Here is today's message based on John 3:16

I wanted to begin today’s sermon telling you a story about two persons and ‘love’.
The one person loved the other more than anything in the world.
And the second person also loved them in return.
They both felt this love in their heart and even told each other they felt this way.

And so the first person would go out of their way and do anything for the other person.
Even if it caused going to some trouble, hardship, or even pain,…they’d still do it.
It was what you’d call love in action.
That’s a love which is more than just a feeling or saying so;.…it’s a love of ‘doing’.
All they wanted in return was the other person to appreciate it and trust their love.

But the second person, who felt so much in love, often didn’t pay attention to the other.
They would often put their own needs and interests first much of the time.
And if they ever did anything that hurt the other person they seldom said they’re sorry.
So the first person wondered just how much the other appreciated their acts of love.

See,…the thing about love is; its more than just a feeling or what you say. 
Whether it’s a romantic kind of love, or the love of a family member or good friend.
Whether it’s the love of a pet or anything,…real love, true and pure love,… is more than just feeling good about the other.
And it’s more than just saying ‘I love you’ even if you say it every day.

Love that’s rock solid and can be counted on and conquers all things is a way of being.
Love that ls life giving and sustaining….involves doing and actions of all kinds.
It’s an honest walking the walk that backs up all the sweet talk.
Love that endures and overcomes all things goes beyond a desire to serve ourselves.
Love that gets you through all things is a love that is giving,…and especially sacrifices.

Here’s another story I learned about recently.
About two years ago, in a break room at his job, a former marine named Chris who was employed by the town Water Department, heard a co-worker talking about his cousin.
The co-worker’s cousin, Heather, had been diagnosed with stage four liver cancer.
He said that without a transplant she had less than a 50% chance of living two months.

Due to this time constraint, doctors advised her not to wait for a liver donor who had died, but to get something ASAP.
When Chris heard all this he decided that he would try to be the donor she needed.
Finding that he was a match for Heather, the venture of donating his organ began.
Eventually, Chris donated 55% of his liver to Heather to replace her cancerous one.

That first story I told was fictional,…. but not really.
Not really because it happens all the time in our relationships.
It happens in our relationships with friends and family and spouses.
It happens, not because we want it to but because we can’t help it often.

Unfortunately, it also can be our story in our relationship with God.
God is the giving lover who is about doing love all the time, and even sacrifice.
And we, unfortunately, can be like the self-serving, insensitive neglectful lover.
In the things that we do, or don’t do for God or for his children who are in need.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever shall believe in him will have eternal life”.

No, God doesn’t just feel love or simply say he loves us,….. He proves it.
Jesus’ voluntary death on the cross is God dying for us; dying to prove his love for us.
All he wants us to do is believe and appreciate the degree to which he loves us.
Even though we may be like the person who receives more love than we give.

So back to the second story;… the true story about Chris and Heather.
Even though they were strangers,…Chris was willing to give love to another person.
Even though there was no guarantee that Heather would have really appreciated it, Chris gave up more than half of his liver (a crucial part of our bodies) to her.
Even though it was a huge sacrifice, Chris decided to do this kind of love in action,…a truly sacrificial love which was, of course in this case, literally life-giving.

And even though they started out complete strangers,… after Chris and Heather got to know each other (both before and after his donation), they fell in love and got married.
We can hope and pray that Chris and Heather live happily ever after.
Live happily ever after due to a love that was grounded in the real love of sacrifice.

We can also pray that our relationship with God and others reflect Heather’s and Chris’.
It happens more so when we appreciate the life-giving love that we receive from God through Jesus Christ and from others who have sacrificed for us.
Then we are more apt to love God and love others too, in the same sacrificial way.
Remembering that His sacrificial death ensures we’ll live with God happily ever after.

Amen