"BRIGHT HOPE FOR TOMORROW."
I. JOHN CALLS OUR ATTENTION TO THE MANNER OF LOVE GOD HAS BESTOWED UPON US. "BEHOLD, WHAT MANNER OF LOVE THE FATHER HAS BESTOWED UPON US."
A. Unmerited love.
1. For God commendeth His love toward us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly. Romans 5:8
. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
2. Down in verse 16, John tells us, "Hereby we perceive the love of God because He laid down His life for us."
3. In 4:9 and 10 John writes; In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.
4. Of course nothing says it better than John 3:16
5. As Jeremiah looked over the ruins of the once great city of Jerusalem he wept as he declared:
It is the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions they fail not.
[They are] new every morning: great [is] thy faithfulness.
6. As Jacob was returning home and received the news that his brother was coming to meet him with 400 men, this is his brother who the last time Jacob saw him was vowing to kill him. Jacob prayed to the Lord,
I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands.
Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, [and] the mother with the children.
a. Note that he was not coming to God on the basis of his worthiness or goodness, but strictly on the basis of God's mercy.
B. Undying, compelling love.
1. Solomon said, "Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it."
2. Again he said in the Song of Solomon, "He brought me to his banqueting table, and his banner over me was love."
3. Jeremiah wrote of this compelling love,
The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, [saying], I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.
4. Paul wrote to the Romans:
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.
C. Abiding love.
1. Now abide these three, faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.
D. Unfailing love.
1. Paul wrote, "Love never fails."
2. Jeremiah said, "Thy compassions they fail not."
II. "THE FATHER HATH BESTOWED."
A. The eternal God is a personal God and Jesus sought to bring this truth home to the disciples by referring to Him as our heavenly Father.
1. Some of you had rotten earthly fathers so that you have a difficult time of feeling the warmth, comfort, and love that that word should bring.
2. My heart goes out to you, for you are missing so much of the true character of God.
3. Think of the dream father, one that loved you more than life itself, one who was always there when you needed him. One who loved to provide for you lavishly. One who was intensely interested in every aspect of your life. That is what God wants to be to you.
4. Only once in the Old Testament is God referred to as Father, and that is in the prophecy of Isaiah concerning the Messiah. "And His name shall be called, Wonderful Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace."
B. This idea of the Fatherhood of God is a concept that was brought to man by Jesus. Jesus sought to impress the disciples with the personality of God.
1. He is not some sort of impersonal creative force.
2. Note, how Jesus spoke of Him in the Sermon on the Mount.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
Do your alms secretly: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
C. "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us." You have a Father in heaven who loves you and seeks to bestow His love on you."
III. "BEHOLD WHAT MANNER OF LOVE THE FATHER HAS BESTOWED UPON US, THAT WE."
A. Us, you and I, we are the beneficiaries of this love.
1. Oh, the wonder of it all, to think that God loves me.
2. It is not just that He loves me, but how much He loves me. "Could we with ink, the oceans fill, And were the skies of parchment made, Were ever 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. We used to sing in Sunday School, "I am so glad that my Father in heaven. tells of His love in a book He has given, Wonderful things in the Bible I see, This is the dearest that Jesus loves me."
IV. HOW HE HAS MANIFESTED THAT LOVE TO US? BY SENDING HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON TO DIE FOR OUR SINS THAT HE MIGHT ADOPT US INTO HIS FAMILY AS SONS OF GOD.
A. God has taken us from the deepest depths and raised us to the highest heights.
1. David said, "He lifted me out of the horrible pit, out of the miry clay and He set my feet on the solid rock, and has established my goings."
2. Paul said that all of us were at one time the children of wrath even as others, but we have now become the sons of God.
B. John tells us in his gospel, "But as many as received Him, to them gave he the power to become the sons of God, even to them who believed on His name."
C. Paul wrote the Galatians,
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
D. Paul wrote to the Romans:
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.
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and jointheirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together.
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed.
V. "BELOVED, NOW ARE WE THE SONS OF GOD AND IT DOES NOT YET APPEAR WHAT WE SHALL BE BUT WE KNOW THAT WHEN HE SHALL APPEAR, WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM FOR WE SHALL SEE HIM AS HE IS."
A. As glorious as it is being a son of God, this is not the end, it is only the beginning.
1. Jesus prayed for you:
Father, I will also, that they whom you have given me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which you have given Me: for you loved Me before the foundation of the world.
2. Paul spoke of the present and future work of God's grace and love in our lives.
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Even when we were dead in sins, has made us alive together with Christ, (by grace you have been saved;)
And He has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus:
That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
B. Jesus promised us that one day He would come again to receive us unto Himself, that we might be with Him where He is. When that day comes, we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.