7451 - Lavish Love - 1 John 3:1

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Audio transcript

We’re so glad you have joined us today as we study about lavish love.

In our study of 1 John, today we are beginning chapter 3. The first verse reads:

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”

What a wonderful truth. What picture does the phrase “lavish love” bring to your mind? Perhaps you think of riches and material possessions being heaped upon you, but the use in this verse goes much deeper.

To lay the ground work let me tell you a story. A Christian man and his wife were impressed that they should adopt an underprivileged child. They discussed the idea with their children who came to understand the issue. They all realized that it would require God’s love to reach out to a child who had never experienced true family love. It would require sacrifice and patience. Each of them would be called upon to bear hot, rash words at times. Each could anticipate giving up some prized possessions, and sharing all things with a new sibling. They prayed about these issues for a time and all were convinced this was of God’s leading.

They visited the chosen orphanage and were impressed with a young boy who after being deserted by his parents had been passed from grandparents to uncle, and then to other family members before being placed in the institution. It was simply a case where no one wanted him.

The young boy, whose name was Carl, was wary of the whole deal. He thought: “These people will bring me back. They don’t really want me.” So he was often sullen and distant in relationships.

When they brought Carl home, he found a clean soft bed; but would they really love him? That was a thought he could hardly comprehend.

But the truth was borne out as his brothers gladly shared their toys and books with him. Slowly the walls came down.

One impressive thing to Carl was that now he was called by his new parents’ name. Could it really be I’m one of them?

The test came when Carl took an electronic game which belonged to his new sister. When discovered, he became defensive. He knew they would dump him at the orphanage. But no. They had a family counsel. Carl was assured of their love. In fact, he understood when they explained that he would be disciplined for his evil act, but that meant they loved him. It did not mean rejection. They wanted Carl to have character and integrity, so they were willing to teach and train him. The thought: “They love me this much! How great.”

Well as time passed Carl became a young man of strong character who reached out to help others just as he had been included in love.

Have you grasped the truth? Long before we were born, Jesus died for us in order to pay the penalty for our sins. That was necessary before we could be invited to become a part of God’s family. On the outside we could not even imagine how it would be to be God’s child.

But once God invited us and we understood, then we took those unsure, faltering steps, and discovered all that was promised was for real. Suddenly, we who were spiritual paupers became adopted children of the King of Kings.

And we discovered that God loved us enough to train us, and even to discipline us when needed, in order to shape us to be like God’s beloved son, Jesus Christ. Thrilling! Lavish love.

Our filthy rags were taken away and we have been clothed in garments of righteousness. And we have an open door to our Father. He invites us to come at any time and talk with Him. And big brother Jesus is preparing a mansion for us in heaven where we’ll spend eternity together.

What glory! Because of God’s mercy and grace, and because of the love Jesus demonstrated to us even before we came into the family, we really are His child.