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1 JOHN 4:8-10

Pastor Stephen Muncherian
September 4, 2004

The passage that _____ read is a tremendous writing about the importance of love - the power of love - the primacy of love - the endurance of true love. We often read 1 Corinthians 13 at weddings - because there's a desire in all of us - when it comes to marriage and relationships - to experience this kind of love that the Apostle Paul is writing about. The love of 1 Corinthians 13 is unusual - unique - and very hard to find in this world.

A little girl was attending a wedding for the first time. She whispered to her mother, Why is the bride dressed in white?”

The mother told her, “Because white is the color of happiness. Today is the happiest day of her life.”

The little thought about that for a moment. Then asked, “So, why is the groom wearing black?”

Marriage today is misunderstood. Marriage is intended by God for joy and happiness - for mutual support and openness - trust and fulfillment. Yet, marriage has become a place of fear and mistrust. Today, people love because of what they can get - not because of what they can give. Real love is absent.

As I’ve been thinking about what to share with you this afternoon - one passage of Scripture has stuck in my mind - as something to encourage you with - and all of us - to encourage us as we desire real love.

In 1 John 1:8, the Apostle John defines love by saying that "God is love." (1 John 4:8b). If we want to know what real love is then we need to look at God. God is the source and definition of love.

John gives us an illustration: "This is how God showed His love for us - how God demonstrated what real love is - He sent His only Son into the world that we might have life through Him. This is what love is: its not that we’ve loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the means by which our sins are forgiven." (1 John 4:9,10 GNB)

God doesn't just talk about love. He acts in love. Before we ever loved God - or we're capable of loving God - He loved us - and gave Himself for us on the cross - dying in our place for our sins - so that we could know His love. God's love is sacrificial - committed to those undeserving of His love - and limited only by our rejection of His love.

_____ and _____ - as your family and friends - its our desire that you experience this quality of love together - sacrificial - committed - love. This is the kind of love that Paul writes about when he says, "The greatest of these is love."

Thinking about real love - I’d like to encourage you to continue doing two things. First: Purpose to more deeply know God - the source of love.

When we first started to get to know each other it was during the College and Career Bible studies. I remember during the discussions how _____ would sit there quietly and then - in this kind of apologetic way - just nail me with some probing question. I appreciate so much the discussions we’ve had - trying to understand God and what it means to live in a relationship with Him.

I love seeing you guys here on Sunday mornings - sitting right back there. With work and all - I know that’s not easy. But, you’ve purposed to put your relationship with God first.

I want to encourage you to keep doing that. In the years ahead - as husband and wife - don’t ever let anything distract you from putting Him first in everything. Devote yourselves together to understanding Him - to deepening your relationship with Him. Pray together. Study His word together. Worship together. Serve Him together.

God - because He is love - God has brought you together. The more you seek to more deeply know Him - the more you’ll find that He will make your marriage work. Not you. But Him. As you seek Him first - He will continue to grow the love for each other that He’s placed within you.

Second encouragement: Purpose to demonstrate God’s love to each other.

In Ephesians 5, Paul writes, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself up for her." (Ephesians 5:25)

In love - Jesus gave everything for the Church. Husbands are to give everything for their wives. _____, your goal is to serve _____ and give yourself up for her. Do everything you can to see that she becomes who God has created her to be. As her husband - lead with love and servanthood following the example of Jesus Christ.

Later in Ephesians 5, Paul writes, “...and let the wife see to it that she respect her husband." (Ephesians 5:33b)

Love expressed through respect - honor. That doesn’t come easy.

Someone once said that marriage is "Choosing to sleep in a bed that's too hot with someone in a room that's too cold." Think about that.

God didn’t wait until we loved Him - so that He’d love us. Jesus died for sinners like us. _____, in love - be committed to respect _____ - not just when its easy.

So many couples endure marriage - or have this strained patience with each other - but they don't know love. When people look at your lives - when your kids - or grandkids look at your lives - may they always see the love of Jesus being lived out.

I think that’s not just my prayer - but the prayer of everyone here. As a church we want to stand with you - to encourage and support you. All of these people have come here today to encourage and support you. We pray that as you come together in marriage you will move forward from here into God's love and the tremendous life He’s prepared for you.


Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible®, © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation.  Used by permission.