Biblical Definition of God's Love - Part 2

By Johnny Hunt
Bible Book: 1 John  4 : 7-11
Subject: Love of God; God's Love
Series: The Love of God

Love is the circulatory system of the church. If the arteries of love get clogged, the church is in danger of spiritual cardiac arrest. One key evidence of spiritual maturity in our lives is the depth of our love for one another.” David L. Allen

“The nature of Christian love is that it acts, it gives, it expresses itself toward others.” Martin Lloyd Jones

In 1 John 4, John uses the word love to speak about three kinds of love.

1. God’s love for us

2. Our love for God

3. Our love for one another

A Better Estimate

Hebrews 6:9-12: “But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. “For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

In John 21 Jesus with Simon Peter on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.

John 21:15 – “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to Him, Yes, Lord; you know I love You. He said to him, feed my lambs.

Loving Jesus is manifested in loving and caring for others.

Leon Morris said that “by some accounts William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, once sent a one-word telegraph message: “Others!” to encourage his officers around the world. Salvation Army workers were known for their unselfish commitment to others. On May 29, 1914 the Empress of Ireland sailed with 130 Salvation Army officers on board. One hundred and nine of those officers were drowned, and not one body that was pulled up had on a life jacket. The few survivors tell how the Salvationists, finding there were not enough life preservers for all, took off their own belts and strapped them upon even strong men, saying, “I can die better than you can.” From the deck of that sinking ship they heralded the battle-cry around the world: Others!”

I. The Validation Of God’s Love 7-8

Matthew 22:36-40: “’Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?’"

Jesus said to him, "’'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'” This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: “'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'” On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.’"

“So there is a sense in which the 2nd commandment (to love your neighbor) is the visible good of the whole Word of God. It’s not as though loving God is not here, or that loving God is less important; rather loving God is made visible and manifest and full in our visibly, practically, sacrificially loving others.” John Piper

· Love for God comes to visible manifestation when we love others.

· Our love for God is fulfilled when we love others.

“Love is not like other subjects. It cannot be understood and then practiced. It can only be understood by practice.” David L. Allen

God is the source of God; the Originator

He is also the One who causes love to be operative in us. God’s love is creative, it actually produces it’s like in us.

1 John 4:7: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”

· Born of God

· They know God

The presence of God’s love in our lives is an evidence of your salvation. In salvation we become partakers of His divine nature.

2 Peter 1:4: “by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

To the surrendered believer the love of God flows and becomes NATURAL, but also PERSONAL.

“They know God” – conveys the meaning of having an intimate relationship with God. More than knowing facts or understanding perceived truths about God. It means to be rightly related to Him.

When I am born again by the Spirit of God, I know that Jesus Christ did not come only to teach, He came to make me (create 2 Corinthians 5:17) what He teaches I should be. The redemption means that Jesus Christ can place within anyone the same nature that ruled His own life, and all the standards God gives us are based on that nature.

Romans 8:3-4: “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

To me v.8 is as though the Holy Spirit says to John, “Say it again!”

1 John 4:8: “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

QUESTION: Have you ever said before, “I just can’t find any love in my heart for that person.”

ANSWER: “for God is love” 8


“for love is of (from) God” 7

TRUTH: It is not a human virtue innate in us nor is it a learned behavior. God is the Originator and Giver of this love.

Love is a part of God’s very nature and can never be absent from God. It’s a settled disposition toward us that flows from His being, nature and divine attribute.

Human love is usually response love.

EXAMPLE: I love my wife because she is so smart, kind, beautiful, fun, etc.

Agape love comes first. It creates value in its object whether there is any intrinsic value there or not. “The sun shines on the earth not because the earth is the earth but because the sun is the sun.” David L. Allen

Matthew 5:45, “He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Why? Because “God is Love”

C. H. Dodd said. “As marvelous as the truth is that God loves us, God is saying more,”

“this statement alongside other statements, such as “God creates,” “God rules,” “God judges:” that is to say, it means that love is one of His activities. But to say, “God is love” implies that all His activity is loving activity, even His judgement. If He creates, He creates in love; if He rules, He rules in love; If He judges, He judges in love. All that He does is to the expression of His nature, which is to love.”

C. S. Lewis refers to God’s love as “Gift-love.” “In God there is no hunger that needs to be filled, only plenteous that desires to give. This kind of love in us enables us to love those who to us are naturally unlovable.”

That our God, who is by His very nature perfect, sovereign over all, needed nothing, with no ambitions to fulfill or goals to attain, chose to create is a marvel! Yet He not only created the universe, but He chose to create human beings and love them!

II. The Manifestation Of God’s Love 9-10

Even when we rebelled against Him and deserved eternal death, He chose to love us still and provide a way for our salvation (rescue). God became man in the person of Jesus Christ and by self- humiliation and self-denial paid for the sins of the world. What love!

These verses 9-10 give us the grounds of God’s love. To manifest is to make visible and known.

John will help us see that the death of Jesus was on our behalf that through the new birth (repentance and surrender) this attribute (God’s love) becomes part of who you are. Sounds impossible in light of my own heart, however, it’s true.

This text reminds me that:

1. God initiated this mission - “God sent”

2. God sent His “only Son” - “one of a kind”

3. God offers eternal Hope -“so that we might live

through Him”

4. Love originates with God and not with us

5. God’s love is demonstrated by its cost.

“Propitiation” – He bore my sin debt.

“The fact that He is love (God is love) explains the divine plan of redemption. If God operated only on the basis of His law, He would convict people of their sin, and justly consign everyone to spend forever in hell. But His love provided a remedy for sin through the atoning works of Jesus Christ on behalf of all who repent of their sins and trust in His way. Therefore, John 3:16!” John MacArthur


A. Not 10

“not that we loved God, but that He loved us.”

The nature and the origin of love does not lie in our response to God. That is not where love starts. Love is and love starts with God.

He Loved Me With The Cross Lyrics

He left a throne in heaven to come to Bethlehem And I will not forget the way He loved me even then And everywhere He traveled He spoke with words of love That said He'd go to any distance To show what I was worthy of And when at last the dusty road Had turned to Calvary He picked up a rugged burden So that one day I would see Chorus He loved me with a cross He loved me with a cross In answer to the call of love He loved me with a cross And I could not imagine what Loving me would cost My Jesus went to Calvary And loved me with a cross He knew from the beginning The price He'd have to pay For my heart had gone so far beyond What other loves forgave I wasn't on that hillside To see Him on the tree But as my guilt was placed upon Him I know that somehow He saw me

B. Ought 11

“we ought to love one another”

1 John 3:16 – “we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”

“Ought” – denotes it is necessary; one must; to owe. As a verb, it’s a call to action.

Through the new birth, imitation became realization. God’s seed is in use. God’s Spirit is in us. God’s nature is in us. God’s love is being perfected in us.

John links God’s love for us and our love for people by focusing on God’s nature as love and how the new birth (salvation) commits us to that.

Adrian Rogers said, “If the greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart and to love our neighbor as ourselves, then the greatest sin is not to do it.”