God's Love "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins."
"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins."
INTRODUCTION: There are two Greek words translated as "propitiation" in the New Testament.(see 1 John 2:2) Actually it is the same word but two different forms of it.
1. The word means "mercy seat" and is the same word used in the Old Testament for atonement meaning to cover. In this usage it is referring to God covering the sins of those who believe.
2. In the tabernacle the lid of the ark of the covenant was called the mercy seat. Once a year on the day of Atonement, the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies where the Ark was housed and sprinkle the blood of a lamb in the center between the two cherubims who adorned the lid.
3. God made it very clear how they would approach Him by coming into the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant was kept. He did not say, because I love you come any way you want too, its OK." He gave specific instructions to be followed and it meant the death to the one who came any other way.
It also means death to anyone who refuses to come to God as God has said. God has made the way, that is through Jesus Christ. There is no other way! No one else died and was the propitiation for our sin debt but Jesus Christ. God has said the only way to be saved and receive eternal life is by in faith receiving Jesus as one's Savior.
Yet, many want to change the way and make up others plans rather than believe the Lord and accept the provision He has made for us. One way to change God plan is to say, "God is love and He will not condemn anyone and accepts anyone who is sincere." However no passage in the Bible says this. The Lord is very specific as to how a man can be saved and clearly says one must come in faith or be lost to spend eternity in hell. The throne of Grace is the seat of mercy and all who come in faith are received!
II. The New Testament Teachers that Believers are to Love One Another. 1 John 4:11-13
A. Love for the Brethren is on Evidence of true Salvation.
B. Christ loved us, therefore we ought to love also, because we are Christ's and He is indwelling us!
1. There is a love that we can have for those who love us. This is not the love the Lord is talking about. (Matt. 5:46)
2. This is not cheap sentiment as so many define love today. In some churches, there is this type of sentimentally. Even false churches can have affection for one another and there can be a lot of hugging and speaking well of one another. They can do a lot of favors for each other and do it even in an unselfish way. Yet, the love of God is greater. It continues when love is not shown. It seeks the good of others even when things go amiss. That is the real test of love.
3. The love here does not come from within a man, but comes from God. It seeks the well being of even those who seek to kill you. Jesus did that, and so did Stephen, "father forgive them, they know not what they do."
4. True love is tested and proven when in times of difficulty or disagreement. It is tested when one's pride is stepped on or one is offended.
C. No one sees God, but they see His children. 1 John 4:12.
1. This verse seems out of place at first. Why in the middle of this discourse on love does the Lord say, "No man has seen God at any time?" But it fits perfectly when we understand that in speaking of showing love to others. No one can see God in person and know about Him, but the world does see the children of God and can in the children see the Lord. Children should bring honor to their parents and as the child of God loves others they can see and learn of our Savior.
2. The verse says God's love is "perfected." It means it is revealed and shown forth by those who have experience the love of God.
3. God has chosen that it is His plan to reveal Himself through those He was redeemed. No man, no matter how good or loving he might appear can know anything of the love of God, until He receives Christ as his Savior and is indwelled by the Holy Spirit. Thus, a lost man can not show forth what he does not have.
4. But God's plan is that believer show forth His love to the world. The message that God divides men and teaches to be separated from the sinful world speaks of the deep love God has for us. He wants the best for us and further is seeking to save the lost. He reaching out to a lost and dying world through us. The believer then becomes a channel of blessing to others in that by the believer's testimony others can find the Lord. Today many worry too much about what the world is thinking about us. Many preachers and church seek to compromise with the world and have the idea that we need to tailor the Gospel to the world. Modern so called "Christian rock" music is an example. The trend of many churches to have what they term "non-traditional" services where every one comes dressed like they are going to work in the garden. In the services they reject the old traditional hymns of the faith that teach doctrine and honor God for what they call "praise songs" which are not songs but "chants" where a phrase is repeated over and over with a beat which is suppose to honor God. How blind they are to think that we must make the Gospel worldly to attract the lost. These "services" do not honor God, but are simply religious entertainment designed by the Devil to misguide and confuse people.
Dr. J. Vernon McGee, tells the story of a women who said she did not want hear about doctrine and the Bible to her was what she called Christian superstition. She proudly explain that she knew that God is love and that is all she needed to know. He asked her several question to help her see the error of her thinking.
How do you know that God is love? Everybody knows that she replied. He asked again, Do they know it in India? Does the poor mother in distress throwing her infant baby into the Ganges river know the love of God? What about the blacks in Africa and natives around the world living in paganism bowing down to stone and wood idols and in the name of religion murder one another. What about those that sacrifice their children to idols, cut their bodies in worship. Do they know of the love of God. Finally, he said, "Dear lady, know one ever knew of the love of God till it was revealed from heaven and recorded in the Word of God."
My I also add, that if those who know Christ as Savior, are not a channel for God's love, and letting God shine forth in their lives God's love is not revealed and know one will know of it. The reason for so much confusion is that God's love is not shown.
D. God is saying we ought to love the brethren. Folks that means, surely a person who has been washed in the blood of Christ and received God's love ought to show love to his fellow believer.
1. Yet, often this is not the case. People will at times have differences and when there is a disagreement among believers God has given us a way to solve the problem. The true Christian because of God's love in Him wants to solve the problem and be reconciled to their brother. Differences can be solved in love even when we are a odds with one another we can show the love of God.
2. We do not have to look down on the other person and try to brow beat them into submission. We do not have to insist on having all things our way. How many churches split because of one brother (or more) is unbending and demand they have their way.
E. 1 John 4:17 says "Herein is the love of God made perfect."
1. Note also the reference to the day of judgment. Note the statement "because as he is so are we in this world."
2. In other words those who have been saved and indwelled by God are just like the Lord Jesus Christ. He was raised from the dead, so will we. He has life so do we. We are accepted and beloved of God just as Christ is.
3 His plan should be our plan, His desire for lost souls our desire as well.
4. Realizing what God has done for us, our love flows warm and free and becomes complete as we share that love with others.
III. Love has no Fear. 1 John 4:18
A. The child of God has no reason to fear the judgment of God. This not reverential fear, but rather dread. I feel some though the lack of love in their lives should feel dread and repent and let God perfect His love in them.
B. This verse is good to use to show the assurance of our salvation in Christ.
1. If you are fearful for losing your salvation or keeping yourself saved or of falling into sin you surely do not have any joy in your life.
2. Yet, because of the surety and certainty of God's love, we do not have to live in fear. God is with us.
ILLUS: An Aussie sheep man came to Utah to shear sheep heard the Gospel and was saved. At the men's retreat I heard him explain that he was driving a truck from Utah to California and was listening to preaching all the way there on several radio stations. He said each message was about the fact that God would never leave the believer! He heard it over and over again and began to see it so clear. He said it was such a comfort to him that God will never leave me nor will He forsake him.
C. We respond to God in love, we serve Him in love, and not in fear of His judgment. We do not serve out of necessity or because we are under the burden of the law, but out of love for the One who died for us. As 1 John 4:20 says, "We love him, because he first loved us."
IV. You can not love God and hate your brother. 1 John 4:20-21
A. God is calling any such contradiction in a person's life a lie.
B. As a child of God I might disagree with you, but as a child of God I can not hate you!
C. Folks, if a man hates his brother, he does not love God.
A person who harbor bitterness in his heart and refuses to forgive others should seriously consider this verse. Verse 21 states the child of God is commanded to love his brother. It is not optional. If a person is not forgiving to others then he is in rebellion against God and if he remains in rebellion, refuses to repent of his sin the evidence is that he is does not have God's love in him and is lost.
There will be times when a believer will be hurt or offend and have bitterness spring up in him. We have a carnal nature and that nature seeks revenge and was to hit back. Yet, the evidence that one is save will be that when the bitterness and unforgiving spirit surfaces it makes them miserable because God's love in them brings conviction. The true believe will then forgive and repent of his sin and be reconciled to God and to the one who offended him.
God's love is not something that can be ignored or hid when it is present in a person's life. It will show forth in some way.
For those who are channels of God's blessings to others, who let God show His love through them it is a wonderful life.
However, for those who rebel against God's commandment to love our neighbor and our brothers and sisters live is a living hell. There is no peace where love does not dominate.
Where dear friend are you?