Summary: The Love of the Father is revealed at Christmas; It is a love that is foreign to this earth!
The Father’s Gift at Christmas: An Alien Love 1 John 3:1-3
In the Advent season of the year, once again the questions arise: Who is Jesus? What is the true meaning of Christmas? This is nothing new and the debates continue even today. Before the first century was completed, within decades of the Lord Jesus Christ’s Death, Resurrection and Ascension, many were questioning the fundamentals of the Christian faith. John deals with the certainties, not speculation, of the basics of being a Christian, a “Christ-one.”
(Last week we looked the official title of the Lord Jesus as Christ, God’s Anointed One. Jesus did not have a earthly biological “father”: Jesus was Anointed by God the Father to be our High Priest, not officiating at a ceremony, but dying as the sacrifice for sin; Joseph was appointed as Jesus’ step-father or guardian while He was growing up.)
Today we look at another one of the Father’s Gifts at Christmas in 1 John 3: 1 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
GREAT FOREIGN LOVE
1. God’s Love is Great. In our text, the exclamation is HOW GREAT! (Potapos)The word means “from what country, nation or tribe, of what sort or quality, what manner of”? This kind of love is foreign and an alien love. Before the birth and life of Jesus, it was LOVE UNKNOWN because sin had separated man from God’s love. That’s why when people saw the works and wonders of Jesus, who had appeared from God’s Heaven, Matthew 8:27 says: “But the men marveled, saying, ‘What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!” What Kind of Man is this? Where did He come from?
Remember the exclamation of Paul in Romans 11:32-33: “For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all (whom He would save). Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” During the advent season, people who know Jesus as Savior and God as their Father still exclaim in utter amazement: What kind of Love is this that the Father would send His Son to die for sinners? “For God so loved the world that he gave (as a gift!) his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17) Jesus shows to what extent the Father Loves His Children, just how GREAT is His Love.
God’s LOVE is Gifted
God’s Love to us is Gifted. We GIVE gifts at Christmas because God has first given to us. He GAVE US HIS LOVE. We Love because He first loved us. When Jesus miraculously and divinely raised Lazarus, (who is a picture of every sinner: DEAD in sin, needing the call of Jesus to New Life), they exclaimed: "See how He loved him!" (John 11:36) GOD-GIVEN LOVE is not EARNED but given, not acquired but begotten: It comes into existence by an ACT OF God by His Holy Spirit, through the work of God in Christ as Jesus appeared in Flesh to reveal God’s Great Gift of Love.
(In our Midweek study we looked at when God gave the law at Mount Sinai, 3,000 received death by the sword because of disobedience to the Law. In the NT the “Sword of the Spirit” is the Word of God and in Acts 2 at Pentecost, 3,000 come ALIVE by the Preaching of the Word, the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Power of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God by the Grace and Mercy of God.)
God’s Children are CALLED
“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, (given as a gift in Christ, not earned) that we would be CALLED children of God.” So secondly, God calls us in Christ, in Love, to be His Children. Love is always about relationship. We are called CHILDREN (teknon) of God. Not everyone is a Child of God! You certainly did not earn the right to be a Child of God: Ephesians 2:1 tells us: “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins…sons of disobedience…3 Among them we too all formerly lived …even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, (HE!!!) made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved ), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”