Summary: Life Light and Love – 1 John chapter 4 verses 1 to 17 – sermon by Gordon Curley PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:

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(1). We Have a New Nature (vs 1-8).

(2). We Have a Unique Saviour (vs 9-11).

(3). We Have the Holy Spirit (vs 12-17).



• The old preacher had spent 40 years pastoring in the same church;

• And he was highly respected in the community.

• The end of his life was drawing near and as he lay on his death bed;

• He ask for the local banker and the local lawyer to come and spend his last hours with him.

• Both were impressed that with all the people the pastor knew;

• It would be they who would be there with him at the end of his life.

• As they entered his room he motioned for one to sit on his left and one on his right.

• The pastor did not say anything, he just smiled.

• Thirty minutes passed and not a word was spoken.

• Finally the banker leaned forward and ask;

“Pastor, we were wondering what great pearl of wisdom you may want to share with us since you called us here”.

The old preacher looked at him and replied:

"As you know Jesus has been my example all my life…

and since he died between two thieves I decided that’s the way I also wanted to go".

• TRANSITION: Apologies to any bankers or lawyers!

• But that story is amusing because bankers and lawyers these days have a bad reputation.

• Bankers have a reputation for not paying for their own mistakes,

• And they seem to be rewarded very well financially for failure.

• Lawyers are seen as people who charge exorbitant fees for very little work.

• But the despising of lawyers s nothing new.

• i.e. William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 2: "The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”

• TRANSITION: The apostle John wants Christians to have a specific reputation;

• He wants people to describe followers of Jesus as people of, ‘light, love and truth’.

• These three themes: ‘light, love and truth’.

• Have been interwoven all the way through this small letter.

• i.e. This letter is like a spiral staircase;

• And these same themes arise again and again as you progress through the letter.


• Not only do the themes reappear but so do the same motives reappear;

• The apostle John gave some clear reasons in chapter 3;

• As to why Christians should be people of obedience;

• He now uses those same reasons/motives here in chapter 4;

• Only this time the theme is ‘love’.

• The reputation he wants the followers of Jesus to have is;

• They have love for one another.

• And the reason we can live like this is threefold.

(1). WE HAVE A NEW NATURE (vs 1-8).

“Dear 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. 2 This is how you can recognise the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but 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.

4 You, 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. 5 They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We 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 recognise the Spirit[a] of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

7 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”


• The 18th century preacher Thomas K. Beecher,

• Used to be very annoyed with the clock in his Church;

• It was habitually too fast or too slow.

• So Beecher hung a notice on the wall above it,

• In large letters the sign read:

• "Don't blame my hands—the trouble lies deeper."

• TRANSITION: The apostle John will remind these Christians;

• To look at a person’s inner workings – their nature;

• In Christ a person’s nature has been changed, is changing and shall be changed!


• Has been changed – at conversion we all receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

• He now indwells all believers.

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