READ IN THE BIBLE (1 JOHN 4:8-10)
It is a most wonderful
thing to discover God, to learn things about God as He has been pleased to reveal
Himself on the pages of Holy Scripture.
One of the great discoveries about God is found in, (1 John 4:8) “GOD IS LOVE”.
The God of creation is a God of Love. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
is love. The God, with whom we have to
do, is love. “Love” is His essential
nature. Love is an eternal attribute of
God wherein He revealed Himself to man.
He is called in, (2 Corinthians ) “The God of love”. It
is not merely that God loves, nor that love is a quality which He
possesses. Rather, it predicates the
very nature of God Himself. He is the
Author of all true affection, benevolence, kindness and pity. God, as to His nature, is love; therefore it
is His nature to be a loving God. It
says in, (1 John 4:7) “Love is of God”. “Love” is the eternal principle of His
nature. The Greek word “agapao” (verb)
and “agape” (noun) is used in the Word of God to describe God’s love. This Greek word has been called “the
characteristic word of Christianity”.
That “God is love” is a truth imperfectly realized in both Christianity
and the Jewish religion. It is a truth
that is generally unknown in the world.
In this message we want to consider how, LOVE FOUND
1. THE PROBLEM – REQUIRING A DIVINE SOLUTION
The problem is the result of what man is and what God is. A loving God needed to find a way because, MAN HAS LOST HIS WAY. It says in, (Isaiah 53:6) “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way”. It says also in, (Proverbs ) “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death”. Dear reader, do you believe the way you are traveling through life will get you to heaven? Is it likely that you are not sure? God says to us in His Word, (Matthew 7:13, 14) “Enter ye in at the strait (narrow) gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait (narrow) is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it”. The Biblical record in (Genesis 3) reveals that our first parents soon got on the wrong path in their life. Adam and Eve, fell into sin and as a result they could no longer have fellowship with God. Because of their disobedience, death was pronounced upon them and they were denied access to “the tree of life”. As a consequence of Adam’s sin, all humanity fell; for Adam not only acted for himself, but also for the whole race, of which he was the head. We read in, (Romans 5:12) “Wherefore, as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned”. Everyone born since Adam has come into the world possessed of a sinful nature that is at enmity with God. This reveals itself in due time, by sinful thoughts, words, and deeds. Man is thus a sinner, both by nature and by practice. Man sins because he is a sinner. What is in the root will soon be evidenced by the fruit. Sin in the root of our nature, will soon be seen by the fruit of sins in the life. There are no exceptions to this in mankind. God says in His Word, the Bible, ALL ARE SINNERS. We read in, (Ecclesiastes ) “There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not”. We are told in, (Romans 3) “There is none righteous, no not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God, there is none that doeth good, no not one …all the world guilty before God…There is no difference; for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”. These verses reveal God’s portrait of a fallen humanity and YOU are included dear reader. Before a holy God, man is totally depraved. There is no question that each one of us, in the sight of God, is a guilty, lost sinner. It has been said, “We may not have committed every sin, but we are capable of doing it. And sin has affected every part of our being, what we are is a lot worse than anything we have ever done”. It does not matter what your estimation is of your sin. It is what God thinks of your sin that matters. God’s Word goes on to declare the consequences of man’s sinful state. It says in, (Romans ) “The wages of sin is death”. That death, however is more than just the decease of the body. We are told in, (Hebrews ) “It is appointed unto men once to die, but AFTER THIS the judgment”. For the unsaved that die in their sins, their physical death will be followed by the judgment of God for their sins which have never been forgiven. We are told in (Revelation -15; 21:8) there is a second death in which the body and soul of the person will be reunited to stand before the Judge (the Lord Jesus Christ) at the “great white throne”. Degrees of punishment will be determined and they will be cast into a lake of fire to, as it says in, (2 Thessalonians 1:9) “Be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power”. Dear reader, YOU must avoid this eternal destiny at all cost. This must be your highest priority.
Man has not only lost his way, MAN CANNOT FIND HIS WAY. Man cannot save himself or provide salvation for another. It says in, (Psalm 49:7) “None …can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him”. YOU cannot be saved by your so called good works. It says in, (Isaiah 64:6) “We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteous nesses are as filthy rags”. Joining a church, receiving infant baptism, turning over a new leaf, reading your Bible, praying, resolving to do better, practicing the golden rule, etc., etc, none of these things can save you. Salvation is, “not by works of righteousness which we have done”. (Titus 3:5). No sinner can enter heaven unless his sins have been forgiven. Only God can forgive your sins. As a guilty sinner, you need to be saved and you can only be saved in God’s way.
THE PROBLEM – REQUIRING A DIVINE SOLUTION is because God is holy. God is holy, and sin is everything that is
contrary and antagonistic to His nature.
He must always do what is right and proper. He cannot tolerate sin, compromise with it,
overlook it or pass by it. He has
declared in His Word, (Ezekiel 18:4) “All souls are
mine; the soul that sinneth, it shall die”.
God’s law demands the death of the sinner. The debt must be paid. Sin’s penalty must be endured. But, God loves the sinner. God, it says in, (2
Peter 3: 9) “Is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish,
but that all should come to repentance”.
God never made hell for mankind.
It was prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). God however, cannot allow a person to enter
heaven while that person is still in his sins, that is, his sins have never
been forgiven. The “divine dilemma” is how can God satisfy His love and still be
righteous? How can He save sinners and
still be holy? God will not be loving at the expense of His holiness. God will not be gracious at the expense of
His righteousness. God will not be
merciful at the expense of His justice. The wise woman of Tekoa made a wonderful
statement to David, (2 Samuel ) “Yet doth He devise means, that His
banished be not expelled from Him”. How could God devise a means whereby His banished
be not expelled from Him? How could a
holy God justly forgive sinners? This
was the problem facing God, which His love overcame. The answer is, “LOVE FOUND
Wonderful love that rescued me, sunk deep in sin
Guilty and vile as I could be, no hope within.
When every ray of light had fled, O glorious day!
Raising my soul from out the dead, LOVE FOUND A WAY!
LOVE FOUND A WAY to redeem my soul.
LOVE FOUND A WAY that could make me whole.
Love sent my Lord to the cross of shame.
LOVE FOUND A WAY – O praise His holy Name.
God does not delight in judgment. It is His strange work. He delights in showing mercy. Yet He must deal with sin. To our minds, that presents a conflict. How can God be just and the justifier of the guilty sinner? The answer is, only if another will take his place and bear the punishment. This brings before us the great principle of “substitution” and the next point we want to consider;
2. THE PICTURE – FORSHADOWING THE DIVINE SOLUTION
The picture we want to
consider is found in (Genesis 22) when Abraham was given his most severe test
of faith. He was told in, (Genesis 22:2) “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom
thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a
burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of”. As father and son made their way up
the mountain, Isaac noticed something seemed to be missing. He said “Behold the fire and the wood: but
where is the lamb for the burnt offering?
Abraham’s answer of faith foreshadowed the coming of the Lamb of God,
the Lord Jesus Christ. He said, “My son,
God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering”. So it was at that time, just before the blade
would pierce his son, Abraham heard the voice out of heaven: “Lay not thine
hand upon the lad”, and looking up he saw a ram caught by its horns in the
scrub. Isaac was released and the animal
was taken and killed in place of him. That was substitution. The sacrifice had to be made, but while
God demanded it, He, in love provided a
substitute. LOVE FOUND
3. THE PROVISION - OF THE DIVINE SOLUTION.
As we have seen, God has demanded the death penalty for sin. (Ezekiel 18:4) “The soul that sinneth, it shall die”. (Romans 6:23) “The wages of sin is death”. The sentence must be executed, for God is holy and righteous. But, He loves the sinner, therefore He devised a means whereby His justice could be satisfied and His love displayed. He provided a substitute. He provided someone who was able and willing (unlike the ram caught by its horns) to die for the sinner, even His own dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. It says in, (1 John 4:8-10) “GOD IS LOVE”. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him”. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation (satisfaction) for our sins”. We are told in, (John ) “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” It says in, (Romans ) “God spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all”. God’s beloved Son left the glory of heaven and came down in condescending grace to save us from our sins. The Creator came among those whom He created. For the first time, God dwelt with men in a body of flesh and blood. (1 Timothy 3:16) “Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh”. He was eternally rich in the heavenly glory, but “for our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might be rich”. (2 Corinthians 8:9). When Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, came into the world He laid aside the riches of His pre-incarnate glory and “wondered as a homeless stranger in this world His hands had made”. It says of Him in, (Philippians 2:6-8) “Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross”. The hymn writer wrote;
Alas, and did my Savior bleed?
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?
Was it for crimes that I have done,
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity, grace unknown,
And LOVE BEYOND DEGREE.
The greatest display, the greatest proof of God’s love is the gift of His Son. (1 Timothy 1:15) “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”. Dear reader, have YOU ever acknowledged your sinful condition before God? Do YOU believe that you are the guilty, vile, helpless, hopeless sinner that God says you are? If so, then, Christ Jesus came into the world to save you. Are YOU saved? God, in His Word, offers salvation to you as a free gift. It says in, (Romans ) “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”. Have YOU received His gift? Salvation can be received as a free gift to you but it cost God’s Son everything. This leads us to;
4. THE PRICE- OF THE DIVINE SOLUTION.
No angel could my place have taken
Highest of the high though he;
There on the cross despised, forsaken
Was One of the Godhead three.
read in, (Romans 5:8) “But God commendeth HIS LOVE
TOWARD US, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. “For us” means
“on our behalf”, “instead of us”. While
we were yet sinners Christ died on our
behalf. While we were yet sinners
Christ died instead of us. All that was due to us by “the sword of
divine justice”, because of our sins, He willing bore in His own precious body
on the cross as our substitute. There on
the cross He was “made a curse for us” as it says in (Galatians ). He was
made a curse “instead of us”. It says
in, (Matthew ) “The Son of man came to give His life
a ransom for many”. That is, instead of many dying, He died as their
Substitute. We are told in, (Philippians 2:8) “He became obedient unto death, even the
death of the cross”. Dear reader,
think of what it cost God, the Father and God, the Son to provide salvation for
YOU and me. “God so loved the world that
He gave His only begotten Son”. God, the
Son, in willing obedience, went all the way to
O Christ, what burdens bowed thy head
Our load was laid on Thee;
Thou stoodest in the sinner’s stead,
Bear’st all my ill for me,
A victim led, Thy blood was shed;
Now there’s no load for me.
Because He took our sins upon Himself and made Himself responsible for our sins, he had to go under the “waves and billows” of God’s wrath and judgment. In those dark hours on the cross, from the sixth hour to the ninth hour, a divine transaction took place. A great sacrifice was made. We read in, (Isaiah 53:6, 10) “The Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all”. The Lord did make His soul an offering for sin”. Because of this it says also in, (Isaiah 53:4-6) “(He was) stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our piece was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all”. Dear reader, has YOUR heart become so hard that you can remain untouched by God the father’s great demonstration of love and God the Son’s great sacrifice for YOUR sins? The hymn writer was overwhelmed with God’s great demonstration of love when he wrote;
Love sent my Savior to die in my stead.
Why should He love me so?
Why should He love me so?
Why should my Savior to
Why should He love me so?
At the end of those three dark hours on the cross, the Savior cried out, “It is finished”. In anticipation of this He could say in, (John 17:4) “I have glorified Thee on the earth; I have finished the work which thou gavest Me to do”. Because of the Savior’s finished work on the cross, all the just and righteous demands of a holy God were satisfied. God was glorified, His throne vindicated, Satan has become a defeated foe and salvation has been made available to all who will believe. This leads us to;
5. THE PROMISE – RESULTING FROM THE DIVINE SOLUTION
God’s promise, in His Word, is He will save all who believe in His beloved Son. Was there a definite time in your life when YOU believed in Him? Was there a definite time in your life when YOU received Him as your own personal Savior? The Philippian jailor ask the question in, (Acts ) “What must I do to be saved”? God’s answer, given through the Apostle Paul, was, “BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved”. Faith in Jesus Christ is the only thing that will save men from the consequences of sin. That faith, however, is more than just belief in the historical facts concerning Him. Saving faith is a faith to believe that when Christ died on the cross He died in my place, for my sin, i.e., HE WAS MY SUBSTITUTE. That faith and that alone, will save a man’s soul. It isn’t enough to believe that He died for the sins of the whole world. Saving faith is a personal faith that says “He died for me”. “He died in stead of me”. Notice from the following verse’s, that God says in His Word, that belief in His Son is absolutely necessary for salvation;
Dear reader, these scriptures are sufficient to show the absolute necessity of believeing in God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, for salvation. To ignore God’s Word, will bring the Christ rejecter under the condemnation and wrath of God. The greatest sin that YOU can commit against God is the sin of unbelief. LOVE FOUND A WAY to save your soul. The question now becomes, will YOU accept God’s way of salvation? YOU are traveling “THE HIGHWAY OF LIFE”. Now that you have read this message you have come to “THE CROSSROADS”. Which way will you go? Will YOU reject God’s free gift of salvation? If you do, God’s holiness, righteousness and justice demands the eternal punishment and eternal banishment of all who refuse Christ’s sacrificial work on the cross. Or, will YOU believe in Him and receive Him as your Lord and Savior? It is YOUR DECISION and YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.
Please give this matter your most serious attention. Will you be a believer or a non-believer? Your eternal destiny depends on your decision.