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God's Love 1 John 4:7-19  

In the Message version of the New Testament, part of this passage says, "When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us…"

Jesus said in John 14:23 "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him."

I'd like you to use your imagination and think of your life as a house that God lives in. What kind of house is it? Is it a house or a home? House implies a building of four walls and a roof, with x amount of rooms. Home implies warmth, love, welcome, peace, safety, no fear - no secret rooms, no locked doors - open house. Is your life a permanent residence for love to dwell in? Does love have the run of the house?

Think of a new baby born to a loving couple with a loving home - everything the baby needs is provided - food, warmth, protection, a safe place in which to develop and grow into its full potential - all in an atmosphere of love. In fact, the baby doesn't understand what it needs but its parents do and they give unconditional love out of the overflow of their love for the child. Maybe you're a parent and remember how your heart felt like bursting when you had your first child. Within that atmosphere of love the baby flourishes.

This is how God is with us, he takes as newborn babes in Christ and with his immense love provides everything we need - under his hand we flourish and have the opportunity to reach our full potential. That's God's love, unconditional - 1 John 3:1 says, "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us…" The Amplified Bible says, "See what an incredible quality of love the Father has given, shown, bestowed on us, that we should be permitted to be named and called and counted the children of God!" I like the word lavished, it gives a sense of extravagance, richness, no matter what the cost. Let's look at Psalm 23 and see what God gives us in his love:

Everything we need - rest - refreshing and restoration - direction - freedom from fear - protection and safety - good food - overflowing blessings - goodness and love always - the promise of a dwelling place with him, not just for eternity, but now.

Back to our original passage from 1 John 4:11 which says, "Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another…" Jesus says in John 15:9, "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you." and in v12, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you."

If love has the run of our house, that means loving one another in spite of our differences, forgiving one another, helping each other, bearing with one another.

Is he living in your house? Jesus said in Rev 3:20 "Listen, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into his house and eat with him and he will eat with me." If you've asked Jesus into your life, then he has come in and he does eat with you, and you with him - he's at home with you.

If he were to come in person to dinner at your house tonight, what would he find?

One of the things God wants to do in our lives is to help us close the door on things of the past - allow him to come into those rooms in our hearts where we keep things locked away. In his love he wants to help us deal with whatever pain is there. How much space do we give him to do this? If everything is done in an atmosphere of love, God's love, there is no fear in that.

God wants to continually do a new thing in us and in order for him to do this, we have to allow him to sweep away the rubbish of our past and the things that clutter up our house. We can limit him moving in our lives, yet if we allow him to deal with us, then we can experience healing, cleansing, release and freedom and he will be able to open up new things for us - new doors into new rooms.

New discoveries! New challenges! New revelations! can be ours.

To finish with, a word about God's house and his promise that we will dwell in his house, for ever. Jesus said in John 14:2, "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."

There's a sense that we're dwelling in God's house already. Psalm 84:1-2 says, "How lovely is your dwelling-place, O Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God… - v4 says, "Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you."

We've only had a small taste of what it's going to be like in heaven - how lovely to think that we will dwell in the house of the Lord, for ever.

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