Behold God’s Unusual Love!
14 April 2019 PM – 1 John 3:1-3 – 1Jn2019 – Scott Childs
Introduction: First John 3 begins with a command – Behold! The word translated “behold” is eido to know factually, to see with the eyes, to inspect. The phrase “what manner of” translates a word that literally means from what country or what sort of. Love is giving and sacrificial. God’s love is unusual! God commands us to inspect and know factually the unusual love that He has given to us. God loves us though we are unlovely (John 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.” (Romans 5:8) “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (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. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” God does not love us because we are loveable; we are rebellious sinners. God loves us because He is love. That is UNUSUAL Love. Behold that kind of love!
Transition: Here in 1 John 3:1-3, John commands us to behold three results of God’s unusual love to make us better Christians.
The first result of God’s unusual love is that …
1. It enables us to be called the sons of God, v.1
a. We are privileged to be called God’s sons.
1) Because of God’s great love for us, He chooses to call us His sons. At physical birth, we receive the surname of our parents. At spiritual birth, we receive the “surname” of God. Not only are we now children of the King of kings, but we bear God’s name.
2) The word “son” translates the word teknon meaning offspring or children. In the NT, it is usually translated as children. We find the same word in John 1:12. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:“
3) Being God’s son emphasises the offspring aspect of the relationship. God has Fathered us in a supernatural way. Though our old sinful nature is still present, every true Christian has the nature of God in his inner being.
4) Look at how this connects with the last verse of chapter two (2:29). We know factually that God is righteous and we know experientially that those born out from God will bear the righteous character of their Father.
5) God’s children should bear some resemblance to the Heavenly Father. “Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us“, (Eph 5:2); “Be ye holy, for I am holy“, (1Pe 1:16); “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect“, (Mat 5:48). Guy King
b. As sons, the world does not understand us.
1) Note the word “therefore”. It points us back to what John just said, that Christians are offspring of God. Because of that fact, the world does not know or understand them experientially.
2) Being children of God, we have the nature of our Father and we should behave like our Father.
3) Spiritual things are foreign to the world. God’s righteousness is beyond their comprehension. Not only is righteous living foreign to the world, it is also distasteful to the world because it makes them look bad.
4) Because the world does not understand God’s righteous, if we are living like our Father, we should expect that they will not understand our righteousness.
5) It is a very rare thing that an unbeliever will want to be close friends with a Christian who is seeking to live a truly righteous life.
6) It is a solemn question for each believer to ask himself: How much am I like my heavenly Father? Guy King
The second result of God’s unusual love is that …
2. It promises us that we will be like God, v.2
a. Our immortal description is still hidden.
1) NOW we are the sons of God. That is a wonderful truth. Right now, at this time, in the present, we are sons of God. We ARE, not may be, not could be, not shall be, we ARE the sons of God. We have been born of God. We are part of God’s eternal family. We bear His name. We share some of His righteous characteristics.
2) However, our eternal immortal description is still hidden. It has not yet appeared or been made visible. We really do not know much about our future bodies.
a) We know that we will put on incorruption. (1 Corinthians 15:52) “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.“
b) We know that death will cease. (1 Corinthians 15:54) “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.“
c) We know it will be glorious. (2 Corinthians 4:17) “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;“
d) We know that all mortal heartaches will be gone. (Revelation 21:4) “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.“
e) However, many things about our immortality are still hidden from our eyes.
b. One day we will be like Christ.
1) We know factually that when Christ appears at the rapture, we will be like Him.
a) This does not imply that we will become a God. That is impossible.
b) It does mean that He will change our mortal body into an immortal body like that of Christ.
c) It does mean that all that now hinders us from sharing the likeness of our heavenly Father will be removed and we will more fully share His likeness.
2) This will take place the moment that we see Him as He is. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.“
The third result of God’s unusual love is that …
3. It motivates us to live pure as God is pure, v.3
a. Every Christian ought to have the hope of verse 2.
1) Remember, hope in the Bible is not a wish or desire. It is a steadfast confidence based on the promises of God.
2) The hope of one day being like Christ is for every true Christian, but often we get so cluttered with the cares and pleasures of this life that we take our eyes off this hope.
3) We need to strive to focus our eyes and hearts on it daily! Sing songs, “Maybe today” or “It Will be Worth it All”.
b. Such hope ought to motivate pure living.
1) Christ is pure in every sense of the word. He is pure in character, in morality, in deed, in thought, in motive and in word.
2) Suddenly to meet Him in the air will be shameful if we are not living pure lives like Him.
3) Knowing that Christ could come at any moment ought to motivate us constantly to be ready. If we are walking in the light and fellowshipping with Christ, we will be living pure lives. If there is any sin between us and God, we must go back to 1 John 1 and work through the purifying stages John outlines for us.
Conclusion: Ponder carefully God’s unusual love and the results it brings in your life. It enables you to be called a child of God with godly character. It promises that you will one day be immortal and sinless like Christ. It ought to motivate you to live as pure of a life as you possibly can in preparation for meeting Him.
It would be good for each of us to go home this evening and spend some quiet time alone pondering the love of God and these results. If you are not ready for the Lord’s return, make that your top priority. Perhaps you need to reread 1 John 1:1-10 and confess some sin.
Song: Jesus is Coming Again 151