I. "HEREIN IS LOVE" THIS IS WHAT TRUE LOVE IS ABOUT.
A. "Not that we loved God."
1. Sometimes we hear a person say, "Well, I love God" as though that were such a big deal, and surely should buy us divine favors.
a. Loving God should be as natural as breathing for any sane man.
b. Loving God is just my natural response to His love for me. "We love Him because He first loved us." vs. 19
2. Love begins with God and is initiated by God.
B. "But that God loved us." Now that is something, that God should love me.
1. God loved me when I was still in sin.
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.
2. God had every reason to hate me.
a. I was in rebellion against His authority.
b. I was selfish and self centered.
3. Yet He loved me and sent His Son to die for me.
4. Now that's love.
C. "He sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sin."
1. The word propitiation the Greek is hilasmon which is the Greek word for the Hebrew word kophar which is translated atonement.
a. The word means to make a covering.
b. There is a Greek word that is translated atonement in Romans 5:11
. Katallage, it is a word that means at one with and is also translated reconciliation. It means an intense change. It is the removal of hostility.
2. In sending His Son to be the propitiation for our sins, Jesus as the sacrifice has made a covering for our sin.
a. In the Old Testament, they would offer an animal as a sacrifice to God as a sin offering.
b. In the offering was a confession of guilt, and a request for fellowship by the covering of the guilt of sin.
3. Now the blood of bulls and goats could not put away our sin, but only provide a covering. It took the sacrifice of Jesus to put away our sin. So through Jesus we not only have a covering, but reconciliation. Through Him our hostility with God has come to an end.
II. "BELOVED, IF GOD SO LOVED US, WE OUGHT TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER."
A. God becomes our pattern and example in love.
1. If God so loved us.
2. How much did God love us?
3. God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son.
4. Jesus pointed out God's forgiveness as a pattern for our forgiveness.
a. He gave a parable in Matthew illustrating how we ought to forgive.
Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. (About 15 million dollars.)
But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took [him] by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.
And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:
Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
b. He commanded to love as He loved us.
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
c. Paul commanded the Ephesians and the Colossians to forgive as they were forgiven by Christ.
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
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.
B. If God so loved us, so ought we to love one another.
III. "NO MAN HAS SEEN GOD AT ANY TIME."
A. Many see in this verse an apparent contradiction in the scriptures.
1. There are verses that speak of man seeing God.
And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
1. Jacob said this after his wrestling all night with the angel of the Lord.
2. The Angel of the Lord in the Old Testament is often thought to be a Christophany.
And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.
And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.
And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live
And the LORD said, Behold, [there is] a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:
And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:
And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.
And when Gideon perceived that he [was] an angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord GOD! for because I have seen an angel of the LORD face to face.
2. There are many verses that declare that man cannot see God.
No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared [him].
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, [be] honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom [be] honour and power everlasting. Amen.
By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
3. John tells us plainly, "No man has seen God at any time." John was well aware of the scriptures concerning Jacob and Moses, and would not have declared something contrary to what God had already declared.
B. "If we love one another, God dwells in us."
1. "Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God."
2. "The fruit of the Spirit is love."
C. "His love is perfected in us."
1. The word perfect in the New Testament has more the meaning of mature.
2. God's love working through me is a mark of my spiritual maturity.
But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
D. Can you think of someone that you really hate?
1. You feel guilty because you know that the feelings that you have toward them are not what God would have you to feel.
2. Let me suggest that you ask God to perfect His love in your life, pray that He will give you His love for them.
3. It is always an exciting to see God do for you, what you know you cannot do for yourself. To experience the supernatural.