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Archive for October, 2012

Two Loves – John 3:16-21

Preaching Notes October 7, 2012

John 3:16–21 (ESV)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

I.  God is Love, but what kind?

World wants God’s love to be …

World treats God’s love as …

The world cheapens any love which …

Love can never be demanded it can only be received. Thus, all love is a gift

So, what is the nature of God’s love?

This passage contrasts two loves …

God’s love for the world

vs

Our love for the world

II.  The 7 Attributes of God’s Love for the World

1. God’s love was preexistent to creation 

Ephesians 1:3–6

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

2. God’s love’s is unearned 

John 5:42

I know that you do not have the love of God within you.

1 John 4:19

We love because he first loved us.

Romans 5:8 and 10

God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. … For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

3. God’s love is purposeful

Ephesians 1:5

He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,

1 Peter 3:18

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,

The word “might” expresses design.

If God wanted to destroy/judge us for our sins, He would not have sent Jesus!!

4. The purpose of God’s Love is Salvation

1 John 4:14

We have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.

The Atonement was not the cause, but the effect, of God’s love

The benefit of God’s love is everlasting life.

Why God sent Jesus Christ to us:

1.  To be our Savior, because our sin (love for the world) kills us

2.  To bring life, because God does not wish that we not perish.

The Son of Man came into an already lost and condemned world. He did not come into a neutral world in order to save some and condemn others; he came into a lost world  in order to save.

5.  God’s love is a sacrificial and suffering love

It cost God so much for 3 reasons:

1.  Jesus gave up so much to suffer so much

Philippians 2:6–8

Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

2.  It required He who hates sin to suffer so much for sinners just to prove His love

Men are not easily convinced that God loves them. In order to remove all doubt, he has expressly stated that we are so very dear to God that, on our account, he did not even spare his only-begotten Son. (John Calvin)

3.  His love could only be revealed in fulness on the cross

A suffering love can never be demanded

6.  God’s love is not a condemning love

Romans 1:16–17

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Only when we reject God’s love are we condemned

Romans 1:24, 26, and 28:

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions.

Since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind.

When we reject God’s love have not been condemned by lack of faith, but by their sin.

The reason many hate Jesus is their rejection of it leaves them in death

We were already in need of a Savior before God’s Son comes on his saving mission

7.  God’s love must be received in faith because it cannot not be earned (see 2nd attribute)

Jesus’ 3-fold emphasis:

John 3:15

That whoever believes in Jesus may have eternal life.

John 3:16

That whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:18

Whoever believes in him is not condemned

God has done His work, we need to receive it in faith, which is belief and trust

III.  Our Love for the World is a love is of darkness

Our love for darkness

Our love for the world is pictured metaphorically in terms of light and darkness

Our love for darkness proves our depravity!

We love darkness because our deeds are evil and we do not want them exposed

We hate God’s sacrificial saving love because it exposes our sin

We hate the light and refuse to come to (near) it because exposes their darkness

To expose someone’s sin summons them to repentance.”

The verb exposed suggests not only exposure but shame and conviction

Jesus (light) exposes our sins 

Revelation 3:19

Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.

Ephesians 5:11

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

1 Timothy 5:20

As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.

This is why men refuse to read the Scriptures. God’s Word would condemn them.

Instead we desire a pandering and permissive love 

Sweet and permissive love leads to false happiness as it leads to death

We are ashamed of our love for the world

Our denial of our love for the world begins at an early age

Why do babies smile when they poop in their diapers?

Lynyrd Skynyrd’s That Smell

IV.  Those who love God’s love instead of the world’s

Those who love God do the truth

Semitic expression which means to act faithfully or ‘to act honorably

Suggests adherence to the truth as in adhering to Jesus

Those who acknowledge Jesus, recognize the good they do is by the grace of God

While the lover of darkness shuns the light out of fear of exposure, shame and conviction, the lover of light does not prance forward to parade his wares with cocky self-righteousness, rather he comes into the light so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God. (DA Carson)

We welcome and receive God’s love not because we are better, but because we desire what God’s love brings salvation and life, rather than what the world’s loves brings which is  condemnation and death

 

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Rescue the perishing, care for the dying; 

Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save. (1)

Fanny Crosby wrote this hymn, Rescue The Perishing, following a personal experience at the New York City Bowery Mission.  Even though she was a famous Gospel songwriter, she went to the mission regularly to care for the men living there.

She was blind before she was 6 weeks old.  Her father died when she was 3.  She overcame tremendous difficulty, but never forgot that others lived in hardship.  She dedicated the last 25 years of her life to working in Gospel Rescue Missions.  When she died in 1915, she left money in her will to establish a home for homeless men.

Her music was about Jesus’ love for the poor and mercy for the sinner.  Her life reflected her faith in who Jesus was and how Jesus called us to live.

In contrast to her life …. many churches, pastors, and Christians …. seek to live a victorious life, which they believe can only be found in worldly success and excess.

Joel O’Steen’s book, Your Best Life Now, which unfortunately remains a best seller, preaches a prosperity gospel, which claims that God promises prosperity to Christians. The gospel he preaches is in sharp contrast to the one Fanny Crosby lived and Jesus taught.

Oswald Chambers wrote:

It is in the valley that we have to live for the glory of God. It is in the sphere of humiliation that our faithfulness is revealed.  God wants us at the drab commonplace pitch. (2)

While the Majesty of God is revealed in the marvels of creation, the Glory of God is revealed at the cross.

Where are you living out your faith?

Jesus said, “There is no greater love than to give up your life!” (3)

Jesus practiced what He preached.

He wishes the same for you and me.

+ + +

  1. Refrain of the hymn Rescue The Perishing, by Fanny J. Crosby, 1820–1915. Music by William Doane.
  2. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year (Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986).
  3. John 15:13

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I will give you rest (1)

In my youth I wanted more money, as I age I want more time.  I want to do more than just work.  I want to pursue interests, develop ideas, engage friends, and die full rather than exhausted.

Though self-flagellation has gone out of style, many of us drive ourselves like racehorses. We whip ourselves into action, ignoring how exhausted we have become. (2)

For years I have prided myself for working long hours. Despite working long hours, every night I went to bed knowing that my work was not done.  There was something else I should-of or could-of done.  I closed my eyes exhausted rather than satisfied.  This is not a good way to fall asleep.

The pride of drivenness, always gives way to the exhaustion of self-righteousness.

Is rest a dirty word?

Rest can easily move from idleness, to laziness, to nothingness.

Or, rest can move from refreshment, to renewal, to restoration, to meaningfulness.

While we long for the latter, we will only achieve the former if we drive ourselves into exhaustion.

Sabbath-rest is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.

Farmers rotate their crops and rest their fields in order to insure greater yields at the harvest.

I am in the process of deliberately cutting 10 hours out my work week because I have learned that when I am exhausted, I am unable to rest in the Lord.  If I do not rest in the Lord, I am worthless to all.

“My heart, Lord, does not rest until it rests in Thee.” (3)

+ + +

  1. Jesus from Matthew 11:28.
  2. Young, Sarah (2004-10-12). Jesus Calling – Deluxe Edition: Enjoying Peace in His Presence (p. 289). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. (edited).
  3. Saint Augustine.

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