Sermon:  The Love of God

1.  Have you ever tried to read the Bible through in a year?
2.  Fine until you get to Leviticus, bogged down
3.  Some choose to practially ignore the Old Testament
	a.  SOme act as they do not realize it is also the word of God
	b.  For others, it is simply because it is hard to wade through
	c.  Sometimes needs a guide before navigating through it
		- ILL:  Like the mission trip to Belarus
		- Had orientations meetings
		- Still felt out of place there, but able to navigate better
4.  What does the Old Testament convey, what is it all about?  Central point?
	a.  Many different answers
		- Sinfulness of man
		- Show how world began
		- Show the need for Christ
		- These are there, but they tendency to center on man
	b.  Old Testament begins with GOD
	c.  Central message is God and his character
5.  Many have a wrong idea of God in the Old Testament
	a.  Some think he is wrath in OT and love in the NT
		- Lev 10:1-3 - Read about Nadab and Abihu, God struck them down
		- But in NT, God is love, he forgives, he is gracious and kind
	b.  But Acts 5:1-11 - Ananias and Saphira are ALSO struck down
	c.  Old Testament also declares God is love
		- Hosea - God's love is seen vividly
		- Hos 11:9 - God received rebellious Israel back as a beloved son
	d.  Point - SAME God in both the OT and NT
6.  (Ex 34:6-7) - Look at God's self proclamation

I.  God is compassionate
	A.  Heb root:  RHM - "womb"
	B.  Idea is mother like compassion
	C.  Is 66:9-13 - Sses mother imagery to speak of his comfort for his people

II.  God is gracious
	A.  God does not give what is deserved, he gives grace
	B.  Ps 103:8-10
	C.  Grace and compassion go together

III.  God is slow to anger
	A.  Some seem surprised, they think God is quick to wrath
	B.  Gen 15:16 - Sin of the Amorite is not yet full
		1.  Kathleen Kenyon, archaeologist - Oldest layer Jericho 8000 B.C.
		2.  Conquest of Jericho about 1300 B.C.
		3.  Do the math - It was 6700 years before Jericho destroyed
		4.  God's patience for these Gentiles was for 6700 years!
	C.  Similar point with his own people
		1.  Exodus happened around 1400 B.C.
		2.  Israel falls in 721 B.C.,  Judah falls in 586 B.C.
		3.  What going on - Pagan worship, sexual immorality, oppression, 
		     trying to appease God to get what they want, child sacrifice, etc.
		5.  Do the math 
			a.  God patience with Israel - 679 years
			b.  God's patience with Juda - 814 years
			c.  Think about how long that is!  Older that the USA!
	D.  God is truly slow to anger

IV.  Abounding in Lovingkindness
	A.  Tough word to translate - Hesed
		1.  Love, mercy, loyalty, steadfast love
		2.  Covenant loyalty/love
		3.  NAS - Always translates this as "lovingkindess"
	B.  Heb 6:13-19
		1.  God swore by himself
		2.  We have hope as an anchor
		3.  It is sure and steadfast
	C.  God is an anchor - He is abounding in covenant loyalty and love
	D.  It brought Jesus to the cross

V.  Abounding in Truth
	A.  God does not lie, he is truth
	B.  The word "truth" also means truthfulness or faithfulness
		1.  Heb - Emet, which is from Amen
		2.  Amen - Word Jesus used - Verily, or truly truly I say to you
		3.  It means trustworthy, truthful, faithful
	C.  Jer 33:20-22 - If you can do..what is impossible
		-  Point - God will not break his covenant
	D.  God had a purpose that is thousands of years old, he has not deviated 
	      from it after all that time.  Think about it

IV.  Forgives iniquity, transgression, and sin
	A.  Yes, in the Old Testament, God forgives
	B.  This is the SAME God
		1.  Some claim that God never truly forgave until Christ
		2.  Blood of bulls and goats not take away sin - true
		3.  Sacrifices were a reminder of sin, but not take it away - true
	C.  However, even though sacrifices not take sin away, God did forgive on 
	      the basis of his own character
		1.  Seen vividly in the cross
		2.  God forgave even sins previously committed

V.  God does not leave the guilty unpunished, does not clear the guilty
	A.  Seems to negate everything else
		1.  Doesn't this affirm God is wrathful God in the Old Testament?
		2.  God is a God that punishes
	B.  He does not clear the guilty - Why?  Because he loves
		1.  Hos 2:8-16 - God imposes sanctions on adulterous Israel
		2.  God is interested in getting his beloved back
	C.  ILL:  Say a man marries a woman, very much in love with her
		1.  She is huge part of his life
		2.  Comes home, finds she is not there
		3.  Finds out she has been going to clubs, seeing other men
		4.  Ways he could respond
			a.  Okay, I'll just clear you, I'll forget it, no consequences
				- What does this say about him?
				- Shows he doesn't care much about her
			b.  If he loves her, he is not going to just clear her
				- Going to tell her this is unacceptable
				- I want you here when I get home, not out dating
				- Will be sanctions and consequences
				- Why?  Because he loves her!
		5.  It is because of God's love that he does not clear the guilty
	D.  Notice what is first and prominent about his character
		1.  Keeps lovingkindess for thousands
		2.  Visits the iniquity of the fathers ONLY to the 3rd and fourth 

VI.  Psalm 136 - Song recounts how Yahweh's lovingkindness is everlasting
	A.  v.5-9 - Demonstrated in his creation
		1.  Separated the waters, day and night
		2.  Everything for us to be able to live
	B.  v.10-20 - Demonstrated in the Exodus
		1.  Delivered from oppression and slavery, safely through the sea
		2.  Defeated Pharaoh, army and other enemies
	C.  v.21-22 - Demonstrated in the gift of the land
		1.  Gave them land as a heritage
		2.  Just like he promised
	D.  Needs some more verses for Christians
		1.  Sent Jesus to die for our sins
		2.  Gave forgiveness, life, Holy Spirit, Advocate, Father, Brethren

1.  God is love - has been, is, and will always be - Love
2.  Puts some perspective on love passage
	a.  John 13:34-35
	b.  1 John 4:7