Summary: With humanity so confused about love, who is to say what love is? The answer is God! One of the simplest and yet most profound definitions of love is found in 1 John 4: "God is love."
READ 1 John 4:7-21
"God is love" ought to fill our hearts with warmth and hope. But we need to understand this rightly. "God is love" does not mean, that "love is God." It has accurately been said that "love does not define God, but God defines love." Love in modern society bears no resemblance or relationship to the holy, spiritual love of God. So it is important that we discover what God’s love really is. John indicates four characteristics of God’s love for you in these verses, the first of which is that God’s love is...
I. PERSONAL (Verse 7-8)
A. God’s love causes us to know Him, and Him to know us
B. God does not love populations, He loves people. He loves not masses, but men."
C. One of the most powerful messages that we can take to people today is that God loves them
a. Every individual person is important to God, and He loves each one
b. We all matter to God
c. We are more precious to God then the birds in sky
D. God loves you and He knows everything about you
E. God’s love for us is personal, (John 10:14-15)
"I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me,
even as the Father knows Me and know the Father; and I lay down My
life for the sheep"
a. The image of shepherding is lost on many American’s today, but when
Jesus walked the streets of Jerusalem, shepherding was as common as
farming is in this part of the country. One of the outstanding
characteristics of good shepherds was that they knew each one of their
sheep by sight and often by name. And so Jesus says, "I know My
II. PROVEN (Verse 9-10)
A. God’s love for us was "made manifest" or proven to us, through the life and death of His Son Jesus Christ
B. Love requires actions; it is demonstrated through behavior, and the love of God is no exception
C. The Bible says, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
* A traveler fell into a deep pit and couldn’t get out. Several persons came along and saw him struggling in the pit.
• The sensitive person said, "I feel for you down there."
• The reflective person said, "It’s logical that someone would fall into the pit."
• The aesthetic person said, "I can give you ideas on how to decorate your pit."
• The judgmental person said, "Only bad people fall into the pit."
• The curious person said, "Tell me how you fell into the pit."
• The perfectionist said, "I believe you deserve your pit."
• The evaluator said, "Tell me, are you paying taxes on this pit."
• The self-pitying person said, "You should have seen my pit."
• The specialist in meditation said, "Just relax and don’t think about the pit."
• The optimist said, "Cheer up! Things could be worse."
• The pessimist said, "Be prepared! Things will get worse."
• Jesus, seeing the man, took him by the hand and lifted him out of the miserable pit.
D. It doesn’t do any good to talk about love and compassion without demonstrating it. God demonstrates His love. He’s proven His love for us.
III. PERFECTING (Verse 12)
A. Since God’s love is already perfect, the phrase "His love is perfected in us" actually has to do with perfecting us. Another way to translate this phrase would be "God’s love completes us."
B. Without the love of God, we will never be complete/perfect
C. The Bible says, "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).
D. God wants good things for us
a. Good things are not material, they are spiritual
E. That’s what agape love means -- wanting what is best for another person. And God’s love is such that He will supply us with all we need in order to grow spiritually
IV. PRESERVING (Verse 14)
A. God did not send His Son to die on the cross just to prove that He loves us, but to save us
B. God’s love for us is one that wants to preserve us -- to save us and bring us home
C. "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9)
D. ). John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."