Summary: God is love and as His people we need to display His prime characteristic.
THE ROOTS OF LOVE: GOD
Text: 1 John 4:7-12
1. Illustration: "Love is so much the gift of God that it is called God" (Augustine, Ancient Christian Commentary On Scripture, vol. XI, 213).
2. Simply put, God is love, and any discussion or definition of love begins with God.
3. In our text today John declares...
A. Love Comes From God
B. God Loved Us First
C. Since God Loved Us We Should Love Others
4. Let's stand together out of respect of the Word of God as we read 1 John 4:7-12.
Proposition: God is love and as His people we need to display His prime characteristic.
Transition: It all starts with the fact that...
I. Love Comes From God (7-8).
A. God Is Love
1. We could easily declare John as the Apostle of Love, and much of his writtings are plastered with this concept of love.
2. Again (1 John 3:9-10) John argues that ones nature shows ones spiritual lineage; those who are like God are his children, and Gods supreme characteristic is his love, revealed in the cross of Christ.
Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary New Testament, Under: "1 John 4:7-21 The Test of Love".
3. In v. 7 John says, "Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God."
A. In the context of an appeal to love, it is appropriate that John addresses his readers as "dear friends," more literally "beloved."
B. He has already defined Christians as people who love their each other, and appealed to them to do just that.
C. In fact, the phrase "love one another" appears 13 times in the New Testament, and of those 13, more than half, 7 of them, appear in Johns writings.
D. Now he return to this idea, urging his readers to act accordingly. The thoughts he expresses here are mostly repeats of what he has already said. This is probably as a way of emphasis, but John also has some fresh nuances to express.
E. He begins by emphasizing that love comes from God. It has its origins in God, and therefore, love is a God thing.
F. The beginning of love is found in the fact that God showed love to us, and to understand what love is we have to first understand love as expressed in the actions of God.
G. But if love is a God thing then it only makes sense to say that anyone who truly loves must be in a relationship with God. John does not say, "everyone who has been born of God loves," which would put the obligation upon the readers.
H. Rather he is making two parallel statements: all love come from God, and therefore, all those who love are born of God.
I. John's concern is not exhortation but definition. In other words, his point is not telling people to love, but rather telling them what love is.
4. Now this presents us with a problem, because some people might say, and many of them do, "I don’t have to be a Christian, all I have to do is love!"
A. However, this can only be true if we take Johns statement completely out of context from the rest of the letter.
B. Remember context has many levels in Scripture. You have the immediate context (chapter), the book context, testament context (OT or NT) and the biblical context.
C. And in this case, John clearly states that both faith and love are essential. So this leads to another dilemma, how is it possible for people who are not Christians to love?
D. We cannot deny that there are those outside of the church who love, in fact, sometimes they do a better job of it than we do!
E. How then can we explain this fact? Well we can explain it in one word - THEOLOGY! "Oh, Pastor we don’t want to talk about theology, we just want to talk about Jesus!" Well guess what, were gonna talk about theology.
F. First, we are going to talk about the theology of the nature of God.
G. Genesis 1:26-27 (NLT2)
26 Then God said, Let us make human beings in our image, to be like ourselves. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.
27 So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
H. Now we have been created in the image of God, a fact that was defaced by not destroyed by the Fall, therefore, all human beings have the capacity to love.