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Knowing an Unknowable God - Part 3 - God's Love

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1) 4-20-08…AM…SBC   2)

“Knowing an Unknowable God – Part 3”

God’s Love

1 John 4:7-12

Introduction:               (Piper’s introduction on T.U.L.I.P – Part 1 – see sermon audio file)

1-      We live in a world that is constantly God-minimizing and God-ignoring and God-reshaping and God-denying

2-      the doctrines the Bible are not there for our intellectual entertainment, but they are there to provide a rock under our feet when everything gives way which it will sooner or later in your life and mine

3-      We are living in the time of what Pastor John Piper called, “the American Minimization of God.”

4-      “The man who comes to a right understanding of God is relieved of 10,000 temporal problems.” (Tozer)

5-      Personal Problems

·         My guess would be that in this room alone there are numerous personal problems going on

·         Even though I don’t how many personal problems there are in this room right now

·         I don’t know what all those problems are, so how am I supposed to address them or say anything to you that will help on Sunday morning or evening?

·         I’m crazy to think that as a Pastor I will be able to look out week after week and address each specific problem relatively  – I most likely never will!

·         People are going to bring issues to this church and to me as the Pastor that I would never imagine that you would be facing

·         How can I as the Pastor say anything that God can use to address the problems that I have never heard of?

·         The answer is that if I as your pastor do my absolute best to exalt God week in and week out, and keep Him central and do everything I can to expose God as magnificent, then the issue of addressing problems that I know nothing about will take care of itself-THIS IS WHY I NEED YOUR PRAYERS!

·         if we can see God as the magnificent, self-existent, unchangeable and loving Creator that He is, and if we respond to that truth as we ought then most of the hundreds of problems that we face will be solved.

Ø      Remember that what comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us

Ø      When we lose sight of God’s magnificent majesty we can drown in the daily problems of life

Ø      In the doctrine of God’s love we learn to look to Him during the “tsunami’s” of life

Ø      Only when we see what He has done to love us can we then understand how to love others

Ø      We can never know love until we know at least something about God.

That leads us to our premise for this morning…


Proposition:   A person who knows how to love others biblically, is a person who knows the love of God


 

 

Read 1 John 4:7-12

 

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General Context:

 

Ø      John’s exhortation is for Christians to love Christians[1]

Ø      The tone of this document definitely indicates that it is a letter—not a treatise—from a respected and revered writer to recipients who knew him well.[2]

Ø      This apostolic letter speaks authoritatively about the truth of the incarnation—a message his doubting readers needed after hearing false teachers deny the full divinity and humanity of Christ. [3] - 2:18-19, 4:1-6

Ø       It reaffirms the core of Christianity, saying that either we exhibit the sound doctrine, obedience, and love that characterize all Christians, or else we are not true Christians. [4]

Ø      In this short letter we very simply received the command to love God and love others.[5]


We see first of all in this passage the…

1)     The Motivation for Love                v7-10

 

Ø      This section is dominated and held together semantically by the concept of love. The word in some form occurs thirty-two times in 4:7–5:3 (forty-three times in the entire letter).[6]

 

A-    God is the source of love        v7        “love is from God” (ESV)

1-      the human’s ability to love at all and the Christian’s ability to love rightly come directly from God

2-      Love, as Christians understand it, is not a human achievement; it is divine in origin, a gift from God.[7]

3-      ek

-          spatially, denoting motion away from a place[8]

-          denoting direction from which something comes from

-          denotes origin

4-      God is the essence of love.[9] and it is inherent in all He is and does.

5-      In other words, it is not the person’s ability to love that causes the new birth, but his ability to love flows from his regeneration in Christ.[10]

B-    God’s nature it to love                        v8b      “God is love”

1-      It means that he loves, not because he finds objects worthy of his love, but because it is his nature to love.[11] – here find our motivation to love the unlovely

2-      God alone loves in the fullest and highest sense of the word; for he alone loves with perfect disinterestedness.[12]

3-      It can be hard to believe that God is love

a-      some say, “if God is a God of love then how can He allow so much injustice in the world?”

b-      in culture - wars are all around us

c-      in nature – diseases, deformities that inflict mankind

d-     some say, “If God is a God of love how can He allow all this?”

e-      all of the injustices in the world can be stemmed back to man’s heart issue – sin

f-       The Bible says that God is a God of love and all you have to do to prove it is look at the cross

 

4-      That God is love explains…

a-      Creation – it’s the only reason why He created a world that brings Him so much trouble

b-      redemption – because He is love he seeks to save – love provides a remedy

c-      eternal life – believer’s will be in heaven forever because of God’s love

C-    God demonstrated His love                v9-10               cf: Romans 5:8

1-      There have been many manifestations of God’s love but none have been greater than the death of Christ

2-      Through the Son the love of God reaches the world of men.[13]

3-      God sent His Son in love to be a propitiation for our sins

a-      The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross satisfied the demands of God’s holiness for the punishment of sin (cf. Rom. 1:18; 2 Cor. 5:21; Eph. 2:3). [14]

b-      Propitiation appears to be connected with the Mercy Seat

c-      Hebrews 9:5 translates a form of this word as “the mercy seat.” Christ lit. became our mercy seat like the one in the Holy of Holies, where the High-Priest splattered the blood of the sacrifice on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:15). Christ did this when His blood, spilled on behalf of others, satisfied the demands of God’s holy justice and wrath against sin.[15]

4-      We never deserved God’s love

5-      Our sins deserved a punishment (Romans 6:23), Christ loved us that much

Application:               Ponder the other ways God has demonstrated His love

·         answered prayers

·         years of God’s faithfulness to you and your family

·         comfort in trials

·         wisdom when you have asked for it

·         bibles in your own native language

·         patience during your unfaithfulness

Illustration:                Thank you notes – an response prompted by an act of love

Ø      obedience to God is our thank you note to God for His loving acts of kindness to us

Second, in regards to God’s love we see…

2) The Method of Love        v11-12 cf: v7a,

 

A-    “Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” This, then, is the distinctive mark of the believer. The person who is born of God (2:29; 3:9; 5:1) is a window through which the love of God shines into the world.[16]

B-    He employs the past tense loved to point to the historical event of Jesus’ ministry and death: the supreme gift of love.[17]

C-    Once one begins to understand the incredible price paid for sin and the magnitude of personal sin, he will understand the love of God and demonstrate it himself (John 13:31–35)[18]

D-    John is insisting that loving God and loving others cannot be divorced, which is exactly what Jesus taught in Matt 22:37–40. [19]

 

Conclusion:

 

1-      How do you love others?

A-    Meditate on God’s love for you

B-    Meditate on the cross and its implications for you

C-    Give special attention to those that you are having difficulty loving and it will give you a picture of God’s love for you

 

D-    If heaven is going to be a world of love then this congregation be a foreshadow of that world

2-      Unsaved application – Salvation by faith

A-    We believe that the Bible teaches that love is to be directed towards God and away from self

B-    Even if you are able to demonstrate love better than some Christians you know, but you are not a born again believing Christian, then you are wrongly self-centered and wrongly devoted to self

C-    Can you see Christ’s demonstration of love for you – he took your punishment (Autumn and Micah)

D-    The best picture we can think of giving you of God today is sitting all around you

1-      God’s plan of love for you is seen in salvation – will you obey and be saved

3-      Saved application

A-    It is a condemning shame when Christians do not show love to each other

B-    We have an incredible responsibility to display God’s invisible character in this world

1- this is what evangelism is all about – displaying God’s love to those who don’t know it

2- are you showing love to others?

3- Are you loving those that are difficult to love?

4- Are you moving outside you comfort zone to love others?

C-    Love is hard work, but a glorious work of a lifetime that God has set before us

D-    How can you better live out this love to each other in this congregation and to those in this congregation that do not know Christ

Remember:  A person who knows how to love others biblically, is a person who knows the love of God

·         the consequences are staggering in this passage


----

[1]Daniel L. Akin, vol. 38, 1, 2, 3 John, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001), 177.

[2]Simon J. Kistemaker and William Hendriksen, vol. 14, New Testament Commentary : Exposition of James and the Epistles of John, Accompanying Biblical Text Is Author's Translation., New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953-2001), 194.

[3]The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), 1 Jn.

[4]The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), 1 Jn.

[5]Simon J. Kistemaker and William Hendriksen, vol. 14, New Testament Commentary : Exposition of James and the Epistles of John, Accompanying Biblical Text Is Author's Translation., New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953-2001), 344.

[6]Daniel L. Akin, vol. 38, 1, 2, 3 John, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001), 176.

[7]D. A. Carson, New Bible Commentary : 21st Century Edition, Rev. Ed. of: The New Bible Commentary. 3rd Ed. / Edited by D. Guthrie, J.A. Motyer. 1970., 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill., USA: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), 1 Jn 4:7.

[8]Timothy Friberg, Barbara Friberg and Neva F. Miller, vol. 4, Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, Baker's Greek New Testament library (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 2000), 134.

[9]John Jr MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible, electronic ed. (Nashville: Word Pub., 1997, c1997), 1 Jn 4:7.

[10]Daniel L. Akin, vol. 38, 1, 2, 3 John, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001), 178.

[11]D. A. Carson, New Bible Commentary : 21st Century Edition, Rev. Ed. of: The New Bible Commentary. 3rd Ed. / Edited by D. Guthrie, J.A. Motyer. 1970., 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill., USA: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), 1 Jn 4:7.

[12]The Pulpit Commentary: 1 John, ed. H. D. M. Spence-Jones (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2004), 103.

[13]Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Vols. 5-9 Edited by Gerhard Friedrich. Vol. 10 Compiled by Ronald Pitkin., ed. Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey William Bromiley and Gerhard Friedrich, electronic ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964-c1976), 1:53.

[14]John Jr MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible, electronic ed. (Nashville: Word Pub., 1997, c1997), 1 Jn 2:2.

lit. literally

[15]John Jr MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible, electronic ed. (Nashville: Word Pub., 1997, c1997), 1 Jn 4:10.

[16]Simon J. Kistemaker and William Hendriksen, vol. 14, New Testament Commentary : Exposition of James and the Epistles of John, Accompanying Biblical Text Is Author's Translation., New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953-2001), 331.

[17]Simon J. Kistemaker and William Hendriksen, vol. 14, New Testament Commentary : Exposition of James and the Epistles of John, Accompanying Biblical Text Is Author's Translation., New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953-2001), 334.

[18]Daniel L. Akin, vol. 38, 1, 2, 3 John, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001), 181.

[19]Daniel L. Akin, vol. 38, 1, 2, 3 John, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001), 181.

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