That Your Joy May Be Complete #06
1 John 3:1-3
Think About His Love
Well, it’s been a few weeks since we were in 1 John. So, today we jump back in. this is our 6th message in this letter from John. Today we enter one of my favorite chapters in the bible and begin with perhaps my favorite passage, certainly ONE of my favorite passages in the whole of scripture.
Today would you think with me for a minute about LOVE
Dolly Parton wrote “I will always love you”. Whitney sang it and also sang, “the greatest Love of all is inside of you.” The Beatles wrote “Love is all you need” but also “you can’t buy me love.” And who can forget the J. Geils Band singing “Love Stinks”
Of course you know that I’m a songwriter. Love has played the greatest part in inspiring songwriting throughout history. Whether it is love chased, love lost or love won, it is what we sing about. The oldest written songs were found from Sumeria in the Tigres and Euphrates basin from 4000 years ago.
3500 years ago we have a beautiful Egyptian love song written that sounds like a hit written today. Listen to this translation of “Sick with love” And by the way, it was common to refer to the one you loved as a brother or sister in their writing:
“Sick with love”
7 Days since I saw my sister. And I am sick inside.
My limbs are weak, my body fails
When doctors come to me; my heart refuses their remedies
The magicians can do nothing, my sickness is unknown
But only say “she is here” and I will revive.
The sound of her name would make me well;
the sight of her messenger coming that would heal my heart!
My sister is better than all medicines,
She is my charm, for the sight of her makes me well
When I see her eyes then my body is young,
Holding her close I feel no pain …
7 days since she has gone
Wow! How about that? That guy has it bad. But pretty good stuff huh? Love is a wonderful, powerful, beautiful thing. Love softens hard hearts and inspires resolve and sacrifice, even transformation.
But, is there a deeper love? If there is truth, then there must be a foundational truth. If there is life, then there must be a beginning life source. And so, if there is love, in its most rudimentary form, there must be a deeper, truer, straighter, stronger love.
Have you ever seen something that pretended to be love and you said, with conviction, “that’s NOT love?” How do you know? Is there a love that surpasses it all? Well, I think that is why we are here, because we believe there is, or maybe you HOPE there is, and you are searching for it.
If you read the Song of Solomon, you realize he knew how to sing about love for a woman. Yes, he had a Father who was a pretty fair song writer and taught him some things, but he had learned about love by knowing the source.
David … what a mind, a heart, a man in touch with his emotions and passions. He had experienced God’s love so he could write
Psalm 36:5 - Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies
Psalm 89:1 - I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.
Psalm 119:64 The earth is filled with your Love, O Lord
Oh, I will say again, there are some great writers, great theories, but what about reality?
Michael Bolton sang
Love Is A Wonderful Thing (Michael Bolton)
“Love is a wonderful thing,
Makes you smile through the pouring rain.
Love is a wonderful thing,
I’ll say it again and again,
Turn your world into one sweet dream
Take your heart and make it sing
Love, love is a wonderful thing”
Yes it is, but how many relationships has he had?
Billy Joel, how many?
You see they missed something that David and Solomon had. Was it human perfection? No, they knew the one who is the only definition of love, the foundational love, the truth behind the theory.
And so, John writing in Chapter 2 told us not to chase after the lies of false teachers who didn’t even know Jesus. He says “continue in him” and then John wells up in praise and begins this chapter … read it with me
“How great is the Love the Father has lavished on us …”
Wait, now I don’t always make you stand when we read. It is a good tradition. It is not required every time, though it certainly was practiced at times in scripture. But this truth we are to read deserves our honor and reverence, so stand with me as I read of this great love …
Oh people, the love of Jesus, the love of the Father, there is no other like it, there is no comparison.
It is otherworldly, so much so, that when we love like Jesus we will get all kinds of responses
“what are you doing?” “What is that all about?” “Why are you doing this?”
John says don’t worry when they don’t get it, they didn’t recognize Jesus either
Oh, but look at his love with me today … and I’ll tell you what to tell them whent hey can’t understand your love or the love of God that compels your action
That’s what Paul said, in
2 Corinthians 5:13-15
If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
The love of Christ for US, compels US to love a different way
If Jesus didn’t love us … do what you want
If he didn’t die for us … do what you want
If his death didn’t pay our debt and wipe our slate clean when we believed … do what you want
But IF HE DID … then we no longer live for ourselves … we live for the one who loved us …
What will you tell a world that doesn’t recognize what Jesus did and why?
Three things quickly that you can tell them …
The Love of God is …
1. A Great Love – A Lavishing Love
Every other thing we call love is a giving love or a selfish love, or a conditional love, or a love to THIS point … but …
How GREAT is the Love the father has Lavished on us
I’ve often said that we GIVE love and God Lavishes … that’s the difference between saying “I’m thirsty” and someone bringing you a cold glass of water That is “giving” But it’s different if you say “I’m thirsty” and someone throws you into a pool of Evian … or giving you a lifelong subscription to Evian Water service … that’s Lavishing
The KJV says “Behold what manner of love”
In other words “LOOK … What is this? This is not love that I have ever seen before”
“horao” = pay attention, experience, learn
“potapos” = what country, race, or tribe is this from; this is a new quality
How Great! Where is this from?
People, the love is God isn’t GOOD … it is GREAT!
It is something completely foreign to us
It is not even right, I think, to simply say “it is the best” because that would be like saying there are others in competition with God’s love … and God’s love is winning so far …
But there isn’t anyone else even on the track … His love is GREAT and if his love is great it is unparalleled, it is peerless, it is completely without competition
God’s love is in its own species, genus, and family. It is from another race, country, planet, and universe.
How Great his love is … it is
If his love is great, then we have to stop using that word for anything else
In reality, GREAT, as a word, might not even get it done, “how otherworldly is the love of our Father” is a better way to say it
There is not one person or expression of love that can stand on the track to compete with the love of God
If there were competition equals, then his love would be GOOD, but it is NOT good, it is GREAT!
If it were just the best in the world that would be good, but his love is otherworldly and so it is not good, it is Great
Oh I have to tell you, I’m trying to slowly work myself up … and built this, but I’m already there
His love is Great … it is
Anyone can give love that is deserved or is personally beneficial …
But God did not love us because we deserved it but in spite of the fact that we deserved judgment and punishment, he chose to LOVE us
Romans 5:8 says God demonstrated his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us
1 John 4:10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
2 Timothy 1:9 – who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.
David knew he didn’t deserve love and he sang about it
Psalm 25:6-7 - Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O LORD.
He understands that when we live in the love of God he chooses to see us through the lens of his love and not the lens of our sinful selves
Oh, if God only loved us as we deserved that would be good … but his love is not good, it is GREAT … it is Otherworldly
He loves us EVEN when we are slipping so when you are slipping cry out to him, Because his love doesn’t come only unmatched and unmerited but also
“Lavished” = didomai= to give … but it is in the “perfect present tense” meaning it is always given so it doesn’t end … not when we slip or fail
Psalm 94:18 - When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your love, O LORD, supported me.
Psalm 130:7 O Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love
Oh I’m glad our salvation isn’t based on our ability to understand the depths of his love
Oh some even think that his love could run out or lose its patience or we could get outside its reach
But if his love, once given, could end or come up short, then say it with me “it is GOOD but not great” … His Love is Otherworldly
So, I pray with Paul in
Ephesians 3:18-19 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Oh God’s love is GREAT, otherworldly, unmatched, unmerited, unending … so
Look, pay attention, experience, learn …
How Great is the Love of God ..
“That we should be called the children of God and that is what we are”
It is a Great Love because it is an
2. An Adopting Love – a Choosing Love
We didn’t earn his love … he Lavished it on us
He is Extravagant and has given his love perfectly to us in that we are
“called the children of God”
“called”= kaleo = named … he changed our name
We were of this world … we were of those who were destined by sin to punishment … oh but my OLD name was “guilty” but it has been changed to “forgiven”
My old name “unrighteous” has been changed to “righteous”
My old name “enemy of God” has been changed to “child of God”
This word is not speaking of the “call of God” to salvation. This is the new name we are called because we answered his call to come
“Children of God” … He gave us HIS name
He changed Abram’s name to Abraham which means “the Father of many” … when he was too old to have children … and yet God changed his name and then MADE him live up to his name.
We who were ungodly, are brought into the family of God by the declaration of God as experienced by our faith.
Matthew Henry says “He confers upon them the power and dignity of the sons of God. We who by nature are heirs of sin, guilt, and curses of God – by practice are children of corruption, disobedience, and ingratitude, strange that the Holy God is not ashamed to be called our Father, and call us his children.”
Every parent has had one time when someone said “whose child is that?” And you didn’t want to answer …
The Lord of Heaven and earth is not ashamed to give me his name and say “Yes! Jim Goforth is my Son!”
How Great …
He has made me his child .. Oh have you got a minute … let me tell you about this
1 Peter 2:9-10 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Oh I need to finish … but my friend Michael Peterson used to sing a song that said, God loves me exactly as I am but he also loves me too much to leave me this way!
His Love is Great, it is Adopting and
3. A Glorifying Love – A Completing Love
God is not leaving me as I am.
He foreknew me as his and he destined me to be like Jesus. Not to be like the best Jim I can be but to be conformed to the image of Christ
He is changing me
You don’t have to say it I Will
He knew me and he destined me, he called me, and he justified me, as if I had never sinned …
But His is in the process of sanctifying me and he is going to finish what he has started
He will glorify me
1 Thessalonians 5:23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.
Don’t be discouraged, I will get there. And if you belong to him, then you will get there as well
John assesses the situation an says - “NOW, we ARE the children of God …”
And if that weren’t enough …
he says … “But … we KNOW" = oida (understandremember)/
Oh when you are discouraged and frustrated, when your humanity is showing, remember …
“We Shall be Like Him”
There are two interconnected, irrevocable, incomparable promises here
#1 – He IS coming and We shall see him … He is MOST DEFINITELY Coming. John tells us we will See him with our own eyes
Job 19:26 – Job said “… yet in my flesh I will see God”
And so we will see him … and when we DO
#2 – We Shall be LIKE Him! Hallelujah we will be glorified
“We shall BE” – eimi = exist, happen, be identical
“LIKE” – homoios (hom-oy-os) like, equal to
Our outsides are going to be transformed into equal nature to the resurrected body of Jesus Christ
1 Corinthians 15:51-53 tells the story - We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.
Sometimes it seems like he went off and left us … but he is coming back … so until then
Focus on his love … it will get us through until he comes
His love is SO GREAT … so OTHERWORDLY …
Forgiving, Adopting, Calling us His Own Children
Promising to return and not leave us as we are …
But to Transform us
When I consider THAT … when I keep that in front of me …
It makes me want to be a better man, a better child, an imitator of Christ Jesus
He’s going to change me … but that shouldn’t make me lazy, but instead eager, so that when he changes me you might not even notice …
V3 says that when we understand all this his love, his return, his transformation, everyone who has this hope purifies himself just as he is pure …
Show me the person that says “I can do what I want cause Jesus will change me” and I think that person doesn’t know Jesus …
Yet when we are certain and sure … I want to be like him NOW …
Wayne Watson used to sing “One day Jesus will call my name, as days go by, I hope I don’t stay the same, I want to get so close to him, that there’s no big change, on that day when Jesus, calls my name”
How Great is the Love that the Father has lavished on us that we should be called the children of God and THAT is what we are
We are his children, his possession, his inheritance …
Think About His Love
Think about his love, think about his goodness
Think about his grace, that brought us through
For as high as the heavens above
So great is the measure of our Father’s love
Great is the measure of our Father’s love
How can I forget his mercy
How can I forget his love
He satisfies, He satisfies
He satisfies, My Desire