Love God XII-Loving those Benefits

Introduction: One Must Be Temperate
Carl J. Printz was Norway’s leading ambassador to Canada for almost 35years. He was as fine as a statesman as anyone could find. When he was 99 years old a reporter asked him,
Give us a rule you have followed during your life. A rule which has most influenced your life and molded your character.
Printz reflected on this question for a moment and then replied,
I would mention one definite rule – one must be temperate in all things. He then paused and added, Perhaps I should say temperate in all things except one – fulfilling the commandment to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. This is the only things we can rightly do with excess.
Yes, it is excessive to love God “With all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.” Loving God excessively is the way he wants us to love him and the way he deserves to be loved by us. Loving God in this way was the underlying purpose of our summer long “Love God” series which we conclude today. We do so by focusing on a few of the amazing rewards God will lavish upon those that genuinely love him.
Transactional Qualifier
Before we check out some of those rewards I just want to take a moment to reiterate what was emphasized earlier in the series. The greatest way to love for God is to love him merely and sheerly for who he is. To love him for “nothing,” so to speak, not for what he does, and/or can do for us. No relationship can be considered healthy if it is based on tit-for-tat, quid pro quo, or is transactional in nature or performance based.
However, the great news is that God does promise us oodles and noodles worth of rewards for those who do indeed love (no matter how imperfect that love is)! He does so, NOT to bribe us into loving him or even to love him more, but so that we might stay faithful and motivated. “Membership has its rewards” the old American Express commercial reminds us and so too does loving God. We are wired for reward! God created us this way so he offers us a many rewards to keep us growing deeper in our love for him. As Timothy Keller states “Jesus asks for far more than we ever thought but offers more than we ever dreamed.”
Rewards #1 Divine Attention
There are tons of rewards God has promised to those who love him. Let’s look at a few of them today. The first is divine attention which comes from Psalm 145:20 and I Corinthians 3:8
The Lord watches over all who love Him.
Those who love God are known by God.
The Psalmist says the Lord watches over us, not in some general or vague way, but carefully, much like when a mother watches over her baby. God has detailed files on every one of us. Listen to what Jesus said in Luke 10:30, “Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Obviously, the older we get the less hairs there is to account for! The reason Jesus told us that God knows even the smallest details of our lives is so that we wouldn’t fear being alone, or on our ever, no matter how small, tiny, or insignificant we might feel in the vastness of our universe or even our planet with almost 8 billion people on it! When Paul says, “Those who love God are known by God,” he is saying that God knows who you are! God knows your name, your dreams and hopes and also your fears and tears. They say you can only love someone when you know them. Well God fully knows and fully loves us!
#2 Eternal Home With God
In John 14:23 Jesus promised:
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.
Jesus said this right after informing his disciples that he must go way BUT “In my Father’s house there are many rooms… and I go to prepare one of them for you.” (v2-3). This is the reward of an eternal home with God himself. The old church ditty is apropos here:
I got a mansion just over the hilltop. In that bright land where we’ll never grow old.
And someday yonder we’ll never more wonder but walk on streets that are purest gold.
This reward is similar to Luke 12:32 where Jesus promises:
Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.
The apostle James adds (2:5)
Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised those who love Him.
In some way this reward fleshes out I Corinthians 2:9
No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human mind has fathomed
the things God has prepared for those who love Him.
Does the reward of an eternal home with God “magger your stachination” as much as it does mine? I can’t wait to get my eternal “man cave!”
#3 Amazing Grace
Our 3rd reward comes from Ephesians 6:24
Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.
How many of you have ever failed, fell short, blew it, or bumbled, stumbled, and fumbled? How many of you have ever suffered the spiritual indigestion of eating too may M&Ms: mistakes, miscommunication, or misunderstanding? How many of you have felt like you disappointed God? Well no more. Amazing grace, or unmerited favor, is ours in bushel baskets for loving God is yet another reward for loving God. Grace is the fundamental way God sees us, thinks of us, and treats us. Embedded in this amazing grace is love, acceptance, and forgiveness! Grace closes the gap between divine expectations and human weakness. Grace means that God doesn’t “throw the baby out with the bathwater” just because the baby isn’t perfect. When we love God we dive headfirst into the pool of grace and we don’t want to be rescued!
#4 Absolute Goodness
Our 4th reward for loving God comes from the Mount Everest text of Romans 8:28
In all things God is working the good for those who love God
and are called according to his purposes.
Absolute goodness is the most comprehensive reward found in the Bible. It reflects what David celebrated in Psalm 23:6, “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life…” A quick qualifier. The phrase is “In all things” not “all things are good.” Somehow and someway God is working the good IN all the things we experience in life and the “all” means the “all.” As awesome as this reward is it is not saying all things we experience in life are good. That would directly contradict what Jesus said in John 16:33, “In this world you have mucho trouble.” However, regardless of our hurt, frustration, pain. Regardless of the good, bad, and indifferent (corona?). Regardless of the storms that rage on the rolling sea of our lives there is not one second that God is not using it for the absolute goodness for those who love him. Of course, we will have to wait for eternity to connect the “goodness” dots but rest assured that whatever we encounter, whenever we encounter it, and wherever we encounter it, God is working the good in it!
Conclusion
I wish we could extend our “Love God” series for ten more years but whose loving these benefits of loving God? I am, so now let’s conclude with a bang. That bang is Romans 8:31-32
31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
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