Sermon #21 1 John Series
Title: “What Manner of Love!”
Text: 1 John 3:1
Subject: The Father’s Love
Date: Sunday PM — October 22, 2012
Tape # 1 John #21
Readings: Bob Duff and Mark Henson
(1 John 3:1) “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God!”
The Apostle breaks out in the opening of this chapter in admiration and praise to God as he contemplates the Father’s love to our souls. He draws clear a line of distinction, declaring that God’s love is a special, discriminating love. And gives us wondrous displays of that love.
Every word in our text is a sermon. Every expression rises with increasing glory.
(1 John 3:1) “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God!”
John appears to have been overwhelmed in the contemplation of God’s love. — “Behold!” — Mark the astonishing mercy, both in the love of God as it is in itself and the manner of it as it is shown to us: that we poor, fallen, sinful creatures, born in Adam’s nature of sin, should be called the sons of God! — “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God!”
Oh what love, what manner of love is this? That is my subject. — “What Manner of Love!”
There are three, specific things revealed in the Scriptures that we are called upon to behold as matters of unquestionable truth, to behold with confident faith, reverent wonder, deep gratitude, and exulting praise. Let’s look these three wonders of Divine Revelation.
The Lamb of God
The first wonder I want us to mediate upon is the wonder of the Lamb. — The first great wonder revealed in this Book is the wonder of the Lamb — The wonder of redemption through the sacrifice of the Lamb (Genesis 3 and 4 — The First Sacrifice — Abel’s Sacrifice)
Our blessed Savior is constantly referred to and typified in the Book of God as the Lamb of God. But the first time He is specifically called “The Lamb of God” here in John 1:29.
(John 1:29) “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
Now watch this: — John specifically identifies the Messiah, the Christ, as the Lamb of God and directs his disciples to follow the Lamb.
(John 1:30-37) “This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. (31) And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. (32) And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. (33) And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. (34) And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. (35) Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; (36) And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! (37) And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.”
“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” — I am calling upon you to behold the Lamb of God as the sin-atoning sacrifice of God Himself, the One Who bore our sins, and bore them away forever, in His own body on the tree.
I call upon you who are yet under the wrath of God to “Behold the Lamb of God.” — Some of you are yet without Christ, lost, under the wrath of God. The weight of your guilt and sin is crushing your soul. The terror of God’s wrath is driving you mad. You simply cannot go on like you are. You feel that you are sinking into hell, and there is nothing you can do about it. You are as helpless as you are miserable and wretched. I call you now, like that very first Baptist preacher called on his hearers, to “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Look to Christ, like the Jews looked to the brazen serpent in the wilderness, and be saved (Isaiah 45:22).
(Isaiah 45:22) “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”
My message is the same to you who are born of God, to you who are already heirs of eternal life. — Whatever your soul’s trouble is, whatever your need is, whatever your heart craves, whatever your present condition is, this is what you need to do this hour: — “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
· Behold the Lamb of God, and worship!
· Behold the Lamb of God, and wonder!
· Behold the Lamb of God, and be ravished with His mercy, love, and grace!
· Behold the Lamb of God, and find inspiration for your soul’s devotion to Him!
· Behold the Lamb of God, and be broken over your sin and indifference!
(Zechariah 12:10) “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”
Behold the Lamb of God, and be revived, renewed, and refreshed in Him!
(1 Corinthians 6:9-11) “9 ¶ Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
(1 Corinthians 6:19-20) “19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Behold the Lamb of God and follow Him. God’s saints are described as followers of the Lamb (Revelation 14:4).
(Revelation 14:4) “These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.”
Behold the Lamb of God in all the Scriptures as He is prophesied, typified (Exodus 12), identified (John 1:29), crucified (Isaiah 53), and glorified (Revelation 5).
(Revelation 5:1-14) “1 ¶ And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? 3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. 4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. 5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.”
“6 ¶ And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. 7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. 8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four [and] twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. 9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. 11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; 12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. 13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, [be] unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. 14 And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four [and] twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.”
The first great wonder revealed in this Book is the wonder of the Lamb. How I thank God for that Lamb who was slain at Calvary, slain from the foundation of the world, and for that Book of Life of the Lamb, in which our names were written by the finger of God from eternity! What a wonder!
The Sufferings of Our Savior
The second wonder revealed in this Book, revealed as the constant theme of this Book, is the sufferings, sorrows, and death of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God. — Let’s hear the Lamb of God Himself, as He speaks in Lamentations 1:12, and calls for us to behold with reverence His sufferings and sorrows as our Substitute. — “Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto My sorrow, which is done unto Me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted Me in the day of His fierce anger.”
Do you see the Son of God hanging upon the cursed tree, suffering all the horrid ignominy and terror of God’s unmitigated wrath? In His body, in His heart, and in His very soul, the Son of God was filled with sorrow, suffering the hell of God’s wrath for us!
“Yonder, amazing sight I see!
Th’ incarnate Son of God
Expiring on the cursed tree,
And weltering in His blood.
Behold, a purple torrent run
Down from His hands and head,
The crimson tide puts out the sun;
His groans awake the dead.
The trembling earth, the darkened sky,
Proclaim the truth aloud;
And with th’ amazed centurion, cry,
‘This is the Son of God!’
So great, so vast a sacrifice
May well my hope revive:
If God’s own Son thus bleeds and dies,
The sinner sure may live.
Oh that these cords of love Divine
Might draw me, Lord, to Thee!
Thou hast my heart, it shall be Thine!
Thine it shall ever be!”
“The enormous load of human guilt
Was on my Savior laid;
With woes as with a garment,
He for sinners was arrayed.
And in the horrid pangs of death,
He wept, He prayed for me;
Loved and embraced my guilty soul
When nailed to the tree.
Oh love amazing! Love beyond
The reach of mortal tongue;
Love which shall be the subject of
An everlasting song!”
“Behold, and see,” our Savior says, “if there be any sorrow like unto My sorrow.”
What was the source of His sorrow? — It was that, He says, “Wherewith the Lord God hath afflicted Me in the day of His fierce anger.” (See Isaiah 53:9-10.)
(Isaiah 53:9-10) “And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. (10) Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.”
What was the cause of His sorrow? — The holy, immaculate, spotless, sinless Son of God was made to be sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21).
(2 Corinthians 5:21) “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Why did He endure such sorrow? — He endured all the agony of our hell that He might redeem and save His people from their sins, “that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him!”
· The sorrow He experienced was my sorrow.
· The hell He endured was my hell.
· The death He died was my death (Isaiah 53:4-6).
(Isaiah 53:4-6) “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. (5) But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
What is the result of His sorrow, suffering, and death as our Substitute? — The everlasting salvation of our souls!
1 John 3:1
The Love of God
Here is the third wonder revealed in the Book of God that I want us to meditate upon for just a few minutes — The wonder of God’s love revealed to us in the Lamb. — It is in consideration of all these things that the apostle John calls upon us to behold, with deep gratitude and joy and exulting confidence and praise, the love of God for His elect in Christ. — “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1).
John would have us behold with wonder the love of God bestowed upon us. We rejoice to know that “God is love!” Love is an attribute of His holy Being without which He would not be God. We know that God is love because His love is revealed and made known by His deeds. Love is active. It is never dormant. Like fire, it must break out. It cannot be contained. It is known only when it is experienced, not by words, but by deeds. We know the love of God is that love that “passeth knowledge.” Yet, God’s love is revealed and made known by these six deeds of indescribable love.
1. The first act of God’s love was OUR ELECTION IN CHRIST (Deuteronomy 7:7-8).
Deuteronomy 7:7-8 “The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: (8) But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”
Election is not a hard doctrine. It is a delightful doctrine. Were it not for God’s electing love toward sinners, there would be no salvation (Ephesians 1:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:13). We would never have come to know and love Christ, had He not first loved us and chosen us (John 15:16; 1 John 4:19).
2. The second act of God’s love was OUR REDEMPTION BY CHRIST (Romans 5:8; 1 John 3:16; 4:9-10). — “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends!”
“This was compassion like a God,
That when our Savior knew —
The price of pardon was His blood,
His love He ne’er withdrew!”
Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
1 John 3:16 “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
1 John 4:9-10 “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. (10) Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
Because He loved us, the Son of God assumed our nature, assumed our sin, assumed our guilt, and died under the wrath of God as our Substitute, to put away our sins. — “The Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me!”
3. The third act by which God reveals his love to sinners is HIS EFFECTUAL, SAVING GRACE (Jeremiah 31:3). — “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, [saying], Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee!”
Those whom the triune God loved, the Father chose to save. Those whom the Father chose to save, the Son redeemed. And those whom the Son redeemed, the Holy Spirit will effectually call, by His irresistible grace, to life and faith in Christ. — “Blessed is the man whom thou choosest and causest to approach unto Thee” (Psalm 65:4).
4. The love of God is revealed fourthly in THE ABSOLUTE PRESERVATION OF HIS ELECT IN A STATE OF GRACE (Romans 8:39).
Romans 8:39 “Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
John 10:28 “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”
Jeremiah 32:37-42 “37 Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: 38 And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: 39 And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: 40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. 41 Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul. 42 For thus saith the LORD; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them.”
Can you imagine one who is loved of God falling from a state of grace, perishing and suffering the wrath of God forever in hell? Why, such a notion is worse than nonsense, it is blasphemy! The love of God is…
· Without cause!
· Without beginning!
· Without condition!
· Without change!
· Without end!
· It is free!
· It is discriminating!
· It is indestructible!
· It is everlasting!
5. Fifthly, God’s love for His elect is seen in OUR SAVIOR’S TENDER, PROVIDENTIAL CARE FOR US (John 11:35-36).
John 11:35-36 “Jesus wept. (36) Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!”
Our God and Savior really is touched with the feeling of our infirmities! We really are the apple of His eye!
But there is one act of love that goes beyond election, redemption, effectual calling, preservation, and providential care. Great and marvelous as those things are, there is one act of God that goes beyond them all.
6. If the climax of God’s love is our redemption by Christ, the apex of God’s love is OUR ADOPTION INTO THE FAMILY OF GOD. — “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God!”
Now, notice this: John does not here say “Behold what manner of love God hath bestowed upon us.” He was inspired by God the Holy Spirit to write, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God!” Here special emphasis is placed upon the Father’s love to His elect. Why?
I am not sure that I have the complete answer to that question, but I am sure of this: — Our adoption as the sons of God arises from the fact that God the Father loves us as He loves His Son, our Mediator (John 17:22-26).
“22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”
“24 ¶ Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. 26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare [it]: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:22-26)
The Father loves us as He loves His Son, in union with His Son.
“Sons we are through God’s election,
Who in Jesus Christ believe;
By eternal destination,
Sovereign grace we here receive!
Every fallen soul, by sinning,
Merits everlasting pain;
But Thy love, without beginning,
Has restored Thy sons again.
Pause, my soul, adore and wonder!
Ask, ‘Oh why such love to me?’
Grace hath put me in the number
Of the Savior’s family!”
Election is the great fountain of grace. Redemption is the greatest mystery of grace. And Adoption is the greatest privilege of grace. — “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God!”
Illustration: Johnny’s #60!
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