Love From Above

Bible Book: 1 John  3 : 1-10
Subject: Love, God's
Series: God's Dear Children
Introduction

It is impossible to fully describe the love of God. The word "agape" is used in the Gospel of Luke only 1 time, in Matthew only 1 time as well, yet John, in his epistles alone, uses the word over 20 times. John found this word needful in describing the love of God. The word "agape" is a Greek word for love and it speaks of the highest and most noble form of love that one can know or experience. In fact, it has come to speak specifically of the love of God for sinners like us. John never ceased to be amazed with divine love. The songwriter penned:

"The Love of God, how rich and pure, how measureless and strong,

It shall forevermore endure, the saints and angels song." (Frederick M. Lehman)

Today we are going to look at the love of God, but I must admit that I feel a little like the man who visited the ocean for the first time. He had never seen a body of water larger than a stream or lake from his own village. When he stood gazing out upon the vastness of the ocean, he reached down and picked up a shell and scooped up some of the water. Looking at it he said, “I will take back the water back with me and show my people what the ocean is like.” Describing the love of God is like holding a thimble full of water and comparing it to an ocean. But, with the Spirit's help we can catch the beauty, wonder and depth of God's love in our hearts today.

In the passage before us, John concerns himself with what the love of God does for the believer. He calls on us to “see” what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us. Look at three results of experiencing the love of God.

I. Puts You In The Family Of God vs. 1

When you accept God’s love in Christ, you are placed in the family of God. That is an amazing fact. John uses two illustrations to point out that we who are saved are actually placed in God’s family.

First, he says that the love of God has made it possible for us to be called the children of God. When one accepts Jesus through faith and repentance, he or she is placed into God's family. Now listen closely, not everyone in the world is a child of God. You will sometimes hear people refer to the human population as the children of God. Jesus said that some people were of their father, the devil. The only way to be a child of God is to be placed into His family. None of us deserve to be in His family, for all of us have sinned and come short of His glory (Romans 3:23). No one comes into God's family except by receiving Jesus as Savior and Lord.

Next, in verse 9, he states that we are born of God  When we are saved, we are actually born again. You remember the conversation that Jesus had with Nicodemus in John 3. He told Nicodemus that he had to be born again to enter the Kingdom of God. When you come to Christ with believing faith, you are born into the family of God. A spiritual birth takes place. You not only have the name, you have the nature of God in you. You not only have the title, you are transformed by the indwelling Spirit of God.

John was astounded by a love that would take an enemy and place him in the family of the one he formerly fought. God takes the rebel sinner and redeems him and puts him in the divine family. No wonder John states, “Behold, what manner of love is this, that God would allow us to be called the children of God.” This is a very strong statement. The word “manner” in the KJV cannot do justice to the Greek word used here. Actually John asked, “From what world did this love come, a love that would so befriend ruined sinners like us?” Indeed, it is a love from above. It is simply out of this world!!!

Remember, John has been talking about the world and how Satan has a system in this world which is used to blaspheme God. John shows that the love which redeems sinners did not come from this world, but from heaven - it is purely divine! Lets note several things about this love which places us in God’s family. The points I am about to make are clearly implied in all that John says in our text today.

A. Undeserved

John is astounded by this love because it is so undeserved. We do not deserve to be saved from our sins and from the just condemnation that rests upon us. We do not deserve to be heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. We do not deserve to be washed clean of our sins. We have done nothing which makes us worthy of such blessings and benefits. No, we do not deserve it and that is why John is amazed by it all. Every true believer who is right with God must stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene.

"I stand amazed in the presence
of Jesus the Nazarene,
and wonder how he could love me,
a sinner, condemned, unclean.

For me it was in the garden
he prayed: "Not my will, but thine."
He had no tears for his own griefs,
but sweat-drops of blood for mine.
How marvelous! How wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:

In pity angels beheld him,
and came from the world of light
to comfort him in the sorrows
he bore for my soul that night.

He took my sins and my sorrows,
he made them his very own;
he bore the burden to Calvary,
and suffered and died alone.

When with the ransomed in glory
his face I at last shall see,
'twill be my joy through the ages
to sing of his love for me.

How marvelous! How wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
How marvelous! How wonderful
is my Savior's love for me! (Charles Gabriel)

B. Unexplainable

No one can explain this love. Try as one might, this love is imponderable. This is a great conundrum. This is a mystery of all mysteries. Why would God love us. He did not have to. There is nothing in us to make us lovely. Sin is repugnant to God. He cannot bear it. He cannot tolerate it. Yet, even when we were dead in trespasses and sins, God is His great love, came to us and sought us. With the songwriter we exclaim, “O love that wilt not let me go, I rest myself in thee.” Let the preacher polish his vocabulary, he will not find the expressions in human language to set before the listener the greatest of divine love. Let the scholar wax brilliant in mind, he will not be able to elucidate the depths of this doctrine. A little child can do as well when he or she sings in Sunday School, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

I read somewhere that when Karl Barth, the great theologian, came to one of America’s prestigious schools of theology, he was asked by a student during question time, “Dr. Barth, what is the greatest truth you have ever come to know.” Dr. Barth bowed his head a moment, and then pushing back his gray locks of hair, teary eyed he replied, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” No friend, you cannot ever explain the love of God.

C. Unmeasurable

John was also saying that God’s love cannot be measured. Ephesians 3:16-19 states, “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Yes, the love of God is unmeasurable! Paul stated it clearly - this love that surpasses knowledge. This love can be experienced but it cannot ever be fully comprehended.

D. Unselfish

In verse 5 we see that Jesus sole purpose for coming to this earth was to save us from our sins. Jesus Himself said, “I am come to seek and to save that which is lost.” Yes, His love is an unselfish love. No wonder John was so impressed with the love of God. Just think about it, the Son of God became the Son of Man so that the Sons of Men could become the Sons of God. How wonderful, how far above our earthly, selfish kind of loving.

So, we see that God's amazing love places those who trust Jesus into the family of God. But, there is more!

II. Promises You A Future With God vs. 2

In verse 2 we note that John emphasizes that God’s love has promised us a future with Him. The love of God did not just do something for me in the past, the love of God keeps me in the now and promises me that I have an incredible future in heaven. Two important points need to be considered at this point.

A. Sting of Death Has Been Removed

Look at 1 John 4:16. We rely on the love of God and we do not need to fear. The sting of death has been removed. Death is the black camel that kneels at every family’s tent. Death is the unwelcome guest in every city. Death is the interloper, the intruder into our plans. But death never wins a victory over a Christian. Thanks be unto God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!

B. Sight of Jesus Will Be Realized

One day we will see Jesus. We will see Him as He is. We have not seen Him, yet we love Him. We have not seen Him, yet we know Him. But one day we will catch sight of Him. What a day that will be!

You recall the story of Issac and Rebecca. Rebecca loved Issac before she ever saw him. Then the time arrived when she came within sight of the one to whom she was pledged. She got down from her camel to embrace her love. One day we will come within sight of Jesus. The Bride will come to the Bridegroom. No words can describe it. And, all of this is possible only because of the love of God.

"What a day that will be, when my Jesus I shall see, when I look upon His face, the one who saved me by His grace. When he takes me by the hand and leads me to the promised land, what a day, wonderful day that will be." (Jim Hill)

Now the text tells us that we shall be like Him. In what ways shall we be like Him?

1. Purified in Character

We shall as pure as Jesus is pure. Never tempted again. Never sinning again.

2. Glorified in Body

We shall have a new body. We shall have His resurrected body.

3. Satisfied in Heart

We shall have a heart filled with joy. Jesus endured the cross thinking of the joy before Him. We shall know that full and satisfying joy!

III. Prompts You To A Faithfulness For God vs. 3

But there is one last thought here. The love of God is supposed to prompt me to a higher level of faithfulness. John mentions that very clearly. We are to be chaste, pure and holy for Him. Not because that will get us into Heaven, but because He loved us and saved us by His grace. Three things should be said about every Christian.

A. Not what I used to Be

I am changed. Jesus has made me different. I don’t do many of the things I used to do, and what I do that displeases Him also displeases me. I may still sin on occasion, but I hate my sin as much as God hates sin. I don’t want to sin. I am not what I used to be. If you aren’t changed, you are converted!

B. Not what I will Be

I am aware that one day I will be like Jesus. I know I am not what I will be. With all my attempts, I will still fail. But I groan, looking forward to that day when I am clothed with that new body. I long for the day when I shall be free of this old man and his nature and shall be fully in harmony with the new nature Christ has given me.

C. Seeking to be What I ought to Be

Until then, my heart will go on singing; until then with joy I’ll carry on, until the day my eyes behold the city, until the day God calls me home!" (Stuart Hamblin)

I am seeking to be what I ought to be. His love demands my all!

Conclusion

A Christian worker used Micah 7:19 to point out to a convicted sinner that when we come to Christ believing, the Savior gives us His perfect righteousness and casts our sins into the sea of everlasting forgetfulness. The troubled man thought for a while and then said, "Are you sure my sins will be gone? What would happen if the devil should someday go out to that sea and bring them up again?"

To show that his fears were groundless, the believer answered, "God has also taken care of that possibility. He hates evil so much that He can't even stand the place where human sin originated; therefore, He is going to explode this old world and renew it. When He is all through, the sea with its contents will be 'no more.'"

Yes, the love of God gives peace to those who trust Jesus as Savior and Lord. Our sins are removed, our souls are secure, and our life is hidden in Christ. Whether in this life, or the life to come, we have the promise that God's love has us, God's love keeps us and God's love will welcome us home. Have you trust Him? You can, today! And many of us who know Him need to renew our commitment to One whose commitment to us never fails.