Sunday, April 28, 2019
God is Love
1 John 4:7-12
In 1965, Jackie DeShannon sang the famous song “What the World Needs Now is Love.” This song came about as the Vietnam War was in full swing. Protest and anger towards the war was escalating. It was a time of great turmoil in our country.
May I suggest today -What the World needs now is God’s sweet Love. But we will not look to a popular radio recording hit, but rather into the Word of God for the best love.
We will look in I John. But Before we do. I need you to turn with me to Matt 22:34-40 to serve as a backdrop to our study tonight.
Read Matt. 22:34-40 “But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
In these verses in Matt. Jesus Confronted the Pharisees with the problem of their Heart Attitude.
The Pharisees were the religious leaders of the day. For the most part they held to rigid standards.
They outwardly would do the right things, but for the wrong motives. They encouraged the externals, God Focuses on the internals. God focuses on our heart attitudes.
Joseph Stowell, former President of Moody Bible Institute, writes in his book Fanning the Flame:
"The call of authentic Christianity is to ‘have a heart’ - a heart for God. A heart for God requires (1) that we move from externals to internals, (2) that we reject the easy way of ritual and habit. (3) It requires that we develop a vibrant relationship with Christ at the very core."
Folks we need to Love God & Love our Neighbor by Developing a Heart for God. This in turn causes us to have a heart for one another.
Turn to 1 John 4- While your turning to it, let me share some background to 1 John. The Epistles of John (1, 2, 3 John) was written by the same person who wrote the book of John, Revelation.
He was the Beloved Disciple of Christ. He was one of the three disciples who made up Christ’s inner-circle. He was also the disciple that lived the longest. This Epistle was written in Ephesus late in John’s life around 96-100 AD.
Here in 1 John 4: 7-16 we see the foundation of Love. Why is Love to Characterize our lives?
Why is Love so important in our Lives? Why is it to radiate from our lives?
John 13:34, 35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
I. Love Proclaimed (vv. 7-8).
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
The Scriptures proclaim that God is love. John seems to go deeper and deeper and deeper into the subject of the love of God and comes to the conclusion here "God is love."
A. It is part of His Nature
Notice the statement in v. 7, "for love is of God." It doesn’t say "for love is God." John is not saying that God is some kind of impersonal, intangible being. God in His person, God in His nature is love. This tells us what God thinks about us. God loves us. It’s very important to know the kind of God you serve.
When the Bible declares "God is love," that is an altogether different concept in the world. People of the religions of that time never would have dreamed of saying about their god "God is love." The gods of the heathen were pagan and fickle and judgmental. They were definitely not personal. Yet Jesus came to show us the love of the Father. The Love of a personal God
B. Love does not define God, God defines love!
So, John says, "love is of God because God is love." That simply means then that the only place you can get love is from God. That if you want love you have to come to the source of love and that is God. That means that you and I will never ever be capable of expressing love until first of all we experience the love of God in our own lives.
"And everyone who loves is born of God and knows God." is one of the birthmarks of God’s family. This tells the world that the members of His family have love. That is, we are united to God through Faith in Christ, we share His Nature. Thus, as Christians, we should love one another
C. It’s instructive: love one another
In This passage, John Encourages us to Love one another 3x’s. Love demonstrates our profession of faith
In Colossians 1:3-4 “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints.”
Here’s the test you know whether or not you’ve been saved. It’s found in I John 4: 7-8 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
Give yourself the "love test." Do you love people? The Bible says if you love you know God. If you don’t love, you don’t know God. It’s the reality of our spiritual life.
So, what does it take to love people??
We are not only born of God; we are to know God. Know him in an intimate way. IN a way that you know your spouse, not just a friend. A person who claims he knows God and is in fellowship with Him must be personally affected by this relationship.
It is a different perspective, a change in our normal thinking — seeing others the way God sees them – made in His own image! We need to become people of love, because God is love.
ILL: My Neighbors Bible
I am my neighbor’s Bible
He reads me when we meet
Today he reads me in my home
Tomorrow on the Street
He may be a relative or friend,
Or slight acquaintance be
He may not even know my name
Yet he is reading me
And pray who is this neighbor
Who reads me day by day
to learn if I am living right,
and walking as I pray?
Oh, he is with me always
To criticize or to blame;
so worldly wise in his own eyes,
and "sinner" is his Name
Dear Christian friends and brothers,
If we could only know
How faithfully the world records
Just what we say and do;
Oh, if we would write our record plain,
and come in time to see
Our worldly Neighbor won to Christ
While reading you and me: - The Hearld of Light-
II. Love Proved (vv. 9-10,14).
“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.…14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.”
The word manifested means to make visible. Love is an intangible. You can’t touch, taste, smell love, or store it in jars. The only way you can see an intangible is to see that intangible demonstrated and displayed in a life. (I John 1:2,
God proved His love toward us, in a beautiful, beautiful manner. He did it by sending His Son. Three times in these vv. 9, 10, and 14, the Scripture uses the word sent, S-E-N-T. V. 9, "God sent His only begotten Son." V. 10, "He sent His Son." V. 14, "The Father sent the Son." Three times it tells us God sent Jesus. Here is the three-fold proof that God loves you.
He Sent Jesus to be the Son (v. 9). The statement "the only begotten," is the same as in John 3:16. The word here means unique. God sent His unique Son; God sent His one-of-a-kind Son. He didn’t send an angel. God sent His only Son into the world. Why did God send His Son? Look at v. 9, "that we might live through Him." That’s The only way you can have life.
God displayed His Love at the CROSS when he gave his Son as a Sacrifice there for Our Sins.
He Sent Jesus to be the Satisfaction (v. 10). Propitiation means to make satisfaction, to satisfy. It is not that God is an angry God that has to be appeased by sacrifice, but rather that sin has broken the demand of the holy law of God and there had to be a satisfaction made for that broken law.
Scripture tells us for the wages of sin is death. God solved the sin problem and the problem of His broken law in the person of His Son. God allowed His Son Jesus who knew no sin to be made sin for us.
2 Cor. 5:21 “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
III. Love is Practiced and Perfected (v. 11-12).
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God: if we love another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us.”
v11 the second time we are encouraged to love one another,
Note: v7 It was a Command, v11 It is a privilege and responsibility, and it is all based on the nature of God. For you see: God sacrificed His SON and as a result we should Love Others SACRIFICALLY. After all Christ did on the Cross, how can we not Love Him and share that transforming that Love to others.
ILL: "True spiritual Experience involves the whole man. The MIND must understand Spiritual Truth, the HEART must love and appreciate it and the WILL must act upon it." W Wiesbe
The more intimate we are in knowing God, the more compassionate we become towards others. It’s not simply that we ought to but rather we want to because God dwells in us.
Look at what it says in v. 12. "No man has seen God at any time." We know that’s true. But then he says, "If we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us" (i.e. His love reaches its intended conclusion). His love is completed if we love one another. It is evidence of the indwelling of the spirit of God.
Notice the outworking of the Trinity - God sent His son (9,10) who gave us the Spirit (v13)
Again, it is not just an obligation it is a desire to want to love one another
You see God when you see a believer loving other people the way God says we are to love them. The only way people know that God is a God of love is when they see the love of God manifested in the life of a person. You and I are demonstrations of the love of God if we love one another the way God says we ought to love one another.
ILL: Teddy Stallard
Teddy Stallard was an unattractive and unmotivated fifth grade boy.
His teacher, Mrs. Thompson found him difficult to like due to his deadpan, expressionless, unfocused stare.
She had to admit that down deep inside she took pleasure in marking his papers with red ink and making an F with a special flair.
As a teacher she had access to his records and sought to know more about him.
1st Grade: Teddy shows promise with his work and attitude but has a poor home situation.
2cnd Grade: Teddy could do better. Mother is seriously ill and he receives little help at home.
3rd Grade: Teddy is a good boy but too serious. Slow learner. His mother died this year.
4th Grade: Teddy is very slow but well behaved. Father shows no interest.
At Christmas the children in Mrs. Thompson’s class brought her presents in pretty wrappings. When she got to Teddy’s it was crudely wrapped in brown paper and loosely held together with tape. She opened it to find a bracelet with stones missing and a bottle of cheap perfume.
Some of the children snickered but trying to be nice she slipped on the bracelet and even some perfume saying, ’Doesn’t it smell lovely?’
When school was over Teddy lingered behind and came to her desk,
’Miss Thompson, you smell just like my mother, and her bracelet looks real pretty on you too. I’m glad you liked my presents’.
That night she went home and asked God to forgive her for how she had treated that little boy.
Next day, her class welcomed a new teacher.
Miss Thompson was no longer just a teacher but an agent of God.
She committed herself to loving her children and especially Teddy Stallard.
Teddy began to show dramatic improvement and by the end of the year had caught up with most of the other students.
She did not hear from Teddy for a long time until one day she received a note:
’Dear Miss Thompson. I wanted you to know that I will be graduating second in my high school class’ Love Teddy Stallard.
Four years later:
’Dear Miss Thompson: They just told me I would be graduating first in my class. I wanted you to be the first to know. The university has not been easy, but I liked it. Love, Teddy Stallard.
Dear Miss Thompson: As of today, I am Theodore Stallard, MD. How about that? I wanted you to be the first to know. I am getting married next month. I want you to come and sit where my mother would have sat if she were alive. You are my only family. Dad died last year. Love, Teddy Stallard.
She went to the wedding and in Teddy’s eyes she had earned the right to sit in a special place because as an agent of God’s love she had done something for Teddy that he could never forget. She had exercised the power of God’s love.
God’s love had been perfected, made complete through her life as He desires to do that same through your life and mine.
Loving as God love will provide you a special place in the life of others. A place that only God can earn by loving through your life. Unto the least of these…
1 Pet 4:8 “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”
This kind of love is agape love.
Notice the cycle- If we love God - He will give us the desire to love one another - which in turn causes us to grow in our Love for God. It is continuous and never-ending