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1 John

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Two Sets of Children

1 John 3:9-10

It is said that you can tell the character of the parents by watching their children. Whether or not that is always true, the children of God have been born into His family and He wants them to acquire His nature. They should be ashamed of their old sinful nature, be grateful for God's forgiveness and restoration, and delight in being able to love and serve the Lord.

Hatred Is Normal For The World

1 John 3:11-13

Life, as a child of God, should be full of love. Our eternal life starts when we repent of our rebellion against God and receive His love and forgiveness. Love is normal for God because He is love; and so for those who have His seed (1 John 3:9), loving is the normal way of relating. Jesus commanded that His disciples should love each other as He loved them. Indeed, love was to be the hallmark of discipleship (John 13:34-35) – the stamp of authenticity of being a child of God.

Love in the Family

1 John 3:14-15

Cain did not love his brother Abel. Murdering him was shockingly wicked, and its deadly echo has reverberated down through the centuries (1 John 3:11-13). That dreadful act was an epic example of what it means to be against God's family and therefore against God.

By contrast, the believers who made up the Early Church found that, despite differences in background, ethnicity, language, culture and finances, they loved each other. They found they had a supernatural desire to share and give to people who ordinarily they might never have chosen as friends.

Practical Love

1 John 3:16-18

Love is not primarily a feeling which makes us feel good. It is a deep emotion which compels us to complete acts of self-sacrifice, so that the person we love can receive the best we can give. The ultimate act of love is to surrender our lives so that others may live. Jesus said,"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." (John 15:13). He proved that by accepting the punishment of our sin when He died on the cross (1 Peter 2:24).

Confident that We Belong to God

1 John 3:19-20

John had just set the test of true discipleship as loving our believing brothers and sisters in a practical and sacrificial way. But it is a test with two edges. The first is the confidence which flows from knowing that we are unsatisfied until the believers around us have what they need. That tells us that the family of God matters to us as much as our own family. It reassures us that that we belong to Christ who is the Truth.

Confident to Receive from God

1 John 3:21-22

Confidence comes to believers as we know that we are loved, forgiven and accepted by God when we repent and believe the gospel (Mark 1:15). Knowing the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus, our hearts can rest in His presence (1 John 3:19). And that peace gives us the desire and assurance to come to His throne and request what we know will please Him.

God's Great Commands

1 John 3:23-24

Everybody, with a conscience towards God, wants to know what they must do to please Him. That desire is embedded into every heart, however much it is suppressed. John had heard Jesus answer the question, "'What must we do to do the works God requires?' Jesus answered, 'The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.'" (John 6:28-29).

Do Not Be Gullible About Spiritual Influences

1 John 4:1-3

Although it would be nice to think that all religious people basically believe the same things about Jesus and the gospel, it would be naïve, because they do not. John wrote this warning that many false prophets have gone out into the world. His use of words implies that they are 'on a mission' to substitute their philosophies for the authority of King Jesus. So it is vital for church leaders and indeed every believer to know whether a person is speaking truth from God or not.

Listening to the World or to God

1 John 4:4-6

The people you listen to, will be the people who shape your life. Listening is a choice based upon what you really want: so the people of God should listen to Him because they desire Him, and His holiness. But many people reject the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, preferring the world with its 'feel good' agenda. And so those who desire the world's standards will listen to worldly wisdom and be functionally anti-Christ, whilst those who desire the Lord will listen to Him.

Love Comes from God

1 John 4:7-9

Every family share certain characteristics. They may be physical similarities, or the way they talk. God's family is marked out by God's character which is full of love. In contrast to the way of the world, where love is valued as long as it does not cost too much, the children of God have the wonderful privilege of being loved by the only person who is in charge of everything, everywhere for all time and eternity; and He will spare nothing to show His love.