Summary: Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Christian Love Pt. 2
August 28, 2011
We’re making our way through the book of First John chapter-by-chapter. At the start he told us “that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ” (1:3).
John has seen and heard the Messiah, and so he’s writing a letter so that we may have fellowship with other believers. And if we have fellowship together, then we have fellowship with the Father and the Son.
This fellowship causes us to walk in righteousness; walking in righteousness means walking in love.
And that basically summarizes the first three chapters of the letter. We abide in Christ, and that’s the source of our good works and love. Remember what we read at the end of chapter three:
“And he that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him. And hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He has given us” (3:24).
Now we see another part of our union. We know that He stays in us and that we stay in Him “by the Spirit which He has given us.” Let’s look at chapter four to see more about what this means:
Every spirit from God confesses Jesus is come in the flesh (:1-3)
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
John’s been drawing comparisons between the sons of God and the antichrists. The sons of God have a unity with the Trinity that can’t be broken: (1) we’ve received the Spirit, (2) we’ve all been taught of God (Jn. 6:45), (3) and we’ve heard the preaching of the Son:
Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. 45And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me. 46I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. 47And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. 48He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. 49For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. 50And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak (John 12:44-50).
You see there’s a unity between the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. They don’t operate independently and according to their own desires; they are One, and they operate as such.
But there are false teachers who preach a message that’s inconsistent with the message the Father gave to the Son. We’re supposed to “try” the spirits. To try something means to test it to see if it’s genuine. God’s word is truth (Jn. 17:17), and Satan is the father of lies (Jn. 8:44).
One of the lamentable traits of modern Christianity is a general disregard for truth (II Tim. 4:3-4). Men have laid it aside in favor of church growth or peace with others or even personal preference. But God’s people are to be wise as serpents (Mt. 10:16) and we’re to test every message we hear to see if it’s in union with what God has already said (Acts 17:11).
The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy (Jn. 10:10), but God has gathered His people together onto one highway (Is. 35:8) in the same faith (Eph. 4:5).
And so, knowledge of the truth is for us most important. God is One, and so the Father, the Son, and the Spirit all agree. If a teacher does not agree with God then he’s false.
2Hereby know ye the Spirit of God:
How do we know if a teacher is speaking from what he’s been taught by the Spirit?
Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
Now we can assume these false prophets weren’t just walking in saying, “Jesus is not the Messiah.” There wouldn’t be anything to “test” in that case. So what could it mean to say they must confess that Jesus “is come in the flesh?”
Skip down to verse 15:
Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
The issue isn’t just in admitting that Jesus took on flesh, but in that He came as the Son of God: He had authority to preach the commands of God because He is in union with God; He also set the example as the Son showing the will of the Father (Jn. 13:35; Mt. 20:25-28).