Here's another thought: John 3:16. We all know it, "For God so loved the world...". Note "...SO loved the world..."That's good right there, He didn't just love us, he *SO* loved us; so much that He gave His Son. Now here's something that'll help you get hold of this deep understanding of God's love for you: Take Jn 3:16, and where it says "...the world..." put your name in right there. For me, it would be "For God SO LOVED David that He gave..." Say it out loud right now, 'For God so loved (your name here) that He gave...". We'll look at more along this line in a minute.
We do God a disservice by painting Him as a mean old grandfather waiting to hit us over the head with a frying pan every time we sin. Consider:
Every GOOD and PERFECT gift cometh from above, from the Father of lights in Whom there is no variableness or shadow of turning.
Jas 1:17, KJV
Also, we see the Father's heart in Mt 7:11, "...HOW MUCH MORE THEN will your Father which is in Heaven give GOOD things to them that ask Him?" You know, if a natural father did half what is attributed to God, he'd be in the prison in a minute. Have you ever heard someone say 'God just loves me to death'? No, He doesn't! He loves you to LIFE! Rm 6:23, the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord!
Another great illustration of God's love for you is Jn 10:10, "I am come that they might have life, and that more abundantly." The Greek there for "life" is the word 'zoe', and this is the same idea expressed in the Hebrew by 'shalom', good well-prosperous life. Now, this isn't a prosperity message by any stretch. I thank God for folks that can break down faith principles, but what we're talking about is the cornerstone, the underpinning of the whole deal; a deep understanding of God's love for you PERSONALLY.
Here's another idea to help you get this in your spirit: Get up in the morning, and dance before the Lord, and sing something like, "you love me, you love me, you absolutely love me yes indeed". You might be sitting there, thinking, 'Well, that sounds undignified to me.'. You're absolutely right! Look at II Sam 5:20-23. David was rejoicing before the Lord, and someone hardened their heart against such 'fanaticism'. I find it incredible the same people who will shout themselves hoarse at a sporting event will adamantly refuse to even so much as 'Amen' at church. Think about what God (through Jesus) redeemed you from, Eph 2:1-3. Walking on a endless nowhere course, lost ,without hope and undone. and praise the Lord, He didn't leave us there. Eph 2:4-7 says God, Who is filthy rich (Gk rendered 'rich' at 2:4 is the root of plutocrat; filthy rich person) in His GREAT love, not just His love but His GREAT love that He loved us with while we were still on that nowhere track raised us up together with Jesus and seated us together with Him in heavenly places just so He could crack open a new vault of the riches of His grace toward us in each of the new ages in eternity.
Now as we close, we'll look at another example of someone who had this understanding: John. Now I want you to get this: John was so over 'him' that he never referred to himself in his epistles as an apostle. He was with Jesus the whole way, and was so close to Jesus he could have easily went on about being entrusted with Mary, etc. But none of this for the disciple that Jesus loved. As close as he got was '...his servant John...' in Revelation, and he was over 90 at that time. I'm not much on 'tradition' but this is good; All the 12, except John, were martyred. The Romans tried to kill John, but they couldn't. They tried to boil him in oil, but that didn't work, so they stuck him on Patmos. I submit his deep understanding of how much his Daddy loved him put him in a position where he could receive that miraculous deliverance. I'm not putting any other New Testament writer down, Paul had doctrine right on the mark. Peter had holiness on the money. All of them are great, but as Paul so aptly put it, "Without love, I am nothing."
I'll leave you with another idea: Take your Bible, and circle/underline/highlight/whatever every time any tense of the word 'love' appears in I John. Next time, we'll look at how we can put this deep understanding of God's love for us to use in sharing the Gospel with the lost. Using what I'll give you next time, I only had one person I personally shared the Gospel with not decide for Jesus on the spot on the mission field (Rm 2:4).
Jesus Is Lord,
The disciple that Jesus loved
© 1999 DIP
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