Volume. XXVIII, No. 8
Sunday, 25 August 2013

We love him, because he first loved us (1 John 4:19)

Love is one of the warmest words in the English language and one of our greatest needs as human beings is to be loved. We all need love. We need to know that we are important to somebody, that somebody truly cares about us, wants us, and accepts us unconditionally. To this, there is nothing like the love of God! One of the most sublime, uplifting, and reassuring truths known to mankind is that God is love. Love is His nature. It is the essence of His being. He is always going to act toward us in love because He cannot do otherwise. Love is the way He is.

1 John is the great book about a great God with a great love for sinners. The verse, “We love him, because he first loved us” from 1 John 4:19 is very short. These words are very significant because they best describe God's heart for everyone... especially you. It's not about you trying to show God how much you love Him... It's about you experiencing His deep, unconditional and inexhaustible love for you on a daily basis! When you know and experience how much God loves you, your natural response will be to love Him! And when you live with the perspective that God so loves you, you can't help but see a greater measure of His love manifesting in your life. Remember, the more conscious you are of how much God loves you, the more you'll find yourself enjoying His blessings!

There are four things which we shall think about as we consider God’s love. The verse reminds us that there must be a reason why we love God with this fervent Love. It is “because He first loved us.”  We are His first love – therefore He should always be our first love. We might ask when, then, did God “first loved us” begin?  The Bible’s answer to this question is very clear. God loved us before we ever existed; before there ever was a world; before time itself had begun. Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:4, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” God’s love had no beginning, and will have no end. “I have loved thee with an everlasting love!” (Jer 31:3). All your friends might reject you - but God’s love will never change. Your family might turn against you for being a Christian - but God cannot. You could lose your job - but you will remain in God’s heart. God’s love to us is eternal and this truth, of God’s eternal love, should give great stability and strength to us as Christians.

God’s love is self-giving. That too is different from our love. Our love is often selfish and demanding. Our human nature is prone to love in a self-centred fashion. We are prone to love those who are lovable. We love those who love us and we love those who are good to us. We hesitate to do anything for others that will cost us too much or inconvenience us too greatly. God’s love is pure. It asks for nothing in return! However, it leads man to repent and turn to God in love - Romans 2:4 tells us, “..despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?”. He loves to give to those who ask Him. Jesus said, “…..how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matt 7:11). James went so far as to say in James 1:17 that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness…”

God’s love reaches beyond circumstances. Such love is beyond our ability to grasp with our minds, but it is not beyond our ability to experience with our hearts. We have a tendency to show more love to the people who obviously love us and less love to the ones who do not. We express our love to our spouses and our children when they perform according to our expectations and we withhold it from them when they displease us. God's love for us is unconditional and undeserved. It cannot be earned or deserved. It is extended to us when we do not deserve it and continues steadfast and strong even when we do not respond to it.  He loves us in spite of our disobedience, our weakness, our sin and our selfishness. He does not love us because we are so lovable or because we can somehow make ourselves worthy of His love. We are totally unworthy. It is His love for us that gives us our worth. God finds great delight and receives great glory when we respond to His love. But whether or not we ever return His love, He keeps on extending it to us. There is nothing we can do to make Him love us anymore, and nothing we ever do will cause Him to love us any less. He loves us perfectly and completely regardless of how we perform.

God’s love is sacrificial which is different from our love. We hesitate to do anything for others that will cost us too much or inconvenience us too greatly. It motivates Him to give when it costs Him dearly and God’s love cost Him the very best that He had—His only Son. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). It meant allowing Him to die in our place and pay the awful debt of our sins. “But God commendth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8) and “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). The apostle John especially wants us to remember how that love has been made known to us. There is a place where that love was particularly shown. That place is Calvary, and the cross on which Jesus died.
The kind of love that God consists of, and poured into His children and the “love” that we love God with is agape meaning it “involves a consuming passion for the well-being of others” ( F.F. Bruce). Paul also gave us an excellent description: “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth:….” (1 Cor 13: 4-8). Agape is a self-giving love. This is giving one's self over to some-

one or something. To love someone this way is to put them first and to consider them above oneself.

Most of us long to be loving people, able to give love to our spouses, our children, our fellow believers, our unsaved acquaintances, and most of all to our God. God’s love is what causes our love. It is upon Love and through Love that God first draws us to Himself and upon which our relationship with Him is found. Knowing the God of love can help to make us more loving and giving persons. It is the effectual love of God that first changes our hearts in order to make us capable of love, and it is His example of love that reminds us again and again of our need to love other people. Not only will getting to know Him more intimately cause us to become more like Him, but knowing that His love for us will flow freely through you and keep us free to reach out unselfishly and minister to other people. Our first and foremost love is to be the love we hold for our God.  Our love for Him must always be the love that is of most importance and unequalled by any love that we hold.  We must keep our love for Him always foremost in our time, foremost in what we deem as important, foremost in position and order we place Him in our relationships, our schedule, our work, our family, and in what we depend or rely on for help and making our decisions. He alone is the reason for life and for living and He is all so worthy and deserving of our love. Everything that is good or lovely is found perfectly in God. The essential mark of a true Christian love comes down from Christ. If one believer truly loves another person it is because Christ is working in that believer’s life. If we truly want to love others as Christians, we must remember this. The only place to start is here. “We love him, because he first loved us.”

Dn Yaw Chiew Tan

More Lively Hope



*Kitchen Roster: Today’s Team Leader: Bro Boong Atijatuporn. Next Lord’s Day: Dn Colin Gan.
*Deepest Sympathy to Bro Pirun Pech on the home-going of his grandfather.
*Hope Bookstore: Open today: 12:30 - 1:45 pm
*Elected to the 7th Session at yesterday’s ACM: Pastor T Ki, Elder M Lee; Deacons C Gan, WK Wong & D Yeo; Deaconesses J Gong & P Yeo.
*Catered Fellowship Lunch: Adult $5; Child under 5 FREE.

Praise & Thanksgiving
Journey mercies: Dn Tony & Sis Sally Law (Adl); Bro Raphael & Sis Bernadette Ng & family (Melb/Adl); Bros Daniel Paauwe (Adl) & Joseph Selvanayagam (Canberra/Adl); & others who are travelling.  
Smooth & orderly Annual Congregation Meeting & Session Election yesterday evening.
Infant Baptism - Annabelle Tan & James Wong
Membership Transfer - Bro Lucas Yiew & Sis Monica Tan.
Church Activities, in the past week.
Session Meeting last Lord’s Day.
God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.
Visitors & new worshippers.

Prayer Items
Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Pastor & Sis Myung Ki; Rev George van Buuren; Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Bros Surish Dharmalingam (Laos), Elton Law & Kang Fun Tan (S’pore); Sisters Lai Kheng Chiong (KL), Myung Ki, Choon Fong Lee (KL), Lehia Paauwe, Margaret Pearson, Corinne Teng, Susan Varadi & Sylvia White; Mr Swee Liang Ng; Mr Mang Soo Ong; Bro Peng Cheong Wong (Dn Wai Kin Wong’s father); Mrs Maggie D’Mello; Mr Tony Zhang; & others in affliction.
Special Prayer: Rev Edward Paauwe (hip surgery); Bro Len Pearson (Lobethal); Sisters Margaret Hooper (post-op), Michelle Lee (post-op), Anne Tan (post-op) & Mavis Wong’s mother (salvation & post-op)
God’s comfort in grief: Mrs Sylvia White; Mrs Helen Jenkins & family; Bro Pirun Pech
iSketch & Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry & preparation for Ordination: Ps Hai Seng Lim.
Cambodia Missions - Rev Stephen Choi & Ministry (Phnom Penh); Life University (Sihanoukville)
Kuching Missions: Bro Jeremy Teo & family.
Ministry in New Life BPC (London) & God’s guidance for the future: Ps & Sis Ki.
Ministry in Hope BPC - God’s guidance for future - Ps & Sis Weng.  
Journey mercies: Rev & Mrs Patrick Tan (Adl); & others who are travelling.  
Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.
Job - Bros Timothy Ngoma & Jonathan Liao (Syd); Sisters Xiao Hui Chye, Corinne Teng & Sharon Ying (Per); & others looking for  stable jobs.
Australian Visas - Sisters Clara Sim & Sharon Ying (Perth - for PR).
Hope BPC - for new Pastor; Second Elder ordination & New Session Installation next Lord’s Day.
Year 12 students: for strength & encouragement in their studies.
 Unity in doctrine & fellowship of Australian B-P Churches.



© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041