I John 4:1-21 December 4th 2017

John really sends home the message o loving one another today and continues to point to Christ as our example of love. Let’s continue our study.

1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

There are false prophets out there that will sound spiritual and will be convincing. We need to test the spirits and not just believe everything that comes our way. We test them by holding up what they say against the Word of God. Anything that comes from God will line up with the counsel of His word. Anything that is from a false prophet or spirit might sounds good and have some truths held within it, but it will err in some way from the truth of God’s word. Most of the time you will find the fault in what they do with Jesus. Know the truth about Jesus and filter everything you hear through that truth. We need to choose what we believe or discredit based upon what we know to be true according to the Word of God.

2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

John even gives us an idea of what a spirit of God would be. Basically they will confess the Lordship of Christ. The will speak of Jesus being fully man and fully God. That is generally the first thing that a false teacher deviates on, the earthly ministry of Christ and how He fits within the trinity. That may sound harsh, to say someone has the spirit of the antichrist that does not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. The truth is what we do with Christ has eternal consequences. It is something that we should take very serious and should protect our own thought life on as well.

4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

We will overcome! We don’t overcome because we are so great and mighty, but because the One living in us is greater. We could easily get focused on the enemy and attacks from the world and quickly take our minds off of the One that matters, our Lord and Savior. We have the Holy Spirit residing in us. I hope we, both you and me, never lose sight of how amazing that reality is. The One true and living God is intimately involved in our lives and actually takes up residency in our hearts. This should not provoke a heart of pride in us, but rather one of humility. We, people who do not deserve the love and grace shown us, are not only picked up and cleaned up, but given power. Our hearts should break over the fact that people who have access to this do not realize that they do. Because they do not realize this power to live victoriously they are locked in their sin, the are lost and fading away. Our hearts should break for them. Those of us who know the remedy, who know Christ, should be doing everything we can to make Him known. Some days my heart works like it should. And breaks for those that are lost. I pray that becomes an everyday reality for me.

5 They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them.

Again in you fit right in with the world and can talk like the world then ask yourself if you are really living for God. We should be different. The world has it’s own way in which it acts, speaks, and functions  We should be separate on most of those things. The world is lost and grappling in the dark, holding onto anything that sounds good according to what they want to think in the moment. Their ultimate end is the pit of hell. If we don’t want to follow them there then we need to live differently here.

6 We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

We know God, we are of Him. How awesome is that!?! And those that are of God hear us, they get us, so to speak. The world does understand us because they do not have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. This is why we are able to tell the spirit of error and the spirit of truth. The Holy Spirit testifies within us about such things. We need to learn to recognize the moving of the Holy Spirit in our lives and learn to trust Him.

7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.

We are called to a high standard, the standard of love. In a very real way we as Christians represent the Lord to those around us, especially to those who do not know the Lord themselves. We need to represent Him well, and we do that by demonstrating His love for people. Not just with words, but actions. We do this because we know His love and it is His love working in us that makes us loving people. I know that for me without the love of Christ working in my life, I am self-centered and egotistical. Without the love of Christ in my life I would be looking out only for my best interest and not for the welfare of others like I should. Because Christ came and lived and died in my place, and because it was done through the Father’s will and in perfect submission to Him I am able to know and understand what love really is. Simply put it is putting the needs of others above your own willingly, not begrudgingly or because you were told to, but because you care about the other person’s welfare. Love is not just a happy bubbly feeling but a choice we have to make, a choice that is sometimes hard to make. Love calls us to sacrifice our own wishes and desires for the welfare of others. Love means we think of everyone else’s needs above our own.

10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.

It is the love of God that shows us that God is in fact abiding in us. Do not get prideful here, it is not because we love God with some kind of awesome love that this is a reality for us. In fact its has nothing to do with us loving God. Instead it has everything to do with how He loves us. That is truly what this life is all about, what God has done for us. The only part we play in it is our response to what He has already done. As for me, my prayer is that my response affects the hearts of those around me to look and see what God has done. I am. Not sure if you have picked up on what John is laying out yet, but it is love. Remember this is the disciple that did not quite get it when Jesus was there walking and talking with them. This is the disciple that wanted to call down fire from heaven to deal with someone. Look at how God had gotten a hold of His heart and changed this man. Maybe you have read through these and are thinking to yourself this all sounds lovely, but I can never love like that. Maybe all this talk of loving others and putting their needs above your own is making you sick. Allow God to access that part of your heart. He will change you. And it will be sweet and gentle touch from Him. He changed John’s heart. He has changed my heart. I know if you allow Him access He will change your heart as well.

13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

It is about abiding in the Lord. If we abide in Him we abide in His love and if we abide in His love we abide in Him. Abiding is about dwelling and continuing with the Lord. It’s a relationship. It is more than just Sunday morning service or reading this blog. It is about having a personal relationship with Him. Do you dwell in the love of the Father, or is it just something that you know to be true? We need to move past intellectual knowledge of the Lord and develop that personal relationship with the Lord. How do you get to know someone? By spending time with them. The Lord has written us and we can get to know Him through the scriptures. Are we spending time with Him, getting to know Him like we would a friend? Even scarier, are we allowing the Lord to get to know us? Truth is He already knows everything about us, but are we entering into that relationship with Him, sharing our hearts with Him?

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.

The love of the Lord is not something to fear. We are told to fear the Lord, but that does not mean to be afraid of Him. Fear in that sense refers to the reverence we should have for the Lord. I know personally I have spent too much time living in fear with anxiety and panic attacks. It was when I finally really understood the love that God has for me that the anxiety began to change in my life. It did not just stop over night. The truth is I had learned to respond in fear and anxiety for a very long time. I had to learn how to respond in a new way and choose to respond differently. Get to know the love of the Father, seeing Him as your heavenly Father.

19 We love Him because He first loved us.

Again, it is nothing great that we have done, but what Has been done for 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.

We need to be people of love. If we cannot love the tangible we are not able to love the intangible. If we love God that love should be evident in how we treat our fellow man. Jesus tells us that what we have done to the least of these we have done unto the father. That can be found in Matthew 25: 31-46. What we do with those around us matters. First it shows where our hearts are truly at. Second it ca have eternal consequences both from them and for us. Our aim should be to get as many people in heaven with us as possible. In order for that to happen we need to share the love of the Savior with those around us. Come, let us love one another today and everyday.

Caitlin Renee

 

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