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Pastor Stephen Behrman
Pastor Stephen Behrman
Sunday, July 19, 2020
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Acknowledging God as Love

By Pastor Stephen, July 19, 2020

To be alive, coinhabiting this earth along with the billions of fellow inhabitants, there are endless occasions to be offended, frustrated, angered, rejected, discouraged and simply in strife with any or all of those we encounter here. Each of these opportunities also comes with a way to respond in a way that seems supported according to a perceived wrong done. Understanding and dealing with these response triggers in a way that keeps them from becoming detrimental to self and others is something that should be a part of character development and maturity. However, this ability is much less developed than the alternative, just letting go with whatever thought, verbalization or action that seems appropriate at the moment. Relationships, organizations and even societies are under a continual threat of dissolution because of ever-ignited conflicts. This has, and always will be, the status of humanity here on this earth. A solution exists, but is very rarely applied.

While this seems to be a bit of a hopeless condition for the overwhelming majority of us, there is Someone, the One in whose likeness we were made, who is Himself the resolution of destructive responses. He is many amazing things, but the most incredible thing of all is that He is love. In Him is a response that makes reconciliation possible no matter the extent of the intended or unintended offense. In His love is the otherwise impossible, an ability to not even notice a wrong done and forgive as if it were never an issue in the first place. Beyond the lack of destructive response to a negative, His love actually thinks the very best of the most questionable individuals, acting in a way that would help them to be freed from their bondage to wrongdoing. It’s only in the love of God that acquiring the plague of hate and revenge can be averted and kept from spreading.

Though love has undergone many definitions and perceptions that has morphed it into a fuzzy emotion that one can fall in and out of, true love, the matchless love of God can only be found in acknowledging Him. By simply recognizing that He is love, honoring and worshiping Him as such, and partaking of His divine nature of love, it becomes ours to display a reaction to life’s conflicts in way that is far removed from the natural worldly one. Instead of destructive and divisive retaliations, the love of God will result in mended and strengthened relationships and even whole societies. There is great hope in any conflict, but that hope is only sure when it is established and maintained in the acknowledged love of God.



  • To be alive is to be faced with endless opportunities to be offended, rejected, frustrated, angered – in strife.
  • This is the greatest threat to relationships, organizations, and societies.
  • It’s in the response that life or death reside.
  • Only with love that disallows self-consideration that life can arise/remain
  • In God’s love - the action and defense of true love

Acknowledging God as Love

  • The simple acceptance of existence - Recognize
  • Gain knowledge - Respect
  • Influenced by - Respond

Recognizing God as Love

Love – God’s defining characteristic

1 John 4:8-9 (NIV) 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Abounding Love – forgiveness/punishment

Exodus 34:6-7 (NIV) 6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”

Love’s forgiveness – assured with the call

Psalms 86:5 (NIV) 5 You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.

Right here/right now/anywhere – God’s love

Romans 8:35-39 (NIV) 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God is love – is:

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV) 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

Respecting/Worshiping God as Love

When seen – Will worship

Exodus 34:8 8 Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped.

Believing = Worship

John 3:16 (NIV) 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

With expectant worship of God’s love - protection

Psalms 33:17-19 (TPT) 17 Human strength and the weapons of man are false hopes for victory; they may seem mighty but they will always disappoint. 18 The eyes of the Lord are upon even the weakest worshipers who love him—those who wait in hope and expectation for the strong, steady love of God. 19 God will deliver them from death, even the certain death of famine, with no one to help.

Worship of evil vs Worship of God’s Love

Psalms 52:2-9 (TPT) 2 Listen, O deceiver, trickster of others: Your words are wicked, harming and hurting all who hear them. 3 You love evil and hate what is good and right. You would rather lie than tell the truth. Pause in his presence 4 You love to distort, devour, and deceive, using your sly tongue to spin the truth. 5 But the Almighty will strike you down forever! He will pull you up by your roots and drag you away to the darkness of death. Pause in his presence 6 The godly will see all this and will be awestruck. Then they will laugh at the wicked, saying, 7 “See what happens to those great in their own eyes who don’t trust in the Most High to save them! Look how they trusted only in their wealth and made their living from wickedness.” 8 But I am like a flourishing olive tree, anointed in the house of God. I trust in the unending love of God; his passion toward me is forever and ever. 9 Because it is finished I will be praising you forever and giving you thanks. Before all your godly lovers I will proclaim your beautiful name!

Responding/Conforming to God’s Love

With exposure to God’s love in worship - transformation

Titus 3:3-7 (NIV) 3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

Love’s transformation – observed response – affected identity

Ephesians 2:1-10 (NIV) 1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Our love – only possible through knowledge/experience of Him/Love

1 John 4:10-19 (NIV) 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.

Love’s transformation maintained

Jude 1:17-21 (NIV) 17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. 20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

Knowing Him/Love – validated through transformation

John 13:35 (NIV) 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."