Summary: John doesn’t leave room in the kingdom of God for anyone who does not love his brother.
Are you a loving person?
Do you see yourself as someone who people would describe as loving? I’m not talking about warm and fuzzy, but loving… stubborn, sacrificial, I care about you and what is best for you and will do whatever I can to see that you get it– loving.
As we look at God – what about God stands out most prominent to you?
Did you know that when you truly know God and see him for who he is – then you know and see love itself? That’s right! John tells us that God IS love. Yet, many people see God in distorted ways. Some, even Christians, would probably not say that “loving” is the first idea that comes to mind when they think about God.
I heard about a man who lived a long time before Walmart or modern transportation and this man had never seen or tasted a banana. At some point someone who knew him sent him some bananas and told him how much they liked eating them. He took one and washed it and then bit into it skin and all. After about three chews he spit it all out in disgust. To his dying day he thought that bananas were bitter and gross tasting. He never properly tasted to see.
The Bible tells us in Psalms 34:8 O taste and see that the Lord is good! How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. And…
1 Peter 2:2-3 says: like newborn babes long for the pure milk of the word, that you may grow in your salvation, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
What kind of taste has God left in your mouth? What is God most like to you?
I would suggest that you learned this by what you saw and heard about God from others who taught you about him. Whoever you listened to and believed has shaped your view of God.
1 John 4 begins by warning us not to believe or listen to everyone who talks about God. He warns: many false prophets have gone out into the world. Then he tells us the first way we can spot a false prophet: they don’t talk about Jesus correctly. They leave the wrong taste in your mind and heart about God by what they teach about Jesus. You see, the way we know God is love is primarily and centrally through Jesus. Then in verses 7-15 John makes this clear and crucial connection between knowing God’s love in Jesus and what that does to us. It shapes and determines all our relationships. Listen as I read it again.
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.
10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.
13 By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.
14 And we have seen and bear witness that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
Can you see it here? Can you see that God shows us his love by sending Jesus to give us life, to atone for our sin and to be our Savior? That’s love! The truth about Jesus leaves the taste of God’s grace and goodness with us. Not only that, but when we believe, receive, and obey this gospel of God’s grace – guess what? Others will see God’s love in us! How? By our love for each other! Isn’t that great! See what a premium God puts on loving each other?
We are born of God and know God – vs 7
God abides in us and his love is perfected in us – vs 12
On the other hand,
If you don’t love you don’t know God – vs 8
Now just listen to the benefits of living in God’s love – vs 16-19
16 And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.