Summary: The love of God spoken of in John 3:16
GOD'S UNIQUE LOVE
© 1-2000 By Mark Beaird
Text: John 3:16
n A reported asked Billy Graham, "What is the greatest theological statement ever made?" It is said that Brother Graham thought for a moment and then replied, "The greatest theological statement ever made is 'Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.'"
But what exactly does the Bible tell us of God's love? The answer is found in our text. n "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (NIV)
First of all, lets not forget how God gave His one and only son. Jesus was crucified on a cross. Some may ask, "Why?" There are great theological reasons and explanations that I could give but to simply put it, God didn't want you and me to die and be eternally separated from Him, so He let His own Son die in our place, taking our punishment, so we could go free.
n Oswald Chambers writes, "In the Cross we may see the dimensions of Divine love. The Cross is not the cross of a man, but the exhibition of the heart of God. At the back of the wall of the world stands God with His arms outstretched, and every man driven there is driven into the arms of God. The Cross of Jesus is the supreme evidence of the love of God."
-- Oswald Chambers, Christianity Today, Vol. 37, no. 11.
With the cross in mind we come to the heart of the matter-what we know about God's love. Note the characteristics of God's unique love that are revealed in this familiar verse. God's love is both inclusive and exclusive.
I. GOD'S LOVE IS INCLUSIVE (v.16a).
A. The inclusive nature of God's love was not an after-thought.
God never chose whom He would love and whom He would not. He did not love man because He had become attached to him. He loved us before we were as well as afterward. Which fact is the more amazing I do not know.
n There is a song that says, "He knew me, yet He loved me…
B. The inclusive nature of God's love prohibits it from being selective.
n In the December 4, 1989 issue of Newsweek magazine, there was an article about a little known mental disorder called erotomania. It is a mental illness in which a person has the delusion that he or she is the object of someone's love. Some imagine love affairs that continue for years, yet it all exists only in the imagination of the sufferer. The title of the article was "The Delusions of Love." While romantic love may have many delusions, there is no delusion about God's love.
-- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).
The very nature and character of God prohibits Him from being selective. He is righteous and just.
II. GOD'S LOVE IS EXCLUSIVE (v.16b).
A. No one has ever loved as God has loved.
His love is unique, select and uncommon.
· In the face of rejection-He loved.
· In the face of hatred-He loved.
· In the face of unbelief-He loved.
In spite of it all, God loved mankind so much that He gave His only Son in a sacrificial gift to purchase our salvation. The ugliness of man's sinful nature could not turn God away from the purpose of the cross. It's not possible to be "too bad" for God to love you. His love
transcends our evil nature and ways and He keeps on loving us.
How much does God love you? n One writer said it this way, "If God
had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning. Whenever you want to talk, he'll listen. He can live anywhere in the universe, and he chose your heart... Face it, friend. He's crazy about you." (Lucado, 122)
B. No one has ever loved more deeply.
· He gave His son for whosoever.
· He gave the guiltless for the guilty.
· He gave the sinless for the sinful.
· He gave the perfect for the imperfect.
· He gave the holy for the unholy.
God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit-all three-held nothing back in the hopes of saving those who would believe.
n In January 1978, Florida newspapers carried the story of James Michael Harper of Tampa. Michael was playing with his puppy on a train trestle over the Hillsborough River. The puppy got loose and Michael saw a train coming. He was determined to save his dog, and he did, but the train ran over Michael and he lost both his legs. How tragic that a boy should lose both legs to save a mere animal. But the difference between man and animal is no greater than that between God and man--yet Jesus gave his life for us.