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1 John

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God Defines Love

1 John 4:10-12

The sad truth is that, naturally, human beings do not love God - the person who made them, sustains them, provides for them and heaps goodness upon them. We are all sinful from birth (Psalm 51:5): that is, we resist the authority of God and express that rebellion in a million different ways which we call 'sins'. It is not that we have wandered from perfection: we start in imperfection and daily deface the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

God's Love is Confirmed by the Spirit

1 John 4:13-16a

Believing in Jesus Christ and trusting Him as Saviour and Lord is not fantasy but fact. However, when believers are under persecution, unwell, challenged by unbelievers or undermined by false teachers, how do they know that their faith is real and secure? It is an important question to answer correctly, especially as our personal emotions will follow the good or bad times we experience: we need to know that our faith is rooted in truth.

There Is No Fear In Love

1 John 4:16b-18

True love always generates confidence. The wonderful truth about being a child of God is that we can be confident that He will protect us and provide for us. But God is more than our Father; He is also our Holy Judge who cannot allow any sin into His heaven. How will His love protect us because we are not perfect? He cannot be sentimental towards us, and He would be unjust to ignore our sin.

Love Is Not Optional

1 John 4:19-21

Love, that deep personal desire to give ourselves to meet the needs of another, must be expressed in service … or it is not love. Our model is God. We only know what real love is because He has loved us, by sacrificing Jesus Christ so that we might have eternal life. And it is only because He lives within believers that they can understand and practise their life's calling to love others.

Enter God's Family Only Through Jesus

1 John 5:1-2

The essential qualification for belonging to God is not the good things we do, but the Saviour we trust. False teachers have an amazing variety of wrong suggestions about how to get close to God but Jesus said there is only one way. Everybody who believes in Him as the anointed Son of God, the Saviour of the world, is born into God's family as a much loved child of God. It is a blood relationship; we depend on the blood of Jesus Christ to atone for our sins and make us right with God.

Love that Overcomes

1 John 5:3-5

True love is not sentimental, trying to generate and preserve as many good feelings as possible. The love of God is practical and always achieves His objectives perfectly (the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ is the best example of that): and our love for God is marked by obedience to His commands. God's instructions are not too heavy for us, but they will demand that we rearrange our priorities and re-order our desires.

The Real God-Man Jesus

1 John 5:6-8

The identity of Jesus Christ is an essential part of His nature which enables people to know how to relate with Him. When John wrote his letter, false teachers were claiming that Jesus was merely a man who was anointed with the Holy Spirit at His baptism but the Spirit left Him before His death. In other words, they claimed that Jesus was an ordinary man who was blessed by God for the purpose of His amazing ministry, and then He died as any ordinary man.

Who Do You Believe?

1 John 5:9-12

None of us knows everything. In fact, we all know very little compared to what could be known. So we have to rely on others to inform us. But who do you believe? Usually, we believe the word of somebody we know and trust (parent, sibling, or friend); otherwise we will believe the person who has the highest authority over us. The former relationship is governed by love and the second, often by fear.

The Basis of Certainty

1 John 5:13

John wrote many words in his gospel, the three letters and Revelation. Why? He wanted his readers to be certain that they have eternal life. At the end of his gospel he wrote, "Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." (John 20:30-31).

Confident Prayer

1 John 5:14-15

Most people like to know that somebody is listening and interested when they are speaking. Their attention provides the necessary confidence to share what is important, knowing that self-revealed information will be treated preciously. John's experience of talking to Jesus had convinced him that God always listens and responds to those who trust in Him.