I. "HEREBY PERCEIVE WE THE LOVE OF GOD, BECAUSE HE LAID DOWN HIS LIFE FOR US."
A. "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
B. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son."
C. Should we ever be prone to ask God, "How do I really know God that you love me?" He just points to the cross.
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
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.
1. That word commendeth, is manifested, showed, or displayed.
2. John tells us,
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.
D. Do you often stop to meditate on this thought?
1. I sometimes think that we can become so familiar with a scripture or a precept that it loses its great impact on us.
2. Oh how much God loves me!
3. All I have to do is look at the cross and see how much.
4. Close your eyes for just a minute, see Jesus hanging on the cross, He is the creator and Lord of the universe, why is He hanging there?
a. Yesterday evening I was at the Murietta Conference center, and I went into the employee's dining room.
b. They had delicious bar-b-que chicken with mashed potatoes and corn and artichokes. The young girl behind the counter was serving up the plates and I said, "I would like an artichoke and the corn with my chicken. She responded, I am sorry you can have only one vegetable." For a moment I was tempted to say, "Young lady, do you know who I am? I can go into the kitchen and help myself to whatever I want." Instead I just walked away with my artichoke and chuckled to myself.
c. I think of the authority that Jesus had, He didn't have to suffer there.
d. When Peter pulled his sword in the garden to protect Jesus from arrest, Jesus said to him, "Put your sword away Peter, don't you realize that I could ask My Father to send 12 legions of angels to defend Me. The cup that the Father has given Me to drink, shall I not drink it."
e. Who do you think was suffering the most as Jesus hung there on the cross?
f. Being a father myself, I believe that the Father was suffering more than the Son. How it must have torn the heart of the Father to see what sinful man had done to His Son.
g. I think that it would be good for our spiritual health if every once in a while, we would take a fresh look at the cross.
E. Jesus said, "I am the good Shepherd and the good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep."
II. JOHN ADDS, "AND WE OUGHT TO LAY DOWN OUR LIVES FOR THE BRETHREN."
A. Jesus said to His disciples,
Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for [so] I am.
If I then, [your] Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.
For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.
B. Peter was there that night and remembering the words of Jesus said,
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
C. John who also was there that night said, "And we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."
D. If there is one thing that the gospel teaches it is that we should not be self-centered.
1. Yet I believe that self-centeredness is the most prevalent of all sins in the church.
2. How few are willing to genuinely put themselves out for others.
3. We are surely a me first society.
4. I find this common even among the pastors.
5. So often they feel that their ministry has been accomplished when they have finished the sermon and leave the pulpit.
E. Jesus is our example in love.
And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it;
F. The Father and the Son are our example in forgiveness.
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye.
1. I think of the prayer of Jesus from the cross, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do."
2. How Jesus loved to say, "Your sins are forgiven."
a. To the man sick with the palsy.
b. I love the story of the street woman as told by Luke.
And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat.
And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that [Jesus] sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,
And stood at his feet behind [him] weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe [them] with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed [them] with the ointment.
Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw [it], he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman [this is] that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.
And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.
There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.
And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?
Simon answered and said, I suppose that [he], to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.
And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped [them] with the hairs of her head.
Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.
Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, [the same] loveth little.
And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.
G. Jesus is our example in self-sacrificing, "So we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."
[Be] kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only [use] not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
[Let] nothing [be done] through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
1. Other translations say, that you should not look out only for your own interests, but for the interests of others.
2. We can hear this and assent to it, but to put it into practice is often something quite different.
3. When they serve family style at a pastor's conference it is interesting to watch how they help themselves from the bowl.
a. Often times by the time the bowl gets around the table, there is nothing left for the last two people.
b. When offered strawberries from a bowl, do you look for the reddest and the largest.
c. I must confess that I sometimes catch myself doing that.
d. We think the sweetest for me, or the best for me.
4. John said that we should emulate the example of Jesus and lay down our lives for the brethren.
5. May God help us not to just assent to this, but may we become doers of the word.