Summary: In this sermon, we will speak of God, the incarnated Word who lovingly laid down his life for us; that we might lay down our lives for the brethren. This lesson deals with faith, discipleship and brotherly love.
1. His Great Love Declared
2. His Great Love Demonstrated
3. His Great Love Duplicated
1. In our lesson today we will be discussing the theme: “A Testimony of His Great Love.” This is love “indescribable, incomprehensible and past finding out.” This love has been “declared, demonstrated and requires our duplication.” John defines it by writing: “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren,” 1 John 3:16. This is a compelling love that began with God’s giving of His Son; Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection; and the saints’ willingness to “follow in his footsteps” by “laying down their lives for each other,” 1 Peter 2:21.
2. First, we will discuss how His great love is declared. John writes: “Greater love hath no man than this; that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if you do whatsoever I command you,” John 15:13-14. John witnessed our Lord’s testimony of this event; and later wrote of it for our reading and belief, regarding the death of Christ. That we through hearing and reading might “hereby perceive (know and understand) the love of God,” 1 John 3:16a.
3. Secondly, we will notice how His great love is demonstrated. John again writes: “For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son…,” John 3:16. John not only heard the declaration of Christ; but he witnessed the demonstration of the sacrifice of Christ, His death on the cross for the sins of the world. Christ gave His life as a demonstration of His great love, that all might have eternal life.
4. Lastly, we will consider how His great love is to be duplicated. John concludes our text by saying: “and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren,” 1 John 3:16. The Apostle John further challenges us that we should “follow in His footsteps,” by our willingness to “lay down our lives for the brethren.” This was a time of trial and persecution for the saints. Like the martyr Stephen, when he laid down his life for the church, as he preached Christ to the Jews. This kind of love forgives others even at the moment of death. With this introduction, let’s consider, "His great love declared."
BODY OF LESSON
I HIS GREAT LOVE DECLARED
A. Hereby perceive we the love of God. One must rightfully ask: “how did John arrive at this conclusion?” To understand this, let’s consider the word “perceive.” The Greek word here is “ginosko,” which means: “to learn, to know, come to know, to get knowledge of, or to perceive." Note: For one to be able to provide testimony of a thing, it is necessary that they have either seen or heard of the thing them self. Hear your bible:
1. Notice, Jesus: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, we speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness,” John 3:11. To give testimony one must bear witness, of what they have seen or heard. Illustrate: Testimony in court, does not allow for “hear say.”
a. Notice, John’s writing: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;…That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ,” 1 John 1:1-4. This is that “Word” which was in the beginning; which was with God; and that was God,” John 1:1. This is that “Word” which became flesh.
c. Further, he writes: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth,” John 1:14. Illustrate: Peter an eye witness of His Majesty, 2 Peter 1:16-18.
d. Paul writes to Ephesus: “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height: And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God,” Ephesians 3:17-19.
2. John uses the same phrase, “hereby perceive or know we” in other passages in 1 John 3. Notice, his use of the phrase, “hereby know we:”
a. First, the love of God: “Because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren,” 1 John 3:16. We will discuss this further, later in the lesson.