Responsive Reading: John 1:6-18
Key Verse(s): John 1:16-17
Background Scripture: Mal. 3:1-7; 1 Cor. 13:4-8
I say to you, once again, we are in a season where we should be celebrating the grace and the mercy of the Lord. In our key verse, John tells us that out of the fullness (the abundance) of God, we have all received grace for grace – grace continuously. I tell you, there is not a day that goes by that I do not think about how good God has been to me. When I think about all that God has done for me, I often have this one particular thought and maybe you do as well. Have you ever wondered why God loves you?
The Mystery About Why God’s Love You
Wondering why God loves you, I believe, is a thought that many of us believers have shared for thousands and thousands of years. This thought, for me at least, comes up when I consider what God has done for me, even before I was in this world.
You see, God’s grace was confirmed to us when He gave the world His only begotten Son to save us from sin. Sadly, however, this love is scoffed at, mocked, and ignored; it is undervalued and unappreciated. I believe this to happen because we don’t understand how terrible sin is nor do we understand its punishment. Because of this we do not truly understand ourselves, and therefore, we cannot understand God’s love.
First and foremost, the love of God – His grace – is unmerited and undeserved. The reason this is the case is because we have transgressed (disobeyed) against the Lord and we should be punished, yet God does not punish us (Ps. 103:10). Those that understand this thought would understand what Peter said about the prophets of old that sought after and inquired about God’s salvation (1 Pet. 1:10-11); they desired to receive what we have been given.
When I think about Christ, I am left wondering, why? What did we do to earn the privilege to be able to dwell under grace and inherit God’s heavenly kingdom? Again, I ask, have you ever wondered why God loves you? Why does the Lord love any of us?
Who are we among God’s creation
To further explain my thought process, I think about who I am and my place within all of God’s creation; I think of how small and insignificant that I am. In the book of Job, when Job had been questioning God, the Lord spoke to him out of a whirlwind with questions of His own. The Lord asked Job where he was when He laid the foundations of His creation (Job 38:4-6). God asked Job if he had the power to bind or loosen the star constellations we see at night (Job 38:31-33).
God was making His omnipotence and sovereignty over all things known to Job. In the book of Isaiah, we see where the Lord said that heaven is His throne – His dwelling place – and earth is His footstool (Is. 66:1). So, I am like David who in Psalm 8:3, considered the works of God’s fingers – the moon, the stars, the rules they obey – and that he was small and insignificant amongst God’s creation.
I recognize God’s sovereignty over His creation and I come to understand my place within it; earth is just a tiny dot among the stars and I’m like a grain of sand on that tiny dot. Like David, after realizing my place within God’s creation, I’m left wondering, who am I that God actually cares about and loves me? David asked, “what is man that [God] is mindful of him, and the son of man that [God] visits him (Ps. 8:4)?”
God, as David said, knows my sitting down and my rising up; He understands my thoughts afar off (Ps. 139:2). God is so infatuated and invested in us that, again, to me, it makes no sense! It boggles my mind because in this world, those with power give little to no consideration for us ‘little people’ who have no power.
Heavily Invested in His creation
However, the truth of the matter is that God loves you and is heavily invested in you. Why so? Well, In Psalm 8:5-6, David pointed out that though we were created lower than the angels, God crowned us with glory and honor to have dominion over the works of His hands. As I said during the months of January and February – in my series of sermons Living for the Better – God created us perfect.
God loves you because He created you in His image and likeness to be one of His own. I want you to understand that though we were created lower than the angels, we are special in God’s eyes. We are so special in God’s eyes that He abounds in nothing but grace for grace towards us.
As it is shared with us in the book of Jeremiah, God’s interest and investment in us is likened to a potter at their wheel molding and shaping clay into a vessel (Jer. 18:1-6). The work of a potter is messy, but at the same time, it is a work of love and care. Some would suggest to you that God has abandoned His creation, therefore abandoned us, but that could not be any further from the truth; God is still molding and shaping us as vessels of clay even when the clay becomes marred in His hands.
Now, many of us undervalue ourselves, because we recognize that we are marred – diminished – vessels. In other words, we see our flaws and imperfections as another reason as to why it does not make any sense for God to love us!
As it is expressed by the prophet Isaiah, we see ourselves as an unclean thing, and that our ‘righteousnesses’ are like filthy rags (Is. 64:6). You and I, we know that we are sinners and even when we do good, in our minds, it does not matter because no good can come from bad. We believe that whatever is filthy should be thrown out. Thankfully the Lord lives with a completely different mindset where He is willing to wash the filthy rags; God is willing to give repeated opportunities.
Why God Love You
So, why has God not given up? Again we wonder: why does the Lord love us with such capacity? In order for you to understand why God loves you, we must first begin by taking a look at the nature of God; we must take a look at who God is.
It is in His nature
Some may believe the nature of God to be a mystery but the Lord has never hidden His nature from us. As John said in his first epistle, “God is love”. I want you to understand today that God loves you because it is in His nature to love!
To the Corinthians, Paul wrote that love suffers long and is kind (1 Cor. 13:4); it is patient and is able to bear all things. You will recall that last week how God is incredibly patient with us and endures great pain and hurt due to our transgressions. God could have destroyed us a long time ago, but because God loves you, He, again, is merciful and willing to save you from your transgressions.
Paul then wrote to the Corinthians that love does not behave rudely nor does it think evil (1 Cor .13:5). God’s thoughts are not evil towards us but are of peace, a future, and hope (Jer. 29:11) God does not tempt us to do evil nor sin (Jas. 1:12-13). Why? Firstly because He is righteous and is incapable of sin. Secondly, because He wants us to grow and flourish (Prov. 3:12). The work of love is to uplift, so in His nature, God desires to uplift you.
Now, after these two statements, Paul says something very significant about God’s love that we are going to now key in on. Paul wrote, “love does not rejoice in iniquity (sin), but rejoices in the truth (1 Cor. 13:6).” What this means for us is that there is another reason as to why God loves us and it revolves around His truth – what He defines to be right and good.
God is faithful to His word
God loves you because He rejoices in the truth; He delights in what is good, and therefore, He delights in doing what is good. Now, the thing about what is good and true is that they are defined by God (John 14:6); God determines what is righteous. Now, in order for the Lord to rejoice in the truth, He must abide by and be faithful to the truth Himself. So, what I am trying to say to you is that God loves you because it is in His nature to be faithful; He must be faithful not just to us but He must also be faithful to Himself.
God loves you because He knows the truth about Himself and His promises. God has promised to give you peace out of the abundance of His grace. God promised out of the abundance of His grace to never leave nor forsake us (Deut. 31:6). God moves to be faithful to His every word because if He fails to keep His word, then He would be a liar; He would be lying to us and to Himself. God loves you because He does not desire to fail you nor Himself!
If only we understood love on this level then love would never fail (1 Cor. 13:8). Worldly love fails when you and I aren’t true and faithful to ourselves first. God succeeds where we fail because He has the patience to remain true and faithful to His every word. If we cannot be true and faithful to ourselves, how in the world could we ever love all of those around us?
Promises to keep
So, understand today that God loves you because in His faithfulness, He cannot deny His nature; He cannot deny Himself.
In Deuteronomy 7, Moses said of God to the children of Israel, “The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all people, but because the Lord loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers (Deut. 7:7-8).”
God loved the children of Israel because He made an oath – an everlasting covenant – which He swore to their fathers – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Gen. 17:19). To Abraham, the Lord promised to give him and his offspring a land to dwell in (Gen 12:1,7). To Abraham, God also promised him that his descendants would be as innumerable as the stars at night and grains of sand on the seashore (Gen. 22:17). God, we have seen, was faithful to keep the vow He made to them and to Himself.
Whether you are Jew or Gentile, today, God loves you because He made an oath (a covenant) which He has sworn to you and to Himself. This covenant goes all the way back to the garden, when the Lord said to the serpent that its head would be bruised (Gen. 3:15). Considering that we know serpents are defeated in this manner, and that the serpent was Satan, God had promised to defeat Satan.
Why did the Lord make this promise? Because Satan caused mankind to lose the glory for which we were created in by the Lord. Let us remember that God is so invested in us because He desires for us to return unto the glory that we were created in. So, one more promise was made through God’s covenant with Abraham and that was that all nations of the earth would be blessed (Gen. 22:18).
In the book of Malachi, prior to the 400 years of silence, the prophet spoke of God moving to fulfill what He had promised. In Malachi 3:1-5, the prophet spoke of the coming of two future messengers. The first messenger the prophet spoke of would “prepare the way before the Lord”. This prophecy was of John the Baptist who we saw in our Sunday School lesson last week, did prepare the way for Christ.
The second messenger the prophet spoke of is referred to as being the “Messenger of the covenant”. The “Messenger of the covenant” is none other than the one given to the world out of God’s love — Jesus Christ. Christ was given to the world out of God’s love in order to fulfill that covenant that the Lord had made with Abraham and to keep the promise He made to Himself in the garden.
God Cannot Deny Himself
I speak of the covenant with you today because many of us wonder why it is that God would be so mindful and invested in us. The Lord loves you because He has made a covenant with you! What covenant has the Lord made with you? Did God not promise that whosoever believes in His only begotten Son would not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16)?
When the world thinks that God does not love it, His love was confirmed by the giving of His only begotten Son. As Paul said in his letter to the Romans, “God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8).” God’s love for us runs deep because He promised in the garden to save us even when we were undeserving sinners!
As He did with Abraham, the Lord has made an everlasting covenant with you, and as we have seen, He is faithful to uphold His promise! God loves you because, again, He cannot deny Himself. The Lord has said, “For I am the Lord, I do not change; therefore, you are not consumed… (Mal. 3:6).”
Some of us believe that we are not worthy of God’s love and I get that. However, we must understand that God is faithful to His nature – He cannot avoid it because God is love. We wonder, how could God love us and the answer is that He is faithful to Himself.
In Malachi 3:2-3, the prophet said that the Messenger of the covenant is like a refiner’s fire and launderer’s soap – He rinses and He purifies. We, as filthy rags, need to be washed clean in order for us to truly flourish. God keeps His word and loves you by spiritually washing and cleaning you daily. Again, God loves you because He simply cannot deny who He is.
Now, this may not make sense to those that are of the world but let us remember, God’s thoughts are not our thoughts nor are His ways like ours — they are far higher (Is. 55:8-9). As I said last week, I will say it again this week: I am thankful that God’s love is not like our love. If God’s love was anything like our love, we certainly would have been abandoned a long time ago.
Though God’s love of us may seem like a deep mystery to some, it should not be a deep mystery for His children. God loves you as a loving parent; He is deeply invested in you because He wants you to prosper unto righteousness. So, the Lord will bless you and give you the desires of your heart so that you can grow. God will lift you up every time you fall down so that you can improve and flourish.
The Lord has promised to restore you unto His image and likeness and He is heavily invested in your progress; He does everything He can to insure that you grow up to be just like Him. Why? Because God wants you to live forever with Him in glory and in righteousness — this is why God loves you.