Sermons

Summary: Final sermon in the series "The Attributes of God." All Scripture references are from the NASB.

Today’s message will concludes this sermon series on the attributes of God. In this series we had only skimmed the surface. There is so much more about the qualities of God, but we cover those things every time we open and read His word. God’s word, the Bible is His revelation of Himself to us.

Today we conclude with what is arguably one of the more well know qualities of God, and that being His love. Yet the world would be quick to quote the last part of 1 John 1:8 which is “God is love” and in doing so they justify all their immoral lifestyles and conduct. As we will see, the world cannot know what true love is because they do not know God.

1 John 4:7–16

Gregory Jones tells a true story of forgiveness and this kind of love in his book, “Embodying Forgiveness.” A Turkish officer raided and looted an Armenian home. He killed the aged parents and gave the daughters to the soldiers, keeping the eldest daughter for himself. Sometime later she escaped and trained as a nurse. As time passed, she found herself nursing in a ward of Turkish officers. One night, by the light of a lantern, she saw the face of this officer. He was so gravely ill that without exceptional nursing he would die. The days passed, and he recovered. One day, the doctor stood by the bed with her and said to him, “But for her devotion to you, you would be dead.” He looked at her and said, “We have met before, haven’t we?” “Yes,” she said, “we have met before.” “Why didn’t you kill me?” he asked. She replied, “I am a follower of Him who said ‘Love your enemies.” [1]

This woman understood the concept of God’s love. God’s love is unconditional, and is not based on our merits. Paul understood this when he wrote:

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

As sinners, we were enemies with God. Yet God loved us enough, in spite of our offenses to Him, to save us from our sins. When we discuss the love of God, it is the hardest to define. That is one reason why I left this attribute of God till last. All of God’s attributes are wrapped up in His love. Even God’s justice and God’s wrath are wrapped up in God’s love.

We cannot separate God into parts and do with one attribute one thing, and with another attribute, do another thing. All that God has determined, all that God does, all that God says, expresses all that God is. So when God redeems a man in love, or damns another man in justice, He’s not contradicting Himself, but justice and love are working together in the unitary Being of God.

In our passage today, we must put it into context of the whole of John’s letter. John is instructing the churches clarifying the message he has given before, and also giving the assurance of their faith. Numerous times John mentions what does it mean to know God. For example:

1 John 2:3–4 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;

1 John 3:24b We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

1 John 4:2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God;

1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

1 John 4:20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.

John is writing these things to assure his readers of their salvation:

1 John 5:13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

So to know God is to obey God’s commandments, to experience His Spirit within us and to love as God loves.

Let’s go back and look at love. It is interesting to note that John is fond of that word “love” for he uses it, in its various forms,

43 times in this little letter of 5 chapters.

1 John 4:7–8 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

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