John 5:39-40 #4. The Love of God 11/15/2015








#1. The Love of God Toward Us (1John 4:7-12)







#2. In Him Verily Is the Love of God Perfected (1John 2:3-6, 3:14)







#3. God, In This Manner Loved the World (John 1:29, 12:31, 3:16, 10:26)








Please open your Bibles to the Gospel According to John, chapter 5:36 (2X). The title of today's sermon is: "The Love of God" (2X). This is sermon #4 in the series that is titled:

How did we arrive at this point in the beautiful structure that God is building before our eyes? This is the 4th piece of the jigsaw puzzle, which I explained last week, is representing this structure that God is building in wisdom. The first sermon was titled, "God's Eternal Purpose for This Creation", wherein I laid out the grand plan that God had for this world and for this universe, as it is revealed to us in the Bible. There we saw a glimpse of the Wisdom of God, who conceived this plan a long time before anything was created. His plan, expressed in human terms, could be summarized in this way: "The Father chose a Bride for His Son". That was His plan before the foundation of the world. God says in Prov 3:19, "The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens", and the preposition "by" could just as well be translated "in". "The Lord in wisdom hath founded the earth". And when we enter the history of this world, beginning with Gen 1:1, we see the outworking of this plan of God. There in history we see the hands of God. That is why the second sermon was titled, "The Providence of God", where God's Providence actually refers to the hands of God. God's Providence is working out what God in the wisdom of His Counsel already before the foundation of the world intended to do. What was the 1st thing that God needed to establish before He created anything, in order that the Glory of God be magnified in His creation? It was Election and Reprobation. God needed to establish the rules by which He was going to exercise His Providence in this world. Therefore the 3rd sermon was titled, "God's Purpose in Predestination", wherein we saw what God's purpose was in Election and in Reprobation. But what was the motive of God in designing this grand plan for this world, and His motive for Election and Reprobation? It was the Love of God for His Elect people, who were going to become the Bride that the Father had chosen for His Son. That is why this sermon is called, "The Love of God". Many people believe that God loves all people in the world equally. That is a lie from the Devil, and it is clearly refuted in the Bible. In Matt 26:24 the Lord Jesus said of Judas Iscariot, "It had been good for that man if he had not been born". God did not love Judas Iscariot from eternity past. And think of the millions of people in ancient China before the coming of Christ 2000 years ago. They were all left in their idolatries and they died in their sins. God also did not love those people because He did not send anyone to them with the Gospel. God decided this ahead of time, in His Love for the Elect. Can we understand this? Absolutely Not! Only if we had the wisdom of God could we explain this. And God decided, in His wisdom, to send the Lord Jesus Christ to this earth to witness the Gospel to the Jews of His days. He says here in John 5:36,

Joh 5:36 But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.

The Lord Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees who were seeking an opportunity to kill Him. The Lord was referring here to the signs and wonders, which testified that He was indeed sent by God the Father, or else He would not have been able to do these great works. And then He said to them:

Do you remember to whom Jesus was speaking? He spoke to the unbelievers in the congregation. He spoke to those who were enemies of God. And He tells them to search the Scriptures. Let us read

Joh 5:37 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.

Joh 5:38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.

Joh 5:39-40 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

Joh 5:41-42 I receive not honour from men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.

Joh 5:43-44 I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?

Jo 5:45-47 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

Did you notice how the Lord Jesus addresses them? These Pharisees around Jesus were of the Reprobate. He said to them in verse 37: "Ye have neither heard his voice", and in verse 38, "ye have not his word abiding in you" and "ye believe not", and in verse 40, "ye will not come to me", and in verse 42, "ye have not the love of God in you", and in verse 43, "ye receive me not", and in verse 44, "ye seek not", and in verse 47, "ye believe not". It is very clear that these people were not His sheep. They were wolves dressed in sheep's clothing. They pretended to be holy men who taught people the Scriptures, but they led many astray. Was there any love of Christ for these people? Not at all! In John 10:26 the Lord Jesus said to the unbelieving Jews, "But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you". And yet, the Lord Jesus said to these unbelievers, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me". Jesus gave an example for us all. We must direct people to the Scriptures, because the Bible is God's spoken Word. We should not worry about who might be Reprobate or not. We must simply direct them to the Scriptures and then leave them in the hands of God. No pressure sales tactics. No nagging. We are called to be witnesses for Christ, not arguers for Christ. We must show them those Scriptures that point to the Lord Jesus Christ, we must show them His Deity, we must show them what work He has done for me, and why He had to die on the cross for me, (make it personal,) we must show them His wisdom, His love, His grace, His mercy, His longsuffering, His righteousness, and we must show them how terrible sin is in the eyes of God. We must definitely not leave out the sovereignty of God, do not leave out Hell, and do not forget the sharp edge of the Sword of the Word of God, which is Rev 22:18-19. All this implies that we must be good students of the Bible. God does not require from us that we first know the Bible inside out before we start witnessing, but we are commanded to be witnesses, and in so doing we will be blessed to learn a great deal about ourselves, and about those whom we witness to, and we learn about the doctrines contained in the Bible as we speak, and discuss them, and study them with others. Then in our studies we are going to find that the "love" that is an attribute of God, and that God infuses into us, is characterized by the Greek verb "Agapao", or by the Greek noun "Agape". I have written these words on the board, so that the children will know how to spell them. And then we will find in Rom 5:5 that "The Agape of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given unto us". It is only in the hearts of the Elect that the love of God is communicated to. We understand now that God's love is reserved only for His Elect, and God's love is not for the Reprobate, because God says that He loved Jacob, but Esau He hated. Obviously there are people whom God hates. But we do not know who the Elect and who the Reprobate are, and therefore we witness to everyone alike, lovingly, but without compromise.

There are two aspects of the love of God that I want to highlight in this sermon: First, "The love of God toward us", and then secondly, "Our love for God and for the brethren".

#1. The Love of God Toward Us (1John 4:7-12)

Please turn in your Bibles about 250 pages to your right () to the First Epistle of John 4:7 (2X).

You may be wondering why we are not in Isaiah today, because the previous three sermons we were digging in Isaiah. But John is known as the Apostle of love. The Gospel of John and the Epistles of John are excellent sources to learn about the Love of God. Let us hear God's Word in 1John 4:7,

1Jo 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

1Jo 4:9 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.

1Jo 4:10-11 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

1Jo 4:12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

First we focus our attention on the Love of God for His Elect. Did you hear what I said? I did not say the Love of God for His church. It is true that God loves His church, but I want you to remember that not everyone who goes to church is a saved individual. Even the church of the Lord Jesus had one rotten apple in the bunch of twelve. In fact, every church has those who remain unsaved until they die. That also includes this church. Pastor, do you mean there are people in our church who sit through these 50-minute sermons, and they are completely untouched by all of this? That is indeed what I am saying. It is very sad. And their attitude for the Word of God rubs off on their children, so that their children remain unsaved. This is a general principle that God applies throughout the centuries. God is "visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon their children". What can we do about this? We cannot do anything about this. We can lead a horse to water, but we cannot make him drink. That is the work of God alone. All we can do is examine ourselves, examine what our attitude is in church, and what our attitude is toward the Law of God. But God says here in 1John 4:7, "Beloved". Who are beloved? They are those whom God loves; that is why they are called "Beloved". We are admonished to "Let us love one another, for love is of God". God is the source of all love, because "God is love". And so, if there exists a love between the members of a church family, or between the parents and their children, or between a husband and wife, it is because God has infused us with His love; God is the source of all love. What is the love of God? God's love is an unconditional love for unlovable creatures who do not love God to begin with, but were enemies of God. To love these unlovable creatures required from God the ultimate sacrifice. This is what verse 9 indicates:

1Jo 4:9 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.

How was the incomprehensible love of God toward us revealed? Let me show you how God's love to us was revealed, and I will show it in 10 easy steps. #1. God created us initially good, in Adam. But Adam, our representative in the flesh, chose to rebel against God. Thus Adam became defiled with sin, and enslaved to Satan. #2. How would Adam's children be born into this world? God uttered a general principle in Job 14:4, "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one." Therefore everyone of the posterity of Adam came into the world enslaved to Satan, and inclined to sin, just like Adam and Eve after the Fall. We all came into the world as enemies of God, hating God and hating one another. #3. But God's justice required payment for sin. Therefore the whole human race, which is accountable to God, is on the way to eternal Hell. God's righteousness demanded that we all were by nature children of the wrath of God. But at the same time God loves His Elect people, who were also under the wrath of God. Only God is able to love a person, and at the same time place this person under the wrath of God. The righteousness of God demands that He do this. #4. But God, in His great love for His people, decided to save them by providing for them a Substitute who could pay for their sins. God the Son, the second Person of the Triune God, would come to this earth and take up a human body, so that He was truly man and truly God. He alone was able to endure the wrath of God as the stand-in for those He chose to save. #5. Adam's sin did not take God by surprise. God did not dream up this plan 2000 years ago. God decided on this plan a long time before the foundation of the world. In fact, throughout all eternity past God had this plan in His mind. There was not a moment in time when God suddenly arrived at this plan, because God was infinitely wise from eternity past, and God does not become wiser as time goes on. This also means that God chose His Elect people whom He wanted to save, and God made that choice from eternity past. #6. God the Son emptied Himself of His glory, and took on a sinless human body. The Lord Jesus Christ was born of a virgin about 2000 years ago. He led a life that was perfect in the sight of God, fulfilling all the requirements of the Law of God. He preached the Gospel for 3 years and He was crucified on a Roman cross, apparently because the leaders of the Jews envied Him. #7. Actually it was a divinely ordained crucifixion. God had ordained, "Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree". Therefore Christ, who was also God, came under the curse of God, and had to endure the full penalty that was due to all His Elect for all their sins, which was the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. Christ did that voluntarily. He did not have to do that, because He was already perfect from eternity past. But His love for His creatures, the Elect people of God, was the motive for this act of mercy, which was His act of atoning for their sins. But we did not exist yet 2000 years ago, neither did our souls exist, and all our sins were still future sins. But by the grace of God the Lord Jesus Christ paid for all our sins at the cross, because God had it so determined from eternity past. #8. Therefore, at a certain point in our lifetime, when we heard the Gospel, God the Holy Spirit infused into us a new soul and we became "Born from above". It was then that we were justified in the eyes of God, when God the Holy Spirit applied the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ to our soul. From that moment God the Holy Spirit opened our spiritual eyes and ears, and made us see our sinful state, and made us seek God for mercy. It was only then that God the Holy Spirit made us believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has suffered and died for us in our place, and made us believe what God has said in the Bible. #9. From that time forward God continued to give us an increasing desire to hear His Word, the Bible, and to obey His Word, and to strengthen our faith. The principle that "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom 10:17) also applies to the process of Sanctification. Therefore God showed us from the Bible that we have received everlasting life now in our soul, and we are guaranteed to have everlasting life with Him in body and soul in the NH&NE. #10. God showed us that it was His love for us that motivated Him to seek us out, and to choose us to be the Bride of Christ for all eternity. God showed us that our love for Him is also a gift from God, which gives us the desire to repent of our sins, to study God's Word, to be steadfast in prayer, & do those things that are pleasing in His sight.

All this is implied when we read in 1John 4:9, "That we might live through Him". Now let us focus on our love for God and our love for one another. Since God is the originator of all our love, it stands to reason that God says in 1John 2:5,

#2. In Him Verily Is the Love of God Perfected (1John 2:3-6, 3:14)

Please turn 3 pages to your left to 1st John 2:3 (2X). How can we know that we indeed belong to the Elect of Christ? How can we be sure of this? God gives us this assurance in 1John 2:3-6,

1Jo 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

1Jo 2:4-5 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

1Jo 2:6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

How will we know if we really know Christ? Which is another way of saying, "How will we know if we really have been saved and love Christ?" The answer is , "If we keep His commandments". What does it mean to keep His commandments? Are we able to keep the Ten Commandments perfectly? Absolutely Not! We only have the desire to keep the Commandments, but we are not able to keep them as perfectly as we should. Then what is God referring to here in 1John 2:3-6? Which commandments are in view here? Let us keep these verses within the context. Starting with 1John 1:7 and continuing with 1John 2:7-11 God speaks here about loving one another, and especially loving the brethren in the church congregation we visit to worship God. We know that we are on the right track because, like bacon is laced through with fat, so the First Epistle of John is laced through with commandments to love one another. If you turn the page to 1John 3:14, then we read there,

1Jo 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.

It is not a hard and fast rule that if you DO this, then you will have eternal life. This cannot be right, because obeying the Law cannot save anyone. But this is a trial of the love we have for one another, especially for the brethren. Who are the brethren? They are the members of our church family. Do we indeed love them? Do we love our church family? Now, be honest with yourself. Do not compound one sin with another on top of it, because God can see your heart, and God knows if you are lying. Has the love of God penetrated your heart, so that you have a love for the other people here in church? For example, if you are a member of this church, but you are shopping around for another church, it is a clear sign that you have no love for this church family. I should have addressed this matter much earlier, because we have had such cases in the past, and we might have such cases in the future. Why do people shop for another church? Perhaps they do it because their church has become an apostate church. In that case it is mandatory to leave that church and search for another, more faithful church. But sometimes it arises from a selfish attitude; the attitude of: "What can the church do for me?" And you see, that should never be our attitude. If we love the brethren we always must have the desire to do more for them than we have done in the past.

What I have said for the Epistle of 1John also applies to the Gospel of John. Please turn about 230 pages to your left () to the Gospel According to John 14:15 (2X). There we read,

We started with the Gospel of John and we are going to end with the Gospel of John. Here again

the Lord Jesus is testing our love. Is it our desire to be on the ragged edge of what His Law requires, or is it our desire to be as close to the Lord Jesus as we can? Can the love of God be detected in our heart, or are we testing His Law, like our children are testing us to see how far they can go? God says in John 14:15 "If ye love me, keep my commandments".

Is loving God equivalent to keeping His commandments? In a way it is. Only those who have been saved will love God. If we love God we have an urgent need to do those things that are pleasing in His sight. Is this indeed an urgent desire we find within our souls? If God indeed has saved us, then He will have infused within our souls a love for God, and a love for the brethren. Paraphrased in John 14:15 the Lord Jesus says: If you indeed have been saved, you will love Me, and you will have a desire to keep My commandments, because that is pleasing in My sight. Then we read in verse 23,

Jo 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father

will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

Joh 14:24 He that loveth me not, keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.

The first half of verse 23 is identical to verse 15, but the second half of verse 23 gives a different message. Some of us may have thought that just God the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in our souls (John 14:17). But here the Lord Jesus says that both He and the Father will also make their dwelling place in us, so that all three Persons of the triune Godhead will be residing in our soul. Is this not a powerful presence within us? And what effect will this have on our life? Those who have God residing within them have the love of God overflowing out of their souls. But verse 24 says: Those who have not been saved do not have the love of God in their souls, and they will not keep Christ's sayings, or commandments. What are His commandments? Please drop down to John chapter 15:12 (2X).

Joh 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

It was said of the Christians in the first three centuries AD, "See how they love one another". Can we say that of the 21st Century Christians? I am afraid that most churches in the US today would not pass this test. Let me now SUMMARIZE what we have covered so far. #1, We have learned that the love for our unsaved neighbors compels us to point them to the Lord Jesus Christ as He is found in the Scriptures, and that Christ is the only way of escape from the wrath of God. #2, We have learned that all love originates from God. The love of God is the deep and constant love of a perfect Being towards entirely unworthy objects. Yes, His Elect are entirely unworthy objects, but the love of God is producing in them a reverential love toward God, the giver of eternal life. The love of God is also producing in His Elect a practical love toward those who are partakers of the same gift of eternal life, especially those in the congregation where they attend worship services. The love of God is also producing in His Elect a desire to help others to seek Christ, the Savior of all those who put their trust in Him. #3, We have learned that those who have been saved, love both the Triune God and they love their brethren in Christ Jesus, because "the love of God is shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Spirit". Their love for one another is the hallmark of true discipleship. Those who pretend to love God and do not love brothers and sisters in Christ are phonies. They are the tares among the wheat. #4, We have learned that proof of sonship in the family of God is revealed in obedience to truth of the sound doctrines of Scripture. God's love is only toward His Elect. And when we compare Rom 9:11 with Rom 9:13 we see that "Love is the purpose of God according to election" (2X). Therefore, only the chosen ones are guaranteed that they will never be separated from the love of God.

We have come now to point #3 of the sermon outline, and you know what that means. This is the application. What better application can we choose than John 3:16? Please turn to the Gospel according to John, chapter 3:16 (2X).

#3. God, In This Manner Loved the World (John 1:29, 12:31, 3:16, 10:26)

Many people look at John 3:16 and conclude that God loves everybody without exception. It says that God loves the whole world. Is this really what John 3:16 teaches? However, we have to keep in mind that the word "world", which is the word "kosmos", has seven different usage definitions, and rarely does the word "kosmos" refer to every individual in the whole world. There is the world of the Elect, like in John 1:29, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world", and there is the world of the Reprobate, like in John 12:31, "Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the prince of this world be cast out". Let us now look at John 3:16. What usage definition do we see here?

Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Who will not perish? Those who believe in Him. Who will perish? Those who believe not in Him. Does the Bible tell us why they will not believe? In John 10:26 Jesus said, "Ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep". Therefore in John 3:16, who will believe in Him? Initially nobody will believe in Him, because we all were by nature children of the wrath of God. But God had mercy on us, and God sent His Holy Spirit to give us a new soul, and then we were able to believe in Christ. But there are many who do not believe in Christ, and thus many have not received a new soul. Many will end up in Hell. Why did God give us a new soul, but He did not give it to others? It is because God gave His only begotten Son for us, who are in the world of the Elect. God offered up His only begotten Son to pay for the sins of all the Elect. In John 3:16 God says, "For God in this manner loved the world, that He offered His only begotten Son". Why did He have to offer up the Lord Jesus Christ? Is it not for payment for sin? Is sin so bad in the sight of God? Absolutely yes! But those for whom payment for sin has been made by the Lord Jesus Christ have been delivered from all their sins, and they have been delivered from eternal Hell, which is the consequence of their sins. "The wages of sin is death", and the death that God has in view is to spend an eternity in a place of torment, called Hell. Therefore what usage definition for world appears in John 3:16? It is the world of the Elect. There is a world of the Reprobate, which we are not to love, for the Father does not love them. On the other hand there is the world of the Elect, which we must love, because the Triune God loves them. It is that simple according to Scripture. Does the context justify this interpretation? Let us look at the end result:

Joh 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Is this true? We read in the Bible that the Lord Jesus Christ will come at the end of time and He will judge all mankind. Is He not going to condemn people to Hell? Yes He will! The Bible says that Hell will be heavily populated. But John 3:17 is correct, because when the Lord Jesus came the first time, He came as the suffering Servant. He did not come as the Judge. But when He comes the second time He will come as the Judge of all mankind. Let us continue with John 3:17, which reads, "but that the world through him might be saved". Was Christ unsuccessful in His mission when He came the first time? Perish the thought. The Lord Jesus Christ is God, so He cannot be unsuccessful. But we read in the Bible that this world will be destroyed and "the elements shall melt with fervent heat". This entire material world has been defiled by all the Reprobate, and it has become repulsive in the eyes of God. Yes, you heard that right. All the gold in Fort Knox has become repulsive in the eyes of God and it will be destroyed on the Last Day. What world is it then that will be saved according to John 3:17? We know that it cannot refer to the world of the majority of mankind, because the majority of mankind will end up in Hell. The Lord Jesus was very clear about this in Matt 7:13-14, when He spoke of the wide gate and the narrow gate. The majority of mankind is going through the wide gate and ends up in Hell. And so, only the minority of mankind is mentioned here in John 3:16 and 17.

John 3:16 says, "Whosoever believeth in Him shall have everlasting life".

Who are those who are going to believe? We are only a minority of mankind who believe the whole Bible and nothing less than the Bible. Whom do we thank for having received everlasting life? Should we congratulate ourselves for having made such a lucky decision by following Jesus? Are we our own kingmaker? Absolutely Not! Even the decision to believe in Him and to follow Jesus was a gift from God. Everything in our life is a gift from God through His Providence. We read in verse 27,

Joh 3:27 John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.

Should we apply this principle to ourselves? Should we give all the glory to God and thank Him for all these gifts? Absolutely Yes! Thanks be to God that we heard the Gospel of grace alone, through Christ alone, in the Scriptures alone. Thanks be to God that He gave us freely a new soul and opened our eyes and ears to hear the Gospel and to read the Gospel. Thanks be to God that He gave us freely the faith to believe the Word of God, the Bible. Thanks be to God that we freely received the forgiveness of sins through Christ crucified. And He did it all out of love for us, who were really the unlovables. Amazing love of God. Amen. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.