Sermon #14801                                   Miscellaneous Sermons


     Title:            God’s Everlasting Love for His Elect

     Text:            John 17:23-24

     Reading:      1 John 4:7-21

     Subject:       God’s Everlasting Love for His Elect




There are certain, specific things revealed in the Scriptures that we are called upon to behold as matters of unquestionable truth, to behold with confident faith, reverent wonder, deep gratitude, and exulting praise. Let’s look at three of these wonders of Divine Revelation.


John 1:29


We will begin at John 1:29. “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” I am calling upon you to behold the Lamb of God as the sin-atoning sacrifice of God himself, who bore our sins, and bore them away forever, in his own body on the tree.


     Some of you are yet without Christ, lost, under the wrath of God. The weight of your guilt and sin is crushing your soul. The terror of God’s wrath is driving you mad. You simply cannot go on like you are. You feel that you are sinking into hell, and there is nothing you can do about it. You are as helpless as you are miserable and wretched. I call you now, like that very first Baptist preacher called on his hearers, to “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Look to Christ, like the Jews looked to the brazen serpent in the wilderness, and be saved (Isaiah 45:22).


(Isaiah 45:22)  "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else."


     My message is the same to you who are born of God, to you who are already heirs of eternal life. Whatever your soul’s trouble is, whatever your need is, whatever your heart craves, whatever your present condition is, this is what you need to do this hour: -- “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”


·        Behold the Lamb of God, and worship!

·        Behold the Lamb of God, and wonder!

·        Behold the Lamb of God, and be ravished with his mercy, love, and grace!

·        Behold the Lamb of God, and find inspiration for your soul’s devotion to him!

·        Behold the Lamb of God, and be broken over your sin and indifference!

·        Behold the Lamb of God, and be revived, renewed, and refreshed in him!

·        Behold the Lamb of God in all the Scriptures as he is prophesied, typified, identified, crucified, and glorified!


Lamentations 1:12


Next, I want you to hear the Lamb of God himself, as he speaks in Lamentations 1:12, and calls for us to behold with reverence his sufferings and sorrows as our Substitute.  “Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger.”


     Do you see the Son of God hanging upon the cursed tree, suffering all the horrid ignominy and terror of God’s unmitigated wrath? In his body, in his heart, and in his very soul, the Son of God was filled with sorrow, suffering the hell of God’s wrath for us!


Yonder, amazing sight I see! Th’ incarnate Son of God

Expiring on th’ accursed tree, And weltering in His blood.


Behold, a purple torrent run Down from His hands and head,

The crimson tide puts out the sun; His groans awake the dead.


The trembling earth, the darkened sky, Proclaim the truth aloud;

And with th’ amazed centurion, cry “This is the Son of God!”


So great, so vast a sacrifice May well my hope revive:

If God’s own Son thus bleeds and dies, The sinner sure may live.


Oh that these cords of love divine Might draw me, Lord, to Thee!

Thou hast my heart, it shall be Thine! Thine it shall ever be!

                                                                          Samuel Stennett



The enormous load of human guilt Was on my Savior laid;

With woes as with a garment, He For sinners was arrayed.


And in the horrid pangs of death, He wept, He prayed for me;

Loved and embraced my guilty soul When nailed to the tree.


Oh love amazing! love beyond The reach of human tongue;

Love which shall be the subject of An everlasting song.

                                                                        William Williams


“Behold, and see,” our Savior says, “if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow.”


1.     What was the source of his sorrow? -- It was that, he says, “Wherewith the Lord God hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger.” (See Isaiah 53:9-10.)


(Isaiah 53:9-10)  "And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. (10) Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand."


2.     What was the cause of his sorrow? -- The holy, immaculate, spotless,  sinless  Son  of  God  was  made  to be sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21).


3.     Why did he endure such sorrow? -- He endured all the agony of our hell that he might redeem and save his people, “that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” The sorrow he experienced was our sorrow. The hell he endured was our hell. The death he died was our death (Isa. 53:4-6).


(Isaiah 53:4-6)  "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. (5) But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."


     It is in consideration of all these things that the apostle John calls upon us to behold, with deep gratitude and joy and exulting confidence and praise, the love of God for his elect in Christ. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1).


     I want to talk to you now about the love of God. Specifically, I want to talk to you about God’s Everlasting Love for His Elect.


Proposition: God’s everlasting love for his elect is the fountain of all grace and salvation and the reason for all that he does.


John 17:23-24


I want you to turn with me to John 17:23-24. As you know, John 17 contains our Lord’s prayer for us as our great High Priest. It not only records his desires for his people, which cannot and will not be denied (What Christ desires, Christ shall have!); but this great, intercessory prayer is filled with gospel truth and is a very instructive portion of Holy Scripture. Verses 23 and 24 teach us two tremendous truths about God’s love for his elect. Let’s read the two verses together.


     “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me; for thou lovest me before the foundation of the world.”


Divisions:    Here two things are clearly and distinctly revealed about the love of God for his people. Both are stupendous, glorious, soul-comforting truths. I want so very much for our hearts to be humbled, ravished, inspired, and filled with praise to our God by these two things.


1.     God loves his elect in Christ as he loves Christ himself.

2.     God’s love for his elect is an everlasting love.


I cannot tell you which of these facts I find more astounding. They are both glorious gospel truths, truths which could never be known except by divine revelation, and truths both honoring to our God and, to the extent that we are able to believe them, comforting to our souls.


I.      First, our Savior says, “Thou hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” Thus, he tells us that God our Father loves his elect in Christ as he loves Christ himself!


That is such an amazing, stupendous thing that were it not written in Holy Scripture, I would not dare to think it, much less speak it. But there it stands. And, oh, how my soul rejoices in it. It is our Savior’s desire and purpose that the whole world shall know that God loves us as he loves him; and so it shall be!


“When God’s elect have all been gathered together in one (John 11:52), when the glory which Christ received from the Father has been imparted to them, when they shall have been made perfect in one, then shall the world have such a clear demonstration of God’s power, grace and love toward His people, that they shall know that the One who died to make this glorious union possible was the sent One of the Father, and that they had been loved by the Father as had the Son, for ‘When Christ, who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory’ (Col. 3:4); then ‘he shall come to be glorified in his saints and admired in all them that that day’ (2 Thess. 1:10).”                                                               A.W. Pink


     When our Lord says, “Thou hast loved them, as thou hast loved me,” that little word “as” implies three things.


A.   First, there is a similarity of cause between God’s love for Christ and his love for us.


1.     God loves us in Christ.


God’s love is not a universal sentiment for all men. God’s love is in Christ. Apart from Christ, God is a consuming fire. This needs to be understood. These days, men everywhere are taught and universally presume that God loves them. Nothing could be further from the truth. Until you are united to Christ by faith, you have no reason to imagine that God loves you. Our faith in Christ does not cause God to love us. Our faith is the fruit and result of God’s eternal love for us. But, until a sinner trusts Christ, only the wrath of God is revealed and known to him; and the wrath of God is upon him.

·        John 3:36

·        Ephesians 2:3


2.     God loves us for Christ’s sake.


Thomas Manton wrote, “The elect are made lovely, and fit to be accepted by God, only by Jesus Christ...The ground of all that love God beareth to us is in Christ.”


     We are accepted in the beloved.” God accepts our faith, our worship, our works, and our persons only because of Christ, because we are in Christ and because of what Christ has done for us.


3.     And God the Father loves us for the same reason that he loves his Son as our Mediator.


Be sure you get this. It will help you. God the Father does not love us for the same reason that he loves his Son as his Son. He loves his Son as his Son necessarily because his Son is one with him in perfection and praise. He cannot but love Christ as God. Else he would cease to love himself. But God’s love for Christ as our Mediator is based upon his perfect obedience unto God as our Mediator (John 10:14-17).


(John 10:14-17)  "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. (15) As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. (16) And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (17) Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again."


     Do you understand what our Lord is teaching us here? God’s love for us is free and, at the same, time fully deserved! He said, “I will love them freely” (Hos. 14:4). Yet, his love, mercy, grace, and salvation flow to us upon the grounds of Christ’s obedience as our Substitute. He is merciful and gracious to us, forgiving us of all sin, and loves us “for Christ’s sake” (Eph. 4:32-5:2). God the Father looked upon his Son from eternity as our perfect, obedient Mediator, and for the sake of his Son loved us with an everlasting love.


 “God could not love us with honor to himself, if his wisdom had not found out this way of loving us in Christ...God was resolved to manifest an infinite love to man, but he would still manifest an infinite hatred against sin; which could not be more fully manifested than by making Christ the ground of our reconciliation...How could the holy God, the just such vile and unworthy creatures as we are? The question is answered - He loveth us in Christ, and for Christ’s sake.”

                                                              Thomas Manton


B.    Second, this word “as” suggests a Similarity of love.


The Lord God loves his people in the same way as he loves his Son. Again, let me stress the fact that our Lord is comparing the Father’s love for him as our Mediator to his love for his elect. Christ, as our Mediator, is the first object of God’s love. He loved Christ as the Head of his mystical body, the church, and us as members. He loved Christ for his own sake. He loves us for Christ’s sake.


     God the Father loved Christ the God-man as “the express image of his person” (Heb. 1:3). So he loves his people who in Christ have been (and those who yet must be) renewed “after the image of him” (Col. 3:10; 2 et. 1:4). He loves Christ as his only begotten Son; and he loves us in Christ as his adopted sons (1 John 3:1). Because the Savior says, “Thou hast loved them, as thou hast loved me,” we are assured that...


1.     God loves his elect freely. -- As we have already seen, the Lord Jesus Christ earned his Father’s love as a man by his mediatoral obedience. Yet, when our Savior came into the world, the Lord God loved the child freely, delighting in him even before he had fulfilled his will (Isa. 42:1). -- He is that One of whom the Father says, “In whom my soul delighteth!” Even so, he loves us freely (Deut. 7:7-8; Hos. 14:4).


(Deuteronomy 7:7-8)  "The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: (8) But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt."


(Hosea 14:4)  "I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him."


2.     God loves us tenderly and affectionately. -- As the Father’s love for his Son is a tender, indescribably affectionate love, so is his love for us (Isa. 62:5; Zech. 2:8).


(Isaiah 62:5)  "For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee."


(Zechariah 2:8)  "For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye."


3.     God’s love for his elect is immutable. -- The Lord willing, I will say more about this later. For now, let me simply remind you that there is no possibility of change in our God (Mal. 3:6, James 1:17). God’s love does not change. It cannot be taken from us; and it cannot be destroyed, neither by us nor by hell itself (Romans 8:35-39).


The famous Arminian preacher, founder of the Christian Missionary Alliance denomination, A.W. Tozer, made these statements about the love of God. -- “God must love and will love man until hell has erased the last trace of the remaining image (of God in him). Men are lost now. But they are still loved of God...I believe that God now loves all lost men...(But) the day will come when lost man will no longer be loved by God Almighty...I believe the time will come when God will no longer love lost human beings.”[1]


     Such fickle, useless love may be worthy of fickle, useless man, but not of the great and glorious Lord God. Our God does not love today and hate tomorrow! His love is unchangeable!


C.   Thirdly, our Lord intends for us to understand that there is A similarity of results, that the effects and fruits of God’s love to him and his elect are alike.


Love that has no effect and bears no fruit is lip-love; and lip-love is useless love. Love that is never known by the one loved is a frustrated passion that destroys one’s own peace and happiness. Love that never sees benefit and blessing upon its object, but only misery and woe, is a tormenting love. But that does not describe the love of God. Oh, no, a thousand times no! God’s love toward us, like his love toward his Son as our Mediator, is an effectual, fruitful, beneficial love. Here are five things mutually enjoyed by Christ and his people as the fruit and effect of God’s love.


1.     The Revelation of Secrets


All things are open, common knowledge between people who love one another. As all things are manifest and made known to the Son as our Mediator by the Father (John 1:18; 5:20), so all things are manifest and made known to God’s elect by the Son (John 14:21; 15:15).


(John 1:18)  "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him."


(John 5:20)  "For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth: and he will show him greater works than these, that ye may marvel."


(John 14:21)  "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him."


(John 15:15)  "Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you."


2.     The Bestowment of Spiritual Gifts


God’s love is a bounteous love. He has given all things to the Son (John 3:34-35; 17:2; Eph. 4:8); and he has given all his people all spiritual, heavenly gifts in his Son (Eph. 1:3).


(John 3:34-35)  "For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. (35) The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand."


(John 17:2)  "As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him."


(Ephesians 4:8)  "Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men."


(Ephesians 1:3)  "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:"


3.     Strength and Protection in Life


As the Lord Jesus was upheld, strengthened, and protected throughout the days of his obedience to do his Father’s will (Isa. 42:1), so the Lord God upholds, strengthens, and protects us, the objects of his love, throughout our days of obedience in this world (1 Cor. 12:9).


(Isaiah 42:1)  "Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles."


(1 Corinthians 12:9)  "To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;"


4.     Acceptance of All We Do for Him


Everything that Christ did for God was accepted and well-pleasing to him because he loved him (Eph. 5:2). And everything we do for God is accepted and well-pleasing to God through the merits of Christ because he loves us as he loved him (1 Pet. 2:5). God our Father accepts our paltry efforts at serving and pleasing him for two reasons.


(Ephesians 5:2)  "And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour."


(1 Peter 2:5)  "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."


a.      He accepts our poor, sin stained obedience upon the merit of Christ’s perfect obedience.

b.     He accepts our efforts at pleasing him because of his fatherly love for us in Christ.


     Illustration: A Boy Trying to Walk in His Dad’s Footprints

                      Faith’s Dandelions


     5. Honor and Exaltation


The Lord Jesus was honored and highly exalted by God the Father as the object of his love. He was given preeminence in, possession of, and power over all things (Ps. 2:7-8; Heb. 1:8). The Lord God, our heavenly Father, will do the same for us (John 12:26; Rev. 3:21).


(Psalms 2:7-8)  "I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. (8) Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession."


(John 12:26)  "If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour."


(Hebrews 1:8)  "But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom."


(Revelation 3:21)  "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne."


     Hear the Son of God, my brothers and sisters in this world, and rejoice! “Thou hast loved them, as thou hast loved me!” What a pillow upon which to rest our heads! What a comfort for our poor, aching hearts! What a glorious theme for daily meditation! What a cause for adoration, praise, and worship! We may be despised, misunderstood, abused, and hated of men, but we are loved of God! God our Father loves us even as he loves his darling Son; and he has so loved us from eternity!


(Romans 12:1-2)  "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."


     What would you give, what would you do to have the enjoyment and assurance of such love from God? Perhaps, you are thinking, “Pastor, I would do anything to know the love of God like that.” Let me ask you this - Would you do nothing to have? That is what you must do, nothing. If you would rest in his love, simply trust the Son of God.


II.   Now look at the last sentence in verse 24. Our Lord Jesus said, “Thou hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” Here he declares, “for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.”  With those words he teaches us that God’s love for his elect is an everlasting love.


“The doctrine of God’s everlasting, unchangeable, and invariable love to his elect,  through every state and condition into which they come, is written as with a sun-beam in the sacred writings.”

                                                                                   John Gill


     I am again in water that is way over my head; but I never did like to wade around in puddles. I like to swim in deep water. When we dive into the ocean of God’s everlasting love for his elect, there is no possibility of us sounding its depths. So, when I have finished talking about it, there will be plenty of room for meditation and study. I can do nothing more than bring up a few nuggets of gold from this deep mine of infinity. Let me show you five things about God’s everlasting love for us in Christ.


A.   The Eternality of It


God’s love for us did not begin yesterday. It is not something born in time. His love for us does not begin with our love for him. “We love him because he first loved us(1 John 4:19). God’s love for us springs up from eternity, and is the ground of divine predestination and of our election and redemption by Christ, and our calling by the Holy Spirit.

·        Jeremiah 31:3

·        Ephesians 1:4-6

·        Ezekiel 16:8


(Jeremiah 31:3)  "The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee."


(Ephesians 1:3-6)  "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (4) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (5) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, (6) To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved."


(Ezekiel 16:8)  "Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord GOD, and thou becamest mine."


The Father loved us ere we fell, And will forever love;

Nor shall the powers of earth or hell His love from Zion move.


‘Twas love that moved Him to ordain A Surety just and good;

And on His heart inscribe the name Of all for whom He stood.


Nor is the Surety short of love; He loves beyond degree;

No less than love divine could move The Lord to die for me.


And O what love the Spirit shows! When Jesus He reveals

To men oppressed with sin and woes, And all their sorrows heals.


The Three-in-One, the One-in-Three, In love for ever rest;

The chosen shall in glory be In His love ever blessed.


     God’s acts and works of grace performed for us before the world began arise from and are demonstrations of his everlasting love for us.


1.     Election was an act of God’s eternal love (Eph. 1:4).

2.     The covenant of grace was established by the triune God in eternity because of his great, everlasting love for us (2 Sam. 23:5; Rom. 8:28-29; 2 Tim. 1:9; Heb. 13:20).

3.     Giving us into the hands of Christ as our Surety was a work of God’s eternal love (John 6:39).


B. The Immutability of It


God’s love, like all his gifts bestowed upon men, is without repentance. He will never cease his own to cherish. Those who are loved of God have been loved of God from everlasting and shall be loved of God to everlasting. His love is eternal both ways. He will not depart from the objects of his love or cease to do them good, for he cannot change (Jer. 32:40; Mal. 3:6; James 1:17).


(Jeremiah 32:38-40)  "And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: (39) And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: (40) And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me."


     The salvation of God’s elect does not stand upon a precarious foundation of time, but upon the immutable foundation of God’s everlasting love.


1.     We change often, but there are no changes in his love.

2.     Our love is sometimes hot and sometimes cold; but his love is invariably the same.

3.     God graciously and wisely changes the dispensation of his providence toward his people, hiding his face and chastening us because of our sin; but his love never changes (Isa. 54:10; Heb. 12:5-11). His chastisements are evidences of his love.

4.     Even when we sin against him, as we often do, God’s love does not change! (Illus: David -- Peter)

5.     This is the thing I want us to get hold of - God’s love toward his elect is from everlasting, and never changes to any degree or for any reason (Psalm 89:19-37; John 13:1)/


(Psalms 89:19-37)  "Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy one, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people. (20) I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him: (21) With whom my hand shall be established: mine arm also shall strengthen him. (22) The enemy shall not exact upon him; nor the son of wickedness afflict him. (23) And I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him. (24) But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him: and in my name shall his horn be exalted. (25) I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers. (26) He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation. (27) Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth. (28) My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. (29) His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven. (30) If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; (31) If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; (32) Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. (33) Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. (34) My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. (35) Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. (36) His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. (37) It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah."


(John 13:1)  "Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end."


C. The Gifts of It


Love gives. The gifts of God’s free and everlasting love are too many for us to calculate. Let me just show you three things that are clearly revealed as the gifts of God’s everlasting love to his elect. In comparison with these three all others, great as they are, must be considered to be far, far less.


1.     The Lord God has given us himself because of his great, everlasting love for us (Ezek. 37:27). – “I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

2.     The gift of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to suffer and die as our Substitute was and is the great commendation of his love to us (John 3:16; Rom. 5:6-10; 1 John 3:16; 4:10). “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift!” (1 Cor. 9:15).

3.     The gift of his Spirit to regenerate, call, and seal us in his grace in “the time of love” is the gift of God’s everlasting love to us (Ezek. 16:8; Tit. 3:3-6).


“Indeed, all that God does in time, or will do to all eternity, is only telling his people how much he loved them from everlasting.”                                                                   John Gill


‘Twas not to make Jehovah’s love Towards the sinner flame,

That Jesus, from His throne above A suffering man became.


‘Twas not the death which he endured, Nor all the pangs He bore,

That God’s eternal love procured, For God was love before.


He loved the world of His elect With love surpassing thought;

Nor will His mercy e’er neglect The souls so dearly bought.

                                                                                   John Kent


D. The Distinctiveness of It


Let me spend a little time here. It is utter nonsense to talk about God loving all men. I sometimes hear preachers try to soft peddle God’s sovereignty by assuring people that there is a sense in which God loves all men with a love of benevolence though not with a love of complacency and delight. They say God loves all men as his creatures, just as he loves trees and toads. If you can get any comfort from comparing God’s love for you to his love for a frog, I guess I should not take that away from you, but it simply is not the teaching of Scripture.


1.     God loves his elect distinctively.


God does not love all men. I would not emphasize that fact, were it not for the fact that those who teach that God’s love is universal are guilty of three horrible crimes.

a.      They make the love of God changeable.

b.     They make the love of God meaningless.

c.     They destroy the greatest motive there is for godliness and devotion. Try telling you wife that you love all women aike. See if that inspires her devotion to you!


     The Word of God tells us in the plainest terms possible that God’s love for his elect is a special, sovereign, distinctive, and distinguishing love.

·        Isaiah 43:1-5

·        Romans 8:29

·        Romans 9:11-24


(Isaiah 43:1-5)  "But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. (2) When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. (3) For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. (4) Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. (5) Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west;"


(Romans 8:28-30)  "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."


(Romans 9:11-24)  "(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) (12) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. (13) As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. (14) What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. (15) For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. (16) So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy. (17) For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. (18) Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. (19) Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? (20) Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? (21) Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? (22) What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: (23) And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, (24) Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?"


2.     God loves his people delightfully.


I mean by that that God delights, takes pleasure in, and is complacent with his elect because of his love for them. God so loves us that he smiles on us perpetually, even when he appears to be frowning upon us!


     It is high time that all attempts to divide the love of God into categories, stages, and degrees be laid aside. They do nothing to help men and only obscure the glory and grandeur of our God. If God loves me, he delights in me. If he does not delight in me, he does not love me. Again I say, try telling your wife, “Honey, I really do love you. I wish you well. I want nothing but the very best for you, and am willing to do anything I can for you. But you do not please me. You are offensive to me. I do not enjoy your company. In fact, I really do not want to look at you.” If you still have a wife tomorrow, let me know.


     Our God loves us as he loves his darling Son. That means he is well-pleased with us (Matt. 7:5). The Father and the Son are one; and the Son of God tells us that his delights were with us from eternity (Pro. 8:31). He could not have used a stronger word than this to express his love for us. The word “delights” expresses the most intimate, sweet, ravishing pleasure. Can you get hold of this? Our God so delights in us that he says, “Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse: thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes (Song 4:9).


E. The Efficacy of It


God’s love is more than a wish or desire in his heart to save sinners. God’s love for us is an effectual love. That simply means that those who are the objects of God’s love shall be saved precisely because they are the objects of his love. Otherwise the love of God is an utterly useless thing.

1.     God’s love is sovereign (Rom. 9:16-18).

2.     God’s love is sacrificial (1 John 3:16).

3.     God’s love is saving (Ezek. 37:27).

4.     God’s love is steadfast (John 13:1).

5.     God’s love is for sinners (John 3:14-18).


Application: I will finish my message as I began it, by reading John 17:23-24 together. “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me; for thou lovest me before the foundation of the world.”


     What an amazing, stupendous revelation of God’s love for us! Men tell me that such teaching as this promotes licentiousness and antinomianism, that it discourages godliness and good works; but that is absurd. When I think of the things we have been meditating upon in this message, that God loved me when I hated him, that he loved me before the world began, that he loves me as he loves my Savior, that his love for me will never cease, never change, and never vary, these thoughts compel me to love him, and lay me under the greatest obligations possible to reverence him, worship him, devote myself to his glory and his will, and serve his interests while I live in this world.

·        2 Corinthians 5:14

·        Titus 3:5-8


(2 Corinthians 5:14)  "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:"


(Titus 3:5-8)  "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (6) Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; (7) That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (8) This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men."

[1] The Tozer Pulpit, Volume 8, pp 23-25

1 Sermon #1223 – Danville (AM & PM – February 25, 1996)

S-28 “Thou Hast Loved Them As Thou Hast Loved Me” (John 17:23)

S-29 God’s Everlasting Love for His Elect (John 17:24)