Summary: How to identify a mature believer.
Marks of Maturity
1st John 4:17 – 5:5
a. Tonight we will be looking at maturity in our walk. Our text comes out of First John, chapter 4, verse 17, and continuing through chapter 5, verse 5.
b. In these 10 verses, we’re going to take a deeper look at our walk and how we are to progress in our walk with the Lord.
c. Follow along with me starting in verse 17.
d. 17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us. 20 If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also. 1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
e. At the end of tonight’s study you will know three main identifiers that characterize a mature Christian’s walk, and what the result of having that mature walk is.
f. Tonight, we will look at these in depth as we explore the text tonight.
a. A young man who dives for exotic fish for aquariums told a story that one of the most popular aquarium fish is the shark. He explained that if you catch a small shark and confine it, it will stay a size proportionate to the aquarium you put it in. Sharks can be six inches long yet fully matured. But if you turn them loose in the ocean, they grow to their normal length of eight feet.
b. That is like what happens to some Christians. I have seen some little six-inch Christians who swim around in a puddle. You can look at them and comment on how fine looking they are just like fish in an aquarium. But if you were to put them out into a larger arena—into the broad view of a whole creation—they might become great. God help us not to be confined to a little puddle out of insecurity, but help us to grow to be over comers, and walk in the victory that you have for us all.
a. The Marks of Maturity
i. Confidence in our faith – 4:17-19
1. 17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us.
2. Let’s look at verse 17. The key word there is perfected. Verse 16 clearly is talking about God’s love. This is a continuation of that thought.
3. It is God’s desire to perfect or complete in us His love in us and our love for Him. In the original language, it means to complete or to mature. 2nd Peter 3:18 tells us as believers to grow in grace and knowledge. We see here though, that we are to grow in our love for God.
4. We grow in this love toward God as a natural response to the love that He shows to us. We saw this in our last study.
6. Our life as Christians should be a daily process of growing more and more in love with the Lord. As we realize and contemplate on how much God loves us by reading His word that we grow in this love.