All We Need: I John 4:7-14

I John: LIGHT/LOVE
All We Need: I John 4:7-14
Pastor John Weathersby
Sunday April 17, 2022

Draft, Not Transcript

As the providence of God would have it, our natural landing place this morning (as so often happens) is perfect for Resurrection Sunday. If you’re new to Church, resurrection means that the Son of God, Jesus, died physically and miraculously has risen (or resurrected) from the dead. And this is all we need.
 
I’m going to let you stop me there. Perhaps you just thought, oh right, Jesus came back to life Thomas thought the same:
 
John 20:24-29 (ESV)
24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 
25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 
27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
 
The resurrection of Christ demonstrates life, which has us captured, has no power over Him. So we celebrate with the Scripture:
 
“O death, where is your victory?    O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 John 4:7 (ESV)
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.
 
Beloved”, John comes back, reminding the reader, who he is addressing.
 
He calls them Beloved in 2:7-11, calling them to know that their confession in Christ makes them share in Christ’s victory. 

1 John 2:7-11 (ESV)
The New Commandment
7 Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard.
8 At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.
9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.
10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.
11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
 
Next, in 3:11-18, specifically, verse 18, we should love the brethren despite hatred in the world – with active, purposeful love. 

1 John 3:11-18 (ESV)
Love One Another
11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous.
13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.
14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.
15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?
18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
 
Here, in 3:7, teeing up his point that we, in Christ, have a final connection to God. This makes us His children and marks us with family traits.

1 John 3:7 (ESV)
7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.
 
The love John has in view isn’t a grudging duty we must take on – this love results from our meaningful and genuine connection to God, if we are the beloved.    John here says, to the beloved, on worldly love:
 
Matthew 5:46 (ESV)
46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?  Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
 
God’s love, doesn’t exist as a merited reaction that is earned, God’s love is His character and as we’re joined to God in Christ we take His characteristics on, they flows through us.  As such, the person who loves HAS BEEN born of God and knows God.  The love that we have for each other as the family of God, is different than the love members of the local country club have for one another.

Knowing Him isn’t a one time occurrence.
Knowing His isn’t awareness of a God concept.

Rather knowing Him, is growing in the knowledge of Him by abiding and experiencing Him in daily life.  Knowing God is what John has been developing through all of 1 John. 

1 John 1:6 (ESV)
6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
 
When God knows us and we Him, we don’t walk in the dark – a continual pattern of sinful living.  The concepts of walking, in the darkness or in the light, are ideas that we can know. 

Through Scripture, we can see what it is to be either in the light or dark, in the truth or a lie.  The scripture doesn’t leave us without a remedy for knowing what sin is.  Some people do feats with The Word that a circus ole contortionist would be impressed by.

Acts 13:10 (ESV)
10 and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord?

John said:
 
1 John 2:15 (ESV)
Do Not Love the World
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
 
Those who know Him have fellowship, not walking in the dark but in the light and practice the truth.  There is evidence that we fellowship with God. By the very blood of Jesus’ sacrifice for our sin, we are redeemed to God.  This has been John’s point,
 
1 John 2:29 (ESV)
29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.
 
That said, 1 John 3:1 and 1 John 3:10 demonstrate that we’re no longer children of the devil, but of our heavily family – in Christ, God’s own family and bear the family resemblances:
 
1 John 3:1 (ESV)
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.  The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 
 
1 John 3:10 (ESV)
10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.


In verse 7, to the beloved, John says that we “love one another because love is from God,” love, the very state of love, comes from a connection to God in Christ.  John has built a strong base of what it means to be found connected to God in Christ, by Christ’s blood, in the light, fellow-shipping in the truth, and reflecting the very love of God.
 
How do I know? Let’s look at verse 8:
  
8 Anyone who does not love does not know God because God is love.
 
There it is.  Not loving equates to not knowing God. 
 
Some teach universalism, meaning everyone is saved and loved equally by God. I’ll leave two questions, if that is true, 1st if true then what does Jesus mean by:
 
Matthew 7:23 (ESV)
23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
 
…and 2nd why has John spent SO MUCH TIME describing in the beloveds what it means to be found in truth, in the blood of Christ, walking in the light (not in the dark), as a distinction from those who aren’t like this/
 
Many who claim universal salvation do not fellowship in a Church.  They don’t like the Church because it disagrees with something they likely do scripto-acrobatics to describe away.  John has been talking about this the whole time, but again, those who have chosen darkness over the light aren’t appealing to Scripture rather to their preferences and to worldly teachers.
 
2 Timothy 4:3 (ESV)
3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,

9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him.
 
In this… oh, something is coming.  What is THIS that I can understand the subject through… God sent His only Son into the world.  Ok, the sending of His only son is “this”, so let’s go back.  IN this, the love of God was made manifest. 
 

clear or obvious to the eye or mind.” the system’s manifest failings”


In sending the person Christ and looking on all the implications of Christ and His sending, my mind can understand the love of God.

Why, because of a) Christs moral perfection and b) our complete in ability to help ourselves.
 
Across the OT before Christ we see people as helplessly rebellious and far from God.
Jeremiah 44:4 (ESV)
4 Yet I persistently sent to you all my servants the prophets, saying, ‘Oh, do not do this abomination that I hate!’
 
We see that God must handle sin if he is a fair and just God:
 
Job 15:14–16 (ESV)
14    What is man, that he can be pure?
Or he who is born of a woman, that he can be righteous?
15    Behold, God puts no trust in his holy ones,
and the heavens are not pure in his sight;
16    how much less one who is abominable and corrupt,
a man who drinks injustice like water!
 
Romans 10:2–3 (ESV)
2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.  3 For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.
 
Our nature is opposed to the very nature of God we hate and resist Him, and we, of ourselves, cannot please Him.  Of ourselves, we’re dead and cannot even come to Him.
 
This is a hopeless picture! We do not know and aren’t known by Him.
 
By the grace of God, He gave a temporary system to make atonement: 
 
Leviticus 17:11 (ESV)
11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.
 
These demonstrate a future reality that will be revealed in Christ.  Looking back at the OT sacrifices, the writer of Hebrews says this:
 
Hebrews 10:11 (ESV)
11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
 
Later in Romans:
 
Romans 3:23–26 (ESV)
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.  This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 
26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
 
Hebrews 2:17 (ESV)
17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
 
This propitiation of Romans and Hebrews is what John is drawing on.  Propitiation is:


 
“the action of propitiating or appeasing a god, spirit, or person.”


Let’s stick with John’s line of argument to the brethren:
 

10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
 
John is talking about the depth of the unique love of God for us.  Romans 5:8 reveals:
 
Romans 5:8 (ESV)
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
 
This love isn’t like humanistic love seeking benefit.  Instead, true Godly love is finding its source in God.  How does John demonstrate that it is so unique, the propitiation of Jesus, God sent the second person of the Godhead, while we actively and hotly hated God, poured His wrath on the sinless God-man, as an offering for man’s sin.
 
The truth of God’s love for us is made abundantly clear by the resurrection – this is why resurrection Sunday is worthy of deep and meaningful reflection.  This is why we’re captivated by Jesus’ having risen because it points to the great love of God for us; while we hated Him.
 
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 

12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us, and his love is perfected in us.
 
Beloved, God did love us like this, so we love one one another in this way, in the Church we’re quick to forgive and slow to anger, we’re different than the country club, we’re the church who’s debt was bought with our Lords own blood.  The world, and even we as a community of gathered worshipers, see God’s manifestation of love, continued through the spirit-filled walking in truth and light, and love one for another by the gathered and scattered Church. 
 
You walk the love of God out in your daily life.
 
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 his Son to be the Savior of the world.
 
This truth richly encourages us.

So as we go from here, this resurrection Sunday, let’s testify that the Father sent His Son to save the world by walking in the light, testifying about Him with our lips, and walking in the light, not darkness.
 
“O death, where is your victory?    O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
 
Thomas had all he needed:
 
 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

What about you?

All you need?

Pray, Observe, Apply.

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