Summary: EASTER 4(B) - How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we are called God’s children and that God provides for his children.
HOW GREAT IS THE LOVE THE FATHER HAS LAVISHED ON US (Outline)
1 JOHN 2:28-3:3 - April 17, 2005 - EASTER 4
INTRO: The divine love of God is the true love that stands as the eternal standard and definition of what love is and means. Our society has devalued that word love. Love is at times considered as nothing more than a word used to sell products (cards, beer, cars, etc.). To the believer that word love immediately draws to mind the powerful love that our heavenly Father has for his children. The Psalm writer says this of God’s great love. "For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us"(PSALM 103:11,12). Today’s text contains our theme:
HOW GREAT IS THE LOVE THE FATHER HAS LAVISHED ON US
I. God’s love calls believers children.
II. God’s love provides for his children.
I. GOD’S LOVE CALLS BELIEVERS CHILDREN
A. Gnosticism was the heresy of the day that John and the early believers faced.
1. Gnosticism was a Greek word for knowledge. Knowledge was filled with self-love.
2. This teaching had no room for loving others. Knowledge could not comprehend God’s love.
B. John reminded these believers that their spiritual understanding was superior to all earthly wisdom.
1. In verse 3:1a John explains that to be called God’s children reveals the Father’s great love.
2. Sin at birth made them enemies. But out of love God changed their status in his kingdom.
C. These believers were changed by God’s grace. They were different. Verse 3:1b.
1. The world, because of its god – knowledge, did not recognize the true God or believers.
2. Verse 3:2a again reminds the believers they are members of God’s family as children.
3. God’s children faced great persecution and ridicule. Verse 2:28. Continue in courage.
D. Today only scratch the surface of beginning to comprehend and understand how great is the love the Father has lavished on us. We look at ourselves. We examine ourselves. We understand that at our birth we came into this world as enemies of God. We were not born neutral – waiting for the influences around us to determine our fate with the maker. That is a teaching of worldly knowledge. Born as enemies and filled with sin it is most amazing that God would call us his children. But he does. "Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy"(1 PETER 2:10).
E. How great is the love the Father has lavished on us! We came into this world – enemies of God and slaves to our sinful nature. We had inherited our original sinful nature from our parents and their parents. This inherited sinfulness goes all the way back to the very first parents – Adam and Eve. This inherited sinfulness is passed on to every generation. No matter how cute and cuddly a newborn baby appears they are still born as slaves to sin. Most amazing is that God in his infinite love and free grace has changed all of that. "So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir"(GALATIANS 4:7). No longer do we inherit hell and damnation but we are heirs of eternal life.
F. How great is the love the Father has lavished on us! We do not deserve eternal life. We do not de-serve to be called God’s children. Consider that Jesus is called God’s Son. NOW God calls believers his children. How did such a miraculous change take place? We cannot earn God’s love. We cannot buy God’s love. Very simply, our merciful Father in heaven supplies exactly what we truly need. "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God"(2 CO-RINTHIANS 5:21). God’s former enemies are now called God’s children.
TRANS: HOW GREAT IS THE LOVE THE FATHER HAS LAVISHED ON US. God’s love calls believers children, and:
II. GOD’S LOVE PROVIDES FOR HIS CHILDREN.
A. The people of the New Testament knew the importance of family. Family meant everything to them.
1. Without a family there was no security, no future, and no inheritance.
2. Over and over John uses the word children to show God provides for his believers.
B. In verse 3:1b John writes that we are indeed the children of God.
1. Parents provide for their children out of love.
2. The heavenly Father also provides for his children out of love – a great love.