1 John 4:14-16
1 John 4:13 says, “Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.” Notice the little word “of.” It is a very important word here. It means that we have God’s Spirit to respond to the same things He would respond to.
I would be ashamed if I could not say to you that I know I am growing in the Lord and that God is working in my life. There are things I have chosen to do that have helped me grow, but most of the growth has not come from things. Most of the growth has come from the things God has chosen for me and the way I have responded to those things.
The Lord has assigned things providentially to me to use me to realize that I need Him. If you are a father or a mother, God can bring you to the place of tremendous dependence on Him for your children. Some of you know that there are things in marriage that God allows, to enable you to trust Him and lean on Him and to know that we need Him so desperately.
The Bible says in 1 John 4:14-16,
“And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”
Here we have the perfecting and the growing of this love. The saddest thing I see in God’s family is people who are not longer growing. Let me tell you how you can know that you are no longer growing even after being a Christian for many years. If you still say the same bad things about other people, and you still sit in the seat of judgment without compassion, you are not growing. We should be growing in the Lord, and an indication should of that perfect love is that our hearts go out to people.
In the book of Hosea, God shows His love for Israel by allowing Hosea to experience terrible things. He married a woman of whoredoms; by the time she had her third child, he had to give the child a name which meant, “This is not my child.” Then she left him; she prostituted her life and sold her flesh. To add misery to that, she became a drunkard.
Hosea went through the streets calling out the name of his wife who left him and was living in harlotry. Hosea loved her, and sought her until he found her. Can you see him? This is the love of God! What a Saviour we have who sought and purchased our redemption with His own blood. He won us to Himself and brought us into His bosom.
Notice the power of this love. Some people have called this the greatest statement in the New Testament. As you think it through, you may agree. 1 John 4:17 says, “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.” Remember, He has given us the ministry of reconciliation,
bringing men to God. There are so many other things involved in this phrase, “as he is, so are we in this world.”
We are going to meet God someday. God says that He has worked in our hearts in such a way that, knowing we are going to meet Him, we can have boldness in the day of judgment.
Have you ever heard people talk fearfully about death? There are some people who will not discuss it. But 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” Isn’t that beautiful? We no longer have this tormenting fear, because there is no fear in love!
If people are afraid, it is because of something in the past that haunts them, or something in the present that upsets them, or something in the future that they feel threatens them. Or it may be a combination of all three. A believer in Jesus Christ does not have to fear the past, present, or future, for he has experienced the love of God and this love is being perfected in him day by day.
We are excited about heaven. We know that the Great White Throne is a place where unbelievers will stand and be cast into hell. For believers, the Judgement Seat of Christ is where our works are going to be judged. When we think of death though, we think of seeing our Saviour! Why do Christians have this totally different view of death and dying? It is because Christ’s perfect love has changed our lives and given us power over this fear of death. That is how powerful love is!
The Bible says in 1 John 4:20-21,
“If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.”
This is easily understood, is it not? If you say, “I love God, but I hate you,” God says that you are a liar. John shows the contradiction between saying we love God while hating other Christians. How can we love God in heaven when we do not love God’s children here on earth?
This is not a suggestion; this is a command. We must love our brethren. Is God going to command us to do what we cannot do? Certainly! He is not going to command us to do what we cannot do in our own strength, but He is going to command us to do what we can do in His strength.
“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” — Galatians 5:14