1 John 4 – Test the Spirit’s! - Know Love! - Fear Not!
Thesis: John gives us three actions that are to be apart of the children of God’s daily lives. Test the Spirit’s, Know Love, and Fear Not.
Listen to this Chapter on the DVD, The Audio Bible and follow along in your Bible!
Scripture Text: 1 John 4:1-21:
1Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
4You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.
7Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. 16And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19We love because he first loved us. 20If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
The Apostle John: Biography From Holman Bible Dictionary..
John the Apostle, the son of Zebedee, the brother of James. Harmonizing Matthew 27:56 with Mark 15:40 suggests that John’s mother was Salome. If she was also the sister of Jesus’ mother (John 19:25), then John was Jesus’ first cousin. This string of associations is so conjectural, though, that we cannot be sure of it. Because James is usually mentioned first when the two brothers are identified, some have also conjectured that John was the younger of the two.
The sons of Zebedee were among the first disciples called (Matt. 4:21-22; Mark 1:19-20). They were fishermen on the Sea of Galilee and probably lived in Capernaum. Their father was sufficiently prosperous to have “hired servants” (Mark 1:20), and Luke 5:10 states that James and John were “partners with Simon” Peter.
John is always mentioned in the first four in the lists of the twelve (Matt. 10:2; Mark 3:17; Luke 6:14; Acts 1:13). John is also among the “inner three” who were with Jesus on special occasions in the Synoptic Gospels: the raising of Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5:37), the transfiguration (Mark 9:2), and the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-33). Andrew joined these three when they asked Jesus about the signs of the coming destruction of Jerusalem (Mark 13:3).
The sons of Zebedee were given the surname Boanerges, “sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17). When a Samaritan village refused to receive Jesus, they asked, “Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them?” (Luke 9:54). The only words in the Synoptic Gospels attributed specifically to John are: “Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name ... And we forbad him, because he followeth not us” (Mark 9:38; Luke 9:49). On another occasion the two brothers asked to sit in places of honor, on Jesus’ left and right in His glory (Mark 10:35-41; compare Matt. 20:20-24). On each of these occasions Jesus challenged or rebuked John. Luke 22:8, however, identifies Peter and John as the two disciples who were sent to prepare the Passover meal for Jesus and the disciples.
The apostle John appears three times in the Book of Acts, and each time he is with Peter (1:13; 3:1-11; 4:13, 20; 8:14). After Peter healed the man, they were arrested, imprisoned, and then released. They were “unlearned and ignorant men” (Acts 4:13), but they answered their accusers boldly: “we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). Later, John and Peter were sent to Samaria to confirm the conversion of Samaritans (8:14).
Paul mentioned John only once: “James, Cephas [Simon Peter], and John, who seemed to be pillars” of the church agreed that Paul and Barnabas would go to the Gentiles, while they would work among the Jews (Gal. 2:9).
The Gospel of John does not mention James or John by name, and it contains only one reference to the sons of Zebedee (21:2). An unnamed disciple who with Andrew had been one of John the Baptist’s disciples is mentioned in John 1:35, and an unnamed disciple helped Peter gain access to the house of the high priest in John 18:15-16. The disciple in these verses may have been the Beloved Disciple, who reclined with Jesus during the last supper (13:23-26), stood at the cross with Jesus’ mother (19:25-27), ran with Peter to the empty tomb (20:2-10), and recognized the risen Lord after the great catch of fish (21:7). The need to clarify what Jesus had said about the death of the Beloved Disciple (21:20-23) probably indicates that the Beloved Disciple had died by the time the Gospel of John was put in final form by the editor who speaks in John 21:24-25 and attributes the Gospel to this Beloved Disciple.
Five books of the New Testament have been attributed to John the Apostle: the Gospel, three Epistles, and Revelation. In each case, the traditional view that the apostle was the author of these books can be traced to writers in the second century. Neither the Gospel nor the epistles identify their author by name. The author of Revelation identifies himself as “John” (1:1, 4, 9; 22:8) but does not claim to be the apostle. Much of the weight of the traditional view of the authorship of the Gospel rests on the testimony of Irenaeus, bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul (A.D. 130-200)…
…The author of the epistles identifies himself as “the elder” (2 John 1, 3 John 1), but never claims to be the apostle. Neither does the author of these epistles claim the authority to command the church to follow his instructions. Instead, he reasons with them and urges the church to abide in what it has received and what it has heard from the beginning.
In sum, a strong tradition linking the apostle John to the authorship of these five New Testament writings can be traced to the second century. Modern scholarship has raised questions about the credibility of this tradition, and discussion of these matters continues. Many would agree, however, that the strongest case can be made for the apostolic authorship of Revelation, followed in order by the Gospel and Epistles. Many Bible students continue to follow tradition and attribute all five books to the apostle.
Legends about the apostle continued to develop long after his death. According to tradition, John lived to an old age in Ephesus, where he preached love and fought heresy, especially the teachings of Cerinthus. The tomb of John was the side of a fourth-century church, over which Justinian built the splendid basilica of St. John. The ruins of this basilica are still visible in Ephesus today…
…The apostle John also has a place in the martyrologies of the medieval church. A fifth-century writer, Philip of Side, and George the Sinner, of the ninth century, report that Papias (second century) wrote that James and John were killed by the Jews (Acts 12:2), but these reports are generally dismissed as fabrications based on interpretations of Mark 10:39. (From Holman Bible Dictionary)
JOHN, THE LETTERS OF Three New Testament books attributed to the apostle John. Knowledge and use of 1 John is attested from an early date in the writings of Papias (according to Eusebius), Polycarp, and Justin. It was regarded as the work of the apostle John by Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and the Muratorian Canon.
Second and Third John were accepted as Scripture more slowly. Origen reported that their authenticity was questioned, and Eusebius placed them in the list of writings that were disputed, although “well-known and acknowledged by most.”
The Johannine character of the three letters is universally recognized, but debate over their authorship continues. Some scholars regard the apostle John as the author of all three letters. Others, citing stylistic and theological differences between the Gospel and the Letters, contend that they were written by an elder in the Johannine community, who was not the evangelist. It is possible that the author of the letters was the final editor of the Gospel, the “I” who speaks in John 21:25. The author never identifies himself by name. Twice he claims the title “the elder” (2 John 1; 3 John 1), but he never calls himself an apostle.
Most scholars agree that the three letters were written by the same author and that they were written after the Gospel. A date of about A.D. 100 seems to be indicated, but both earlier and later dates have been proposed. Several factors support a date following the composition of the Gospel. First John 1:1-5 seems to imitate John 1:1-18. The polemic against “the Jews” that pervades much of the Gospel does not appear in the letters. Their concern was with difficulties within the Christian community. Whereas the Gospel was written “that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (John 20:31), 1 John insists that one must confess that Jesus Christ has come in flesh (1 John 4:2). Second John 7 likewise identifies as deceivers those who do not confess “Jesus Christ come [having come or coming] in flesh.” The letters are therefore concerned with correcting a false belief about Christ that was spreading in the churches.
From this emphasis on the incarnation, we may assume that the opponents held to the divinity of Christ but either denied or diminished the significance of His humanity. Their view may be an early form of Docetism, the heresy that emerged in the second century which claimed that Jesus only seemed to be human.
This false belief had already led to schism. First John 2:19 explains that those who had left the community never really belonged to it, or else they would have remained with it. First John 4:1 warns the church to test the spirits because “many false prophets are gone out into the world.” These “opponents” of the elder’s group are charged with not following the command to love one’s fellow Christians. They apparently also claimed that they were free from sin (1 John 1:8, 10). Both groups held that believers have “passed from death unto life” (1 John 3:14), but the elder recognized the potential danger in this teaching and contended that the future coming of the Lord (1 John 3:2) requires that believers purify themselves and be righteous (1 John 3:3-7).
The Johannine letters, therefore, provide us with a window on an early Christian church, its problems, and its developing doctrine. First John seems to be a treatise written to the Johannine community. In contrast, 2 and 3 John are much briefer, about the length of a single sheet of papyrus, and they follow the conventional form of a personal letter.
(From Holman Bible Dictionary)
John tells us in 1 John 4 that the Christian must make the commitment to practice the three daily spiritual disciplines. It’s these three disciplines that will keep us were God wants us. These three practices will help us to mature in our faith and keep us from being deceived.
I. We are to test the Spirits to see if they are from God or not (4:1-6)
a. Testing measures how much a person knows or doesn’t know.
i. Timothy Peck in his sermon “Getting Our Bearings” states this about verse 1:That word "test" means "to try to learn the genuineness of something by close examination" (Lou and Nida, Greek English Lexicon Based on Semantic Domains, 27.45). The first time the bank gave me one of those new 20 dollar bills, I looked at it real closely to make sure it wasn’t counterfeit. When a store makes an outrageous claim, if you’re smart you investigate the claim before forking your money out. That’s what this word is describing, that ability to look beyond the surface, to dig deeply into the claim to see what’s underneath. John’s telling us that before we trust any spiritual experience, any religious leader, or any religious group we must first test them, dig beneath the surface, look closely, to determine whether it’s a snow job or the real thing (sermoncentral.com).
1. McDowell states, “Only 15% of churched youth disagree with the statement: ‘What is right for one person in a given situation might not be right for another person who encounters the same situation.’ In other words, 85 percent of un-churched kids are liable to reason, ‘Just because it’s wrong for you doesn’t mean it’s wrong for me.’ Their idea of the distinction between right and wrong is fluid, something that is subject to change, something that is relative and personal-not constant and universal” (Page 15, Right from Wrong).
2. Many today in our society have not learned the importance and the eternal value of making sure you test the messages of the spirits in this age. Therefore many have become deceived and cling to false hopes.
ii. This is why we must know what the Bible says. The Scripture helps us to discern whether a spirit is from God or not.
1. If it’s not from God it will:
a. Not acknowledge the divinity and humanity of Jesus Christ.
b. Speak from the view point of the world not the from Biblical view point.
2. We can tell if a message is from the Lord or not by how well they listen to the truths of Scripture.
b. John warns us to not be gullible in this life but be wise and we do this by not believing everything a person says without first comparing their message against the standard and the truth of the Word.
i. It’s a compare and see if they align type test. Do they match in what they say or does this new message contradict the faithful message of the Word of God.
ii. This is what we are to measure other concepts and theories against.
iii. It amazes me how many people believe messages that are not rooted in Scripture and God’s Holy Word.
1. The measurement to see if something is true or false is does it align with the teachings of Scripture?
a. Quote by Josh McDowell from his book Right From Wrong.
i. He states, “You’ll recall Webster first defines truth as, ‘fidelity to an original or standard.” The dictionary goes on to define truth as ‘the body of real things’, events, or facts; the property of being in accordance with fact or reality.”
ii. He notes that truth provides evidence that it is true and not false. Truth promotes truth and the right way of doing things.
iii. He adds, “I believe that one of the prime reasons this generation is setting new records for dishonesty, disrespect, sexual promiscuity, violence, suicide, and other pathologies, is because they have lost their moral underpinning; their foundational belief in morality and truth has been eroded. As journalist Rowland Nethaway said, they ‘don’t seem to know right from wrong’”(12).
c. Let’s take a couple of religious groups today and see how they measure up to Scripture: Information from McDowell and Stewart’s Handbook of Today’s Religions.
i. Mormons – The founder of Mormonism was Joseph Smith, Jr. He became disgusted with the Christian church and he claims to have had a visitation from an angel of light. He claims to have inquired of the Lord which denomination was the correct one. Smith reports that this happened then: My object in going to inquiry of the Lord was to know of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right-and which I should join. I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in His sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof” (Joseph Smith, The Pearl of Great Price, 2:18,19)
1. The Word of God warns us in Galatians 1:8 NASB “But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed.”
2. McDowell notes “The Mormons claim they are the restoration of the true church established by Jesus Christ.” They believe there is no salvation outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
3. They claim they are the true church and all other churches are wrong and a fraud. They believe from Smiths first revelation that no one preached the true message of the church since the apostolic age. Then in 1820 the true message re-emerged with Joseph Smith.
a. According to Walter Martin this then means that the following church fathers did not preach the truth or represent the Lord:
i. Origen, Justin, Iraneaus, Jerome, Eusebius, Chrysostm, Aquinas, Huss, Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Tyndale, Wycliffe, Knox, Wesley, Whitefield, Finney, DL Moody and a host of others were not of God.
4. Mormons believe prophets are more vital than the standard works of Mormonism including the Bible but Hebrews 1:1-3 tells us that the source of our knowledge comes from God through his Word.
a. The Bible tells us that a prophetic message will always align with God’s Word and never contradict it or override its message.
5. Mormons do not believe in the Holy Trinity namely that there is one God manifested in three ways. They are Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Instead they contradict the Bible and say that God himself was once a man and then became a God. This is also what happened to Jesus. They believe that there are many gods and men can attain godhood by how well they live this life on earth.
6. The Mormons do not believe in Hell or everlasting punishment. They believe everyone will go to one of three levels of glory: McDowell notes: The Celestial kingdom which is reserved for the Melchizedek priesthood members who will become gods. The Terrestrial kingdom, for those who failed the requirements of exaltation. The Telestial kingdom, for those who have no testimony of Christ” (71, 72).
a. But the Bible tells us Ephesians 2:8-10 that salvation is a free gift of grace brought to us by faith in Jesus Christ.
i. Works has nothing to do with our salvation.
ii. Ephesians 2:8-10: 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
b. Mormons in spite of these clear texts still believe you earn your salvation even though Jesus clearly taught against that in John 6:28, 29 and Paul spoke against it in Hebrews 7:27.
7. The book of Mormon has been claimed by the followers of Mormonism to be the most correct book in the world. It was written by Joseph Smith after his visions but since 1830 it has been revised 3,000 times.
a. The book of Mormon names cities which have never been located or discovered through archaeology.
b. There have been no genuine inscriptions (on rocks- or skins) ever found in Hebrew in America or in Egyptian in America as claimed by Smith.
c. There is no mention of the book of Mormon’s person’s, nations and or places in historical writings or archaeology.
d. Instead Mormon scholars have been forced to retreat from their literal and traditional interpretations of the Book of Mormon. To cover up its many flaws and errors.
e. The book of Mormon includes false prophecy that did not come true.
8. Smith claimed that the Lord told him there would be a temple built in Jackson County Missouri but it did not occur.
a. Deut. 18 warns that a prophet must be right about his prophecies every single time, or he is not a prophet of God.
9. There is a lot of evidence proving the Mormon religion as a false Christian witness or Biblical witness to truth.
ii. Lets look at the Jehovah Witness religion – They have a publication called the Watchtower this publication is filled with false and contradictory teachings to the Bible.
1. McDowell and Stewart’s Handbook of Today’s Religions notes:
a. In 1961, The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society published the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. The rationale for this new translation was given when the New Testament was published in 1950, “But honesty compels us to remark that, while each of them (other translations) has its points of merit, they have fallen victim to the power of human traditionalism in varying degrees, consequently, religious traditions, hoary with age, have been taken for granted and gone unchallenged and uninvestigated. These have been interwoven into the translations to color the though. In support of a preferred religious view, an inconsistency and unreasonableness have been insinuated into the teachings of the inspired writings. The Son of God taught that the traditions of creed-bound men made the commandments and teachings of God of no power and effect. The endeavor of the New World Translation committee has been to avoid this snare of religious traditionalism. (Forward to New World Translation of the Christian Scriptures, 1961).The translators of the New World Translation have not achieved their goal. Their work is a highly biased attempt to justify some of their non-biblical doctrines. In terms of scholarship, the New World Translation leaves much to be desired. The following examples will make the point clear.
i. John 1:1 – One of the readings of the New World Translation that has caused considerable outrage among Greek scholars is totally unsupportable rendering of the last clause of John 1:1, “The word was a god.” This transition makes Jesus less than God, relegating Him to the position of a ”created being” in accordance with Watchtower theology. There is no basis whatsoever for this rendering, although the Watchtower would have people believe the contrary…The grammatical explanation given by the Watchtower for its translation of John 1:1 is unsatisfactory. They contend that when theos (the Greek word for God) appears in John 1:1 appears twice, once with the definitive article (in the last clause of John 1:1) they feel justified in translating it, “And the Word was a god…” “Careful translators recognize that the articular construction of the noun (with the definitive atrticle) points to an identity, a personality, whereas an anarthrous construction (without the definitive article) points to a quality of someone. Not only is this above statement incorrect, it is also inconsistently applied throughout Watchtower’s own translation…We conclude that there is no basis for translating John 1:1 as “The Word was a god.” …They (simply) do not want to acknowledge what is clearly taught in verse one: Jesus Christ is God (58-60).
ii. Remember what John said in our chapter?
1. The false spirits will try to deny Jesus’ divinity and humanity!
d. The point from John is that truth matters in or lives. If we live by the truth then our life is blessed by God. If we believe and live by the lies of this world our lives will be cursed and fruitless.
i. Even if they are religious!
1. Many have fallen for religious teachings that do not align with the Word of God.
a. The Christians have not compared what they have said and taught against the teachings of the Word.
b. Therefore they bought into lies and they think they are speaking truth when they are not.
c. Result is deception and the removal of the blessings of God.
2. Some in the Christian church itself have fallen prey to false teachings that have caused division and strife.
T.S. – We are to daily test the spirits that we encounter in our lives to see if they align with God’s Word or not. Then we must do the next action and that is to love others like the Lord loves us.
II. We are to love others because we know God’s love (4:7-16).
a. Charles Salmon notes this about our chapter: Love is a very popular idea in today’s world. We distort and misinterpret it, but it is on everyone’s lips. Many of our most popular songs, books, and movies are about love. There are enough to fill a library.
We often forget love is a truly Christian idea. It is seen in its fullness only in Christ. Love originated in the mind of God, of whom it is written, "God is love." But, often what the world calls love is vastly different from what God in Christ revealed love to be.
The world describes love as a feeling, an overwhelming passion. God says it is a guiding principle of moral life. Love is the light by which the Christian makes the moral decisions of His life.
i. I sometimes sit back and get very frustrated with the views of the world’s residents. I watch what is promoted on most of the TV shows of today and I say “What is wrong with those people?” I even comment, “That is not the way of the Lord!” Then I have to be gently reminded by the Holy Spirit that those people are blind, lost, and they have a distorted lens that they look through. Why? Because they do not have true Love in their lives. They don’t know God or His ways therefore they do not have the ability to see clearly.
b. Rick Warren in his book The Purpose Driven Life says, “Life is all about love!” “Because God is love, the most important lesson he wants you to learn on earth is how to love. It is in loving that we are most like him, so love is the foundation of every command he has given us; ‘the whole Law can be summed up in this one command; ‘Love others as you love yourself” (123).
i. John in our letter makes it clear that love is attained by us as we encounter and get to know God.
ii. A person who claims to have known Jesus will also know how to love others.
c. Knowing God gives us the ability to love.
i. Without experiencing God’s love in our lives we do not know how to love.
1. WHAT’S GOD GOT TO DO WITH IT?
If you “Google” the word love, and you have to be very careful doing this, you will find all sorts of websites, 120,000,000 to be exact. Here are some examples that you will find:
I love Dogs.com
I love Cats.com (Although this one is a plea to spay or neuter)
I love Cheese. Com
I love Lucy.com
We love the Iraqi Information Minister.com
True Romance Dating Service.com
The Love Calculator.com On this site you type in your name and your mates name and it gives you the odds of your relationship lasting. Alana and I got 41%)
The interesting aspect is that on all these sites, love is seen as almost an entirely human endeavor.
Contributed to sermoncentral.com by: John Harvey
2. Yet God is love and it becomes obvious that without God you cannot show and model love because He is the one who defines and is love.
a. There is no love outside of God!
b. We today have redefined that word love to mean a human emotion but the truth is love is defined as God.
i. This means love demonstrates the qualities and attributes of God.
ii. This means that the love of today is a counterfeit to the true meaning of love.
iii. One of the important values or actions people need is the ability to define and recognize love in its purest form and that is expressed by God.
1. Remember we have to test the spirits this means test the love spirits too.
2. Just because someone says “I Love You!” does not mean they do if they do not have the actions of love backing up their words.
ii. 1 Corinthians 13 not only tells us how to love it tells us how God loves us. Because God shows us love this way we in turn are to do the same to others. This is the reciprocal law of God.
1. God says, “I love you and He reveals His love to us and then says go do this to someone else!
a. It’s the pass it on concept of the Word of God.
2. 1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
a. God is patient with us and his patience with us should make us patient with others.
i. How patient is He? Well think of this there is still an evil world in which we live in.
ii. Truth is if you or I would be in control of this world it would have been eliminated years ago by us.
b. God is kind. Kindness means being considerate of others and God is considerate toward us like we should toward others.
i. He does not kick us when we are down instead he helps us up and brushes us off.
c. God is not easily provoked and this means that God does not easily get angry with us.
i. He will get angry but he is not one who flies off the handle with others over minor issues or even major issues. So therefore we need to not be easily provoked ourselves with others because of the grace God has shown us.
ii. Too many today get angry and sin over minor issues that should be forgiven and for gotten!
d. God does not take into account or keep a list of all of our wrongs. Especially when we repent we get a clean slate and He wipes our records clean. We ourselves need to do the same with others.
i. I am always amazed when people come into my office with a typed list of wrongs they against others in the church.
1. It tells me that they are not following the commands of Scripture to keep no record of wrongs.
a. Instead they are sitting down and going over them to prove their point that they have been offended.
2. When people do this their heart is in the wrong place and love is not dwelling there.
a. Why? Love keeps no record of wrongs!
e. Love – God does not delight in evil but instead believes in the power of the Truth.
i. He has nothing to do with evil and He sees no pleasure in it.
1. Why do so many see pleasure in sin and evil?
a. Because love is not in their hearts!
ii. He gets excited about the truth not about evil.
1. Do you get excited about the Truth?
f. Love –God always protects and even trusts others and He has Hope in all of us to make the right choices in this life as He guides us.
1. He desires to protect people from evil and He desires us to do the same to others.
ii. I believe God is an eternal optimist and desires the best for us.
1. We should desire the best also for others.
iii. He will trust us to do important jobs for him and He desires us to trust others too.
iv. He has a hope for us and we have Him as our hope.
1. We should communicate this hope to others so that they can find hope also.
g. God who is love will never fail. It’s a impossibility!
i. This thought here should compel us that we will not fail if we keep love at the center of our life.
iii. Love from a Kid’s Point of View, Citation: "What Is Love—From a Kid’s Point of View," Light Singer, (accessed 3-14-02)]
What is love, from a kid’s point of view?
"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love."
"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth."
"Love is when someone hurts you, and you get so mad, but you don’t yell at them because you know it would hurt their feelings."
"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is okay."
"Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well."
"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford."
"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day."
"You really shouldn’t say ’I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget."
Contributed to sermoncentral.com by: A. Todd Coget
d. Love is birthed in God and it is a requirement of a Christian.
i. Love is the attribute which comes from God living in us. This of course is what makes us a Christian and because the great person of Love is in us therefore it will produce the fruit of love.
ii. If we cannot love others then God does not dwell or live in us.
iii. Love is the essential ingredient that we need to live a life of purpose and eternal meaning.
iv. Really what John is saying to us is, knowing love causes us to do and show love toward others.
1. We do this even when people do not deserve it too!
v. The truth is God’s love should come before everything else in our life.
1. Love will always tell us to not be offended.
2. Love will always tell us to forgive and forget.
3. Love will always tell us to let it go.
4. Love will tell us to act like Jesus not like Satan.
5. Love will tells us to die to self and serve others in love.
6. Love will tell us not to get angry.
7. Love will tells us to trust the lord and not circumstances.
8. Love will tell us not to sin.
9. Love will tell us to serve the Lord with all our might.
10. Love will always point us toward the Lord Jesus and His great action of love.
vi. Love is to be our supreme way of dealing with others and with this world.
1. When we initiate love most of the time the response back to us will be one of love.
2. Peter Gillquist states, “Psychologists tell us that man has two basic needs: to love and be loved. They’re right, but their order should be reversed. According to the patterns of Scripture, we first must be loved; then we are capable of loving” (Love Now, page 75).
3. Love is a present tense action – THE LOVE YOU HAVE EXPERIENCED NOW DO IT TO OTHERS!
a. This is the way of God’s love all other ways are frauds or true love.
vii. If we don’t love we don’t know God.
1. This is a hard saying but it is Scriptural!
2. Since God is love we must take on His very nature and love like He does.
T.S. – We have to experience love and then master the action of love because that is the nature of God. Then when love is practiced daily it has the power to cast out fear.
III. We are to understand that love casts out all fear and we are to fear not (4:17-21)
a. When a person experiences God’s perfect love then we come to understand that we need not be afraid.
i. Why? Because greater is He that lives in us then he that lives in the world.
ii. Why? Because we know that God loves us and he will take care of us.
iii. Why? Because we now are sons and daughters of Almighty God.
iv. Why? Because the Day of Judgment will pass us by.
v. Why? Because through Christ we now have eternal life forever.
vi. Why? Fear cannot reside were love is supreme.
1. Fear has to do with torment and insecurity of the future.
2. Definition of fear: Zimmerman 2001
a. 1. A painful emotion or passion excited by the expectation of evil, or the apprehension of impending danger; apprehension; anxiety; solicitude; alarm; dread.
^ The degrees of this passion, beginning with the most moderate, may be thus expressed, -- apprehension, fear, dread, fright, terror. "Fear is an uneasiness of the mind, upon the thought of future danger likely to befall us." Locke. "Where no hope is left, is left no fear." Milton.
2. (Script.) (a) Apprehension of incurring, or solicitude to avoid, God’s wrath; the trembling and awful reverence felt toward the Supreme Being. (b) Respectful reverence for men of authority or worth. "I will put my fear in their hearts." Jer. xxxii. 40. "I will teach you the fear of the Lord." Ps. xxxiv. 11. "render therefore to all their dues; tribute to whom tribute is due . . . fear to whom fear." Rom. xiii. 7.
3. That which causes, or which is the object of, apprehension or alarm; source or occasion of terror; danger; dreadfulness. "There were they in great fear, where no fear was." Ps. liii. 5. "The fear of your adventure would counsel you to a more equal enterprise." Shak.
b. Fear (Fear), v. t.
[imp. & p. p. Feared (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Fearing.]
[OE. feren, faeren, to frighten, to be afraid, AS. f¿ran to terrify. See Fear, n.]
1. To feel a painful apprehension of; to be afraid of; to consider or expect with emotion of alarm or solicitude. "I will fear no evil, for thou art with me." Ps. xxiii. 4.
2. To have a reverential awe of; to solicitous to avoid the displeasure of. "Leave them to God above; him serve and fear." Milton.
3. To suspect; to doubt. [Obs.] "Ay what else, fear you not her courage?" Shak.
Synonyms -- To apprehend; dread; reverence; venerate.
b. Holman: Freedom from fear -- Freedom from fear comes as individuals trust in the God who protects (Ps. 23:4) and helps them (Isa. 54:14). The New Testament teaches that perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). Christians are no longer slaves of fear, for Christ has given them not a spirit of timidity or cowardice, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-control (2 Tim. 1:7).
i. Fear is not an attribute that God wants us dwelling on. When you learn to test the spirit’s and love like God then fear will actually be driven out of your life.
1. Not falling into fear comes from having a personal loving relationship with the Lord.
2. It comes by testing the spirits and understanding the attributes of God.
3. It also comes from love living in our hearts and minds. Were love dwells fear cannot exist! They are incompatible.
c. Stories for Preachers and Teachers: Two things are said to be unknown to Thomas A. Edison, the great inventor--discouragement and worry (and fear). His associates have claimed that his freedom from these afflictions came from the fact that he possessed absolutely no nerves. One day, one of his associates had to report to him the failure, in immediate succession, of three experiments involving enormous expenditure of money and labor. But the inventor simply smiled at the recital. The associate, worn out with the nervous strain of his long workday, and disheartened by his disappointment, said impatiently: "Why don’t you worry a little about it, Mr. Edison?" "Why should I?" was the inventor’s reply. "You’re worrying enough for two." The victory which overcomes the world is our faith; if we rely upon God and trust him unwaveringly, it will give us a self-composure and a peace that shall be free from worry (and fear).
d. Video illustration From Illustrate Volume 1 – The story of Gracia Burnham – Faith in the face of terror.
1 John 4 promotes to us that we must DO three things to follow the path of the Lord and stay rooted in Him!
1. Test the Spirits - and make sure they are from God. We must not be deceived by the great deceiver.
2. Know love and Do love - Because God is love! Love is the key to living successfully in this life with it you succeed in life without it you fail at life.
3. Fear not – Because perfect love casts away fear and we need not worry when we trust completely in Jesus.