Summary: The implications of these three words are so vast that one message on them is like trying to harvest a million acres of corn with a comb. There is no way to get all of the infinite riches they contain, but we will at least get a taste of what this love is
Tolstoy wrote a story called "Where Love Is, God Is." It is about
an old cobbler named Martin who lived alone. One night as he
read the story of Jesus visiting the Pharisee, and the poor
welcome he received, he prayed that the Lord would visit him. In
his sleep he heard a voice saying, "Tomorrow I shall come.
The next day Martin waited all day for his visitor. He saw a
poor old man sweeping snow, and he called him in from the cold
and gave him some hot tea. He kept looking out the window and
the old man asked, "Are you expecting someone?" Martin told
him of the voice. Sometime later he saw a shivering mother with
her crying baby, and he brought them in and gave them some
warm soup and a cloak to shield them from the cold. He told her
about the voice as well.
It was getting late, and still the Savior had not come. He looked
out one last time before closing, and saw an apple woman
scolding a boy who had stolen an apple. He rushed out and made
peace. He paid for the apple and persuaded the woman to forgive
the boy, and they departed with the boy carrying her basket.
That night Martin heard the voice again saying, "Martin, Martin,
don't you know me?" "Who is it," he asked? "It is I," and he saw
the old snow-sweeper. "It is I," and he saw the mother with the
baby. "It is I," and he saw the apple woman with the boy. Then
they all vanished, and Martin realized that Christ had visited him
that day after all, and his heart felt strangely warm.
Tolstoy was saying by this story that where love is, God is. The
presence of God and the Lord Jesus Christ is directly linked to
love. Love is the fruit of the Spirit, and so if the Spirit is present,
the first evidence will be love. If God is love, then love is a sign of
His presence, and lack of love is a sign of His absence in Spirit.
John say in verse 12 that no one has ever seen God. So how can
we know if God is present? John says we know God is present
because of love. If we love one another that is the evidence that
God dwells in us. When you see love, you see God. When you feel
love, you feel God's presence. God is present in love, for God is
love. Where love is God is. The more we love, the more we
experience the presence of God.
No wonder that Paul said everything without love is nothing.
Even faith and great knowledge, and even sacrifice, are not worth
anything without love, for love alone is our link to God, and only
in love do we experience the authentic presence of God.
Everything we do in worship is much ado about nothing if it does
not lead us to love. Therefore, there is not greater good than to
gain an understanding of what the Bible is saying in this simple
but sublime sentence stated twice in this fourth chapter of I John:
"God is love." The implications of these three words are so vast
that one message on them is like trying to harvest a million acres
of corn with a comb. There is no way to get all of the infinite
riches they contain, but we will at least get a taste of what this
love is. First lets taste-
I. THE INEXHAUSTIBLE ILLUMINATIONS OF IT.
R. A. Torrey, the great evangelist, said this is the greatest
sentence ever written, and voices without number in heaven and
on earth echo with an amen! Three little words made up of just 9
letters in English, and yet they are saying something that all the
words of every language can never fully convey. They are giving
us an inexhaustible illumination as to who God is. Read all the
books of men, and search the universe, and you will not find a
more important truth about God than these three little words that
God is love. It is the brightest light we have by which to see who
God is. Torrey said if he had to choose one sentence to sum up the
entire Bible and is message to man, it would be these three words.
D. L. Moody, another great evangelist, felt it was the essence of
the biblical revelation as well, and he had it put above the pulpit
in the famous Moody Church in Chicago. This is the Gospel in a
nutshell. This is why God sent His Son to die for us. This is why
Jesus paid it all, and why he left his church here to carry this