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Behold What Manner of Love

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1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.[1]

Intro:  9/11, pearl harbor, Great depression

Black Thursday when the Great Depression began with the crash of the stock market. Just one week before the 1929 crash, Professor Irving Fisher of Yale University had announced, “Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.” And then sudden chaos.[2]

1.       (Amazement) Behold, What manner Ποταπός [ Are you as amazed at this truth as John was? Why Not?]

a.       Behold (Look at this, think about it)

Who should think this is amazing?

                                                               i.      Gentile believers

                                                             ii.      Written from Ephesus

                                                            iii.      Most likely to nearby group of Asian churches

                                                           iv.      Written about a.d. 85–90.

b.      What manner

                                                               i.      Other places the word is used (Matt 8:27)

1.       Used 7 Times in the New Testament

2.       Meaning

a.       Ποταπός; literally, “of what country,” in the New Testament always implies amazement[3]

                                                                                                                                       i.      from what far realm?

                                                                                                                                     ii.      What unearthly love,… how other-worldly[4]

b.      It implies marvellous quality rather than marvellous size.[5]

c.       always implies astonishment. Admiration is usually conveyed as well.[6]

                                                             ii.      Example of usage

Matthew 8:27 – What manner of man is this, that even the wind…

23 And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. 24 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. 25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. 26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. 27 But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him! [7]

Transitional Statement: What did John find so shocking or amazing? The love God has showed to us.

2.       (Agape) Of Love

a.       Terms for love (Charles B. Hodge, Jr.)[8]

                                                               i.      Eros – Physical, carnal, erotic, fleshly

                                                             ii.      Storge – Natural affection ( Family, Kin)

                                                            iii.      Phileo – Brotherly affection (Give and take love)

                                                           iv.      Agape – Willful choice to love regardless (Word used here)

b.      Transcendently of God’s love

                                                               i.      God sets His mind and will on seeking man’s highest good. This is what is amazing about God’s love.”[9]

                                                             ii.      God alone loves in the fullest and highest sense of the word; [10]

c.       Description of God’s love (I Corinthians 13:4-8)

Attribute of love Description
suffereth long Patient under affliction
is kind Extending good to others
envieth not Content
vaunteth not does not show off
Not puffed up humble
Not … unseemly courteous, manors
thinketh no evil Love makes allowances for the falls of others, and is ready to put on them a charitable construction.
rejoiceth in the truth Exults not at the perpetration of iniquity
Beareth all things It endures without divulging to the world personal distress
believeth all things unsuspiciously believes all that is not palpably false
hopeth what is good of another, even when others have ceased to hope.
endureth persecutions in a patient and loving spirit.
never faileth never is to be out of use; it always holds its place. [11]

d.      Displays of God’s love (R. A. Torrey)

                                                              i.      The giving of Christ. Joh 3:16.

                                                            ii.      The sending of Christ. 1Jo 4:9.

                                                          iii.      Christ’s dying for us while sinners. Ro 5:8; 1Jo 4:10.

                                                          iv.      Election. Mal 1:2,3; Ro 9:11-13.

                                                            v.      Adoption. 1Jo 3:1.

                                                          vi.      Redemption. Isa 43:3,4; 63:9.

                                                        vii.      Freeness of salvation. Tit 3:4-7.

                                                      viii.      Forgiving sin. Isa 38:17.

                                                          ix.      Quickening of souls. Eph 2:4,5.

                                                            x.      Drawing us to himself. Ho 11:4.

                                                          xi.      Temporal blessings. De 7:13.

                                                        xii.      Chastisements. Heb 12:6.

                                                      xiii.      Defeating evil counsels. De 23:5. [12]

Transition statement: John could stop here, but instead he qualifies what specific aspect of God’s love is so amazing. We are the Son’s of God.

2.        (Adoption) That we should be called the sons of God,

a.       Sons of God?

                                                               i.      By Creation

                                                             ii.      By Redemption

                                                            iii.      By Adoption

b.      What is adoption? (Placed into God’s family and given rights)

                                                               i.      Definition - the giving to any one the name and place and privileges of a son who is not a son by birth. [13]

                                                            ii.      The adopted son of God possesses all family rights,

1.       including access to the Father (Rom. 8:15)

2.      an interest in God’s peculiar love (John 17:23; Rom. 5:5–8)

3.      a spiritual nature (2 Pet. 1:4; John 1:13)

4.      Authority to rule with Christ (Rom. 8:17)

5.      the possession of a spirit becoming children of God (1 Pet. 1:14; 2 John 4; Rom. 8:15–21; Gal. 5:1; Heb. 2:15),

6.      present protection,

7.      consolation

8.      fatherly chastisements (Heb. 12:5–11)

9.       future glorious inheritance (Rom. 8:17,23; James 2:5; Phil. 3:21)


1.       Choose to access the inheritance. You are a son of God!

a.       If we access the inheritance we…

                                                                           i.      Power over sin

                                                                         ii.      Authority over Satan (Tear down his strongholds)

                                                                        iii.      Love of God

                                                                       iv.      Gifts of the Spirit

                                                                         v.      Access into the heavenly

b.      If we don’t access the inheritance we…

                                                                           i.      Live under the power of sin

                                                                         ii.      Live pushed around by Satan

                                                                        iii.      Fail to receive the love of God

                                                                       iv.      Fall to access the gifts of the spirit

                                                                         v.      Remain to dwell in the earthly realm

Conclusion Arthur

Author stood in the darkness looking at his brother Nekida lying asleep in bed. He pondered what the future would hold for him and his younger brother.  Nekida was all that Author had and all he cared about.  They never knew their father and mother, who just died, got drunk from whatever money they received.  Years before their mother had wanted them to be adopted and the missionary had found a family from America who would take both of them, but when the family came to Ukraine their mother changed her mind and refused to allow the adoption to take place. The family took two other small boys home instead.

Hope was gone.  After living for some time the life of the street Author bore the scars and wounds from protecting Nekida. Now they found themselves in the orphanage. Even in the orphanage things were hard. Very few people came to adopt children. Almost always young toddlers were choosen over older children and who would be willing to take two boys.

Finally, news came that a family was coming from America to adopt the boys. The same family that had come years before. Author was astonished. What kind of family could this be? Why would sacrifice so much to adopt him and his brother? Could it be true?

Just as the news that a family would actually come shocked Author the text in 1 John 3:1 expresses John’s shock.


[1]The Holy Bible : King James Version., electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version. (Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995), 1 Jn 3:1.

[2]Paul Lee Tan, Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations : A Treasury of Illustrations, Anecdotes, Facts and Quotations for Pastors, Teachers and Christian Workers (Garland TX: Bible Communications, 1996, c1979).

[3]The Pulpit Commentary: 1 John, ed. H. D. M. Spence-Jones (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2004), 70.

[4]Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament : For the English Reader (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997, c1984), 1 Jn 3:1.

[5]The Pulpit Commentary: 1 John, ed. H. D. M. Spence-Jones (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2004), 70.

[6] The word occurs in Matt 8:27; Mark 13:1 (2x); Luke 1:29; 7:39; 2 Pet 3:11; and 1 John 3:1. See Plummer, Epistles of S. John, 71.

[7]The Holy Bible : King James Version., electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version. (Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995), Mt 8:23-27.

[8] Charles B. Hodge, Jr.

[9] Burdick, The Letters of John the Apostle, 230.

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

[11]Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, A. R. Fausset et al., A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments, On Spine: Critical and Explanatory Commentary. (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 1 Co 13:4.

[12]R.A. Torrey, The New Topical Text Book : A Scriptural Text Book for the Use of Ministers, Teachers, and All Christian Workers (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos research Systems, Inc., 1995, c1897).

[13]M.G. Easton, Easton's Bible Dictionary (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1996, c1897).

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