************ Wedding Sermon on 1 John 4:7-16 ************

By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman

This sermon was preached on January 6, 2017

1 John 4:7-16
Wedding of Jonathan & Alyssa Kamberg

Jonathan & Alyssa, you will shortly be making a promise and a vow to love each other. What is this love? How do you get it??

Our world doesn't have a clue what love, real love, is. Many Christians don't know either. Too often, we confuse love with attraction; we think we are "falling in love" when we are attracted to the other person's looks, personality, money, family. Or, we confuse love with the passion we know as lust. Or, we confuse love with friendship.

Did you catch what your Bible reading says is love, real love? We hear the definition for love in verse 10:
(1 Jn 4:10) This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Do you want to know what love, real love, looks like? Look to the cross. Look to the cross of Christ. Look at Him suffering and dying for the sins of those who believe in Him. That is love. That is the most loving act ever performed in history. This is a giving love, a serving love, a sacrificial love.

Your Bible reading tells us that "love comes from God" (1 Jn 4:7). Love comes from God because "God is love." Love is part of God's nature. This tells us God is the source of love. God is the well-spring of love.

Jonathan & Alyssa, do you want this love? Well, then, you need to go to God. You need to have a relationship with God in Christ. Earlier in his letter John speaks to this when he says, "And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ ..." (1 Jn 3:23). And, in your Bible reading you are told "If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God" (1 Jn 4:15). If you believe, because of the Spirit working in you, you are filled with God. If you are filled with God, you are filled with the love of God. Now, I know you both believe. I know you are a Christian couple. I know that yours will be a Christian marriage. Therefore, I can say with confidence that you have the love of God within you.

Your Bible reading also gives you a command: "love one another" (1 Jn 4:7,11). We need to have a command because, by nature, we are unloving people. By nature we are selfish, self-serving, self-centered, self-seeking. By nature we are rude, proud, easily angered. By nature we keep a record of wrongs. By nature we are anything but loving.

"Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another" (1 Jn 4:11). You are called, Jonathan & Alyssa, to imitate God, to be like God. Just like little children imitate their parents, so you need to imitate God. In your marriage you need to be like God. In your marriage you need to have a giving love, a serving love, a sacrificial love.

This love, like God's, is supposed to be unconditional. God doesn't say, "I will love you when you are nice, when you obey, when you read the Bible and pray, when you put money in the offering plate." His love is unconditional. It has to be or we would be in trouble. This means you are to love like God even when you don't feel like it, even when the other person is snarly and grouchy, even when you have a bad day and are filled with pain. I saw you do that through the accident, the surgery, the therapy. I saw your love through all the visits I made. Keep showing that love, regardless of the circumstance.

Because God is eternal, His love is eternal. Jonathan & Alyssa, if your love is like God's, then your love never ends. This is difficult for us to grasp. In this life and on this earth we are so used to things failing: our friendships, our cars, our electricity, our best ideas, our government, our marriages, our travel plans, our appliances. But love, true love, never ends.

I want to end with your testimony, your witness. Your love, your never ending love, your sacrificial love, Jonathan & Alyssa, shows the world and the church and your family that God lives in you. When people look at your love-filled marriage do you know what they see? They see God!
(1 Jn 4:12) No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Dear Jonathan & Alyssa, love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
You can e-mail our pastor at: Pastor, Trinity United Reformed Church
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