Summary: We are called to love others as God loves us.
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?
2. Love Proven - vs. 9-10
John tells us how God has proved His love for us and in so doing, lets us know how we might prove our love for God in the way we relate to others. As he speaks about God proving His love for us, he speaks of:
A. God's Intention - v. 9
God's intention in demonstrating His love for us was to lead us to life. God wanted the best for us: a growing relationship with Him.
God loves us the way we are, but He loves us too much to leave us that way!
Likewise, we ought to love others with the desire to see them find life. We should want the best for them: a growing relationship with God!
B. God's Initiative - v. 10
"But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." - Romans 5:8 (NLT)
A pastor told about coming home as a kid one day and finding his parents feeding a homeless person at their kitchen table. He overheard the conversation between the man and his mother. The man said, "I wish there were more people in the world like you." She replied, "There are. You only have to look for them." "But lady," he said, "I didn't look for you, you looked for me!"
As recipients of God's love, we should demonstrate His love to others by wanting them to find life and taking the initiative to share that life with them! There are folks around us who will respond to the love of God we have to share, if we will only look!