I Introduction

A. In this passage is found the greatest single statement about God in the whole Bible - GOD IS LOVE

1. It is amazing how many questions that statement answers

2. It is the explanation for many things

II. It is the Explanation of Creation

A. Sometimes we wonder why God created this world

1. Why would God create a world and then populate it with creatures that would bring Him sorrow and grief

2. The answer is that creation was essential to His nature

a. if God is love, He will not exist in lonely isolation

b. love will have someone to love and someone who will respond to and reciprocate that love.

III. It is the Explanation for Human Freedom

A. Unless love is free, it can never really be love

1. You cannot demand, coerce or force love

a. unless love is a free response it is not love

b. had God only been law, He could have created a world filled with human robots programed to respond to His slightest command

c. if God had made men like that, there would have been no possibility of a personal relationship between Him and them

2. Love is of necessity the free response of the heart

B. Therefore, God, by a deliberate act of self limitation endowed men with self determination

IV. It is the Explanation of Providence

A. Had God been simply mind, order and law, He might have created the universe, wound it up, set it going and left it.

1. There are machines (washing machines, Dryer & etc.) we are urged to buy simply because we can set them and forget them

a. their most attractive quality is that they run by themselves.

b. because God is love, His creating act is followed by His constant care

2. Does the Bible teach God's active providence?

a. Deut. 11:11 - 16, 1 Cor. 9:9 (Doth God take care of the oxen)

b. I Peter 5:7 - Casting all your cares on Him for He cares for you

V. IT is the Explanation of Redemption

A. If God had been only law and justice, tie would simply have left men to the consequences of their sin

1. The moral law would have operated; the soul that sinned would have died and that would have been the end of it

2. The eternal justice of God would hand out whatever punishment that was necessary.

B. But the very fact that God is love meant that He would seek and save that which was lost

1. Law does not demand salvation - it demands death

2. Lowe doesn't demand death - it demands salvation

3. Love found a way - it found a remedy for sin

VI. It is the Explanation of Life hereafter

A. If God were simply Creator - man could live his brief span on earth and die

1. Others could be created to fill whatever duties and responsibilities they had

2. The life which ended early would only be another flower which the frost of death had withered to soon

B. But the fact that God is love makes it certain that the changes of this life do not have the last word

1. But that His love will readjust the balance of this life

2. It will provide for an equitable tomorrow

VII. It is the Explanation for Eternal Life

A. God sent Him in love that we might have life (4:9)

1. There is a vast difference between existence and life

a. all men have existence but all do not have eternal life

b. the very eagerness with which men seek pleasure shows that something is missing in their lives

c. a famous doctor once said, men would more quickly find a cure for cancer than they would a cure for boredom

2. Jesus Christ gives a reason for which to live

a. He gives a purpose for which to live

b. He gives us a strength by which to live

c. He gives us a peace in which to live

B. Living with Christ turns mere existence into life

VIII. It is the Explanation for our Restoration (4:10)

A. The love of Christ tells us that God has restored our lost relationship

1. God sent Him into the world to be the atoning sacrifice for sin

2. When man sinned, his relationship with God was broken

a. the sacrifice of Christ paid the full penalty of our sin

b. it was designed to restore a lost relationship with God

B. Jesus, by his death, made it possible for a man to enter into a new relationship with God - that being one of peace and fellowship

C. He bridged that awful gap between man and God

1. It would be quite inadequate to think of salvation as mere deliverance from the punishment of hell

2. Man not only needs to be saved from hell but from himself; from his habits, anxieties and fears

3. In every case, Jesus offers men salvation and restoration to God in every area of their lives.

X. It is the Explanation for His Condescension (4:14-15)

A. Notice we must confess that He was the Son of God

1. Whatever that means, it certainly tells us that Jesus was in special relationship to God

2. A relationship in which no other person ever stood or ever will stand

B. He alone reveals what God is like (John 1:18)

1. He alone can bring to us the Grace of God

2. He alone can grant us forgiveness and provide a peace which passes all understanding

3. He alone bathes us in a love which surpasses the love of the tenderest mother for her babe

XI. It is the Explanation for the Gospel Invitation

A. It is because God loves that the offer is made to come have fellowship with Him

1. Jesus said, Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest

2. Think of it - God bids you through Christ to come have fellowship with Him

B. Let us come boldly to the throne of Grace

1. It is because Jesus came and died for you that such a privilege is afforded us.

2. Before that precious blood was shed the door was closed to God

a. Isaiah recorded in 59:2 - Your iniquities have separated between you and your God

b. your sins have hid His face from you that He will not hear your prayers

3. Christ has washed away that sin - love found a way to open that door for all who would go in.