************ Sermon on 1 John 4:10-11 ************


By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman


This sermon was preached on July 12, 2009


1 John 4:7-12
1 John 4:10-11
"This is Love"

I Love
A On this Lord's Supper Sunday, John talks to us about love. Let's make sure we know exactly what John is talking about. John had a choice of four Greek words.

First, John could have used the Greek word "eros." This kind of love is usually associated with sexual love. This love seeks to get something from another. So I call it a "getting" love.

Second, John could have used the Greek word "stergo." This is the natural love which normal people have for one another. This is the love shown among neighbors who help each other out. This is the love which recognizes we are dependent upon one another. So I call it a "caring" love.

Third, John could have used the Greek word "philos." This is the love among friends. This is a love which takes pleasure in someone's friendship and company. So I call it a "sharing" love.

Fourth, John could have used the Greek word "agape." This is a love which compels one to sacrifice for the good of the other person. This love is shown without seeking anything in return. This love seeks to give rather than to get. So I call it a "giving" love. This is the word John uses for love in our text on this Lord's Supper Sunday.

B Now that we know what love is, let's take a brief look at what love is not. John tells us. He says, "This is love: not that we loved God ..." (1 Jn 4:10). Love is not something we give or bring to God. Love is something we find impossible to give or to bring to God as sinners. In fact, I have a natural tendency to hate God rather than to love God. I am too self-centered, self-absorbed, selfish, and fallen to love God.

Not only do I have a natural tendency to hate God, I also have a natural tendency to hate my neighbor. So, no, love is not something I give or I bring. Love does not start with man. Love is not shown by man. Love is foreign to man.

II The Love of God
A When it comes to love, man is a failure. But God isn't. Listen to what John says:
(1Jn 4:10) This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
There you have it: God is love and God shows love.

Now, don't forget the kind of love we are talking about. It is not a "getting" love. Nor is it a "caring" love. Nor is it a "sharing" love. Rather, it is a "giving" love. What does God give? God gives "his one and only Son" (1 Jn 4:9). This is how God shows His love. Not only does God give "his one and only Son" but He gives "his one and only Son" "as an atoning sacrifice for our sins" (1 Jn 4:10).

Take careful note of what comes first. God's love comes first. It is because God loves us that He gave His one and only Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. It is not a case that God loves us after the atoning sacrifice has been offered; rather, God loves us first. God's love is so great that God provides the means of our salvation the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

When the Bible talks about God's love, the cross is in mind. When the Bible talks about God's love, the blood is in mind. When the Bible talks about God's love, the crucifixion is in mind. The proof of God's love, the showing of God's love, is the "atoning sacrifice" of Jesus Christ.
(1Jn 4:10) This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

B Do you hear those words "atoning sacrifice"? Christ's death is the atoning sacrifice. No Christian should be able to hear these words without getting shivers going up and down their spine. For this, my brothers and sisters, is the heart of the Gospel and therefore the heart of the Lord's Supper. Christ's death is the atoning sacrifice. Let's take a closer look at what this means.

First, "atoning sacrifice" means Christ is perfect. Without blemish. Without flaw. Without sin. He purposely lived a sinless life. He perfectly submitted to God's eternal plan for our salvation. But, then, remember the teaching of the Old Testament? The atoning sacrifice, the lamb of atonement, needed to be perfect in every way. Jesus is the perfect Lamb of God the perfect atoning sacrifice.

Second, "atoning sacrifice" means expiation and propitiation. What is the difference? Expiation means Christ's atoning sacrifice does something to sin namely, it removes our sin and the guilt of our sin; our sin is covered as with a blanket; our guilt has been washed away by the blood of Christ. Propitiation means Christ's atoning sacrifice does something to God namely, His wrath and holy anger and displeasure with sin have been appeased. Don't ever forget that God is holy and righteous; as such, He hates sin; as such, He is very angry with sin. Jesus, and only Jesus, is able to deal with our sin and God's anger against our sin. Only Jesus' sacrifice, offered once for all, is able to give us eternal life.

Third, "atoning sacrifice" means reconciliation. The atoning sacrifice of Jesus means the restoration of peace, the removal of enmity, the renewal of the covenantal fellowship which was broken by man's rebellion against God. When man fell into sin, he entered a state of enmity with God. He hid from God's presence. He became ashamed. But Christ died so we could be right with God.

Fourth, "atoning sacrifice" means redemption. Christ paid the price on the cross so we are released from our bondage to sin and evil. He paid not with gold or jewels or property; rather, He paid with his own precious blood.

Fifth, "atoning sacrifice" means satisfaction. Christ satisfied the requirements of God's justice on the cross and at the grave. God's justice says sin must be paid for. Christ came along and said, "Here am I. Put the sin and the guilt and its punishment on me."
(1Jn 4:10) This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

C Does God, out of love, send His Son as an "atoning sacrifice" only to the deserving? Does Christ come to us only after we have gotten our house in order and cleaned up our lives? Absolutely not! Romantic love, as you know, is blind; but, God's love sees us with a terrible clarity and sees us exactly as we are. God's love is for sinners. God's Son is for sinners who are helpless and hopeless and lost. If you think that you have to get yourself together on your own and then come to Christ, you will never do it. Instead, Christ has to come to you. God loved us and sent His one and only Son as an atoning sacrifice for sinners.

The Christian religion is unique in teaching this that God, out of love, sent Christ as an atoning sacrifice for sinners. Isn't this what the sacrament is all about? Doesn't this lie at the heart of the Lord's Supper. When we eat and drink aren't we proclaiming God's love for sinners? When we eat and drink aren't we proclaiming Christ's sacrifice for undeserving people?
(1Jn 4:10) This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

III We Love Because ...
A We can't stop here. We can't stop at God's love for undeserving sinners. We can't stop here because Scripture does not stop here. Listen to verse 11:
(1Jn 4:11) Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
See the connection between God's love and ours? Because God loves us, we ought to love one another. Furthermore, God's love enables us to love. Listen to verse 19: "We love because he first loved us" (1 Jn 4:19).

Do you see what we are called to do? We are called to love one another with the Father's love. Here is what happens: God's love flows in us and through us and to others. And, don't forget what this love is. It is a "giving" love. It is agape love. It is a love that sacrifices for the good of the other person. It is a love which is shown without seeking anything in return. It is a love which seeks to give rather than to get.
Topic: Love
Subtopic: The Test
Index: 4183
Date: 12/1985.12
Title: Love in Action

In 1883, a young pastor, the Rev. Joe Roberts, was sent to minister to the Indians of Wyoming. Soon after the Rev. Roberts arrived, the son of the chief was shot by a soldier in a brawl, and Chief Washakie vowed to kill the first white man he met. Since this might mean the start of a long, bloody feud, young Roberts decided to take action. Seeking out the chief's tepee, fifteen miles away in the mountains, he stood outside and called the chief's name. When Washakie appeared, Roberts opened his shirt.
"I have heard of your vow," he said, "I know that the other white men have families, but I am alone. Kill me instead."
The chief was amazed and motioned him into his tent. "How do you have so much courage?" he asked.
Rev. Roberts told him about Christ, His death, His teachings.
They talked for hours. When Rev. Roberts left, the chief had renounced his vow to kill.
God, in Christ, loved the Rev. Joe Roberts with a sacrificial love. So, the Rev. Joe Roberts loved his neighbors with a sacrificial love.

"Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another" (1 Jn 4:11). How do we know if we show God's love to one another?

If we love one another with the Father's love, then we will forgive one another and ask for forgiveness of one another. I've noticed something about myself over the years; and, I've noticed this is true for all of us. We tend to assume that the other person needs our forgiveness; it rarely occurs to us that maybe we need the other person's forgiveness or, even more probable that both sides need forgiveness.

If we love one another with the Father's love, then we will show hospitality to one another. Hospitality is one of the greatest strengths of this church. We have fellowship dinners, Sunday night socials, church picnics, church campout, and hospitality families. I want to believe this is all done because God's love is flowing through us.

If we love one another with the Father's love, then we will visit and encourage one another. The mourning and the sick all tell me the same thing it is a case of too much company rather than too little company. In fact, our visiting has gotten us into trouble with the niece of Ruth Schaefer because she wants us to stop this ministry of love.

If we love one another with the Father's love, then we remember to pray for one another.

B One final thought. What is true of love for neighbors is also true of love for God. We can love one another only because God's love is in us. Likewise, we can love God only because God's love is in us. In other words, we are to return to God what He has put in us.

How do we know if we love God? Very simple, really. Look for spiritual exercises in your life: attendance at worship, prayer, Bible reading, Bible study, participation in the sacraments, praise. Those who love God do these spiritual exercises; and, they do them with heart and soul and mind and mouth; they do them because they want to and not out of custom or superstition.

Those who love God, obey His commandments. "If you love me," says Jesus, "you will obey what I command" (Jn 14:15).

Those who love God, want others to have God's love and to be filled with God's love. So, they tell others about God and Christ and the cross and grave. They are involved in missions and evangelism.

I have to say something about our church's General Fund. Those who love God, give sacrificially for the church and kingdom. A number of you have told me you are living right now on borrowed money. Yet, you love the Lord and His church and His kingdom so much, you keep up your giving to the church. That is love, agape love, love which compels you to give sacrificially.

Conclusion
On this Lord's Supper Sunday let us remember what love is all about. It starts with God and Christ and an atoning sacrifice. It ends with us taking that love and showing it to each other and giving it back to God.
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