I John Lesson 5: “Real Love”
Motivation: Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle John infused new meaning into an old word “love.” Previously understood as obligation, kinship or social relationship, Biblical love became a picture of God’s relationship to us and our relationship to other Believers.
I. What Now? (2:28-3:24)
A. Anticipate His Coming “So that when He appears we may have boldness” (2:28-29) Anticipation of Christ’s soon, sudden and sure appearing will motivate us to “remain in Him,” have “boldness” and avoid sin so as to do “what is right.”
B. Accept Our Status “Look at how great a love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children. And we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it didn’t know Him.” (3:1) As God’s children we will look, act, feel, and desire differently than the prevailing world’s culture. We don’t want to be like the world but rather to “be like Him” (2).
C. Avoid Sin (3-10) “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself just as He is pure.” (3:3)
HCSB, p. 2173: 3:4 “Sin is a grave matter because God has revealed His moral character in His holy law, and sin is the breaking of law. It is a personal offense against God.”
D. Avidly Love (3:11-20) “We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers” (3:14) Because God loved us and His nature now indwells us, we best reflect Him when we show unselfish love both in word and deed (17).
E. Act on His Commands (3:21-24) “The one who keeps His commands remains in Him, and He in him. And the way we know that He remains in us is from the Spirit He has given us.” (3:24) Jesus said “If you love me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). It’s important for the fully devoted follower of Christ not to be selective in obedience. Obeying some teachings and not obeying others creates spiritual “blindspots.” Accountability to God, God’s Word and God’s people can help eliminate blindspots.
II. Seen in the Son (4:7-11)
A. The Source of Love (4:7-8) “Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” (7) In summing up the nature and character of God, John uses three words “God is Love” (8) The word agape is used frequently by New Testament writers to describe the unconditional love of God.
1. God’s Love is Entrusted to Us “Look at how great a love the Father has given us…” (1 John 3:1)
2. God’s Love is Extended to Us “God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit…” (Rom 5:5)
3. God’s Love is Endless “Who can separate us from the love of Christ…?” (Rom 8:35ff)
4. God’s Love is Effective “God proves His own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!” (Rom 5:8)
5. God’s Love is Enabling “…the one who love another has fulfilled the law…” (Rom. 13:8, 10)
6. God’s Love Energizes “for Christ’s love compels us…” (2 Cor 5:14)
7. God’s Love Epitomizes “But the fruit of the Spirit is love…” (Gal 5:22)
8. God’s Love Edifies “…the body for building up itself in love” (Eph 4:16)
9. God’s Love Endears “their heart to be encouraged and joined together in love…” (Col 2:2)
10. God’s Love is Our Example “…as I have loved you, you must love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
11. God’s Love is Everlasting “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” (Jer 31:3b)
B. The Example of Love (4:9-11)
1. An Example of Initiative “God sent” (9) – God’s love makes the first move. Jesus instructed us to love even our enemies (Matt. 5:44-47). It’s relatively easy to reciprocate love, but difficult to initiate it. (Rom 5:8, 18; 1 Cor 15:45; John 3:16).
2. An Example of Unselfishness “His one and only Son” (9) – God sent the person most precious to Him. William Barclay notes “It is a love which holds nothing back.” The Old Testament account of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his only child (Gen 22:1-14) is a human picture of what God actually did.
3. An Example of Benevolence “So that we might live through Him” (9) Because we were “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph 2:1), God’s gift of Jesus was our only hope to live. His gift was totally undeserved, therefore totally one-sided. “Love consists in this, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son.” (10) As mentioned in our study on 2:2, propitiation means that “Jesus’ death on the cross satisfied God’s righteous anger toward sinners” (Explore the Bible Commentary, Winter, 2000, pp. 79-80).
4. An Example to be Imitated “Dear friends if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another” (11) Because we’ve taken on God’s nature, our love should imitate His. (2 Pet. 1:1-4; Eph. 5:1) “In this way” involves initiative to see the need (Rom 3:23), benevolence to address the need (Rom 6:23), and sacrifice to meet the need (Rom 5:8).
III. Perfected by the Spirit (4:12-15)
A. Remember “No one has ever seen God” (12) Explore the Bible Commentary, (Winter, 2000) p. 80-81: “The declaration that no one has seen God at any time occurs in John 1:18 as well. Paul also taught that God had not and could not be seen (Col. 1:15; 1 Tim. 1:17; 6:16). The Bible does contain instances when individuals said they saw God (Gen 32:30; Judg 13:22; Isa 6:1). And Jesus said that the pure in heart would see God (Matt 5:8). These Old Testament and New Testament verses, however, do not contradict John’s statement in this verse. The essence of God is spirit; consequently, He is invisible (John 4:24). His appearances are not revelations of His invisible being. In stating that God is invisible to humans, John wanted to remind us of our responsibility to reveal God by our daily Christian behavior.” (Matt 5:16)
B. Reflection “If we love one another, God remains in us and His love is perfected in us.” (12b) Our love for one another is an evidence and a reflection of His love in us.
C. Refinement “…His love is perfected in us…” (12) “Love is perfected with us.” (17) If we “abide in Him,” His nature will inevitably overcome our nature. Therefore, showing God’s love does not happen all at once, it is a refining work that is being completed in us day by day (Phil. 1:6).
D. Reinforcement “This is how we know that we remain in Him and He in us: He has given assurance to us from His Spirit.” (13) John reminds us that the only way we can demonstrate God’s love is to die to our natural selves and allow God to shine through us (Gal. 2:20).
E. Revelation “And we have seen and we testify that the Father has sent His Son as the world’s Savior. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God – God remains in him and he in God.” (14-15) God’s revelation to us is through Jesus. The revelation of His transforming power in us must be by verbal witness (Rom 10:9-19).
IV. Defined by the Father (4:16-18)
A. Passion “And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him.” (4:16) HCSB; p. 2175: 4:16 “In some verses John emphasized the ethical side of saving faith; in others he stressed doctrinal fidelity. Here his emphasis is on the devotion of the passions and heart – love.”
B. Perfected “In this, love is perfected with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, for we are as He is in this world.” (4:17) HCSB; p. 2175-76: 4:17 “The ‘He’ in we are as He is could refer to either Jesus or God the Father. If the reference is to Jesus, John was saying that as the Son lived in this world, loved others, and pleased God, so can His followers. If the ‘He’ refers to the Father, John meant that as God dwells with His people and moves them to reflect His love, they have complete confidence in view of the coming judgment.”
C. Peace “There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love.” (4:18) Fear is a sign of unperfected love. Fear manifests itself in uncertainty of the future (“judgment” 17), but it is also seen in hatred, jealousies, selfish ambitions, and envy which are all included as fruits of the flesh (Gal 5:19-21).
V. Imitated By His People (4:19-21)
A. Commitment “We love because He first loved us” (19) – God’s love toward us while we were still sinners demonstrates the principle of prior commitment. God does not ask us to do what He has not done. When He asked us to be givers (2 Cor 9:7), it was because He gave first (John 3:16). We cannot love unless His love radiates through us.
B. Confusion “If anyone says ‘I love God’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar…” (20) – John gives a very practical test for the presence of God’s love: His love will be expressed through us in love for others. Just as God loved “the world,” so we cannot be selective or limiting in our love.
C. Commandment “And we have this command from Him the one who loves God must also love His brother” (21) This commandment references 2:7-8 and Jesus’ quotation when asked about the greatest commandment Matt. 22:36-37; Deut. 6:5; Matt 22:39; Lev 11:18.
1. Believers are to test teachers for sound doctrine.
2. Believers are to allow God’s love to dwell in us.
3. Believers are to reflect God’ love to others.
Leader Pack Item 12: Poster: 1 John 3:16
Biblical Illustrator no article this week
Notes: **You may access David’s Lesson Preview in MP3 format and notes at: www.hfbcbiblestudy.org
Dates: 6/29 & 7/13 - HUB Nights; 6/14-7/13 – Pastor Gregg on Sabbatical; 6/27 – Men: Serve; 6/28 – Thom Rainer – speaker; 6/29- 7/2 – VBS & VBX; 7/2, 9, 16, 23 & 30 – MetroLIVE – Thurs @ 7:13 pm; 7/3 – Independence Day – offices closed; 7/5 – Nabeel Qureshi – speaker; 7/5-9 – Houston 1:8 and Houston Project thru 10th; 7/8 – HUB Summer Wed. night; 7/12 – Doug Bischoff speaking; 7/12 – Lord’s Supper; 7/13-17 – Student Leadership U; 7/15, 22, 29 – SPF Summer Nights Bible Studies; 7/15 – RUSHWeek Rally – all students; 7/19 – SPF Birthday Bash; 7/19 – Deacon Ordination; 7/19-25 – Rush Week in Panama City; 7/24 – Family Mission Trip; 7/24 – Matt Redman Concert; 7/24-25 – FP4Health Summit; 8/1 – Inspirational Writers Conf.; 8/2 –RUSH Sunday; 8/3 – Schlitterbahn Galveston – Student; 8/5 – MetroLIVE – last one, Wednesday; 8/14 – Recreate Date Night; 8/16 – Welcome to HUB – 6th grade lunch; 8/16 - SPF Bday Bash; 8/22 – SPF Oasis Day Retreat; 8/23 – Back to School Sunday; 8/26 – Back to school Bash & Milestone Preview.
Last Updated (Sunday, 28 June 2015 05:53)
I John Lesson 3: “Dangers to Avoid”
Motivation: After the exhortation to love in the previous lesson, John turns toward spiritual warfare. This lesson is a great companion to Pastor Gregg’s series “The Unseen Enemy” (May, 2015).
Last Updated (Monday, 15 June 2015 06:49)
I John Lesson 4: “Is This of God?”
Motivation: John warns believers not to accept all teaching that claims to be of God at face value. We have a responsibility to “test” the soundness of doctrine. Ultimately, sound doctrine will be reflected in Christians who love as Christ loved through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Last Updated (Monday, 15 June 2015 06:48)
I John Lesson 2: “Walking in the Light”
Motivation: A major theme of John’s First epistle is assurance of salvation (5:13). The first marker he lays down is walking in the light. In agrarian terms, a sheep may get dirty but desires to be clean; a pig wallows in the dirt and enjoys it.
I John Lesson 1: “The Truth Presented”
Motivation: John’s Pastoral letter is perhaps the most helpful book concerning assurance of one’s salvation. It also stands against Greek philosophy, especially as manifested in Docetic Gnosticism, affirming Christ’s humanity. Finally, John’s letter contains some of the stronger exhortations for Christian love and correct behavior we will find in Scripture.