************ Sermon on 1 John 4:9-10 ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on May 13, 2007
1 John 4:7-12
1 John 4:9-10
"This is Love"
"What does God's law require of us?" (Catechism, Q4). "Christ teaches us this in summary in Matthew 22 – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments" (A4).
"Can you live up to all this perfectly?" (Q5). "No. I have a natural tendency to hate God and my neighbor" (A5). We see evidence of this every single day. The names of God and Jesus are taken in vain. People stand around waiting to be offended by any mention of God or Jesus at public meetings while they expect Christians to tolerate prayers to Allah or Buddha without being offended. We hear of murder in our cities and college campuses and of suicide bombers in Iraq. This past Sunday a man entered a side door of Grace Church in Colorado Springs and hit the pastor in the face with a pie while he was preaching. Here is the biggest irony: the pastor was preaching a sermon on loving your enemies. Yes, it is too clear that we hate God and neighbor.
What is love? We don't see it by looking at man – at least not man without Christ and sometimes not even man with Christ. What is love? "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us ..." (1 John 4:10). Or, as John put it earlier, "God is love" (1 John 4:8).
John reminds us that love always involves self-sacrifice – God "sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice ..." (1 Jn 4:10). And, if we show this same kind of love we also engage in self-sacrifice – we give up our own desires, our own plans, and seek the good of another. We stop putting ourselves and our own feelings first and put the other person first.
How clearly the Lord's Supper reminds us of all this. It reminds us of our sin – that we fail to love God and neighbor. It reminds us that God is the One Who shows love and is love.
I Love: God Sends His One and Only Son
A (1 John 4:9-10) This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. (10) This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
The sending of the Son both shows God's love and is God's love. The sending of the Son both shows that God loves us and it is the act of love itself. God communicates His love both in words and in deeds.
God is like the landowner in the "Parable of the Tenants" (Mt 21:33ff). Remember this parable? The landowner sent his servants to the tenants to collect the rent. No matter who was sent, the tenants treated them shamefully. So finally the landowner sent his son but even the son was killed. Throughout the ages God has sent prophet after prophet to His people. But the people would not listen. Finally, out of love God sent His Son even though this meant His rejection and death.
B The revelation of God's love and the act of God's love is this: God "sent his one and only Son" (1 John 4:9). God sent "his only begotten Son."
These phrases remind us that Jesus alone is the "eternal, natural Son of God." He is "begotten, not made." He is God, He is of God's essence, He is of the same substance as the Father. We know that God the Father loves His only begotten Son.
Yet, the Father "sent his one and only Son." Think of the pain a parent feels when a child leaves – the first day of school, off to college, away from home for a job. Think of the pain the Father felt when He sent His one and only Son. What love the Father must have for us that He did this.
As we eat and drink think of the Father's love that caused Him to send His Son.
II Love: God Sends His Son for Sinners
A But there is more we can say about God's love. "This is how God showed his love among us: he sent his one and only Son into the world" (1 John 4:9). God sent His Son "into the world." By "world" John means the universe and everything in it, mankind, fallen creation, and that part of our universe that is opposed to God and His rule. The world that has fallen into sin, the world that fell from its created glory, the world that opposes God – into this world God has sent His only begotten Son.
B Not only did God out of love send His Son "into the world" but He sent His Son out of love "for our sins."
God sent His one and only Son for sinners. A sinner is someone who has offended God. A sinner has broken God's law. A sinner is guilty in God's sight. A sinner is separated from God. A sinner stands in opposition to God. A sinner stands under God's curse. A sinner deserves God's wrath and condemnation.
I hope you all realize that we are the sinners and that Jesus was sent for our sins.
Jesus wasn't sent for perfect people. Jesus wasn't sent for people who are loving and caring and compassionate and kind. Jesus was sent for people who hate God and their fellow mankind. I just love how the Apostle Paul puts this:
(Rom 5:8) But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Christ came and Christ died for people who were enemies rather than friends.
The newspapers are filled with incredible stories of bravery and sacrifice on the part of our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A Navy SEAL sacrificed his life to save his comrades by throwing himself on top of a grenade Iraqi insurgents tossed into their sniper hideout. Michael A. Monsoor had been near the only door to the rooftop structure when the grenade hit him in the chest and bounced to the floor. "He never took his eye off the grenade, his only movement was down toward it," said a 28-year-old lieutenant who sustained shrapnel wounds to both legs that day. "He undoubtedly saved mine and the other SEALs' lives, and we owe him."Monsoor did this for friends. Jesus did this for enemies.
As we eat and drink think of the Father's love that caused Him to send His Son into the world for sinners.
III Love: God Sends His Son as an Atoning Sacrifice
A There is even more we can say about God's love. Out of love God sent His Son "as an atoning sacrifice."
Jesus was sent as a sacrifice. This means that Jesus died. This means His blood was spilled on the altar of the cross. God sent Jesus to die. God sent His one and only Son to die for us.
What love. What tremendous, awesome love.
B Jesus, out of love, was sent as an "atoning" sacrifice. This means Jesus' sacrifice does something to us. It purges away our sin and the guilt of our sin. It washes us and cleanses us. It also means that Jesus' sacrifice does something to God. It takes away God's wrath. It satisfies the demands of God's justice that sinners pay for sin. Jesus removes the wrath of God by suffering and dying in our place.
What love. What tremendous, awesome love.
As we eat and drink think of the Father's love that caused Him to send His Son into the world as an atoning sacrifice.
IV Love: to be Imitated
Our Bible passage tells us all about God's wonderful, tremendous, amazing, awesome love. Out of love God sent His one and only Son. Out of love God sent His Son into the world for sinners. Out of love God sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice.
We celebrate this love of God this morning in the Lord's Supper.
Can you celebrate this love? Is this love of God to be found in your life? The answer is very simple: do you love others? Because, "Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God" (1 John 4:7). Conversely, everyone who does not love has not been born of God and does not know God.
"God is love" (1 John 4:8). If we know God, then we know His love and show His love. However, if we do not love then we do not know God "because God is love" (1 John 4:8).
What happens is this: God's wonderful, amazing, tremendous love flows into us and out of us. The love that God gives to us we absolutely want to give to others – a love that is willing to sacrifice for the good of others.
Let us celebrate, then, God's love for us. And, in doing so, let us also celebrate our love for one another.
You can e-mail our pastor at: Pastor, Trinity United Reformed Church
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