Love Came Down

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“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:7-10)

INTRODUCTION: It is Christmas Eve, and we are celebrating the birth of Christ together. We have actually been celebrating all month long, but now the time has arrived. We remember Joseph and Mary and their long trek to Bethlehem. We remember the shepherds in the field and the angels in the sky. We remember the baby in the manger wrapped in swaddling clothes. We remember the star in the sky and the Magi worshiping Jesus and presenting him with gifts.

Christmas is a wonderful story, but it is so much more than a story. It is a true story, it is history, and it is our story, the story of when love came down in the person of Jesus Christ. I would like to share with you three simple truths from our Scriptures passage this evening of how love came down at Christmas.

Here they are. 1) Love comes from God. 2) Love came down to earth. 3) Love came down to the cross.

I. Love comes from God (7-8)

First of all love comes from God. Look at verses 7-8: “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8)

Did you ever wonder where love comes from? When you see the love between a man and his wife, where does that come from? Or the love between a parent and a child? Or the love between family or good friends? At Christmas time there seems to be an extra measure of love around as people give to each other and especially to those in need.

Most people agree that love is the most beautiful thing in the world. But where does all this love come from? Did you ever wonder that? The Bible gives us the answer. Love comes from God, because God is love.

There has never been a time when there was not God, and so there has never been a time when there was not love. The Bible begins with these four words in the book of Genesis: “In the beginning God …” God is love, and so we could also say, “In the beginning love …” In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. In the beginning love spun a universe across the stretches of time. Love comes from God.

Love has always existed, from the very beginning. Even before the world was created, there was love. Jesus prayed in John 17:24: “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.” (John 17:24)

People sometimes wonder, “Who did God love before he created people?” And the answer is, God loved Himself! God is one God, and yet three persons, and so the Father loved the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Son loved the Father and the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit loved the Father and the Son. We call this the Trinity. Love has always existed because God has always existed, and God is love.

But God not only loved Himself before creation; he also looked forward in time and loved us. We read in Ephesians 1:4-5: “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.” (Ephesians 1:4-5)

And so there was active love between God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit before creation. And there was an electing love as God chose us in Christ before the creation of the world to be adopted as his sons and daughters.

Where does love come from? Love comes from God, because God is love. That’s our first truth for tonight. Love comes from God.

II. Love came down to earth (9)

Our second truth is this: love came down to earth. Look at 1 John 4:9: “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” (1 John 4:9)

God created us because he loves us and wants to have a relationship with us. But after God created us, we rebelled against him. The Bible says we have all sinned and thus broken our relationship with God. But that didn‘t stop God’s love. Love began in heaven among the persons of the Trinity, but love came down to earth at Christmas. God sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

The Nicene Creed puts it this way. “We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds; God of God; Light of Light; Very God of Very God; begotten, not made; being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made, who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven; and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man.”

Or as we read in the gospel of John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning … The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1-2,14)

The miracle of Christmas is that the baby in the manger was God in human flesh. God became a man. The Son of God became the son of man. Jesus who had lived with God the Father for all of eternity entered our world on Christmas day. He left the glories of heaven and came to earth as a tiny baby. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. Love began in heaven. But love came down to earth at Christmas.

III. Love came down to the cross (10)

Love comes from God. That’s our first truth. Love came down to earth. That’s our second truth. And finally, love came down to the cross. Look at 1 John 4:10: “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10) God loves us so much that he not only sent Jesus to earth. He sent him to the cross at Calvary.

Jesus travelled a great distance when he came down from heaven to earth. But he travelled an even greater distance when he went to the cross. Philippians 2 tells us that Jesus “who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:6-8)

This was God’s plan all along. It’s part of the Christmas story. When Mary became pregnant with Jesus, the angel told Joseph, “Do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21) Jesus is the same name as Joshua in the Old Testament which literally means, “The Lord is salvation,” and so the name Jesus actually means “Savior.”

Jesus lived his entire life in the shadow of the cross. Love not only came down to earth at Christmas. Love came down to the cross to pay the price for our sins so that we could be saved. As the angel said to the shepherds that first Christmas Eve: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11) This was the true gift of Christmas. Not simply the gift of a Son, but the gift of a Savior. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Love came down all the way. Love came down to the cross.

CONCLUSION: Christmas is all about love.

Where does love come from? Love comes from God.

How did God show his love among us? He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. Love came down to earth.

What is love? This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Love came down to the cross.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

As Corrie Ten Boom said, “Who can add to Christmas? The perfect motive is that God so loved the world. The perfect gift is that He gave His only Son. The only requirement is to believe in Him. The reward of faith is that you shall have everlasting life.”

Love came down at Christmas. Will you receive God’s gift of love tonight?

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And here is a great poem by Christina Rossetti on the same theme.

“Love Came Down at Christmas” – Christina Rossetti

Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine,
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and Angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead,
Love Incarnate, Love Divine,
Worship we our Jesus,
But wherewith for sacred sign?

Love shall be our token,
Love shall be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.

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© Ray Fowler

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By Ray Fowler. © Ray Fowler. Website: http://www.rayfowler.org

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