The Love of God
We have for our subject this evening, “Love.” I have often thought I wouldn’t have but one text; if I thought I could only make the world believe that God is love, I would only take that text, and go up and down the earth, trying to counteract what Satan has been telling them – that God is not love. He has made the world believe it effectually. It would not take twenty-four hours to make the world come to God, if you can only make them believe God is love. If you can really make a man believe you love him, you have won him; and if I could only make people really believe that God loves them, what a rush we would see for the kingdom of God! Oh, how they would rush in! But man has got a false idea about God, and he will not believe that he is a God of love. It is because he don’t know him.
John telling us about the love God has for this perishing world, writes in this epistle, in the evening of his life, these words: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God, and he that loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is love.” We built a church in Chicago a few years ago, and we were so anxious to make people believe that God is love, that we thought if we could not preach it into their hearts, we would burn it in, and so right over the pulpit we had the words put in gas jets, “God is love,” and every night we had it there. A man going along there one night glanced in through the door and saw the text. He was a poor prodigal, and he passed on, and as he walked away, be said to himself, “God is love? No. God is not love. God does not love me. He does not love me, for I am a poor, miserable sinner. If God was love, he would love me. God is not love.” Yet there the text was, burning down into his soul. And he went on a little further, and turned around and came back and went into the meeting. He didn’t hear what the sermon was, but the text got into his heart, and that is what we want. It is of very little account what men say, if God’s word only gets into the heart. And he stayed after meeting was over, and I found him there weeping like a child; but as I unfolded the Scripture, and told him how God had loved him from his earliest childhood all along, the light of the gospel broke into his mind, and he went away rejoicing.
Now, our brother who opened the meeting with prayer referred to the difference between human and divine love. That is the very trouble with us. We are all the time measuring God’s love by ours. We know that we love a man as long as he is worthy, and then we cast him off; but that is not divine love. There would be no hope for any of us if the Lord did that; and I have the idea that our mothers are to blame for a good deal of that, in their teaching during our childhood. They tell their children that the Lord loves them when they are good children, and when they are bad children the Lord does not love them. That is false teaching. God loves them all the time, just the same as you love your children. Suppose a mother should come in here with a little child, and after she has been here awhile, the child begins to cry, and she says, “Keep still;” but the child keeps on crying, and so she turns him over to the police, and says, “Take that child; I don’t want him.” What would you say of such a mother as that? Teach a child that God loves him only so long as he is good, and that when he is bad, the Lord does not love him; and you will find that when he grows up, if he has a bad temper, he will have the idea that God hates him, he will think God don’t love him when he has got a bad temper; and as he has a bad temper all the time, of course God does not love him at all, but hates him all the time. Now God hates sin, but he loves the sinner; and there is a great difference between the love of God and our love – all the difference in the world between the human and the divine love.
~ This is from Mr. Moody’s sermon “Love of God” in The Gospel Awakening