Love’s Affects (1 John 4:13–21)

Love’s Affects (1 John 4:13–21)

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Has anyone ever asked you where or how God is at work in your life? The first time this question was asked of me I was quite new in my walk with Christ and I wasn’t quite sure how to respond. Then I asked them the same question. They responded by telling me how God had provided them with a six-figure salary, good health, and the blessing of a lifetime having been born in the United States.

If you know me at all you can imagine what I’d ask next. So is God not at work in the lives of those outside the U.S those in poor health, or those who don’t make six figures? I wasn’t trying to be difficult or put them on the spot, but it’s a natural question when someone gives the answer that they did.

See God is always at work in the world and He is at particular work in His people. That work is special and supernatural as His love affects His people. He is at work through the Holy Spirit who leads you into knowledge of Christ and God’s love. His love affects you by driving out fear of judgment and hatred for others.

So when one asks how is God at work in your life you can respond that He has saved and is saving me. He leads me in knowledge and love of His Son. That love drives out fear of His judgment and hatred for others. That’s how God is at work in our lives. That’s what our text for today reveals.

MPS: The Holy Spirit leads you into knowledge of Christ and God’s love. His love affects you by driving out fear of judgment and hatred for others.

The Holy Spirit leads you to know Christ and God’s love. (13-16)

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. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 

  • The Holy Spirit indwells us, which assures us of salvation. (13)
    • It is from the Spirit’s indwelling that the blessings of God’s presence are made aware to us. His comfort, strength, wisdom, peace, and hope are all mediated to us by the Spirit.
      • Not by looking towards our inner strength as our supply, but the Spirit of God who dwells inside us.
  • The Holy Spirit leads us to confess Christ. (14-15)
    • Confession of Christ includes His divinity, humanity, sinlessness, death, resurrection, and ascension.
    • The Spirit leads us in right knowledge of these things.
      • But how do people come thus to acknowledge the divine-human person of Jesus? The apostolic testimony is necessary (14), but it does not compel assent. It is only by the Spirit of God that anybody ever confesses that Jesus is the Christ come in the flesh (4:2).” (John Stott)  
  • The Holy Spirit makes us aware of God’s love. (16) How does God show His love?*
    • He is the one who applies salvation thereby making us God’s people. Jesus’ sacrifice is the full expression of God’s love and it is through the Spirit that this love is given.
    • How do we know that we know God? By confessing Christ and receiving God’s love through the Spirit.
    • How have you seen God’s love at work today?*

God’s love matures into confidence, certainty, and love for others. (17-21)

17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

  • God’s love matures just like we as believers mature.
    • There are pictures of continued growth or maturity of believers in 1 Corinthians, Hebrews, and 1 Peter:
      • But I, brothers,[a] could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, 3 for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?” (1 Cor. 3:1-3)
      • 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature,” (Heb. 5:12-14a)
      • So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2:1-2)
  • God’s love matures into confidence. (17)
    • What are we confident in? That we are like Christ so that at the Day of Judgment we are found completely guiltless.
    • Everyone thinks about their last days whether in this life or the next.
    • Only the Christian has the confidence to stand before God without fear of Judgement, because He has clothed us with His righteousness.
      • Your sin no longer defines you.
      • Your pain no longer defines you.
      • What others have done to you no longer defines you.
      • What you have done to others and yourself no longer defines you.
      • For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21)
      • But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:4-7)
  • God’s love matures into certainty. (18)
    • Those who continue to live in fear or concern are those who have yet to grasp the love of God given to them by Christ through the Spirit. “Though fear is not wholly shaken off, yet when we flee to God as to a quiet harbour, safe and free from all danger of shipwreck and of tempests, fear is really expelled, for it gives way to faith.” (John Calvin)
  • God’s love matures into love for others.(19-21)
    • God’s love teaches us to love Him, ourselves, and others.

Next Steps

—> Wrestle with the implications of God’s love

—> Discover the truths about Christ

—> Consider how God’s love is maturing in your life


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