Summary: We are called to love others as God loves us.

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The writings of the Apostle John give three definitive statements about God. "God is Spirit" (John 4:24), "God is light" (1 John 1:5), and now, in this passage, "God is love" (1 John 4:8, 16).

John was overwhelmed with the thought that God loved him and proved His love by sending the Lord Jesus into the world to pay the price for his sins. He refers to himself through-out his gospel as "the disciple Jesus loved." The truth that really gripped his heart was that Jesus loved him.

When the famous theologian, Carl Barth, was asked in a Q & A session of a conference to sum up his theological perspective, he answered, "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so."

Truly, the wonder of the Christian faith is wrapped up in the thought that we are loved by God! Such a thought defies our ability to

understand. An ancient poet put it this way: "How thou canst think of us so well and be the God thou art; Is darkness to my intellect, but sunshine to my heart."

We can never fully understand the depth of God's love, but we can, nevertheless, experience the reality of it and rejoice in the goodness of it. John speaks to us here about the love of God and the difference it should make in each of our lives.

1. Love Proclaimed - vs. 7-8

John tells us that the reason we ought to live a life of love is that if God has truly impacted our lives, He will have left His mark on us. Since God is love, we should love one another. Love ought to be the chief identifying mark of the Christian.

During the presidency of George H. W. Bush, there was a humorous story reported in USA Today about the president's encounter with an eight year old by the name of Anthony Henderson. Bush was visiting Anthony's school, and during the course of his visit, sat down with Anthony to read a book. While the Bush was reading, Anthony asked him, "Are you really the president?" The president replied, "Yes. Did you think that I was just a pretend guy or something? Let's see how I can prove it to you." The president then proceeded to produce some I.D. He pulled out his driver's license and said, "See here? B-U-S-H, Bush. George Herbert Walker Bush." The president then showed Anthony his American Express card. Then a picture of his grandson. He offered to give Anthony his autograph, but Anthony said the teacher said they weren't allowed to ask for an autograph. A picture also appeared in USA Today along with the story that showed a puzzled president sitting beside Anthony, as Anthony examined his American Express card. The story concluded, "Bush, at the school to praise Marine volunteers who tutor there, gave up. And Anthony's still waiting and wondering."

I share this story in the effort to make a point. The point is that an unbelieving world looks at us and our claim to be a follower of Christ and asks, "How do I know that you are really a Christ follower? How do I know that God has really changed your life and that you belong to Him?" John proclaims love as being the chief evidence of the fact that we belong to God. How convincing is your testimony?

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