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1724. God Is Love

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
March 7, 2024 10:17 pm

1724. God Is Love

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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March 7, 2024 10:17 pm

Dr. Steve Pettit continues a discipleship series entitled “Truth and Love” from 1 John 4:7-8.

The post 1724. God Is Love appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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Bob Jones University

Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina.

The school was founded in 1927 by the evangelist Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. His intent was to make a school where Christ would be the center of everything, so he established daily chapel services. Today, that tradition continues with fervent biblical preaching from the University Chapel platform. Let's now listen to today's message from 1 John 4, 7 through 8, entitled God is Love. I'm going to ask you to take your Bibles and turn this morning to 1 John chapter 4. 1 John 4, and I'd like us to read the last phrase of verse 6, and then we're going to read our two verses this morning.

We'll look at verses 7 and 8. For those of you that are visiting or perhaps watching online, our theme this semester has been Truth and Love, a study in 1 John chapter 4. We have spent the first four messages basically establishing a foundation, an introduction to understanding 1 John, and then we've looked at the first six verses.

We had a message on a call to discernment, and then last message was on how to spot a false teacher. So John is dealing with truth and with error. It's a little bit, it's pretty straightforward, kind of combative, kind of right in your face, directional messages, and then we come to verse 7, and it's almost like he switches gears. And notice at the end of verse 6 it says, Hereby know we the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. Then notice, if you will, verse 7. He says, Beloved, let us love one another for love is of God and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love. John shifts his message from the theme of truth to the theme of love.

It almost feels like an abrupt disconnect where John unplugs one chord and he plugs in another chord. But what we need to understand is that truth and love are not disconnected from one another. They have what we call a symbiotic relationship. That is you can't have one without the other. And so as we do our study this semester it's real important that both of them go together.

It's more like two chords being plugged into the same side by side wall socket. You have both truth and you have love. So question, why is it so critical to understand that truth and love go together, especially within the context of 1 John chapter 4? Well, just to remind you, the author has been telling us that where there is the presence of false teachers there is the absence of truth. Now John tells us that not only in false teachers there is the absence of truth, but there is the absence of love.

What does he say? He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love. So the presence of divine truth should always be surrounded by the atmosphere of divine love. So in the fourth chapter of 1 John the underlying idea concerning false teachers is not just that they reject truth, but they actually fail to love the people of God.

They may give a public impression, but not a reality of really loving God's people. So as we begin to look at this passage starting in verse 7, and it goes all the way to the end of chapter verse 21, the most notable aspect that we see, and we'll see it over and over, it's just repetitious, and that is all the references to love. There are more references to love in 1 John 4 than any other chapter in the whole Bible.

30 different references. And this morning as we look at verses 7 and 8, 20% of those references are found in these two verses. Just note the word love. Beloved, let us love one another. For love is of God. And everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love. So what is John writing here? What is he telling us? Essentially he's giving us the two main reasons why it is that believers are obligated, why it is that we are commanded to love one another. And what are those two reasons?

The first reason is this. Love, he says, is the nature of God. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God.

This is like John's fundamental foundational statement. The command for us to love one another is grounded in the nature of God. If we don't love, then he says we don't know God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love. John is telling us that love, and I want you to think with me on this, is more than an attribute. We talk about the attributes of God, his omnipotence, his omnipresence, his power, his knowledge, his grace, his truth.

But this is different. He is saying here that love is more than an attribute, it is the essence, it is the expression of who God is. God is love. John says for love is of God, and the word of there means out from.

It is out of God, just like light radiates out from the sun. Just like a mighty river gushes out of a deep spring, so John is saying that love radiates, it gushes out from God. John is saying that the motivating reason for all that God does, all of his actions, is because God loves.

Think about it. When God created the world out of nothing by the word of his mouth, God spoke those words in love. When God established his covenants with the patriarchs like Noah and Abraham and Moses and David, he ratified those covenants in love. When God delivered the Jewish people from the Egyptian bondage, he redeemed them, and he brought them out in love.

Listen to Deuteronomy 7 verse 7. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you are the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you. All of the actions of God flow out of his nature of love. Let me also say that every aspect of the life of God's son, everything about Jesus, was a revelation of the Father's love for the world, for God so loved the world that he gave. So when you read the Gospel accounts of Jesus, his incarnation, his temptation, his miracles, his teaching, his sufferings, his arrest, his trial, his crucifixion, his burial, his resurrection, his appearance to the disciples after he rose from the dead, his ascension, all of these things are a demonstration of the love of the Father.

How deep the Father's love for us, how vast beyond all measure that he would give his only son to make this wretch his treasure. Everything that God does comes out of his heart of love. Now, if all that God does finds its source in his love, maybe you ask the question, why love? Why not justice or righteousness or mercy or grace?

Why love? For example, consider Genesis chapter one and verse one. Think about the verse, you know the verse, in the beginning God created the heavens and earth. As we look in that verse, the first attributes that sort of stick out to us about God is that number one, God is eternal in the beginning and that God is all powerful, he created.

So from this verse we learn who God is and we also learn what God does. But what we don't know as we read the first verse of the Bible is why God did it. Why did God create the heavens and the earth? What was the reason for creation? So you ask yourself questions, was God lonely? Did God want to demonstrate to us his creation, his creatures?

Did he want to show us his might and power? Later on we read in Genesis one and two that everything God made was for good. And so we begin to learn creation is a reflection of God's desire to provide a benefit and a blessing to what he's made. But it doesn't really tell us why God created everything.

So why did God make everything? In his book Delighting in the Trinity by Michael Reeves, if you've never read it I would highly encourage you to read it, Delighting in the Trinity by Michael Reeves. He gives us an explanation of why God created everything with a couple of illustrations.

His first illustration was from the early church father Augustine who deduced that the doctrine of the Trinity, that is there is one God who's revealed himself in three persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That he has deduced the doctrine of the Trinity from the nature of love. If God is loving then that love or that nature has to be expressed. It's impossible to love without expressing it. You can't hold in love. You cannot selfishly hold on to love. Love is outgoing.

It must go out to someone. Therefore from his own deduction there has to be more than one person in the Godhood to whom love can be expressed. And so what do we discover in the Trinity? We discover that the Father loves the Son. And that the Spirit also loves the Father and the Son. There's a second illustration about the whole concept of creation and God's love.

In the 12th century one of the most influential religious thinkers was a Scotsman named Richard of St. Victor. Richard argued that if God were just one person he could not be intrinsically loving since for all eternity, that is before creation, he would have had no one to love. Love has to express itself. He went on to say that if there were two persons God might be loving but in an excluding ungenerous way. After all when two persons love each other they could be so infatuated with each other that they just simply ignore everybody else.

Have you ever noticed that here on campus? And a God like that would be very far from good news. But when the love between two persons is happy, healthy, and secure they rejoice to share it. Just so it is with God said Richard being perfectly loving from all eternity the Father and the Son have delighted to share their love and joy with and through the Spirit. It is not then that God becomes sharing being triune God is a sharing God.

He is a God who loves to include. Indeed that is why God creates his love is not for keeping it is for spreading. The nature of love radiates. It cannot be held back. It cannot be contained. It must be expressed. This is why God created all things because God is love. Many of you have read the Screwtape letters by C.S.

Lewis. In his writing he captures the difference between the devil and God. He shows that the devil is needy and a solitary God whereas God is self-giving overflowing and love is ecstatic.

Screwtape a senior demon writes these words. One must face the fact that all the talk about his love for men and his service being perfect freedom is not as one would gladly believe mere propaganda but an appalling truth. He really does want to fill the universe with a lot of loathsome little replicas of himself creatures whose life on its miniature scale will be qualitatively like his own. Not because he has absorbed them but because their wills freely conform to his. We want cattle who can finally become food. He wants servants who can finally become sons. We want to suck in. He wants to give out. We are empty and would be filled.

He is full and flows over. All creation is an expression of God's love. In Hebrews chapter 1 verses 2 and 3 Jesus is called the expression of God's nature. It says hath in these last days spoken unto us by his son by whom also he made the world who being the brightness of his glory and the express image of his person. Jesus is the express image of God's person and it's very interesting that the word person there is the word for foundation like the foundation on which a house is built. And what the writer of Hebrews is saying is this that Jesus is the perfect expression of what is foundational to the nature of the Heavenly Father.

So what is foundational to the nature of God? And as we finish this section take your Bibles and turn to John 17 and I want you to read with me verses 24 to 26. As we discover that love is the foundation of the Father's nature notice he's praying this is Jesus' high priestly prayer and he says Father I desire that they also whom you have given me may be with me where I am to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. Oh righteous father even though the world does not know you I know you and these know that you have sent me.

I made known to them your name and will continue to make it known that the love with which you have loved me may be in them and I in them. Jesus is saying that he came to express the image of God and at the very core at the very foundation of the Father's nature is a love. A love expressed in creation and a love expressed in the sending of his son.

So here's the whole point. Why does God command us to love one another? Because it's what God is like.

It's his nature. But not only does he root the command of love in the nature of God but there's a second reason and that is because love is actually the nature of a Christian just like love is the nature of God this is what God is like he's also saying that love is actually what a Christian is like. Notice he says here in first John four seven and eight everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. When a person is born again the new birth it's a spiritual experience whereby God's own nature is imparted to the believer. God's life comes to live in us. And the result of this new life is that God gives us a gift.

And what is that gift specifically? I want you to turn in your Bibles to Romans chapter five and note if you will please verse five because he tells us what this gift is that he puts into our hearts. Romans five and verse five it says because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

The new birth the new life the Spirit of God coming to live inside of you what is that? It is God's own love his own nature being poured forth bursting forth into our own hearts. Why do we love him? Because he first loved us. And we respond back to God in that love. Man I remember when I got saved it's like the old preacher from West Virginia said God poured a honey bucket of love in my soul.

Serious. It's like everything was new the world was new I saw the world as God's creation and I loved it. And I would begin to meet people that are Christians that were really saved that really knew the Lord and suddenly like a magnet being drawn I was drawn to them and loved to love them I still feel that way. What draws us to a rose is fragrance. What draws us to a believer it's the fragrance that Christ is in their life. One commentator Howard Marshall said a person cannot come into a relationship with a living God without being transformed into a loving person. Now let me say this is not what we call natural love it's a supernatural love. It's a love possessed only by believers because you can't have it if you don't possess the Holy Spirit. Now an unbeliever can love because he's made in the image of God and because of God's common grace that God gives to all of us therefore you can have the benefits of love through family and through marriage and friendship. But an unbeliever cannot love like God loves apart from God's own nature being in your heart. Love is God's gift imparted to us.

His love is within us. This is a love first of all for God and then secondly it is a love for others. And John is establishing a very important principle and that is if God is love then the more we know God then the more we're going to love one another.

And everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. Peter tells us something similar in 2 Peter chapter 1 where Peter is giving us a pathway to spiritual maturity and then he brings us to the high point the pinnacle. So he says beginning in verse 5 and besides this giving all diligence add to your faith and then he gives us seven different characteristics. Virtue. Add to virtue knowledge. Add to knowledge patience and temperance. Add to patience and temperance godliness and brotherly kindness.

And then he concludes and he says add to brotherly kindness charity or love. What is the pinnacle? What is the high point of Christian living? What's the ultimate goal? We say the ultimate goal is to become like Christ but what does that mean? It means that we become a person who is living a life of love and sacrifice and charity giving of ourselves to others. D. Martin Lloyd-Jones said all writers on the spiritual life are agreed that the ultimate stage of growth is the stage of loving. In Paul's first three chapters in the letter to the Ephesians he explains the blessing of the church and the blessings that we have because of our relationship with the Father through his son Jesus Christ and then we come to the end of chapter 3 and it concludes the chapter with a climactic prayer for the spiritual maturity of the believers and what is his request?

Many of you have memorized this. It says that we would comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and the length and the depth and the height and to know the love of Christ which passeth all knowledge that they might be filled with all the fullness of God. Growing in God and growing in love are the same things. If we are not becoming more loving, unselfish, sacrificial, giving up of our rights, giving up of ourselves to others then we're missing the boat.

And at some point it would be appropriate to ask the question do you really know the Lord if your whole life is selfish? What does this say if we don't love? D. Martin Lloyd-Jones said love is the ultimate test of our profession of our Christian faith.

Do we love one another? It is a more vital test in the realm of experience and self-examination than our orthodoxy. In other words he's saying the greatest test is not just what you believe, truth, but it's the way you live, love.

So to me it sounds pretty serious. Because if you're selfish and your whole life is about you, you may have an outward conformity to the Christian faith but you don't have the power of a new life. The power of a heart that loves. Everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God for God is love. It's as black and as white as you can simply make it. It's one or the other. Even John reaches back into history and he comes to the story of the two brothers Cain and Abel and Cain kills his brother Abel and the question is asked why and John says that Cain's hate crime is inspired by a different spiritual power.

It's the devil himself. The presence or absence of love is the proof that the divine life of God has been or has not been implanted in the human soul. So I think Bob Jones University ought to be at least one of the most loving places on the planet. Why? Because his love's in our heart and everyone we see is a brother and a sister and that we give of ourselves unreservedly.

Why? Because God is love. Father thank you that you love us. God I pray that you will deliver us from selfishness. Lord I pray for those who are not born again that you will convict them that their life is self-centered and for those who are your children help them Lord to grow in the right pathway to a life of love. In Jesus name. Amen. We've been listening to a sermon from the book of First John by Dr. Steve Pettit.

My name is Wyatt Smith. I'm a senior here at Bob Jones University studying multimedia journalism and I want to tell you a little about my experience here at BJU. I've been here a little over three years and I truly cannot say enough about the community here at BJU. Whether it has been in the halls of the dorms in my incredible society or even in the classroom I have always felt a very strong sense of community around me that has aided in my growth as a person and as a Christian. BJU's commitment to academic excellence has also pushed me to discover and refine the skills and talents needed to succeed in life after school such as communication critical thinking and problem solving.

My time in the classroom has allowed me to gain hands-on experience in my field of study all while giving me the freedom to think creatively and build my skills. One aspect of BJU that I've really appreciated is that I've been continuously challenged to develop and grow my faith in Christ through the preaching of God's word and chapel and the daily discipleship of those in community around me. I have truly loved my time here at BJU and I hope others will be able to share the experience I have had. If you or someone you know is interested in an experience such as mine I would encourage you to check us out online at our website bju.edu. For any further information please feel free to give us a call at 800-252-6363. Thanks again for listening. Join us again tomorrow as we continue this study in First John on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-09 00:41:00 / 2024-03-09 00:49:50 / 9

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