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Summary: Do you find it difficult to love others? Then, you must read this sermon. This exposition on 1 John 4:7-12 emphasizes the obligation of mutual love among God's people. I would be delighted if you could rate this sermon and give a brief feedback.

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INTRODUCTION (SECURE ATTENTION) & BACKGROUND OF THE PASSAGE:

PRAY before starting the sermon.

ILLUSTRATION: {In his book, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, Richard Foster tells of an old sage who asked his disciples, “How can we know when the darkness is leaving and the dawn is coming?”

“When we can see a tree in the distance and know that it is a coconut tree and not a palm tree,” one student responded.

“When we can see an animal and know it is a fox and not a wolf,” replied another.

“No,” said the teacher.

Puzzled, the students asked for the answer.

The sage replied quietly, “We know the darkness is leaving and the dawn is coming when we can see another person and know that it is our brother or sister; otherwise no matter what time it is, it’s still dark.”

Are some of us living in this darkness?

Do we take seriously John’s words, “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren”? (refer 1 Jn. 3:14).

Or do we know of Christians whom we dislike intensely?

Do we hold in contempt those who go to a different church and don’t agree with us on every issue?

What about Christians of another language or race?

If love is the mark of a believer, do people recognize that we belong to Christ?

ODB, June 17, 1998.}

When we examine our hearts, we have to admit that we all lack in love.

Thus, we need to ask God to fill our hearts with His love so that we can love one another with His love.

Today’s text talks about the obligation of mutual love.

Would you take God’s Word and turn your Bibles with me to 1 JOHN 4:7-12 (READ)?

I have entitled today’s sermon as: “LOVE ONE ANOTHER.”

In this sermon, I have used some material from John Stott’s commentary on the epistles of John.

CENTRAL PROPOSITION OF THE TEXT: In this passage, John talks about the obligation of mutual love.

This general letter to congregations across Asia Minor (now Turkey) was probably written by the apostle John in the late first century A.D.

Verse 7 begins with the exhortation that we must love one another.

But back in 3:11 (read), he exhorts the Christian community to love one another.

THE PURPOSE BRIDGE: To encourage the members of GWC to love one another with God’s love.

FALLEN CONDITION FOCUS: Already dealt with above.

CENTRAL PROPOSITION OF THE SERMON: We must love one another.

Why must we love one another?

Our text presents 3 arguments for mutual love:

I. MUTUAL LOVE IS BASED ON GOD’S ETERNAL NATURE.

Refer verses 7-8.

Read verse 7.

agapetoi agapomen (“Beloved, let us love.”)

Not only does John exhort them to love one another, but in verses 7 and 11, he practices what he preaches by addressing them as “beloved.”

We must love one another because (“for”) “love is from God.”

He repeats this idea in different words in verse 8: “God is love.”

QUOTE: A. E. Brooke, an NT scholar says: "Human love is a reflection of something in the divine nature itself."

Since God is the source of love, those who are born of God and know God will love others.

Not just righteousness, but even love demonstrates that a person is truly born of God (cf. read 2:29).

The assertion that “God is love” is repeated in verse 16 (refer).

God has always been loving and He will continue to be loving for all eternity.

However, that does not rule out other attributes of God.

God is light as well (read 1 Jn 1:5).

He is also referred to as a consuming fire (refer Heb. 12:29).

So, when God judges, He judges in love.

Since He loves us, He will also judge us.

Read verse 8.

John is straightforward in claiming that “Anyone who does not love does not know God.”

It’s that simple.

QUOTE: {Commenting on this verse, John Stott says, “The argument is plain and compelling.

For the loveless Christian to profess to know God and to have been born of God is like claiming to be intimate with a foreigner whose language we cannot speak, or to have been born of parents whom we do not in any way resemble.

It is to fail to manifest the nature of him whom we claim as our Father (born of God) and our Friend (knows God).”}

QUOTE: William Barclay says, “We are never nearer to God than when we love.”

As we know, humans are created in the image of God (refer Gen. 1:26).

Since God is love, when we love one another, we reflect God’s image.

So, we must love one another.

II. MUTUAL LOVE IS BASED ON GOD’S GIFT.

Refer verses 9-11.

Read verse 9.

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