The Promised Emmanuel: Love (Advent Part 2)

WE APOLOGIZE FOR THE POOR QUALITY OF THIS AUDIO.

What does your heart treasure most? God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is the truth of the gospel and the one thing that should be treasured above all others. This message will celebrate this truth and explore the place of Jesus in our hearts.

The Promised Emmanuel

Advent Part 2: Love

Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – Dec. 10th, 2017

 

Intro:

  • Today, the second Sunday of Advent, we will we continue to prepare our hearts for the coming of the savior, Jesus the Emmanuel, God with us.
  • Last Sunday, we focused on the theme of hope, which was displayed in the lives of Simon and Anna as they were expectantly waiting, in hope, for the arrival of the messiah.
  • We also thought about a long list of Biblical characters who have spent time in God’s “waiting room,” giving us perspective and faith as we continue to wait in hope for God to complete His promises and act on our behalf.
  • In addition, we looked at many Biblical passages that gave us reasons to hope in God based on His character, His reputation and His promises.
  • The theme for today is love. God’s great love for us is evidenced to us in the gift His Son. There is a two-fold aim of this message today. First: that you will deeply understand how truly and fully you are loved by God. Second: that you will treasure Christ above all other things.
  • God’s love is a love that shows.

The love that shows

 

1 John 4:9-10 NLT

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

 

  • Words do not have value unless they are backed up by actions. Words that are not fulfilled in reality are lies. Saying you love someone is very different than showing you love them.  God did not only state that he loved us, but demonstrated that He loved us by sending His one and only Son for us.
  • God’s love is a love that sends, a love that gives, and love that is shown. Because God loves you He sent (He gave, He acted).  What He sent was His very best: His one and only son. He is the best, and the most costly and the most needed thing that He could send. God sent the Son who is “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being” (Heb. 1:3 NIV).
  • He sent the Son from perfect glory and highest authority into a world that had been darkened, destroyed, dismantled and disfigured beyond recognition. He sent him into the domain of depravity so that we may have eternal life through Him.  This is the Love of God, this is real love.
  • And not that we loved God- God did not do this because we loved Him. We were actually against Him, disobedient, distrustful, and dishonoring. We hid from Him. We are unrighteous rebels, hell-bent on living life on our own terms in doing things our own way.
  • God sent His son into a rebel occupied war zone so we can have eternal life through Him.
  • He did this by sacrificing himself. He didn’t go in and disarm the bomb, but he threw himself on the grenade and died for our sins so that we can go free. This is real love, this is the love of God for you and for me. You can never say that God does not love you – God showed how much he loved you by sending his one and only son into the world so that you might have eternal life through him.
  • You are loved, not because of who you are, but because of who He is.
  • You cannot earn the love of God or be deserving of it. You are worthy of love because He made you and Has chosen to love you.
  • The implications of being truly and fully loved by God are these:
    • You are loved by God, so therefore you don’t have to look for love from others but can love others because you are fully loved.
    • You are loved by God, so therefore you have great value! You should never give yourself to people who abuse, neglect, mistreat, or abandon you, or to those who seek to destroy, dismantle or disfigure you. You have no right to not love what God loves, which is you!
    • You are loved by God, so therefore you are never alone. You are never forgotten. You are never on your own. He is with you and He is for you.
    • You are loved by God, so therefore He should be treasured by us above all things.
  • A love like His, should be treasured by hearts like ours.

The heart that treasures

  • We have now come to the character from the Christmas story that responded to the love of God with the right heart, as shown in the Son of God. Her name is Mary.

 

Luke 2:15-19 ESV

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.

 

  • The shepherds told people what they had heard from the angels and seen in the manger. People wondered about these things, but Mary had a different response. She did not wonder but rather she chose to treasure these things in her heart.
  • Again, later on in the same chapter of Luke, we see Mary having the same response to Jesus when He was 12 years old.

 

Luke 2:47-52 NIV

Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

 

49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”  50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

 

51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.

 

  • God’s great gift of love in Jesus made people wonder about him. People were amazed by his understanding and his answers. In contrast, we see Mary’s response: she treasured all these things in her heart.
  • Mary treasured what was said about him. She treasured what he said. She treasured what he did. She treasured who he was. Mary treasured Him.
  • Mary treasured him more than gold and gifts. Mary treasured him more than fame and fanfare. Mary treasured him more than supernatural and spiritual. Mary treasured him more than her mate and her marriage. Mary treasured him more than provision and protection. Mary treasured him above all things.
  • Do you treasure Jesus (who is the Christ, who is the Savior, who is the King, who is the Lord, who is the exact representation of the Father, who is the love of God for the world) more than anything and more than anyone? Jesus said:

 

Matt 10:37-38 ESV

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 

 

  • Do you treasure Him? Do you treasure Him more than anything and more than anyone?
  • For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matt 6:21 ESV)
  • You treasure what you love, and you love what you treasure.
  • Where does Jesus rank in the treasure of your heart? Is He even a treasure of your heart?  Is he someone that you wonder about? Is he someone whose power and teaching amazes you?  Is he relegated to a file in your head or is he the treasure of your heart?
  • We can have a lot of treasures in our hearts, from family to friends, fashion to finances, guns, cars, houses, sports, our appearance, our health or just about anything. Do you treasure him more, and how do you know what you treasure?  This is how you know:

 

Luke 6:45 ESV

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

 

  • You know what your heart treasures by what your life produces and what your mouth speaks. Do you talk about Jesus? Do you praise him? Do you spend time with him? Do you talk to him, think about him, honor him, cherish him, look for him, anticipate seeing him, are you in love with him? Do you treasure him?  Can you say  alongside Paul that:

 

Phil 3:8-10 NIV

I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ — the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death

 

  • The people who treasure Christ about all things and willingly give all things to be found in Him are the people who know Christ and the power of his resurrection. They join with him in the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, and become like him in his death by giving themselves for others by taking up their cross and dying daily to themselves.
  • If you treasure Him, keep going, keep loving, keep serving, keep praising, keep knowing and keep making known.
  • If you know that you don’t treasure him, or you know that He is not the highest treasure of your heart, acknowledge the truth, confess and repent. Ask God to forgive you, ask him to renew your heart and choose to remove the evil that you treasure.
  • How do you grow to treasure something or someone more? You spend time with them, you get to know them, you learn about them, you think about them, you act like them and then you honor them with your life . . .  you speak of them with your mouth . . .

 

Conclusion

  • Hopefully you have gained a solid understand of the love of God for you, and that you will build and live your life on this foundation.
  • Hopefully you are moved by the Spirit of God to love, honor, and treasure Christ above all things and to give evidence of this by what you produce with your life and what you talk about.

 

Questions for the week ahead:

  1. What about the love of God spoke to you personally today?
  2. Do you treasure Jesus above all things? If you don’t, what are you going to do to change?