As I mentioned last week, much of the rest of this letter is a review of things John has already said. However, as I mentioned last week, because God inspired John to repeat himself, I will too. Evidentially God means for us to hear these things more than once. And yet, as I also mentioned last week our pace is going to pick up a bit—slowing down only when John brings in something new. 1 John 4:13-21, our text for this morning, is almost entirely filled with repeated ideas (several are repeated word for word). This morning, then, we're going to see the glory of God again! Please pray that God would grant us all a great love for our great God whose truths are so great that we can never hear them enough.
This week, on the heels of having declared that God loves his people such that he sent his own Son as a sacrifice for their sins, John calls them to respond in kind. In doing so John makes three simple points that I want us all to see in this passage: 1) Because God loved us like this, we ought to love one another in similar fashion; 2) By loving Christians as God loves us we make the invisible God visible; and 3) By loving as God loves us we show the reality of God and his love in us. We're going to look at each of these and then I'm going to conclude by listing a number of practical ways that we can put this into practice. Please pray with me that God would grant us love like his for Him and his people.
In our passage for this morning we're presented with the absolute pinnacle of God's love on display. Every other expression of God's love is made possible by, and is an extension of, the love described in these two verses. Let's pray that God would allow us to understand and experience his deep, deep love for us in the person of Jesus Christ.
Grace, we're faced with quite a passage this morning. It's hard to overstate its importance when it comes to living the Christian life. Here John makes extra explicit something he's already touched on: the source of Christian obedience. The real question here, then, is, "How do I live the life that I'm called by God to live?" Or, how can I possibly be and do all the things that God is calling me to be and do? Or, where does the will and strength to obey God really come from? This what we're going to look at this morning in 1 John 4:7-8. Let's pray that God would grant us this great mercy—the mercy of seeing clearly from the word of God itself the true source of Christian obedience.
John clearly loves the people in his churches. And his love is especially important because of the difficult circumstances they are in. Thus, in addition to expressing his love through terms of endearment ("little children"), in this letter John also does so by reminding the believers about truths they'd already been taught in order help them rightly interpret and respond to the things that were going on around them. In our passage for this morning John is especially interested helping the true Christians in his churches understand the contrasting origin, work, effect, and outcome of those who follow the Holy Spirit and those who follow the Spirit of the antichrist. Let's pray that God would make this contrast clear to us in order that we'd live rightly in the knowledge of who and whose and what and to what we are.