fail to acknowledge the verse that follows. This love is not only about sacrifice, its also about obedience. The world today, is all about me, me, me, me, me. Give me what I want. Make me happy. Satisfy me. Please me.
Tragically, this attitude has made its way into the church. It’s not about Christ, it’s not about others. It's about me! People come to church excited, anticipating what God is going to do for them today, rather than being excited about what they can do for God. 
Verse 12, "No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us."
Beloved, God has supremely demonstrated to us exactly what it means to love someone. He gave His only Son over to the fury of His wrath, for the sins of all who had ever believed. Can you even comprehended that kind of sacrifice? That is our standard for loving others. If we love one another, God abides in us. If we love one another, God is on display. After all, isn't that the point, to show God to an unbelieving world? 
In Closing..
If you are a true Christian, you have been blessed with the capacity to love, so that those who could never God are able to see Him through you. What a tremendous honor and privilege we have been given. The world loves those that love them. Yet Jesus commands us to love even our enemies. 

Our responsibility to love other is demanded by the immensity of the sacrifice that God made for us, in the giving of His own beloved Son. 
Most of us have someone in our lives that is difficult to love, so if you want to know how to love them, imitate God! Imitate God.

May it be so..

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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