God's Amazing Love

Bible Book: 1 John  4 : 1-21
Subject: Gods Love; Love Of God

When you and I write a letter, we sign our names after writing "sincerely yours" or "cordially." If we write to a family member or close friend, we may write the words, "love" or "all my love."

John the Apostle wrote First John. He did not place the word "love" at the end of the letter, but in the middle of that letter. In fact, the word "love-agapn" appears 44 times in this letter. In the fourth chapter John used "agapn" 26 times. He believed in permeating this letter with the perfume of love.

Let's remember who John was. Before Jesus called John to be an apostle, he was a fisherman. He had his boats and fishing equipment in operation on the Sea of Galilee. The life of a fisherman was not an easy one in those bygone years. He had to make a living on the Sea when the weather was stormy as well as when it was fair. He sold fish in the market place in order to survive. Don't think just because Jesus called John that he was a weakling. He was strong. In fact, he's called along with his brother "the sons of thunder." And that fisherman who became an apostle wrote about love many times.

We know that John wrote the book of Revelation. After that extended time as a prisoner of Domitian on the Isle of Patmos, John returned to Ephesus in modern-day Turkey. He had gone through tough months or years. His imprisonment was harsh. And yet after all those difficult times, John did not become bitter and mean. He still wrote about the greatest commandment of all which is love.

John probably wrote First John when he was nearly 100 years of age. His theme is "God's love." The message for us in the text is the love of God. Four important truths may be stated from the text about God's love. One is that God's love within us assures us of God's presence. Two, God reveals His love to us through Jesus. Three, God's love teaches us to love fellow Christians. Four, God's love puts fear out of our lives. Every Christian needs to be filled with the love of God. This is the message. Let us be filled with the love of God.

I. God's Love Assures Us Of His Presence

Note that 1 John 4:4 states, "Greater is He who is within you, than he (that is, the devil) that is in the world." Verse 16 reads, "He that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him." The word "dwells" is one that is packed with meaning. If one visits with another person, that one is not "dwelling" but visiting briefly with that person. For instance, the Gypsies are a race of people who live in many countries of the world. Normally, many of them live a nomad or wandering life. Many of them are "on the move." Some never "settle down" and live in one place. They may sell their goods or products as they move from one place to another. That's the same story of the "nomads" of the desert. They move around from one place to another.

John talks of a different experience of living. He writes of a "permanent home" of one's love. The perfect tense in this verse speaks of God's permanent dwelling. (See also 3:19-24). When we have God's love in our lives, God stays with us. He lives or abides with us continually. God's relationship with us is mutual: He lives in us and we live in Him. That is the message of Jesus in John 17:23 in His High Priestly prayer: "I in them and thou in me." John also states in 1 John 4:13, "He has given us of His Spirit." This is the three-dimensional presence. By His grace the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit abides in us. We can't explain this truth. No one can fathom the depths of God. As this text states in verse 12, "No man has seen God at any time." One religious leader of 1830 said God the Father appeared to him in person, but that's not so. However, God does miraculously and mystically live in His people. God's love says His indwelling is real.

The presence of God helps us know false prophets and the antichrist (s). Jesus talked about false prophets in Matthew 25. John is the only biblical writer to use the word "antichrist" by name (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 1:7). Every generation has "pretenders." God's presence within us helps us to "try" or "prove" them - that is, the "spirits" which are in the world. We know them by their creed and their conduct. Jesus Himself said, "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful work? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matthew 7:22-23).

God's love within the heart gives the assurance of the indwelling of God whereby we know who religious pretenders are. God's presence assures us also of God's power to overcome the evil of the world. What a benefit is God's love! Secondly, note:

II. God's Love Shows Us Jesus

This idea is simple, yet profound. If we want to know how God reveals or manifests or demonstrates His love, take a look at Jesus. 1 John 4:9 states that God showed His love to us by sending Jesus into the world.

The coming of Jesus means His incarnation. That is, Jesus came in the flesh. He was "God in Christ Jesus reconciling the world unto Himself" (2 Cor. 5:19). God has sent Jesus to show His love to us. Christ stepped out of eternity into time. He became "Time's Man of the Ages."

We often pass over quite lightly much truth of the Bible. One main purpose in First John is to set forth the truth that God has come into the world in human flesh through Jesus His Son. An interesting story has come down through history from Polycarp about John and a prominent religious leader of that day who denied the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ. Cerinthus, a "gnostic" or one of the prominent men in the days of John, said that Jesus had a natural physical birth and that the "Christ-     anointing" came on Jesus at His baptism and left Him before the cross. He denied that Jesus was God in human flesh. On an occasion John the Apostle had gone to a public bath house for a shower. He learned that Cerinthus was inside. He rushed out saying, "Let me out of this place before the building falls down on Cerinthus." John writes, "God sent His only begotten Son into the world..." (4:9).

The death of Jesus finds central emphasis in His mission on earth. 1 John 4:10 states, "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." Jesus is the "hilasamos," the satisfaction, the blood of the mercy seat, the answer for our sin problem. We go to the depths of the cross when this verse is read. Jesus died for us. He shed His blood for our redemption. He became sin for us. He made the one eternal sacrifice for our sins. We have no other way for the forgiveness of sin.

A large life-size statue of Christ may be seen in St. Paul's Cathedral in London, England. At the base of the marble statue are the words, "This is how God loved the world." Jesus died in agony on the cross for world redemption.

One pastor has had in his study a small plaque with the following words inscribed on it: "I asked Jesus how much He loved me. He answered, 'this much' as He stretched out His arms and died." We are at the center of the story of redemption with these words. Of course, Jesus arose from the grave. We no longer have a dead Savior upon a cross. At the same time we must never forget the redemption work of Jesus Christ at Calvary.

III. God's Love Teaches Us Fellowship As Christians

God's love shows us how to and love fellowship as Christians. Polycarp, one of John's disciples who died in 155 A.D., tells the story of John in his final years of life. When John was nearly 100 years old, he had other people take him to Church in Ephesus. He was too feeble to walk. Frequently, someone would ask, "Bro. John, do you have any words to say to us?" John always would answer, "Little children, let us love one another." We can't find a more appropriate message for God's people in any place or any time that improves upon that which John said. Of course, John learned that word from Jesus who talked about the "new commandment" of love in John 13:34-35. Two vital steps are needed to show our love for one another.

We prove our love for others through fellowship. We share with one another, we walk together, we worship and we work together. This is fellowship. This is the "koinonia" of the New Testament. This is the "Blest be the tie that binds, our hearts in Christian love." 1 John 1:7 states, "If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another." That kind of togetherness makes us united in Christ as Christ prayed for us to be in John 17:21. We are to be "one" in Christ. This word of fellowship needs to be put into practice today. This is so in Church life, in conventions, and in every place that God's people link life with one another.

An interesting story comes to the surface in 1 Samuel 18:1. The words related to Jonathan, the son of Saul. We remember that King Saul tried to kill David on several occasions. Jonathan and David became good friends. The Bible states that "the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David." That is, their fellowship was inseparable. They were "knit together" in a godly way. God's love links us to one another.

We prove our love to others by forgiving one another. Sometimes we offend others in Church by words, actions, or attitudes. We are to live with the spirit of forgiveness. One way to reduce the income in Church is to tell people to stop making contributions until wrongs have been corrected. Then there might be a flood of money flowing into the House of God. Jesus said in Matthew 5:23 if we have anything against another person that we don't need to bring an offering to God's house until we go and make things right with that fellow believer.

We are to practice forgiveness. Jesus said in the "Model Prayer" that we are to forgive even as God forgives us (Matt. 6:12). What forgiveness God demonstrates! He forgives us our sins - - all of them. He is quick to forgive and forget. The story of Manasseh in 2 Chronicles 33 shocks us. He became king in Jerusalem at the age of 12. That king ruled for 55 years. He put the statues of Baal in the temple of Jerusalem. He let hundreds and hundreds of children be sacrificed in a fiery furnace to Baal. Then punishment came to Manasseh. The armies of Babylon came to Jerusalem, captured the king, and carried him back to that country in chains. Finally the king cried out to God in repentance.

God forgave that wicked king and restored him to the throne in Jerusalem! How big was God's forgiveness? Big! If we love our brothers and sisters, we forgive.

Two ladies had a "falling out." They were members of the same Church. One became ill and was near death. She called for the estranged sister to come and visit her. They forgave one another and had a good time visiting. As the visiting lady was about to leave, the ill one said to her, "Mary, we have forgiven one another. But just in case I do get well, I want you to know that I'll not forget this old problem we have had with each other!" How do we show our love to one another? We have fellowship and we forgive.

IV. God's Love Puts Fear Out Of Our Lives

The text in 1 John 4:18 shouts to us, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts our fear: because fears has torment." Love that is godly, love that is Christ-like drives fear out of life. Two words are used in the Greek text for throwing fear out of life. One is the one from which exit comes: Eks. The other is the word from which we get the simple word "ball." The meaning of "ball" is to throw or pitch. The N.T. word is ballein. Love casts out or drives out fear. That's the word that is used when the Bible says that Jesus cast out demons. He drove them out, He threw them out. Perfect love throws fear out of life.

Some people have a fear of living. Every day is a trial for them. The assignments they do may seem a threat to them. Proverbs 22:13 speaks of a man who is afraid to go into the street because he says, "a lion is in the street!"

Some people fear other people. Proverbs 29:10 states that "The fear of man brings a snare." That kind of fear trips a person and causes that one to fall. Jesus said in Matthew 10:28 for us not to be afraid of man who can kill the body, but fear and reverence God who is able to destroy our total being in hell. If the love of God fills the life, then fear has little ground to stand on.

David loved God deeply. He went out to meet Goliath. When that Philistine giant threatened David, he said, "I come to you in the name of the Lord God." He didn't fear any man. God's love gives us a new boldness and confidence.

Some people fear death. What can we do in the face of death that all of us have to face? Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15 that death has lost its sting and power through Jesus Christ. He rules over death. We don't have to be afraid of dying. God's gives us "dying grace" when that time comes. We can remember the words of Jesus in Lucas 16 about a poor man who died "and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom." God has "limousine service" waiting for us when that time of death comes.

We don't have to fear the judgment. Again, perfect love casts out the fear of judgment. The text declares that "We may have boldness in the day of judgment" (v. 17). We have confidence, assurance, freedom to speak when we face the Lord. Why? Jesus is our advocate, our redeemer. He takes our sins away. It is true that we must give an account of all we do in this life according to 2 Corinthians 5:10. At the same time when we have the love of God flowing from our lives fear goes away.


A transformation moment came to one area of the Sahara Desert several years ago. Rain fell and that desert spot was changed into an "oasis" God wants our lives to be flooded with His love. His loves brings God's presence that gives power to us. His love shows Jesus in full measure. God's love teaches us to love one another. His love dominates life in such a way that fear has no place within us. Perhaps all of us need to say to God today, "Lord, fill me with your love!"