God's Love 1 John 4:7-19
In the Message version of the New Testament,
part of this passage says, "When we take up permanent residence in a life of
love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the
house, becomes at home and mature in us
Jesus said in John 14:23 "If anyone loves me,
he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and
make our home with him."
I'd like you to use your imagination and
think of your life as a house that God lives in. What kind of house is it? Is
it a house or a home? House implies a building of four walls and a roof, with x
amount of rooms. Home implies warmth, love, welcome, peace, safety, no fear -
no secret rooms, no locked doors - open house. Is your life a permanent
residence for love to dwell in? Does love have the run of the house?
Think of a new baby born to a loving couple
with a loving home - everything the baby needs is provided - food, warmth,
protection, a safe place in which to develop and grow into its full potential -
all in an atmosphere of love. In fact, the baby doesn't understand what it
needs but its parents do and they give unconditional love out of the overflow
of their love for the child. Maybe you're a parent and remember how your heart
felt like bursting when you had your first child. Within that atmosphere of
love the baby flourishes.
This is how God is with us, he takes as
newborn babes in Christ and with his immense love provides everything we need -
under his hand we flourish and have the opportunity to reach our full
potential. That's God's love, unconditional - 1 John 3:1 says, "How great is
the love the Father has lavished on us
" The Amplified Bible says, "See
what an incredible quality of love the Father has given, shown, bestowed on us,
that we should be permitted to be named and called and counted the children of
God!" I like the word lavished, it gives a sense of extravagance, richness, no
matter what the cost. Let's look at Psalm 23 and see what God gives us in his
Everything we need - rest - refreshing and
restoration - direction - freedom from fear - protection and safety - good food
- overflowing blessings - goodness and love always - the promise of a dwelling
place with him, not just for eternity, but now.
Back to our original passage from 1 John 4:11
which says, "Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one
" Jesus says in John 15:9, "As the Father has loved me, so have I
loved you." and in v12, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved
If love has the run of our house, that means
loving one another in spite of our differences, forgiving one another, helping
each other, bearing with one another.
Is he living in your house? Jesus said in Rev
3:20 "Listen, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens
the door, I will come into his house and eat with him and he will eat with me."
If you've asked Jesus into your life, then he has come in and he does eat with
you, and you with him - he's at home with you.
If he were to come in person to dinner at
your house tonight, what would he find?
One of the things God wants to do in our
lives is to help us close the door on things of the past - allow him to come
into those rooms in our hearts where we keep things locked away. In his love he
wants to help us deal with whatever pain is there. How much space do we give
him to do this? If everything is done in an atmosphere of love, God's love,
there is no fear in that.
God wants to continually do a new thing in us
and in order for him to do this, we have to allow him to sweep away the rubbish
of our past and the things that clutter up our house. We can limit him moving
in our lives, yet if we allow him to deal with us, then we can experience
healing, cleansing, release and freedom and he will be able to open up new
things for us - new doors into new rooms.
New discoveries! New challenges! New
revelations! can be ours.
To finish with, a word about God's house and
his promise that we will dwell in his house, for ever. Jesus said in John 14:2,
"In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.
I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place
for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where
There's a sense that we're dwelling in God's
house already. Psalm 84:1-2 says, "How lovely is your dwelling-place, O Lord
Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and
my flesh cry out for the living God
- v4 says, "Blessed are those who
dwell in your house; they are ever praising you."
We've only had a small taste of what it's
going to be like in heaven - how lovely to think that we will dwell in the
house of the Lord, for ever.