Summary: If you discovered that you had only five minutes left to say all that you wanted to way, what would you say - and to whom?
“Questions About God: What Does God’s Love Look Like?”
1 Jn. 2:3-5; 3:1-3, 16-20; 4:7-21
If you discovered that you had only five minutes left to say all that you wanted to say, what would you say -- and to whom? A man named Christopher Morley posited that “every telephone booth would be occupied by people calling other people to stammer that we love them.” I truly believe that the most common regret people have as they near the end of their lives, other than failing to respond to the call of Jesus Christ, is failure to love more people more fully. No matter how successful or full life may have been, failure to love tarnishes the glow. That’s why we need to learn about God’s love in Jesus Christ. In his Gospel, John wrote of Jesus, “Having loved his own who were in the world, he now loved them to the end.” Let’s learn from Jesus how to love fully all the way to the end.
To discover what God’s love looks like, we need to begin where John begins: THE CORE OF LOVE IS IN GOD’S HEART. Does God love us? Yes – a thousand times “Yes!” God loved us so much that He sent His only Son to become one of us. He did so not just so He could fully identify with us, but so we could more fully understand and identify with Him. That’s why John begins “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us...” It literally states, “Behold what manner of love...” In the Greek language “what manner” actually means “of what country.” Something is so spectacular or different that it can’t be from a normal source. For example, in Matthew 7:27 we read, “What manner of man is this that even the winds and the sea obey him;” meaning “from where does this man come?” Or Peter wrote (2 Pt. 3:11): “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind (manner) of people ought you to be?” Literally, “according to what country’s standards ought you live?” So here John acknowledged that this great love is not earthly but heavenly in origin: “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called the children of God! And that is what we are!”
The core of God’s love begins with the fact that HE HAS ADOPTED US. Remember how God repeatedly reminded Israel, “The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.” (Dt. 7:7-9) He chose them not because they were so good or great or deserving: rather He chose them because He chose them. Likewise He has given us the privilege of being part of His family – brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ! Likewise it is not because God made a huge search or ran a worldwide contest to find the most qualified, the greatest, the most deserving people to be His children; no, He settled for us – for the likes of you and me. Pure grace – totally undeserved and unmerited. We could never have measured up on our own. But He adopted us! We share all the riches, rights, and royalties of Jesus! But unlike those adopted into human families, we’ve been given the family genes: “We know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” We’re on our way to looking like Jesus - a little more every day! As Roxie Lisk Smith wrote in “The Master’s Touch”, “Deep beyond my mind I know of God’s unfailing skill; He makes the scope of time to bow to His almighty will. I cannot doubt the Master’s art remolding such as I, An erring child with willful heart; remade by Him on high. My weakened soul was scarred with time; my life was spent in vain; It was in order and with rhyme He did restore again. He took the grief I could not bear and tossed it in the sea; Inserted quiet acceptance there within the heart of me. For deep within I felt the pine and bowed my heart to prayer; He gently touched this life of mine, and left His likeness there.” God loves us - we know it because He has adopted us.