1 John 4:7-21 - Loving One Another
Loving One Another
Love for the brethren has been shown as proof of fellowship with God (1 John 2:7-11); then it has been presented as proof of sonship (1 John 3:10-14). In the earlier passage, love for the brethren is a matter of light or darkness; in the second it is a matter of life or death.
But in 1 John 4:7-16, we get down to the very foundation of the matter. Here we discover why love is such an important part of the life that is real. Love is a valid test of our fellowship and our sonship because “God is love.” Love is part of the very being and nature of God. If we are united to God through faith in Christ, we share His nature. And since His nature is love, love is the test of the reality of our spiritual life.
q A navigator depends on a compass to help him determine his course. But why a compass? Because it shows him his directions. And why does the compass point north? Because it is so constituted that it responds to the magnetic field that is part of the earth’s makeup. The compass is responsive to the nature of the earth.
q So with Christian love. The nature of God is love. And a person who knows God and has been born of God will respond to God’s nature. As a compass naturally points north, a believer will naturally practice love because love is the nature of God. This love will not be a forced response; it will be a natural response. A believer’s love for the brethren will be proof of his sonship and fellowship.
Three times, in this section, John encourages us to love one another (1 John 4:7, 11-12). He supports these admonitions by giving us three foundational facts about God.
1. What God Is: “God Is Love” (1 John 4:7-8)
2. What God Did: “He Sent His Son” (1 John 4:9-11)
3. What God Is Doing: “God Abides In Us” (1 John 4:12-16)
This is the third of three expressions in John’s writings that help us understand the nature of God: “God is spirit” (John 4:24, nasb); “God is light” (1 John 1:5); and “God is love.” None of these is a complete revelation of God, of course, and it is wrong to separate them.
What God Is: “God Is Love” (v.7-8)
1. Let us love one another (v.7)
Love is of God
Everyone who loves is born of God
Everyone who loves knows God – And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (John 17:3 NKJV)
2. God is love (v.8)
Since God is love, and we have claimed a personal relationship with God, we must of necessity reveal His love in how we live. A child of God has been “born of God,” and therefore he shares God’s divine nature. Since “God is love,” Christians ought to love one another.
q He who does not love does not know God – If we do not love, this demonstrates we do not have His nature abiding in us.
q 1 Corinthians 13:1
What God Did: “He Sent His Son” (v.9-11)
1. God’s Love was manifested toward us (v.9-10)
q That we might live
o through Him (Acts 17:26-28 cf. John 14:6)
o for Him… and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. (2 Corinthians 5:15 NKJV)
o with Him… For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 NKJV)
o It is something of a paradox that Christ had to die so that we may live! We can never probe the mystery of His death, but this we know: He died for us (Gal. 2:20).
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 NKJV)
q To take away our sins (1Jn.3:5)
q To destroy the works of the devil (1Jn.3:8)
q That we might practice righteousness (1Jn.3:10)
o God did this by (Jn.3:16)
o God’s love was revealed in the way He dealt with the nation of Israel.
The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; "but because the LORD loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. (Deuteronomy 7:7-8 NKJV)
You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. (John 15:16 NKJV)
o Jesus did this by (Rom.5:8)
God Did This By Being A Propitiation For Our Sins (V.10)
§ 1 Jn.2:2 not for our sins only but for the whole world
§ Romans 3:24-26 – The Word stresses the idea of “To Appease” or “To Satisfy”
1. God’s anger and wrath towards sin has been appeased, for those who have faith in the work Christ did on the cross (Heb 11:6).
2. This means we are restored to favor with God (reconciled) and find acceptance (Eph 1:6).
3. Thomas says (p. 114): “propitiation always means something that causes, or enables someone to act mercifully or forgivingly.”
The Following Should Be Understood About Propitiation
1. The emphasis is on the fact the wrath of God rests upon the sinner, and the only way for the sinner to be saved is for this wrath to be removed.
2. God’s wrath resting on the sinner, as well as a future wrath, is clearly taught in Scripture: See John 3:36, Rom 1;18, 2:5, 2:8, 3:5, 3:9, 9:22, Eph 2:3, 5:6, Col 3;6, 1 Th 1:10, 2:16, 5:9, Rev 6:16-17, 11:18, 14:10, 16:19, 19:15, 20:11-15.
3. When atonement is made, this wrath can be removed, but not until then.
4. Jesus became this “wrath removing or propitiatory sacrifice,” thus bearing our sin and its punishment, so that those who have faith in Christ could be reconciled to God.
God did not save us because we did good works or we were someone special, but because it was according to His mercy He saved us (Titus 3:3)
2. Our Response To God’s Love (v.11)
q If God so loved us, we also ought to love one another
q I believe that greatest way to demonstrate God’s love, is to be forgiving (Matt.18:21-35)
q & to “lay down our lives for the brethren” (1Jn.3:16)
What God Is Doing: “God Abides In Us” (v.12-21)
1. God’s love has been perfected in us & He abides in us (v.12)
q If we love one another
q How can we say we love God whom we have not seen, if we do not love our brother whom we can see (v.20-21)
2. Abiding In God (v.13)
q We can know that we abide in Him & Him in us because He has given us His Spirit (1Jn.3:24)
o Sealed us with His Spirit who is our guarantee (Eph.1:13-14; 2Cor.1:21-22)
o We have received the Spirit of adoption who bears witness with our spirit (Rom.8:15-17)
o If you do not have His Spirit you do not belong to Him (Rom.8:9-11)
o If anyone thirsts let him come to Jesus for living water (Jn.7:39)
3. The Savoir the Son of God (v.14)
q We have seen & testify (1Jn.1:1-3)
q Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:16-17 NKJV)
And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. (John 12:47 NKJV)
but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, (2 Timothy 1:10 NKJV)
q Passages in the Old Testament That God (Jehovah) says His is the only God & Savior
Jehovah = “the existing One”
1) the proper name of the one true God
§ Isaiah 43:3,11; 45:15, 21; 49:26, 60:16; Hosea 13:4;
§ Luke 1:47; 2:11; Titus 2:13
§ Application: (Philippians 3:20-21)
4. Must Confess that Jesus is the Son of God (v.15)
q Must confess He is Lord (Rom.10:9-10)
q Must believe the right things about Jesus (1Jn.4:1ff.)
q Must believe and know the love that God has for us (Rom.5:8, 10); our response is (Eph.5:1-2)
5. God’s love has been perfected in us (v.17)
q That we may have boldness in the day of judgment
q We do this by abiding in Him (2:28); practicing righteousness (2:29); and purifying ourselves (3:3)
q This will make us more and more like our teacher & master, being conformed into His imange:
It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. (Matthew 10:25)
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29)
q We must keep our eyes on Him (Heb.12:1-3) while pressing toward the goal (Phil.3:13-14)
6. There is no fear in love (v.18-21)
q If we are afraid, it is for fear of judgment, and this shows that His love has not been perfected in us. There is nothing like fear in the human heart, but the child of God does not need to fear any judgment which is coming. It was all settled when Christ died for you.
7. We love Him because He first loved us (v.19-21)
q This love needs to be demonstrated by our love for the brethren
q 1 Peter 1:8
q But not only our brethren but also those who hate us (Matthew 5:43ff.)