11 The Greatest love – 1 John 3:1-3
In my opinion this is the most exciting verse in the Bible as it demonstrates God’s extravagant love for us by calling us His children and then repeats it, ‘that is what we are’. It is so matter of fact with no conditions or doubts just a simple statement. What sort of love is this that can know all about us, all our foibles and short-comings but still He declares us as His children.
He warns us that the world doesn’t recognise who we are but this does not matter as they didn’t recognise Jesus as the Messiah so they certainly won’t recognise us. Does it really matter when we are the child of the King of Kings, what a chosen position. We are not in that position so we can pat each other on the back but we have been chosen as His children to live in this world ‘for such a time as this’. We have a unique job to do as children and ambassadors of the King as He brings in His end-times harvest.
Review all we said in Lesson 05 to remind you about all it means to say ‘My Father loves me’. Remember how we said our Heavenly Father loves us as much as He loves Jesus. Our faith expresses itself through love and the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. If you still are not totally sure that the Father loves you then maybe this extract from UCB Word for Today may help. ‘Since God’s Love is the only ‘perfect’ love, it removes our fears. What are you afraid of? That you won’t get something you need, or that you will lose something you have got? ‘His perfect love for us eliminates all dread … If we are afraid it …. shows we are not fully convinced that He really loves us’ (1 John 4:18 TLB). Today ask God to give you a fresh understanding of how much He loves you, for what He loves He prizes, protects and provides for.
We are drawn to people who love us, so why is it so difficult for us to go to God in prayer? It is because we need a fresh understanding of His love for us! Paul writes ‘I pray …. that … you will be able to take in … the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love … (Ephesians 3:18TM) Extravagant Love! God couldn’t love you any more than He does right now! You say ‘What does God’s Love look like?’ Look at the Cross. If you had been the only person who ever lived, Jesus would have died just for you. ‘What does God’s love cost me?’ you ask. It comes with no strings attached. You didn’t do anything to deserve it, so when you fail you don’t forfeit it. He never stops loving you! The Bible says ‘… absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love…. (Romans 8:39) Once you are secure in God’s love you can begin to acknowledge your weaknesses, seek His help, grow strong, and use the gifts He has given you. When you know God loves you based on who you are, not the colour of your skin or your life accomplishments, you have the ultimate self-esteem; born of God’s esteem for you.’ So go ahead receive His abundant love.
Children of God
As children we can start at the beginning and recognise that firstly God is our Father. It is His choice of creation that we are here at this time and that we are His children. In this amazing position we are going to be provided for both spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally. He will only say things to us that are good for us, also He will only want us to hear things that build us up. He will want to keep us close to Him so we are protected from wandering off and doing our own thing. He will give us instructions that will teach us things that build us up to train us for all He has prepared for us to do. He will get so much joy from our intimate relationship with Him. He will feel concern if He sees rebellion in us and will allow these activities we choose to cause us pain in the hope they will lead us back to His arms that are always open wide for us. He is constantly looking out for our return if we do wander away. As the perfect Father He is willing to give up His most treasured possession for us that will cost Him everything. He is so excited when we have a success and do things His way and yet He doesn’t love us any less if we go off and choose our own way, what amazing Love.
He trains us by increasing our faith as we see all He does for us and as we get to know His Word better we see how vital it is in order to have victories in our life. Being a child has so many advantages as we depend on our Father who we believe loves us. As we cling close to Him we know that everything we face we are not on our own and He would not let anything happen to us that He and we together could not get through with victory.
This is the central message of the Gospel that Jesus came to preach. We are His children which is wonderful but we must not keep this truth to ourselves as the heart of the Father who we love so much, longs for all people to know Him as Father through Jesus. There is no other religion with this message; no other god can offer people the sure hope of eternal life. That is why if we love our Father we would also share this love and want to make Him happy by doing all we can to get the Truth out into the world, not behaving like selfish children!
But we know that when He appears (that is, when Jesus comes again) we shall be like Him. Even though we are God’s children we are not yet completely like Jesus but when we see the Glorified Christ, we will be transformed to be like Him as we see Him clearly, 2 Corinthians 3:18.
According to Gary Chapman’s book ‘the Love Languages of God’ God expresses His love for us in five ‘love Languages’. When we allow Him to express His Love in the love language of our heart we will experience His love most intimately. There are 1) Words of Affirmation 2) Quality Time 3) Gifts 4) Acts of Service 5) Physical Touch.
Words of Affirmation are constantly spoken by God to us both through the Word, through the prophetic word and through other people. If this is how we are with other people it is probably how we receive love from God. There is no point in God giving His love to us if we are not receiving it.
Quality Time is self-explanatory. God longs for that intimate time to just express His Love into our spirit. Abraham was called ‘friend of God’ and God often spoke to Him and shared His concerns with him Genesis 18:17. Jesus always spent quality time with His Father, Luke 6:12. If quality time is the love language we like to receive, having a quiet time is vital for us.
Giving of gifts God is the greatest giver, we all receive the sun, birds, the seasons whether we thank God or not, Psalm 19:1-3. God’s spiritual gifts are never given automatically or because we deserve them, they are given as expressions of His love for us. We just need to ask (Matthew 7:7-11) and learn to receive as we see how much He loves us.
Acts of service God did many of these for the children Of Israel, providing the Ten Commandments, water from the rock, manna and quail. Enemies were beaten; plagues were averted, droughts ended and diseases healed when they called on God. Jesus did an amazing act of service on the Cross and also the miracles He did were all acts of service to bless people’s lives.
Physical touch. God uses this language to show His love often, and He knows exactly how to get through if this is the language we understand. We can be together with others or be alone and quiet, but His presence is tangible. People can be slain in the Holy Spirit and feel the touch of God. Feeling deeply loved by God people respond with raised hands and tears.
God is speaking these love languages round us all the time and it is worth finding out our own primary love language to see how we show love to others and why sometimes they still don’t feel loved. The Bible is clear God loves us with an everlasting love. He loves us even though we turned our back on Him and walked our own way. He is totally righteous and holy so in His love He made a way to bridge the gap between God and man, Jesus Christ Himself. No one needs to go to hell except by choosing to not receive the price paid for their sin.
God shows incredible love in making us part of His family by His amazing grace. God is our Father, Jesus our brother and the Holy Spirit directs our close intimate relationship. This relationship goes unnoticed by most of the people around us as those who do not know the Father cannot recognise the Father’s children. People looking in to the Church do not understand what Christians are doing and interpret it as boring and not relevant as they are blinded to the things of God’s Kingdom.
‘What we will be’ (1 John 3:2) can be a concern to us but we have to just look at the wonderful loving Father who we are trusting with our future and focus on Him and give Him our questions. As believers we must not allow hopelessness of the present or of the future drag us down as we have the promise of the soon return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Sometimes we forget that as we get so taken up with the intensity of the situations surrounding us and focus on the natural things of this life that we lose that hope and get caught up in the hopelessness around us. We do not have to let that happen, get our eyes off the world and focus on Jesus. This will raise our spirit and purify us. It will cause us to live uprightly, to separate us from sin and failure and lift us to joy and victory in Jesus Christ.
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11 The Greatest love – 1 John 3:1-3 Challenge Questions
Read the beginning of the notes on the Greatest Love -1 John 3:1-3
1. Do you agree this is the most exciting verse in the Bible? Could you suggest any others?
2. What is the most outstanding point about God’s love to you? Why?
3. From the section taken from UCB notes what did you find helpful?
Read the notes ‘Children of God’
4. Why do you think the picture of children helps us to see the Love of God?
5. Is there anything you can you add to the notes about the love of the Father for His Child?
Read the notes ‘the Love Languages of God’
6. Which language does God use to speak to you? Is this the way you express love to other people?
7. Do you find these love languages helpful when looking at your relationships? In what way?
Read ‘What we will be’ from the notes
8. What spoke to you in this short paragraph?
Read the Bible verses 1 John 3:4-10
9. According to these verses why did Jesus come?
10. What should we not do if we are a Christian?
11. If we do sin who is at the route of this sin?
12. Why should we not go on sinning? Does this affect our eternal destiny?
13. Which verses earlier on in John’s letter reassures us if we do sin?
14. What advice would you give to a Christian who has a sin habit?
Read the Bible verses Romans 7:14-25
15. Describe how Paul feels about sin.
Read the Bible verses Romans 8:1-2
16. What does Paul declare as the answer to sins? What is our position now?
Memory verse; ‘Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death’. Romans 8:1-2