How's Your Love Life? (1 John 4)

1 John 4

We use the word love in a variety of ways. Often it refers to nothing more than personal sentiment. But biblical love is deeper because it is based on the truth of who God is, and it therefore discerns between truth and error, and it manifests itself in compassion toward others.
How do I discern that someone has a right relationship with God.

A right view of Jesus Christ—Truth

A right view of my brothers--Love

Truth and love always go together in the Christian life.

I.  The Need for Discerning Love       1-6

 We live in a day of utter spiritual confusion in which it is considered incorrect to say that one way is right and another way is wrong. Check out the church page of your local paper. How can we know who is telling the truth?
1. The demonic source of false doctrine. 1-3

A) The world is full of false prophets. 1

B) The litmus test of Christianity is the person of Jesus Christ. 2-3

2) The need for spiritual discernment.  4-6

A) The Holy Spirit enables us to overcome the false prophets. 4

B) The world welcomes false prophets. 5

C) Those who receive the apostolic teaching shows that they, too, know God. 6

We believe in apostolic succession. Not of men, but of doctrine!

II. The Revelation of God's Love            7-12

1. Love originates with God. 7-8

A. Genuine brotherly love demonstrates that we know the God of Love.

B. Lack of love demonstrates that we lack an intimate knowledge of the God of love.

2. Love is manifested in the Son. 9-10

A) He is the source of life.

B) He is the source of forgiveness.

3.  Love is demonstrated by God’s people. 11-12

A) The invisible God may be "seen" in a loving Christian community.

B) There is a deep experience of God's presence that is reserved for those believers who truly love one another.

III. The Fruit of Abiding Love              13-16

  1. 1. The Holy Spirit unites us with the Father. 13
  2. 2. The Father sent the Son. 14
  3. 3. Through the Son, we are united with the Father. 15
  4. 4. Where love is, there is God. Where love is absent, so is God. 16

IV. The Confidence of Mature Love 17-19

1. If we love others, we will have confidence in the day of judgment for we will have lived as Jesus did. 17
2. If we love others, we will have nothing to fear in the day of judgment for we have lived as Jesus did. 18]
3. If we love others, we are only responding to his love for us.

V. The Proof of Genuine Love 20-21

1. From the seen to the unseen. 20
2. From the unseen to the seen. 21
Love always needs a visible object. It must be real and practical, not theoretical and sentimental. Love is perfected when it is practical. It find completion and consummation.
Not merely "I love."
But "I love you."
Unfocused love means nothing because it has no object. Just as God's love was focused on us, even so our love must be focused on those around us.
Verses 20-21 make this very explicit. We must love those we see, not those we don't see. Love begins with those closest to us. It's easy to "love" people in Thailand or Bulgaria because they are always abstractions to us. Unless we go there, or know someone from there, how will our love ever be more than mere sentiment? We are to love those we have seen even though they are unlovely because that is precisely how God loves us. He sees us in all our unloveliness and loves us anyway.

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Ray Pritchard

RAY PRITCHARD

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