God Loves Us and Has a Plan for Us

Title: God Loves Us and Has a Plan for Us

Bible Book: 1 John 4 : 7-21

Author: Jerry N. Watts

Subject: Love, God's; Purpose, God's



Let’s begin our time by reminding ourselves of what our Core beliefs are. These are the beliefs on which we can build our lives. Read them with me.

The Bible is our guide book

God Loves us and has a plan for us

All people matter to God

We seek to honor God in all we do.

The Local Church is the hope of the world.

Let’s take the 2nd one and consider it for a few minutes. Think with me about this statement and ask yourself this question: “Do I truly believe that God loves me and has a plan for ME?” Everyone present will probably answer this in the affirmative, but do we really believe it or the better question is “how deeply or how much do I believe it?”

You have heard me say, we do what we believe and the rest is just talk. So the question is, “What do I (we) believe?” Most think the big question is ‘what do I so deeply believe that I would die for it?’ While that is a huge question, perhaps the question we need to grapple with is this; ‘what is it that I so deeply believe that I would LIVE for it?’ What is there that motivates me in such a way as to drive me so that with every fiber of my being and every ounce of my strength I live my life accordingly?

As we apply this thinking (these questions) to this topic (Core Belief #2) from this book (the Bible), let us separate these two thoughts and see what answers we find.

I. God’s Love for Us

Most of us would simply accept this as truth, but were we called on by an unbeliever to establish this truth, we would have difficulty. Sadly, we have relied on that old answer, “because I said so” until the reason we say so has been lost. So let’s answer 3 questions.

A. How do we know God's love?

To answer these and other questions, we need to return to core belief #1. Too often, when we encounter questions, our response is well “I believe”, or “I think”, or “the preacher said,” or some other answers like this. Candidly, God’s word is our source.

1) He Declared it

In Jeremiah 31:3, God was speaking to HIS people, this is important, because today through these same words, God is still speaking to HIS people. “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” If God says it, that settles it. He doesn’t say what He doesn’t mean and He doesn’t go back on His word. Furthermore, from history & scripture we know that God’s people were in exile in Babylonian captivity and that God’s arranged it. Why would God do this with people to whom He declared His love?” Because His love is perfect. He doesn’t hesitate to inflict a little pain, to bring us much gain. His children are priority.

2) He Demonstrated it

Many scriptures jump to my mind as working together to show us the demonstrated love of God. Let’s bring 2 of these verses together. First, Romans 5:8 is one of the most notable scriptures. HCBS says, “God proved His own love for us in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us.” The word proved is translated and paraphrased as demonstrated, showed, made clear, and one of my favorites “put His love on the line.” Additionally, in verse 9 of our text today we read that “God’s love was revealed in this way: God sent His One and only Son to be the propitiation for our Sin.” Think about this and pair the words with some of Jesus’ teachings, “Greater Love has no man than this, that He lay down His life for His friends.”

3) He Directed it

We also find in Romans 5:8 that this love was proved or demonstrated FOR US. His love is a directed & focused love; it is directed & focused at us, that is, you and me. If you back us 3 verses in Romans 5 there is a reminder that God’s Love is POURED out into OUR hearts. May I suggest that the love of God is poured on us lavishly? It is similar to pouring tea from a tea pitcher into a 3 ounce glass as there is many times more love left than is ever given. He love US and sent (gave, ordered to go) His Son for US.

B. How do we show God’s love?

It is one thing to KNOW God’s love but it is altogether another thing to show God’s love. When we get filled with the Love of God, we cannot contain it. When Paul wrote his first letter to what is called the “Model Church” (Thessalonica) he offered a prayer at the end of chapter 3 (I Thess. 3:11-13). I t is not enough to know the love of God; we must show the love of God. How do we do it?

1) By our Change

1 John 4:7 begins, “Dear Friends let us love one another.” John reminds us of the new commandment which Jesus gave in the upper room. (John 13:34-35) Throughout Jesus’ life & ministry He, at every turn, tried to raise our love to the divine level. To love like this requires a huge change for all of us. We are cool with loving people who are like us and like us. Jesus taught love the unlovable, the poor, the downcast, the wicked, and yes, even your enemies. Think about the person who makes your blood boil the worst & understand the difficulty of this challenge. Would anybody say, “That’s easy?” Or even, “That’s doable?” Do you know why? Because it’s not easy and not doable at the human level. To love like Jesus loved required a change at our heart level. What is required is a heart transplant. It is the heart transplant that occurs when Jesus comes in and takes residence. Many preachers will duck this, but not this preacher. According to the word of God, to say I love God and then hate (or hold animosity or dislike) for a brother is to be a liar and self-deceived. Let’s read verses 20-21.

Here’s the truth: Because we are so comfortable picking and choosing who we love and like, we almost make fun of this text, yet while you and I may take it lightly, it seems to me that this is just as much a part of scripture as John 3:16. We will never show God’s love until we know God’s love and God’s love has basted our hearted until we truly love people like Jesus did. This change in character shows God’s love.

2) By our Conversation

Did you realize that the conversations which go on in the eating houses say more about us (and we truly believe) than what we say in the church houses? Although it is obvious from James that no man can totally tame the tongue, it is equally true that when the HCSB says in Ephesians 4 that we must put off our “FORMER WAY OF LIFE” that it possesses some hidden meaning. Watch the progress; KJV said, “Put off concerning your former conversation” while the NKJV said, “Put off concerning your former conduct” and the HCSB (and others) say, “You TOOK off your former way of life.” Think about all those things we should have put off and taken off and replaced it with letting our conversation be seasoned with “salt” (grace). Conversation is a powerful tool, with it, we either confirm or contradict our claim of knowing God. The secret to have Christ-like talk is to daily release the Spirit of God in you. This is done through prayer & Bible Study.

3) By our Confidence

When we are filled with God’s Spirit & we become a conduit for the love of God, confidence is one of the benefits. God desires for us to be confident; not arrogant, just confident. Look at 1 Jn 4:17-19. Additionally, 1 John 5:13 is one of the all-time verses for us to know what it is that God wants us to be confident about! Our future. We are not confident in US, we should be confident in Him & His love.

C. How do we sow God’s love?

So we know and show, how to we sow?

1) By our Response

If we are truly in God through Jesus, know this divine love, and live in this love, the most natural thing to do is to tell people of His love. Why is it so difficult to share the most wonderful part of life unless, we have nothing to share. Nothing replaces telling.

2) By our Relationships

Verse 12 says, “If we love one another, God remains in us” and Jesus said that the world will know by our love. Let us complicate this just a little; we can’t pick and choose who we love. Already covered this but listen, people watch and hear. They watch how we treat the serving girl in restaurant, the cashier at the grocery store, and the hostess at Applebee’s. They watch & listen.

3) By our Realism

Verse 16 says that we are “His in this world.” Know what I wonder? Where in the Bible does it say that we have to act weird if we believe in Jesus? I’m not talking about living holy, pure, and by Biblical principle, but change tone of voice & personality.

I submit that many try to appear SO perfect that they are destroyed when they fail and have not been taught to understand that you WILL fail and that when you do, God still loves you and is working on you & me! We need to be real people, serving a real God, living real lives, possessing real Godly sorrow when we mess up, & displaying Godly repentance.

II. God’s Plan for Us

Turn with me to Jeremiah 29 and let’s consider this for just a few minutes. This chapter is almost entirely a letter from the weeping prophet to the Children of Israel who have now been taken to Babylon in captivity. Maybe another time we will study this entire chapter, but for now let’s read verses 10-14. Hang on to that last statement.

A. The Distinctiveness of His Plan

Please notice that number of personal pronouns in this passage. By my count in the HCSB we read 16 uses of “you or your” in this 4 verses. This should remind us that God does not have a “cookie-cutter” plan for us, but that His perfect plans is a custom-fit job. Just like His love is poured out in YOUR heart, His plan is laid out for YOUR life. It’s very distinctive. Whoever you are, whatever your strengths & weaknesses, God designed you this way for your good & His glory. If your desire is to know life to the fullest, live the best you can; He’s your answer!

B. The Description of His Plan

Not only does God know the plans He has for you, not only did He draw up those plans, but they are for your “welfare, future, and hope.” God wants the best for you. Make no mistake, if we are His child (by birth), He watches over us like a mother hen (no disrespect intended). The reason Israel was in exile was because they rejected God’s best. For the child of God to reject God’s plan for them is to invite trouble which can be sent from God to straighten you out. God doesn’t want disaster for us; He wants us to know life the way it was intended. He wants us to find His will & follow His plan. Some ask, “How do I know His plan?”

C. The Discernment of His Plan

Verse 13-14a give us the answer to this query. To discern something means you are able to see what is actually best and the true. God says, “You will only find me (and know my plan) when you search for me with all your heart. But when you do this, I will be found by you.” What a promise! But it is a little frightening because we are back to desperation, once again. Wonder what God has to do in our lives to make us that desperate? Giving God 2nd place will block our discernment.

D. The Desire of His Plan

We are now down to business! God’s has a singular desire for all of us, that is, “to restore us to the place He designed us for in the beginning.” Remember that last phrase of verse 14, “I will restore you to the place I deported you from.” Because of our sin we have been deported from an ongoing, love relationship with Him. Only when we seek Him will all our hearts through Jesus will we be restored to that place, once again. This is a Biblical Core or unchanging truth. Is it your truth?

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