by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: Psalm 136:1-26
I. I was reading a book that began to speak of the love of God.
A. As many denominational writers do, he referred to the unconditional love of God.
B. By this, he and others believe that God loves all people, no matter how they behave.
1. Often a parallel is drawn to the mother who still loves her son, no matter what evil he has done.
C. But I cannot recall a passage where God’s love is described as being unconditional.
II. God’s love
A. It is enduring - Psalm 136
B. It will follow the believer all his days - Psalm 23:6
C. Its extent was demonstrated when Christ died for us while we where still sinners - Romans 5:8
D. We know love by the demonstration of God’s love for us - I John 3:16
III. Yet nowhere does it say God loves us if we remain sinners. It is not unconditional acceptance.
A. God wants people to repent - Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11
B. The reason the world continues is to give people a chance to repent - II Peter 3:9
1. But notice the implication. What happens when a person does not repent?
C. God desires all men to be saved - I Timothy 2:4
1. The implication is that all men will not be saved
D. God’s kindness leads men to repentance, but he will demonstrate his wrath on the stubborn - Romans 2:4-8
E. God was patient in the days of Noah, yet the entire world was destroyed except for 8 people - I Peter 3:20
1. Did God not love the world? Of course he did!
2. That is why warnings were given. That is why Noah preached for 120 years.
F. God’s love is shown in his willingness to wait, but we should not mistake that patience as acceptance of who we are. God gave a church time to repent and when it did not, he cast it out - Revelation 2:20-23.
G. God longs to be gracious - Isaiah 30:18
1. What hinders him? Man’s stubbornness in remaining in his sins.
IV. Yet, the rejection of God does not nullify his great love for us
A. Romans 3:3-6 - God is just in judging this world.
B. Even though he demonstrated a love beyond full comprehension towards man, he still demands that man believes and turn to him.
C. The greatest demonstration of love was shown in sacrificing himself for man - John 15:13
D. John 3:16-19 - God so loved the world, but man will be judged because of their love for evil.
V. Will that love change you? - Romans 2:4-6