Have you ever felt loved? Loved by a parent. Loved by a friend. Loved by a wife or husband? I want us all to realise this morning that God loves each one of us much, much more than that – more than any love we have ever experienced in our lives. God loves you more than you can possibly imagine!
1 John 3: 1. How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
God lavished his love on us!
Eph 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.
Redemption, forgiveness, the riches of God’s grace, the unsearchable riches of Christ – LAVISHED upon US!!!
Like the Father’s love for the wayward prodigal son:-
Luke 15:20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21 “The son said to him, `Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, `Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us!”J.B.Phillips: “See what incredible love God has for us!” Great. Incredible. Amazing. Fantastic. Wonderful love of God!
I love my children Lizzie and Susie and David. I believe that I love them as much as any Father is able to love his children. But I don’t love them one thousandth as much as God the Father loves you!
Believe it – and also think about it! Imagine it! Meditate on it. Receive for yourself God’s great incredible amazing fantastic wonderful love! God loves you! God loves me! Say it for yourself, “God loves me”. GOD loves me. God LOVES me. God loves ME!
What does that mean?
God’s love is “not a senile benevolence that drowsily wishes you to be happy in your own way, not the cold philanthropy of a conscientious magistrate, nor the care of a host who feels responsible for the comfort of his guests, but the consuming fire himself, the Love that made the worlds, persistent as the artist’s love for his work, provident and venerable as a father’s love for a child, jealous, inexorable, exacting as love between man and woman.” C. S. Lewis
God shows us how much he loves us by the way he treats us and the blessings he pours out on us! We are going to think about some of those blessings this morning. They are all there in from the first letter of the apostle John.
We are God’s children
1. How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God,
What an impossible miracle – Almighty and Eternal God, Creator and Ruler of heaven and earth, adopts us, mere creatures, to become His sons and daughters! Consider how great God is and how small we are!!
God has made you His child – that’s how much God loves you!
To realise just how amazing that is, remember the insurmountable problem of our sin! All the things we have said and thought and done which make the Holy and righteous God justifiably angry with us. Yet, in order to make us His children:
God forgives our sins
1John 2:1… If anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defence- Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
1:8. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
None of us deserve to be God’s children! We could never earn our forgiveness! It’s all God’s grace!
God has forgiven your sins – that’s how much God loves you!
We have eternal life
2:25 And this is what he promised us- even eternal life.
5:11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
3:14. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers.
The love Christians have for each other, the love which does not come from ourselves but which God puts into our hearts, is the proof that we are indeed Christians, that we are born again, that God’s Spirit is within us, that we have passed from death to life and we now have eternal life – life in all its fullness.
3:16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
Perhaps we find it hard to love each other sometimes because we don’t realise just how much God loves us!!
God has given you eternal life – that’s how much God loves you!
God is in us and we are in God
4:15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.
3:24 Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
God has shared His life with you so that God is IN you and you are IN God – that’s how much God loves you!
and this union with
God gives us victory over temptation
5:4 everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
4:4. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world
God gives you victory over the world, the flesh and the devil – that’s how much God loves you!
God answers our prayers
5:14. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us- whatever we ask- we know that we have what we asked of him.
3:21 Dear friends, …. we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.
Just pause for a moment and think about all the prayers you have offered over the years. Every time God has helped you. Every time God has rescued you. Every time God has guided you. Every time God has healed you. Every time you have prayed for somebody else and God in His mercy has heard your prayer and granted your request.
God answers your prayers – that’s how much God loves you!
The certainty of heaven
1. How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known.
The world around doesn’t understand what we are talking about but that’s because the world doesn’t know God! We know there is more to life than this life! This life is just the introduction, the foreword. We are God’s children already, but there is much much more waiting for us.
And the blessings of heaven will be much more amazing than we can imagine.
“What we will be has not yet been made known.” “Who knows how we will end up?!!” We cannot begin to imagine how wonderful heaven is going to be!!
But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
This is our Christian hope – not just a wishy washy optimism but a happy certainty which rests on the promises of our God who always keeps His promises!
The promise of heaven is a great comfort to us when a loved one has died, or when we face illness or later years. But we should all think about heaven much much more than we do. We will be spending eternity there with God! Sometimes the reason we don’t look forward to heaven enough is because we are trapped in this world!
2:15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world- the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does- comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives for ever.
God has guaranteed you a place in heaven, with Him in glory forever, waiting for you – that’s how much God loves you!
So we know and rely on God’s love – We have nothing to fear from God.
4:16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. … 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear,
There is nothing you can do to make God love you more! There is nothing you can do to make God love you less! His love is unconditional, impartial, everlasting, infinite, perfect! Because God is love!
And if we want a measure of God’s love we look at the cross.
Jesus laid down his life for us!
9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.
CROSS on letters, cards, emails, text messages, Valentine’s cards = I love you
Cross of Christ = God’s “I love you” to the world
O THE DEEP, DEEP LOVE OF JESUS! Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free;
Rolling as a mighty ocean In its fulness over me.
Underneath me, all around me, Is the current of Thy love;
Leading onward, leading homeward, To my glorious rest above.
A certain medieval monk announced he would be preaching next Sunday evening on “The Love of God.” As the shadows fell and the light ceased to come in through the cathedral windows, the congregation gathered. In the darkness of the altar, the monk lighted a candle and carried it to the crucifix, the statue of Jesus dying on the cross. First of all, he lit up the crown of thorns, next, the two wounded hands, then the marks of the spear wound. In the hush that fell, he blew out the candle and left. There was nothing else to say.
• God has made you His child
• God has forgiven your sins
• God has given you eternal life
• God has shared His life with you so that God is IN you and you are IN God
• God gives you victory over the world, the flesh and the devil
• God answers your prayers
• God has guaranteed you a place in heaven, with Him in glory forever,
And if all those things don’t convince you:-
• Look at Jesus dying on the cross – that’s how much God loves you!
Ephesians 3:17 I pray that you may have your roots and foundation in love, 18 so that you, together with all God’s people, may have the power to understand how broad and long, how high and deep, is Christ’s love. 19 Yes, may you come to know his love- although it can never be fully known- and so be completely filled with the very nature of God.
How big is God’s love? It is infinitely broad, infinitely long, infinitely high, infinitely deep. And it goes on forever. God’s love is everlasting. It is eternal.
God wants YOU to know just how much He loves you. To know the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ’s love, even though it is so big that even all eternity will not be long enough for us to know it completely. Your mind won’t be able to understand God’s love. But your heart can receive that love.
And God longs so much for you to know and receive and experience the love which he has lavished on you, God’s love which is so great and Incredible and Amazing and Fantastic and Wonderful!