Summary: In a fresh look at John 3:16 we look at what it means to be so loved by God. Pt 1 investigates in scripture what Creator Love, Father Love, and Bridegroom love look like.
For God So Loved the World
Pt 1 - So Loved
Have you ever stopped and watched a sunset and wondered at the richness of God’s love? Have you ever been in turmoil or struggle and questioned it? Have you ever been in need and seen God’s love poured out through the hands of a friend or neighbor?
Today I want to aim us toward Advent by spending the next couple of weeks exploring the great love of God that is poured out for us in the coming of Jesus the Messiah. Anyone who has spent much time in the church has heard this verse - anyone who grew up in the church probably memorized this as their first memory verse - it’s a simple verse just 25 words but in it we find the heart of God summed up wonderfully and we find all that the Old Testament looks for and the New Testament is built upon.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
Have you ever considered what it means to be so loved by God? The fact is He doesn’t have to love us, at least in my case probably shouldn’t love us… it’s funny I’ve said this before but the truth is that if I was God I wouldn’t love me as much as He does… the reality is He does love us. He loves us with a love that borders on the unbelievable. His love is so great that it stretches my human mind and heart to even grasp it - but it is the redeeming truth of my life. Let’s spend a few minutes this morning thinking about this God who so loved us…
His Love is
1) Creator’s Love - boundless, endless, perfect and unconditional - In Genesis we find the account of God’s creative love - In six days God breathed the word and in His whisper the world was created. Genesis 1:31 says that “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” With each creative whisper God saw what was made - the light, the heavens, the land, the plants and trees, the animals and ultimately man created in His own image - and with each He saw it and declared that “it was good”. The psalmist cries out praise for the love of God the creator in Psalm 136 as he says “O give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever; who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever; who spread out the earth on the waters, for his steadfast love endures forever; who made the great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever; the sun to rule over the day, for his steadfast love endures forever; the moon and stars to rule over the night, for his steadfast love endures forever;” God’s creative love extends to all the world - the “kosmos” is the Greek word used in John 3:16. His love as Creator is extended to all of His creation - He loves the world He made - He loves the creatures He made - He loves most of all man who He created in His own image and gave dominion (stewardship) of all of His creation. This isn’t abstract or universal in it’s application - rather it’s uniquely personal - Psalm 139 says “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; …How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.” The Psalmist says that His steadfast love endures forever - from everlasting to everlasting - from beginning to end - why because all of this around us finds it’s beginning and it’s end in Him. He is the creator - has been from the beginning and will be till the end - and His love is invested in His creation.
2) His Love is a Fathers Love - It’s warm, positive, protective, and compassionate. John the Apostle writes in his first letter “What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are.” This amazing love of God is poured out on us that we are allowed to be called His children. We are allowed to call Him Father. This can be a tough one for us - many here may have had difficult or non existent relationships with their earthly fathers and this sometimes taints our view of the word. God has called us into this relationship in the best sense of the word. He has adopted us into His family - brought us into relationship with Him that is intimate and personal, giving us the opportunity to call Him Abba. Nothing in the world has changed my view of God more than becoming a father. I know how much, how deeply I love my own children. I know how desperately I want the best for them in life. How I want them to be all that God created them to be. And all this I do with the love of a broken and imperfect man. How much more does God love me who has called me into His family - adopted me as a son - has given me the privilege of calling him Abba (daddy) - and loves me with a perfect love that is without any brokenness at all. I think that there are two ways to view God in the world around us - one that is all too common is that God is a cosmic policeman - he has set the rules and is there to enforce them - punishment is swift and brutal on those who dare to cross Him. The other view is that God is a loving Father who sets rules in place to keep us safe, has our best interest at heart, and loves us even when we fail to meat His expectations. He lovingly guides, disciplines, and cheers us along the path of life. I think the latter is the view of God represented in Scripture from Genesis to Revelation.