Summary: Love is an essential character trait for the believer. The Lord loved us, so we are expected to love one another. This is easy preaching, but often a difficult practice. John reveals great truth regarding the love we should possess.
Love Lifted Me
1 John 4: 11-16
John 13:34-35 – A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. There can be no doubt that Jesus loved us. His great love was proven as He bore our sin and endured the judgment we deserved as He hung on the cross. He commands us in these verses to love one another as He has loved us. Our love for one another defines us as followers of Christ.
John admonishes us again and again in this epistle to love one another. Our text this evening offers again this continual challenge. Now I would agree this is easy preaching, but it is often hard practicing. Our love for others is to be in line with the love Jesus had for us, a deep and sacrificial love. I will admit I am incapable of offering such love within myself. This is a tall order for any of us to properly carry out. In fact, we cannot within ourselves.
As I read this passage, I realized again the enormity of God’s love for us and the varied benefit of His love in our lives. His love enables us to love. Were it not for His great love, we could never hope to love as He would have us too! I thought of the old hymn we have sung many times: Love Lifted Me. This passage conveys that very thought. God’s love lifted us in order that we could be pardoned from sin and live according to His will, including loving others. I want to examine the conclusions John reveals concerning love as we consider: Love Lifted Me.
I. The Evidence of Love (11-12) – Here John reveals the way our love is known and displayed before others. We find that:
A. Love is Portrayed (11) – Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. We have broken this chapter down into segments for ease of teaching, but it must be considered in its context. If God so loved us…referring to His great love in sending His Son as the propitiation for our sin, …we ought also to love one another. God set the great example. Christ proved His great love on the cross. There should be no question as to whether we express and display God’s love to others. In fact, it is expected of us! This speaks of “an obligation to perform a specific duty.”
Do we possess and portray such love? Is our love for God and others all it should be?
B. Love is Profound (12a) – No man hath seen God at any time. John gives a simple truth that none would discredit. None of us has seen God at any time. We cannot describe Him expect for the portrait we discover in Scripture. There are many directions one could take with this statement, but again it is imperative that we keep it in context. John simply reveals that although we have never seen God, we have experienced His very essence through love. Our knowledge of God is not limited to physical sight, but revealed greatly through the love He has shown us.
I had never thought of it in this light, but that spoke profoundly to me. The love of God is profound. Through His love we experience Him. He reveals Himself to us through love. One cannot know God apart from experiencing His great love! The deeper our love relationship grows with Him, the more we learn of Him.
C. Love is Perfected (12b) – If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Again, possessing genuine love for one another is a mark of one’s salvation. If we genuinely possess that love for others, we are assured that God dwells in us. Genuine love is a by-product of our salvation.
I am glad the Spirit inspired John to give us that last statement: His love is perfected in us. This speaks of “being mature, complete, reaching an intended goal.” Have you ever struggled with love? Does it seem some are easier to love than others? Surely we all have dealt with these issues. I know I have. This gives me hope and comfort. As I grow and mature in the Lord, walking in fellowship with Him, His great love is being perfected in me. He helps me love as He loves. He helps me overlook the faults and failures of others, bringing me to a place where I can love as He loves. I certainly have not arrived, but I rejoice His love is being perfected in me even today.