Sunday Sermon Notes: January 6, 2019

Title: God’s Love for Us

Text: 1 John 3:1

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

1 John 3:1

You might wonder what love has to do with forgiveness, if so don’t feel bad, it’s a common question.  What you will discover as this study moves forward however is that love has everything to do with forgiveness, and forgiveness has everything to do with love.  The truth is that we really can’t separate one from the other.

In the Bible, the story of forgiveness and the story of love go hand-in-hand.  Why did God send Jesus to die for forgiveness of sins? Because He so loved the world! (John 3:16) Think about your own life, don’t you find it easier to forgive your loved ones than you do a complete stranger… or someone you really don’t like very much? I think you would agree that this is the case. Yes, maybe love has quite a lot to do with forgiveness after all.

In the verse above, John is telling us that God has so much love for all of us that He considers us His own children; that’s a lot of love. Look at the next sentence. It isn’t just that God “considers” us to be like His own children, in Christ we really are His own children because we have been born again of His Spirit; yes, His love for us is very great indeed.

Having been reborn of God, those of this world can’t always figure us out.  Some might think we are just crazy people always talking about loving others, following Jesus and forgiving people who have hurt us, and by the standards of this world we probably really are crazy.  But for us, having been reborn into God’s household, these kinds of things become second nature as we grow in our faith.

The whole reason for this study of forgiveness is to foster growth in each of us. It is a journey of sorts, more than just the accumulation of knowledge. It is a journey of discovery and understanding, a journey of insight, faith and freedom. When we reach the end of this journey, we might even discover that forgiveness is not merely a teaching, a doctrine or a moral value, for it is a release of things that bind us, hold us back and weigh us down.  In fact, I think we will discover that forgiving others will release us from bondage to our pasts that has held us back far more than we ever suspected.

God loved us first

From the very beginning, God loved Mankind. He created a beautiful environment for us, He breathed His own life into us and He gave us dominion over the earth.  Yet as we know, something happened; Adam and Eve rebelled against God and from that point forward they were at odds with Him.  In the fullness of time, God sent His Son Jesus to repair that relationship that had been so badly damaged by rebellion in the Garden.  God’s love was so great; He was willing for His only Son to die for the redemption of humanity.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. John 13:1

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:13

With this sampling of verses it becomes clear that God loved us first, before humanity had any cause to love God.

God loves us in spite of everything

In spite of everything that had happened between humanity and God, God continues to love us.  He loves us in good times and in bad, even when we are having all kinds of problems, God still loves us, for His love cannot be shaken.

No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. John 16:27

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 1 John 4:16

God showed us His love

God didn’t just sit back and pine for us, He didn’t just bemoan the fact that we rebelled− He did something about it. God sent His Son to redeem Mankind, in spite of everything that had happened.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.  1 John 3:16

 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  1 John 4:9-10

Isn’t this interesting? God loved us, and then He made a loving response to the situation that separated Him from us, He took extreme steps to forgive us.  Yes indeed, there is a strong relationship between love and forgiveness!

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About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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