Jesus the Lover

John 3:16

John 3.16, perhaps the verse in God’s Word that is most central to the theme and thrust of the Bible and the Christian faith.

1. GOD

Most people who use the word “god” are quite confident that they know what they ought to know about God. Consider truth to be something like a plot of ground, a portion of which you own. The way you define your portion of land is by describing it, which is to say that you locate one corner of it and then you describe it on one side, and then another side, and then another side, and then another side, ending at the point where you started. To define what is yours, then, you circumscribe it, and whatever lies within your description is yours and whatever lies outside of your description is not yours.

But you cannot circumscribe God in that fashion? God is so big, so immense, so fathomless, that you cannot draw any kind of a line around Him to differentiate Him from everything else and everyone else.

This is not to say that God cannot be differentiated and distinguished from everything that is not God. It is just that you do not differentiate and distinguish Him from other by drawing a line around Him. Rather, you draw a line around the other. God is described, not by trying to reach around Him in any way so that He fits into a description, but by making statements about Him that are true, all the while realising that God does not fit into anyone’s conception of Him; He is simply in every conceivable way too big.

That said, allow me to make some true statements about God that people sometimes do not think about, that they should think about:

1. God is.

2. God is infinite.

3. God is personal.

4., God is moral.

5. God is sovereign.

2. GOD’S LOVE

God’s love is much more than a mere ability, a capacity, a tendency, an inclination. Love is at the very core of His being and nature, because God is love, 1 John 4.8,16. God is love. “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.”

We need to think of the kind of love God has and expresses as being different than some passing emotional attachment, or related to some physical urge or need. God once said, “‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

As well, God’s love is a love that has no need, since God is self-sufficient and needs nothing from another. Instead, God’s love seeks to meet the needs of the one who is loved, rather than have needs met by the one who is loved.

Moses said to the Israelites about God’s love, in Deuteronomy 7.7: “The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples..”

More than 1000 years later, while in Babylonian captivity, God said these words about His love to the Jewish people through the prophet Ezekiel:

When I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your naked body. I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign Lord, and you became mine.

So, God’s love is as superior to such “love” as God is superior to you and to me. His love is durable rather than temporary, and it is sacrificial rather than selfish. Such love as God has is supernatural rather than natural, is divine rather than earthbound.

3. GOD’S LOVE FOR THE WORLD

The Lord Jesus Christ had been speaking to a Jewish rabbi named Nicodemus. The Jewish people of Jesus’ day were unanimous in their recognition of God’s love for them. There was no question in their minds that God loved them. They were God’s covenant people. But to say that God loved the world . . . .

It was certainly comprehensible to the Jewish mind that God loves. But the idea that God would love pagans, that God would love the heathen, that God would love the nations, that God would love Gentiles, that God would love the lawless, that God would love idolaters, that God would love the unschooled, the unrefined and the unwashed. What an astonishing revelation that is.

Who does God love? He loves the world. But what is the world? The world is people, like you and me. God’s love, you see, was not limited to Jewish people only. God is too big to be limited in who He loves. So, His love reaches beyond the borders of the commonwealth of Israel, beyond the confines of the old covenant. His love reaches out . . . even to you.

4. FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD”

This word “so” is a very important part of our text because the word ‘so’ emphasises the intensity or greatness of His love.” What follows is a statement that demonstrates and proves the magnitude and extent of God’s love for the world, for Jews as well as Gentiles, and for you as an individual. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son.”

5. HE GAVE HIS SON

The way you communicate your love for someone is to show them that you love them, not just tell them that you love them. Telling someone of your love for him without a corresponding demonstration of that love is so much noise, as Paul told us.

The Holy Spirit’s intent in inspiring this statement, “God so loved the world,” seems to me to be to convince those of us who know God loves us that God does not love only us. That God does not only love you, but that He does not love only you?