Summary: Exposition of God's Love
INTRODUCTION: The most familiar, and most comprehensive, yet most simple text in all the Bible. HOP
Martin Luther called it, "the gospel in miniature".
A. Defined --> Webster's
1. Strong affect or liking for someone or something
2. A passionate affection for someone of the opposite sex [often lust]
What we generally think of as love, does not coincide with agape.
3. The object of such affection; such as a sweetheart
B. Defined --> Bible
1. John 3:16 verb --> agapao noun --> agape
In its true sense, agape is not and cannot be used of sexual love. What we generally think of as love does not coincide with agape.
This love can't be seen in its material self because love is an abstract concept. We can't touch it with our hands or physically sense it. It is something though that can be manifest in action. It is a self-giving divine love which comes out from God and is to be seen reflected in believers. Love can be manifested in action.
2. Paul declared love as the greatest of all Christian attributes, greater than faith
or hope. I Cor. 13
3. Agape and agapao are used in the N. T. : (Vine's)
a. to describe the attitude of God toward His Son; toward the human race; and to such as believe on the Lord Jesus Christ John 3:16
b. to convey His will to His children concerning their attitude one toward another, and toward all men John 13:34
c. to express the essential nature of God I John 4:8 God is love
4. Agape and agapao (Spiros Zodhiates)
a. Agapao --> to love, indicates a direction of the will and finding one's joy in anything
b. Agape --> translated charity meaning benevolent love--is not shown by doing what the person loved desires but what the one who loves deems as needed by the one loved; "For God so loved the world that He gave . . . . " What did He give? Not what man wanted, but what man needed as God perceived his need, His Son to bring forgiveness to man. God's love for man is God doing what He thinks is best for man and not what he desires.
II. LOVE IN ACTION
A. Love can only be known from the action it prompts.
1. "God so loved the world that He gave --> what? His only
2. Love had its perfect expression among men in the Lord Jesus Christ.
3. It was not in anything that we are or that we had done that prompted God to give His only
B. Rom. 5:8 "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinner, Christ died for us."
C. We are unworthy of His love --> unworthy objects.
1. Eph 2:4-10 --> good works (human-level)
2. Martin Luther said, "If I were as our Lord God . . . and these vile people were as disobedient as they now be, I would knock the world in pieces."
3. How can God love us as He does, or indeed at all--He being what He is, we what we are, why He does not shrink back from us in shuddering loathing, or blast us into annihilation because He can't bear us in the same universe with Himself.
4. There was no human reason to love, but God loved and gave holding back nothing He gave His only. Why? "As is His majesty, so also is His mercy."
III. GOD'S ALMIGHTINESS