1. In 1 John 4:16, the apostle John stated that "God is love." 2. This was not the first time that John made this statement (see vs.8). 3. If you want to know about God's love, study this letter very carefully. 4. We are especially interested in the fact that we can know and believe the love that God has for His children (vs.16a). 5. In our lesson we are concentrating on 3 ways we can know and believe that God loves His children. 6. The passages we are studying tie in the father-child relationship to illustrate how God loves His children.
I. FIRST, WE KNOW AND BELIEVE THAT GOD LOVES HIS CHILDREN BECAUSE HE ANSWERS OUR PRAYERS (Matthew 7:7-11)
A. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus had much to say about prayer. B. In these verses, Jesus showed that God answers the prayers of His children. C. He made this very clear in vs.7-8. 1. We are to ask, we are to seek, and we are to knock. 2. If we ask, seek, and knock, Jesus said that God will give us what we ask, He will cause us to find what we seek, and He will open to us. D. To illustrate His point, Jesus referred to the father-child relationship. 1. (vs.9) A father who loves and cares for his child will not give him a stone if he asks for bread. 2. (vs.10) A father who loves and cares for his child will not give him a snake if he asks for a fish. 3. (vs.11) Jesus used this reasoning to show that God will give that which is good to His children who make requests of Him. E. We know and believe that God loves us because He answers our prayers.
II. SECOND, WE KNOW AND BELIEVE THAT GOD LOVES HIS CHILDREN BECAUSE HE DISCIPLINES US (Hebrews 12:5-11)
A. This chapter begins with an exhortation to run the Christian race "with patience." B. (vs.2) As we run the Christian race we are to keep our eyes focused on Jesus. C. (vs.3) Remembering what Jesus endured will keep us from being weary or faint. D. This letter was written to Christians who were undergoing some type of affliction. E. It seems that this affliction was designed to have a chastening effect. F. These Christians who were being chastised needed to keep certain things in mind. 1. (vs.5-6) God chastens His children because He loves them. 2. (vs.7-8) To be God's true children, we must endure His chastening -- those who reject His chastening are not His true children. 3. (vs.11) Chastening is not enjoyable; however, it is designed to make us better. G. To illustrate this information, the writer referred to the father-child relationship. 1. (vs.9) Fathers who correct their children out of love deserve respect because they are concerned about the welfare of their children. 2. (vs.10) God chastens His children so we can be partakers of His holiness. H. We know and believe that God loves His children because He disciplines us.
III. THIRD, WE KNOW AND BELIEVE THAT GOD LOVES HIS CHILDREN BECAUSE HE RECEIVES WANDERERS WHO RETURN (Luke 15:20-24)
A. In this parable, Jesus used the father-child relationship to illustrate how God feels when His rebellious children return to Him in humility. B. 1 John 1:9 is a good verse for us to consider in this regard. C. We know and believe that God loves His children because He will restore those who return to Him after wandering.
1. We have examined 3 ways in which God shows His love to His children. 2. John also mentioned God's love in 1 John 3:1a; 3:16; 4:9. 3. God wants us to love Him (1 John 4:19; 5:3).