Summary: John calls on us to live a life of love as we celebrate the resurrection in Easter season.
5.9.21 1 John 4:7–21
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love has not known God, because God is love. 9 This is how God’s love for us was revealed: God has sent his only-begotten Son into the world so that we may live through him. 10 This is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, if God loved us so much, we also should love one another. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar. For how can anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, love God, whom he has not seen? 21 This then is the command we have from him: The one who loves God should also love his brother.
All You Need is Love, And You Have Plenty of It in Jesus
In October of last year a funeral home in Michigan had received a seemingly dead body from the hospital, only to find out she was actually alive! Imagine the surprise! Nowadays we thought we had accurate ways of determining whether someone is dead or not by monitoring a heartbeat and brain waves. But even that’s not entirely accurate.
What about in Christianity? How can you tell if someone is SPIRITUALLY alive or dead? We can’t see the soul, but nonetheless there are some visible things to look at as pretty good evidence to see if someone is alive or not. John writes, Dear friends, let us love one another, because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
John goes back to BIRTH for LIFE, and then life for love. When the Holy Spirit enters the soul through the implanting of the Gospel in Word and Baptism, spiritual life begins as someone is brought to faith and grows in faith. As a baby comes out of the womb and cries and breathes and learns how to walk and talk, so a Christian comes from the womb of God’s grace in the death and resurrection of Jesus and learns how to LOVE.
Being BORN is different than being CREATED. If an artist creates a piece of art - it might REFLECT his wisdom or his skill and give you a little bit of or even a lot of insight into what he is like, but it doesn’t take on his very nature or take on his DNA. But when someone is BORN of God, then it is saying that we receive more than creation from the outside - we have the very characteristics and nature of God as God lives in us!
Imagine the human being, created by God, but having an emptiness in the soul, designed specifically to have life, to have the Holy Spirit living in him or her, like gasoline in a gas tank. Throughout his or her life she is trying to find purpose, trying to find origin, trying to find meaning, to fill that empty hole in his or her soul. He seeks it through a job or money. She seeks it through a marriage or a relationship. But the emptiness remains. The void is being filled with stuff that doesn’t make us run right. No matter what he’s achieved, it doesn’t bring contentment. No matter how much entertainment is sought, it doesn’t fill the void. The big picture, origin and destiny remain an enigma, until the Holy Spirit comes in and fills the emptiness with Jesus. Then you know where your life comes from and what your life is for. NOW there is life. Now there is origin. Now there is purpose. This is what you were born again for. You’ve found your family in Christ.
Just recently we had an adopted member of our congregation who was given a gift from Ancestry.com. So he was able to find and meet his actual birth father in the process and meet some of his half sisters as well. It opened up a whole different family background to him. It illustrates to me what John is talking about here, but in an entirely positive way.
One of the greatest hockey players of all time was Gordy Howe. Yet many people don’t know that he also had several sons who played hockey, one by the name of Mark, who also made the NHL Hall of Fame. It was entirely natural for him to play hockey, so it seemed. This is what God expects of us, as we are baptized into His blood and as we partake of the body and blood of the One who died for us. It’s as if we are now naturally going to be different because of the new birth that we have with Christ.