Summary: This is about our love for others.
We love others because…. Why do we love others? Has that thought ever crossed you mind? Do we love others because they are attractive, like me? Do we love others because they make us laugh? Do we love others because they make us feel good? Do we love others because they are good cooks? Why do we love others? Why bother wasting our time on other people? What does the Word of God say about loving others?
Turn with me to 1 John 4.
Read 1 John 4:7-12.
We love others because God is love. We love others because God loved us. We love others because if we love others God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.
We love others because God is Love.
John makes a brief yet profound statement in verse 8, “God is love.” God is in his nature love. God is the perfect, flawless expression of love.
Let’s look at the first three verses of our passage, 7-9. We’re going to work backwards through these three verses. We will start with verse 9, then we’ll look at 8, and then 7, as we consider the statement that “God is love.”
Verse 9 says, “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.”
There are a couple things to note here about God’s love. First, it cost him something. Second, he demonstrated his love in the middle of the object of his affection. Third, we, as humans, were the objects of his affection.
God demonstrated his love for the human race by sending his Son that we might live. The love of God for the human race was shown in the death of his Son Jesus Christ on the cross. God’s love cost him something. It cost him his Son. As Jesus hands a feet were nailed to the cross, he took the punishment for our sins. A holy God could not bear the sight of his only Son with all that sin on him. Jesus cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.” There was a separation of the Father and Son at that moment. God’s love for us cost him that separation from his Son. One great preacher once said, “Love is self-sacrifice, the seeking of another’s positive good at one’s own cost.” God sought our good, which is eternal life, at the expense of the humiliation and death of his only Son.
The other thing is that God sent his Son into the middle of the human race. He didn’t stay in his ivory tower. God came in human form to get in the middle of the race. He faced temptation. He was hungry, thirsty, and tired. He experienced the range of human emotions, from happiness to sadness, and from anger to delight. He felt pain. He felt physical pain. He felt emotional pain. God came and got directly involved in human life. He didn’t stay on his throne in heaven and throw out platitudes about love and all that. He came and got his hands dirty.
I remember hearing a friend of ours who was going through a very difficult divorce. She loved her husband, and she didn’t want a divorce. He had emotional abused our friend. He had cheated on her. He had put the family in a terrible financial position. Our friend was devastated. She told us that one day she was driving to work and praying. She told God that he didn’t understand the pain of rejection. God reminded her that he had indeed experienced the pain of rejection on the cross.
God came and got his hands dirty in the human race. He experienced everything that we can experience.
The other thing we get out of this verse is that we are the objects of God’s affection. God sent his Son so we might live through him. God has offered us the gift of eternal life. It hasn’t been offered to anyone or anything else. Trees don’t have eternal life. Animals don’t have eternal life. Nothing other than humans has the opportunity for eternal life. We are the objects of God’s love. It is for us, and only for us that he sent his Son so we can have eternal life with him.
John says in verse 8, “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” How could someone who had experienced the kind of love that John is talking about not love others? The Bible says that all people are sinners. Everyone single one of us were born sinners. We have all committed acts of sin that deserve nothing less than eternal punishment. God loves us so much that he sent Jesus to pay for our penalty. John says that anyone who doesn’t love others is not a recipient of the love of God.