Summary: God's love and ours. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reading: 1 John chapter 4 verses 7-16:
• An elderly man stopped at a hearing aid centre and asked about prices.
• The salesman said “We have them from £25,000 down to £1.50,”
• “What’s the £25,000 one like?”
• The salesman said “Well it translates three languages.”
• “And what about the one for £1.50?”
• “It’s this button attached to a string,” said the salesman, pushing it across the counter.
• “How does it work?”
• “It doesn’t” replied the salesman said;
• “But if you put the button in your ear and the string in your pocket,
• You’ll be surprised how loud people talk!”
The apostle John wants his readers to emphasise something important to his readers:
• He will not shout loudly but he will repeat himself; until he is understood!
• In fact for the third time in this short letter John wants us to consider the subject of love!
• This does not mean John has run out of things to say;
• And has just resorted to repeating himself.
• It means……… that the Holy Spirit, who inspired John,
• Will present the subject once more, from a deeper point of view.
• John’s letter has been called a spiritual staircase;
• Always revolving around the same centre.
• Through out this letter John keeps returning to his favourite three topics;
• Love, obedience and truth.
• His repetition is not laziness or lack of new things to say;
• In fact the opposite, each time he returns he is teaching us something new.
In chapters one and two of this letter the emphasis is on ‘Fellowship’;
• A Christian who is in fellowship with God;
• Will naturally want fellowship with other Christians.
In chapter 3 the emphasis has been ‘Sonship’;
• Because every Christian is ‘Born of God’ or ‘children of God’.
• Because we are ‘Of God’ we should be ‘Like God’.
• In chapters 1&2; love for other Christians is a matter of light or darkness;
• In chapter 3 love for other Christians is a matter of life or death.
Now in chapter 4 verses 7-16:
• Love for other Christians is actually the evidence that you are saved.
• That you know God!
• John is going to remind us again;
• That love is the most important ingredient of the Christians life.
• Love is part of the very being and nature of God.
• If we are united to God through faith in Christ, we share His nature.
• And since His nature is love,
• Love is the test of the reality of our spiritual life.
• A navigator depends on a compass to help him determine his course.
• A compass always gives direction by pointing north.
• It is designed to respond to the magnetic field that is part of the earth's makeup.
• The compass is responsive to the nature of the earth.
So with Christian love:
• The nature of God is love.
• And a person who knows God and has been born of God will respond to God's nature.
• As a compass naturally points north,
• A Christian will naturally practice love because love is the nature of God.
• A preacher was impressing upon his congregation;
• The difference between being ordered to love God’s word and actually doing it.
• He said suppose in England there is a law stating a woman must take care of her child.
• So, an inspector suddenly arrives one day at the home of a new mother.
• And he says “Are you taking care of your baby?
• The Law says you have to.”
• The woman, tenderly holding her baby, would reply,
• “I don’t need a law to make me take care of my baby.”
• Why? Because it is natural for her to love her baby!
• She feeds him, holds him, changes him, all because she loves him.
In the same way:
• It should be a natural thing for the Christian to love other people;
• And John will show us why in this passage.
THREE TIMES, IN THIS SECTION,
• John encourages us to love one another (verses 7, 11 & 12).
• He supports these admonitions by giving us three foundational facts about God.
(A). What God Is: "God Is Love" (vs 7-8):
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
(1). Where love originates.
This is the third of three great expressions of God’s nature in John's writings:
• "God is spirit" (John’s Gospel chapter 4 verse 24);