Both of these texts speak of Gods wonderful love for his people. A love which is revealed in the glorious gospel of Christ. At the root of the salvation of sinners is the sovereign, everlasting, elective love of God that is revealed to us in his sending his Son into the world to save sinners.
Both of the texts I have read speak of the love of God and indicate there is something special about the manner of the love that is revealed in the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. In Jn. 3:16 Jesus does not merely say, "God loved the world." Rather he says, "God so loved the world." Obviously he is calling our attention to the special manner of this love which God had and has for the world of his elect. The same thing is done by John in I Jn. 3:1. He does not simply say, "Behold the fact that God has loved us." Rather, he calls our attention to the manner of that love. "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed on us." Notice also that John calls upon us to "behold" the manner of this love. This word "behold" exhorts and admonishes us to take more than an intellectual glance at the manner of this love. It calls upon us to take a lingering look at the manner of this great love. If we obey this admonition we will focus our attention upon the manner of this love and let our attention remain upon it for time enough to grasp something of the manner of that love.
I want to call your attention to the manner of the love of God that is set forth in the glorious gospel of Christ. In order to do that, I will ask that you linger with me for a while in this third chapter of the First Epistle of John.
I. THE GLORIOUS GOSPEL OF CHRIST REVEALS THAT THERE IS A SPECIAL MANNER TO THE LOVE OF THE FATHER FOR HIS PEOPLE
A. This love revealed in the gospel is a love that preceded our love for him. 1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.
B. This love revealed in the gospel is a love that predates the foundation of the world. John 17:23-24 ". . . that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me . . . thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world."
C. This love revealed in the gospel is an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.
D. This love is included in the meaning of he word foreknowledge. Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
E. This love is often included in the simple word know. Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee.
F. This love revealed in the gospel is a gracious love.
1. In our passage John tells us that this love has been bestowed upon us by the Father which shows that it is a gracious love. 1 John 3:1 "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us."
2. In speaking of the love which God had for the nation of Israel, Moses clearly shows Gods elective love to be a gracious love. Deuteronomy 7:7-8 The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: 8 But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
3. Paul would also have us to understand that the love revealed in the gospel is a gracious love. Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
G. This loved revealed in the gospel is also a sovereign love.
1. There is nothing that obligated God to love even one person in the fallen descendants of Adam.
2. There is certainly nothing that obligated God to love all the fallen descendants of Adam.
3. That the Father bestows his love clearly shows that his love is sovereign.
4. That all are not objects of this love is clear from Romans 9:13. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
5. That Gods elective love is sovereign is evident from Moses declaration to Israel. Deuteronomy 7:7-8 The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: 8 But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
6.That Gods love is sovereign is evident from what Jesus will say to many when they plead their case before him at the white throne judgment. Matthew 7:22-23 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
a. I call your special attention to the words, "I never knew you."
b. That is tantamount to saying, "I never loved you."
c. Since Christ knows all men in the sense of cognition, this obviously has reference to that special love which he sets on and bestows upon those whom he has chosen, and he had never set that love on these because his love is sovereign love.
H. This love revealed in the gospel is also an inseparable love. Romans 8:35-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I. This love revealed in the gospel is an exceedingly great love. Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
1. It must be great because of the one who bestows it, the Great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ who are high, holy and undefiled.
2. It had to be great because our exceedingly great sinfulness.
3. It is so great that it passes knowledge. Ephesians 3:17-19 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
II. THE GLORIOUS GOSPEL OF CHRIST REVEALS A LOVE WITH A DISTINCT PURPOSE
A. This distinct purpose is declared in our first text. John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
1. The purpose of this love is that none of those who are so loved should ever perish.
2. The purpose of this love is that all of those who are so loved have eternal life.
3. Since all of those so loved will believe and come to Christ then none of them will perish.
4. As many as are ordained to eternal life do believe and those so loved were ordained to eternal life. Acts 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.
5. All of those so loved were given to Christ and none of those given to Christ will ever be cast out so none of those so loved will ever perish. John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
B. The distinct and particular purpose of this love that is revealed in the gospel is set forth in our second text. 1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.
1. This is in harmony with the fact that he same ones were predestinated to the adoption of sons. Ephesians 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
2. This is harmonizes with the fact that the purpose of the death of Christ was that he might gather together the children of God scattered abroad. John 11:52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.
C. This gracious purpose of the love revealed in the gospel is confirmed and corroborated by the fact that those whom God loved before the foundation of the world were also predestinated to be conformed to the image of his Son. Romans 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
D. This love revealed in the glorious gospel shows Gods plan and purpose in setting his love on us was that we might receive the adoption of sons. Galatians 4:5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
E. The purpose of this love revealed in the gospel is that Christ should bring many sons to glory through his death. Hebrews 2:9-14 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. 10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. 13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. 14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. (KJV
III. THE GLORIOUS GOSPEL OF CHRIST REVEALS A LOVE THAT GIVES US A VERY GRAND AND PRESENT REALITY
A. Because of the love revealed in the gospel and its great purpose we are now the sons of God. 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God.
B. This grand and present reality belongs to everyone who knows he was loved with this everlasting love by the fact that he has believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.
C. God has given every one of us who has believed on Christ the witness of the indwelling of his Holy Spirit assuring us that we are now, at this moment, sons of God. Romans 8:14-17 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
D. Paul joins John in assuring us that this grand reality is a present reality. Galatians 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
IV. THE LOVE REVEALED IN THE GLORIOUS GOSPEL OF CHRIST ALSO ASSURES US OF A GLORIOUS PROSPECT
A. This prospect is still partially a mystery. 1 John 3:2 ". . . it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
B. Paul gives us some description of that mystery. 1 Corinthians 15:51-57 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
C. While we may understand all that is involve in this mystery we can know that its fulfillment is absolutely certain. Romans 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
D. While it is still partially a mystery, it is wonderful to contemplate the glorious prospect assured by the gracious love set forth in the glorious gospel of Christ.
1. It is wonderful to take a lingering look at it.
2. It is wonderful to contemplate the wonderful prospect of being like Christ. "We shall be like him."
3. It is wonderful to contemplate the wonderful prospect of being conformed to his image. Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
4. It is wonderful to contemplate the wonderful prospect of the redemption of our bodies from the ravages of the sin curse. Romans 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
5. It is wonderful to contemplate the glorious prospect of having him fashion our bodies like unto his glorious body. Philippians 3:20-21 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
6. It is wonderful to contemplate seeing Christ in all his glory and majesty. 1 John 3:2 "we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."
E. It is also purifying to contemplate the wonderful and grand prospect of the love revealed in the glorious gospel of Christ. 1 John 3:3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
F. It is also very comforting to contemplate this grand and glorious prospect that is ours because of the love revealed in the glorious gospel of Christ. I Thessalonians 4:13-18 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
What wonderful, glorious, marvelous, gracious, sovereign, everlasting love is revealed in the glorious gospel of Christ. There are probably those in this congregation that have no idea of how wonderful and marvelous it is. If you could and would only believe on the Lord Jesus Christ you could say with wonderful assurance, "I am now a child of God and I am not certain of all that is involve out in the future but I do know that when he shall appear I shall be like him for I will see him as he is. Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on me."
May the God of this love and grace be gracious to you, open your heart to his glorious gospel and grant you the faith to lay hold of Jesus Christ if he has not already graciously blessed you in doing this for you and in you.
Go to Table of Contents
Click to return to Central Baptist Church HomePage
Click to go to Table of Contents of This Site
Last updated on Monday, August 01, 2011