For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal. John 3:16
It’s a simple yet profound truth: God loves us. Even if times are difficult and we don't understand what He is doing, we can still hold on to the fact that God loves you and me.
Jesus Himself told us so in John 16:28:
for the Father himself loves you . . . .
In John 3:16, Jesus once again affirms God’s love,
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. God’s love is the basis of our salvation.
In 1 John 4:10 we learn that God not only loves us, but He loved us first.
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation (the payment) for our sins.
Maybe Jesus tells us over and again that God loves us because He knows that life can be hard—it can even seem unfair at times. He wants to assure us that even when something happens in our lives that causes us pain, we shouldn’t feel overwhelmed by it to the point that we forget how very much God loves us. He should know—the cross where He suffered and died is the ultimate guarantee of God’s love. (Remember John 3:16?) God loved us enough to send Jesus to die for us. God did it all. That’s real love!
We learned today on the video that people living in Jakarta haven’t always heard and understood the message of God’s love. But they’re not the only ones. A lot of people in the world don’t get just how much God loves us because the concept of “love” may get lost in the translation.
Let’s look closer at the word: love. There is only one word for love in English. In Greek, the language the New Testament was written in, there are four:
Storge – the kind of love you have for your country . . . or your favorite sports team or a particular school. It’s enthusiastic, patriotic love and loyalty.
Phileo – the kind of love you have for your very favorite friends and family members; it’s a real, human, warm kind of affection.
Eros – the kind of love between opposite sexes or sexual love. It’s the kind of passionate love a man and wife have for each other.
Agape – the kind of love God has for you. God’s love is a selfless love. It’s a unique kind of love that is out for your very best—your highest good.
When we think about God’s kind of love, agape love, described in the verses above, we see a love that goes after us first, that gives up life itself in order to save us, that tenderly bends down and listens to our prayers. God loves us just as we are.
God loves you. Think what that means. He loves you like groom loves a bride (Song of Sol. 4:10), like a father loves his child (Ps. 103:13), as an artist loves his masterpiece (Eph. 2:10). No one knows you better—all your secrets, all your faults, all the peculiarities that only God can know (Ps. 139:3). Yet His love doesn’t depend on your loveliness but on His choice to love you. His love isn’t at risk when you mess up because it doesn’t depend on you. He loves you because that’s what He is—He is love (1 John 4:16).
All He asks is that you put Him first (Col. 1:18). To please Him first. To make your relationship with Him the priority of your life.
Doesn’t the Bible paint an awesome picture of God’s love? It’s important to appreciate the privilege of having God’s words in a language we can understand. There are millions of people in this world who don’t have one word of Scripture in a language that speaks to their heart. As we learned today, many of those people live in Indonesia. Pray for them today, won't you? Pray they would hear and understand how deep and how wide and how deep the love of God is for them. And then ask yourself if there is something God wants you to do to tell them that great news.
We gotta tell the world—God loves you!
1. Name some things that you love—a team, a pet, a book. This is a good example of “storge” love.
2. Name someone that you “phileo” love.
3. What’s one way that God’s love is unique—different from all other kind of love.
4. When we want to help other people know about God’s love—what kind of love are we demonstrating?
5. What’s one thing you learned about FEBC’s work in Jakarta today?