Love - 1 John 4:7-21 (ESV)
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot[a] love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
What kind of person sacrifices His only son out of Love? Abraham, maybe? God also? God did. Abraham did, but God stopped him and made a new way. Would you do what Abraham did? Abraham did it out of obedience and trust in God. I'm sorry but nothing is more important to me after God then my family. God first, Family Second, Others and myself last. I won't sacrifice my family or my only Son. He is that important to me. Same as my wife. But look at the fullness of Love that God the Father had for us in those verses. They are for the world and also individually. It's not because we loved God, on the contrary, it's because God loved us first and made the decision to love us so much that He sacrificed His only Son for us. Jesus said that no one has more love than this to lay down their life for another (I'm paraphrasing here). But is says in John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. That says the same thing that I said, so God is showing us the greatest of all of love in that He sent His Son to show us the greatest love by laying down His life for us all.
These verses really explain Love, especially God's love and how we can as Christians know love and how we should show love. But is that enough? No it's not. The Holy Spirit directed the use of the word Agape for this section and many others. Why, because the Spirit needed to redefine the word and make it even more powerful. It took Agape to a whole new level. Agape became a stronger word that also helps us understand our place within God. God has preferential love towards us and towards His creation. Remember when I said in a previous lesson that God is jealous over the spirit He put within us. It bears repeating, even to me. He is showing us preferential love not because of anything we did or our worth, but because He is Love. It's based solely on the fact that God wants to show us His love. These verse explains that and help us to recognize it so we can show it to others.
God is Love and Love comes from God. To understand Love you need to understand God, to understand God you need to understand Love. Love is such an unusual concept that people sometimes can't comprehend it, is it chemical, emotional, or just something we came up with. Well God the great creator is the one who created Love and is the perfection of Love.
Which leads us to the next verse in line about God's Love. How much more can God love us or the world than to send His only Son as a sacrifice for us and for our very salvation. John 3:16-18 is very clear on this. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. God sent Jesus to save, to rescue, to free the world from it's Sin and shame and corruption. Jesus doesn't need to judge us, that's not his job as the Son of God, His job is to show us the Love of God. He does that very clearly. Jesus came to be Love for us not condemnation or judgment, but to help us experience and understand God's love better. Without an example the Jews and Gentiles would have nothing to model after and would therefore continue to live by the Law and not by Love. It's a new way of life based on Jesus living that example for us while He was here.
You want to know Love look at Jesus example in the Gospel and how He treated individuals and communities. Jesus was always caring, compassionate and never judgmental or demanding of people, it was always to show Love and Paul, who knew Jesus later on in life after Jesus was gone from the world understood and was able to describe Love in a way that everyone understands. Paul was trying to help the Corinthians understand in his first letter to them what they needed to do in regards to a lot of things that were making their church have issues. If you notice that is mainly what Paul was doing in his letters, instructing the intended audience on how to deal with the issues they were facing. In 1 Corinthians 13 he was showing them Love and God simultaneously. Lets look at an excerpt from 1 Corinthians 13, specifically verses 4-8 and 13 4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
All that is defining love and it's importance. Now back in 1 John 4:8 says 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. So now read over the verses in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 again.
4 God is patient and kind; God does not envy or boast; God is not arrogant 5 or rude. God does not insist on His own way; God is not irritable or resentful; 6 God does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 God bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 God never ends. Just take a look at that. And in regards to believes all things, it also translates to have faith in. So God has trust or faith in all things, why not He created it all. From every atom to every object God trusts his creation and all that is in it.
To further emphasize my previous point in 1 John, these verses looked at in conjunction to the earlier ones explain God's character since God is Love. God exudes all these attributes of Love and Himself simultaneously. God the creator of Love and the epitome of Love is more than we can handle. He does all things in Love, because He Himself is Love. He shows preferential Love.
He is jealous to be near us, yet we push Him away. We take the world and it's things, things He created, and choose them over Him. We who were made in Love, don't show our creator and His creation, including ourselves, the Love we should. We are blinded by the world. But the Bible opens our eyes to what we are missing. It makes us aware that there is more outside ourselves, our selfish selves. That there is a Love beyond all reasoning and that we can attain it, show it and be a part of it. We can see the beauty of Love from these verses taken all together. We are not more aware of our worth in God and our privileges as His children. God shows us His Love daily through His creation and through His words.
In summary, let me make three points clear from all this.
1. God and Love are one and the same. They epitomize each other and compliment each other. To truly know Love you need to know God, to fully know God you need to know Love. Knowing one will assist you to and help you know the other.
2. God’s Love is unconditional. It’s not based on anything we do and it’s available to the whole world. If they wish to know it. It’s available, but they need to accept it to truly know it. And I’m not saying there aren’t loving people out there, but they don’t fully know Love unless they know God.
3. God’s Love is preferential, meaning it’s directed toward His creation, just because. Nothing we did can make God more jealous over our souls and knowing us and being near us. He Loves and desires us jealously to be near Him. Yet, we decide to chase after other things.
So God’s Love is directed toward us because He Loves us not because of anything we did and Love and God are one and the same.
References: 1 John 4:7-21, John 3:16, John 15:13, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8,13