John 16:27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.
Recently, I heard a preacher make a public statement ... not a statement to his congregation ....but to the public at large. His statement was: “You cannot do anything to make God love you more than he does right now.”
When I read that statement on the internet, I really questioned the veracity of the declaration. Then, I came to today’s passage and I knew the statement was misleading. Let’s break this down. Am I questioning the fact that God loves all men? Not at all. Let’s review what the Bible says about this.
John 3:16 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.
1 Timothy 2:4 Who (God) will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
John tells us that God loves the WORLD! Not just the saved. Not just his followers. Not just those that love him. Not just those that serve him but God loves the entire world; past, present and future. That would include the most vial of beings including murderers and rapists. To prove his love, he gave us his Son to die that we might be saved, because he TRULY, deeply desires ALL men to be saved. So there is no question that God loves the world.
The question then is: CAN one of these rebellious, unbelieving, raping, murderous people do ANYTHING to cause God love them MORE? The answer is absolutely YES!
In our text this morning, Jesus is telling his apostles that God loves them. So, we already learned that right? Is that the “same” love that is directed at the rest of the world? Let’s keep reading. Jesus said that God loves THEM .... BECAUSE they LOVED Jesus and BELIEVED that he was the Son of God. I suggest to you that statement has to mean that this love described here was not the same as the love that God loves the rest of the world. Instead it is a deeper, more profound love.
Let’s look at it this way. Might my father love countless numbers of people that he interacted with throughout his life? Certainly. Could he even love strangers, showing it by helping those that are in need? Absolutely! But how many people will receive the inheritance when he dies. Only five of us ... My mother, my brother and sisters and me. Why do only 5 of us have the opportunity to inherit dad’s stuff? Because we are his family. And he loves his family more than he loves anyone else in the world.
1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God...
Colossians 3:24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
That word manner is emphasizing a degree or level of God’s Love! How much love does he love his followers? So much so that he has declared us his family. Does he love the entire world? Yes. Is the entire world part of the family of God? Absolutely NOT!
Notice now WHY God loved the disciples: Because of their actions! Because they loved Jesus and because they believe in him. So let’s examine that question again: CAN one of those rebellious, unbelieving, raping, murderous people DO anything to cause God love them more? Again YES!. Each of those people can choose to BELIEVE that Jesus is the Son of God. Each of them can and must REPENT of their current rebellious and sinful lives. And they must become New Testament Christians by following HIS plan of salvation. When that happens, anyone can become a child of God and then be partakers of the inheritance of the family.
God loved you enough to be willing to save you, but he is desperately hoping to love you like a child!