TEXT: 1 John 3:1-3
READING: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
SUBJ: A proper consideration of the love of God and the wonder of it as suggested by the expression with which John begins this chapter.
AIM: That we might truly perceive of the love wherewith He has loved us and that we may sense being loved and that it may be expressed in our lives and the love of others.
INTR: We have often quoted and referenced this passage with great delight at that which is promised and the hope we have in Christ. Today, I would endeavor to examine it more closely.
1. It is evident that the love which is here referenced is anything but ordinary and not likely to be either understood or duplicated apart from a work of the Spirit.
2. True believers will consider this as truly a wonder as they are confronted with the relative coldness of human love in the world and our tendency toward coldness and indifference.
3. In approaching this passage, we would simply analyze the thought herein expressed as to the manner of His love, the relationship between Himself and those so loved, and the identity of those who experience this love.
Thesis: The wholesale application of the love of God has done much to diminish the real wonder that impacts the hearts of believers as we are brought consider who He is and the fact that He could love the likes of us.
I. The manner of the love of God
1. We are quickly reminded of the best-known John 3:16 and would emphasize the word “so” as depicting to us the manner of His love to those who believe.
2. We are left with no claim to merit in the matter and are reminded that we love Him because He first loved us.
1) We are further left without a claim as we consider Paul’s word to the Romans: But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
2) See also: 1 John 4:9-10
3) With Jeremiah there was no hesitation to acknowledge that it was the mercies of God that moved Him to compassion and faithfulness.
4) Consider Jacob’s confession in Genesis 32:10
3. It is compelling and certain
1) I love to reflect on the thought of His eternal love: The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. (Jeremiah 31:3)
2) Paul’s assurance of the love of God is emphasized in: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)
4. It is without end. Solomon wrote: “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.”
II. It is Our Father who has bestowed this love
1. We are reminded in Scripture that we have had imperfect fathers and yet we have witnessed to greater or lesser degrees fatherhood that is commended.
2. In order that we might better understand the absolute character of our Father:
1) At the age of twelve He was about His Father’s business.
2) He made extensive references to the Father in the Sermon on the Mount.
3) His message to Mary Magdalene and the Apostles was “I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.”
3. From the Sermon on the Mount we consider they were exhorted to glorify your Father which is in heaven; That ye may be the children of your Father; to be perfect as your Father is perfect; Take heed that your alms, your praying, and fasting appear before your Father and not before men; it is your Father that feeds the birds and you; It is He that knows what you have need of; and the list could go on.
4. It is He that has loved to the point of sacrificing His Son.
III. It is upon us that this love is bestowed
1. It would seem that John is calling us to validate this love within ourselves.
1) To behold is to observe with care and we are reminded of the words of John Baptist to behold the lamb of God.
2) We would have an increased ability to perceive of the love of God to us and in us.
2. We consider the wonder and find inability to express: “Could we with ink the oceans fill, And were the skies of parchment made, Were every blade of grass a quill, and every man a scribe by trade. To write the love of God above, Would drain the oceans dry, Nor could the scroll, contain the whole, Though stretched from sky to sky.”
3. “Called the Sons of God!” But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13)
4. And because ye are sons: “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” And we note the continuous action.
5. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” -- – AND THE WORLD KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT IT