September 26, 2021
How Far Will Love Go?
SONG: JESUS LOVES ME
I John 1:4-7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10 Herein 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 ought also to love one another.
It has been said that “Love make the world go around.
If love doesn’t make the world go around, it sure makes the trip worthwhile.
Love will make you do things you thought were not possible.
Love will even sometimes make you do crazy things.
…When I was engaged I had been away from my Julie for two weeks so I drove 40 straight hours so I could see her.
LOVE will make a father or mother get up at 3 am and change a baby’s diaper or give it a bottle.
LOVE made a man in southern California, who had never been in a fight before , fight off 4 men who were threatening he and his family.
LOVE made a German woman lift a 2 ton vehicle off of her husband when the jack fell and he was under the vehicle.
LOVE will give you power over things in your life.
In the scripture that I read, John was saying goodbye to his congregation and encouraged them to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
“We want something new,” they said, “Give us a new commandment.”
John replied, “Brethren I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which you have heard from the beginning…That we should LOVE one another.” (I John 2:7; 3:11)
LOVE is God’s nature implanted in us.
It shines brightest, endures the longest, carries the most hope, and remains forever.
HOW FAR WILL LOVE GO?
Let me take you to a story from the Old Testament found in 2 Samuel 21.
1 Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David inquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites.
David was king. But we don't find him dancing before the Lord with all his might.
The women or not singing about him killing his 10,000.
The widows of the Ashdod were not trembling at the sound of his trumpets.
The remnant of Rabbah are not looking on him in all as he enters their city.
The Philistines are not hiding in fear because David, the giant killer is headed in their direction.
David, the man after gods own heart, is ruling over a nation in trouble.
Famine had parched the feels of Israel.
Chariot wheels stir up more dust than at any time in memory.
Grain has been scraped from the barren crevices of the storage silos.
Hunger is a constant visitor.
Even the skinny animals have an exhausting, crazed to look in there eye.
The sons and daughters of Abraham are crying, “Where is the rain an abundance of our God Jehovah?”
But God's chosen king, the sweet psalmist of Israel, turns in desperation to the Lord.
Godly men always inquire of the Lord in a time of great need.
At Ai, when 36 of Israel's men or slain, Joshua fell on his face and inquired of the Lord.
On the hill of Moreh, with the Midianites “as thick as grasshoppers” in the valley below, getting in place a fleece on the ground and cried to the Lord.
Samson, his eyes hollow and his enemies making sport of his utter hopelessness, locked up and inquired of the Lord, Saying, “Lord, remember me.”
Elisha's inquiry of the Lord in Dothan, when the hosts of Syria had him surrounded was for God to open the eyes of his young servant and show him the real circumstances.
The city besieged on every side. Sennecherib and the Assyrian army had sent Hezekiah a letter asking for his surrender, but Hezekiah inquired of the Lord and God gave the victory.
Godly men always inquire of the Lord, for He is an unfailing source.
When Good men inquire, God gives and answer.
Back to 2 Samuel 21.
The story of Rizpah in this chapter is one of the greatest LOVE stories ever recorded.
The Gibeonites had dwelt peaceably in Canaan since the days of Joshua.
In Joshua 9:15, Israel had made a treaty with them, although the Gibeonites forefathers obtained the treaty through craftiness, wisdom, and foresight.
They had even agreed to become “carriers of water, and hewers of wood” just for the privilege of dwelling peaceably with God’s people.
Saul in his zeal to impress Israel and re-establish some of his own popularity, conspired to destroy the Gibeonites.
He and his sons committed war crimes against these innocent people.
When David heard of the injustice, he sought out the injured Gibeonite leaders and asked them what could be done to satisfy justice and stay the wrath of God.
The Gibeonites didn’t ask for silver or gold nor for any punishment against Israel.
They just wanted the guilty to be punished by their own nation.
They called for the death of Saul’s sons.
Rizpeh had been the concubine of King Saul, and two of the men to be hanged in Gibeah were her sons.
She had once dwelt in the palace and now she was a pauper.
She had once had the attention of the king, but now she remains silent.
Her heart is shattered as the horses leap forward and the ropes grip tightly the necks of her sons.
She had watched them grow as stout hearted boys.
Now this mother is helpless to help the sons she loves.
Rizpeh takes a piece of sackcloth and spends it on a rock near the hanging tree.
The bodies are cut down and left to decompose; they are denied a decent burial in order to set examples.
But for the next 150 days, from the beginning of barley harvest until rain fell from heaven, Rizpeh guards the remains of those seven sons of Saul.
Her ears listened every night for the footsteps of the jackal or some other scavenger.
Her sunburned face scans the heavens so she can scare away the vultures during the day.
The bones of the seven became bleached white in the sun.
TO STAND GUARD WAS HER GIFT OF LOVE.
Only LOVE could provide this kind of motivation…
Only LOVE could forge this kind of determination…
Only LOVE could furnish this kind of resolution.
Only LOVE could go this far.
Don’t give up on your kids… Your prayers may be keeping away the very thing that could ultimately destroy them.
When the news of Rizpeh’s act reaches King David, he sends for the bones of Jonathan and Saul.
With their bones and the bones of the seven, they conduct a stately burial ceremony, and after that “God was entreated for the land.”
HOW FAR WILL LOVE GO?
LOVE made Abraham go after Lot.
Lot deserved no such consideration.
Choosing the well watered plain, he left his uncle Abraham on the rocky hillsides.
His tent pitched toward Sodom and his family became infected with its sin.
But when Lot was taken captive by the fierce kings of the plain, Abraham risked his life and limb, along with 318 of his choice servants, to rescue the nephew he loved.
LOVE MADE AMOS TAKE TO WIFE THE HARLOT GOMER.
Love made Amos take back his wife after she had played the harlot and lived a promiscuous life.
Amos’ LOVE showed Israel God’s LOVE for them, because even though Israel had served other God’s, God still loved them.
LOVE CAUSE THE APOSTLE PAUL TO SPEAK UP FOR THE RUNAWAY SLAVE.
He told Philemon, Onesimus’ Christian master, that if he owed anything “just charge that to my account.”
He had begotten Omesimus in the Lord while he was a prisoner.
LOVE made him plead for Philemon’s understanding.
LOVE MADE STEPHEN’S FACE SHINE LIKE THAT OF AN ANGEL AS HE PRAYED FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF HIS OWN EXECUTIONERS.
LOVE could not be stopped by pelting stones or gnashing teeth or wicked men.
Stephen, because of LOVE, did not hesitate to plead with His Father, the Father of all mercies to go the extra mile.
LOVE WILL GO THE EXTRA MILE.
LOVE gives not only the shirt but also the coat.
LOVE turns the other cheek.
LOVE prays for its enemies.
LOVE causes you to do good to those who despitefully use you.
LOVE’S LONGEST JOURNEY TOOK IT TO CALVARY.
LOVE had never taken a trip like the one it took when the eternal son of God, butchered and bleeding ascended the hill of the skull.
LOVE poured out like water for a dying, sin-sick humanity.
Every clout of the hammer, reinforced our Father’s LOVE.
Every drop of blood and every bead of sweat showed the unfathomable LOVE.
As the spear opened His side, a fountain of LOVE was opened up “into the House of David for sin and uncleanness.”
John 3:16, “For God so LOVED the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
THE SONGWRITER LANNY WOLFE WROTE:
God could have chosen to never love again
Fallen man could go his way and die in his sin
But God in His compassion said, “I’ll pay redemption’s price”
So He took on the form of man and became the perfect sacrifice.
If riches could have paid the debt, then God could have sold
All the walls of Jasper, all the streets of purest gold
But He knew the price of one lost soul was more than wealth could buy
And if redemption were ever bought only love could really satisfy.
Let’s break it down…
“God” - the greatest lover.
“So Loved” - The greatest degree.
“The World” - The greatest number.
“That He Gave” - The greatest act.
“His only begotten Son” - The greatest gift.
“That whosoever” - The greatest invitation.
“Believeth” - The greatest simplicity.
“In Him” - The greatest person.
“Should not perish” - The greatest deliverance.
“But” - The greatest difference.
“Have” - The greatest certainty.
“Everlasting life” - The greatest possession.
He showed how much He LOVED by giving His life as a ransom for our souls.
How Much Did God Love Us? - He stretched His arms and said, “This much.”
William Dixon lived in Brackenwaite, England. He was a widower who had lost a son. One day he saw a house of one of his neighbors was on fire. Although the aged owner was rescued, her orphaned grandson was trapped in the blaze. Dixon climbed an iron pipe on the side of the house and lowered the boy to safety. His hand that held onto the pipe was badly burned.
Shortly after the fire, the grandmother died. The townspeople wondered who would care for the boy. Two volunteers appeared before the town council. One was a father who had lost his own son and would like to adopt the orphan as his own. William Dixon was to speak next, but instead of saying anything he merely held up his scarred hand. When the vote was taken, the boy was given to him.
LOVE will hold out its nail-scarred hand and show His LOVE toward us.
LOVE’S Journey did not end at Calvary.
LOVE “Led captivity captive and gave gifts unto men.”
On the third day, God did not leave His soul in Hell nor suffer thy Holy One to see corruption.
That Spirit that LOVED us, quickened His mortal body and raised the Son of Righteousness from the dead.
The songwriter must have understood the vastness of God’s LOVE when he picked up the pen and wrote:
Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made;
Were ev’ry stalk on earth a quill.
and ev’ry man, a scribe by trade;
To write the LOVE of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Tho’ stretched from sky to sky.
Oh, how I LOVE Him, How I adore Him,
My breath my sunshine, My all in all.
The great Creator became my Savior,
And all God’s fulness, dwelleth in Him.
Augustine wrote, “God LOVES each of us as if there were only one of us.”
LOVE goes father, reaches higher, delves lower, and sings sweeter than anything else.
Tongues one day will cease, and knowledge will vanish as the morning fog, but LOVE will never fail and it will remain forever.
“And now abideth faith, hope, and LOVE, but the greatest of these is LOVE.” (I Corinthians 13:13)