>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth. Speaking the Truth In Love.
ROBERT >> How’s your love?
That’s a pretty general question, but let’s think about it before we answer. John helps us to see what love really is and if we really have it.
Let’s notice first of all from 1 John 4:7-10, that love is of God. Read it with me. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
You see here how John tells us that love does not define God, but God defines love. He is love. A lot of things that are called love have nothing to do with God. John tells us that you can see it in the sending of God’s son into the world that we might live. This meant leaving the glories of heaven and becoming a human being, one who would be tempted and tried, rejected, betrayed, suffer and die the cruel death of the cross. That’s love. That’s God.
You see, every one of us deserve to be forever separated from God because of our sins. And there was nothing we could do about it. But in his love, God provided a way for us to live with him forever through Jesus Christ. He did for us what we could not do for ourselves. He offered his perfect life as a sacrifice for our sins. Christ’s blood paid for our sins so that we could be forgiven, released from the guilt and power and condemnation of our sins. He was raised from the dead after three days to live forever so we’re set free to live for God and with God forever.
Paul summarized this so well in Romans 6:23 when he says, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Yes, John tells us that love is of God. He tells us that the love of God is unconditional. It wasn’t because we loved God that he loved us, no; he loved us. In Romans 5:6, I want to read this passage to you because it helps you to see the nature of this love called God.
Romans 5:6, “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”
You see, we were without strength. We were weak and helpless, desperate sinners lost in our sin, unable to save ourselves. But then Christ died for the ungodly. He loved us when we were unlovable, before we said or did anything. You see, Christ loved us while we were still sinners.
Look at Romans 5:8. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Yes, God, yes, Jesus Christ loved us first. Before we ever loved him, he took the initiative. He did that knowing that many would reject his love, yet he still he loved us. That’s love. That’s God. Love is of God. Let’s notice a second thing today from 1 John 4 concerning love as we think about how our love is, where we are in our love for God and for others. Notice here from 1 John chapter 4 that loved is perfected in you, those of you who are Christians.
Notice chapter 4, verse 11. “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son, the Savior or the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have known and believed that love that God has for us. And God is love; and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. Love has been perfected among us in this: That we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us. If someone says, I loved God, but hates his brother, he is a liar. For he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him, that he who loves God must love his brother also. Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God; and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves Him who is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.”
A key word here in this passage is that word perfect. We see it in several verses here in 1 John. Let’s look back at them again.
For example, in 1 John 4:12, here’s what it says: “No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and notice, his love has been perfected in us.”
And then verse 17: “Love has been perfected among us in this: That we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.”
And then finally verse 18: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”
The key word is perfect. God wants to perfect in us his love for us and our love for him. The word perfect carries the idea of maturity or completeness as it’s used in the scripture. Love perfected means that love has reached its true end or purpose in our lives. It’s come to its desired development or maturity. Every day, we must be then growing in love. But how can we know that God’s love is perfected in us?
John gives three evidences of perfect love.
The first is this: You know that his love is perfected in you when you have confidence before God. Look again at verses 17-19 and notice the confidence that he speaks of here. “Love has been perfected among us in this, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment, because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear; because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.”
Don’t misunderstand the verses. They don’t mean that we can live however we want to and expect God to overlook it on the day of judgment, no. If that’s what you’re doing, you’d better be afraid. But if you love God and you know his love for you, you will not live in terror before the Lord. A group of teenagers were enjoying a party, and someone suggested they go to a certain restaurant for a good time. I’d rather you took me home, Jan said to her date. My parents don’t approve of that place. Afraid your father will hurt you, one of the girls asked sarcastically. No, Jan replied. I’m not afraid my father will hurt me, but I am afraid I might hurt him. That girl understood the principle that a true child of God who has experienced the love of God has no desire to sin against that love. But notice also when God’s love is perfected in you, then you love the children of God.
Look again at chapter 4, beginning in verse 11. “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in Him, and he in God. And we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”
God says don’t tell me you love me if you don’t love my children. We’re in the same family; we’re brothers and sisters in Christ.
You want to love God? You turn around, you see him all around you.
You say, that’s not God. No. But it’s the avenue. It’s the avenue through which you love Him.
Look down in chapter 4, verse 20. “If someone says, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also. Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.”
You see, we love each other in the family of God because we are family, brothers and sisters, children of God, born again of water and the Spirit. We’re part of his family. So if you want to love God, you’ll love his children.
We say we love God, but do we love one another?
We say we love that great, loving, invisible God in the sky, and we never say well, what about that brother that we see every week?
What about that one who never speaks to you, or maybe that’s of a different race than you, or one that’s caught in some sin?
God says you love me by loving that person. Let me see your love for me out there among yourselves, Christians.
Are you caring?
Are you helping?
Are you serving?
Are you encouraging one another in love?
I hope those who would visit us in the churches of Christ would say, well, I don’t know much about those people, but they sure do love one another.
Listen to these words of Jesus in John 13:34-35, where Jesus emphasizes the importance of our love for one another. He says here,” A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. As I have loved you, that you also love one another; by this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another.”
We don’t have to impress people with our spirituality saying, I love God; no, they’ll see it when we love one another. The love of God has been perfected in us when we show that by loving one another. But there is a third way that we can know that God’s love is being perfected in us, and that’s when we keep the commandments of God.
Look here at chapter 5 of 1 John, verse 2 and 3. “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.”
When you know God loves you and you love him, then you’ll want to obey Him. It’s not grievous to you. It’s not a burden to you. It’s not difficult for you because it’s something that you want to do out of love for God. You don’t do it because you have to, but because you want to. You know that his commandments are not given to hurt you, or to make it hard on you, but because he loves you and wants to bless your life.
As Moses said concerning the commandments of God in Deuteronomy 6:24, they’re for our good always. And so it’s in that context then that we obey our God out of love. We do not obey reluctantly or grudgingly. We want to obey because he loves us and because we love him. So let me ask you again today, how’s your love?
How’s your love for God?
How’s your love for one another in the body of Christ, his church? Do you know, have you experienced in your heart and your life God’s sacrificial, unconditional love demonstrated in sending his son Jesus Christ?
Has this love of God been perfected in you so that you are confident before him?
Do you show this same love to the family of God, and you desire to obey him in everything
Think about that this morning.
Are you assured that you’re going to go to heaven if you were to die today?
Not because you’re perfect, not trusting in your performance, but because you know God loves you and you love him, and you’ve given yourself to him, turning from your sin, confessing Jesus as the Son of God, and being buried in the waters of baptism, you’ve been raised with him to walk in newness of life. And you’ve never lost that faith, and you continue to be devoted to him to the very end. As Jesus said, Be faithful unto death, and I’ll give you the crown of life.
Is that your assurance today?
Or do you need to come to Christ?
Do you need to obey the gospel?
Have you fallen from the grace of God, quit trusting in Christ, and started trusting in someone or something else?
Do you live in high-handed rebellion against Him?
For some reason, perhaps the world has turned you once again against Christ. Will you not turn around and come back to him today?
If you’ve broken that connection with God, come back to God and come back to his church. I’m afraid that many of us don’t have the confidence that God wants for us to have because his love has not yet been perfected in our hearts. But he wants in your heart, and he wants you to know his love and to experience that love every day of your life. I’m afraid perhaps that God’s love has not been perfected in our hearts. And that’s seen in the way that we treat one another in the body of Christ, his church. We’re not really loving each other the way that we should.
The Bible teaches us something in Hebrews 10:24-25 that I think has been largely forgotten among many Christians today. There was a time when every Sunday morning, you get out on the road, you’d see many cars, people dressed up, ready to go to church. But now I see them playing ball out at the park, I see them mowing the grass. There’s not too many cars out there because many are still asleep at home. They don’t care about the church anymore. And of course we know that God loves his church. And if we love him and his love is perfected in us, we’re going to love one another.
Listen to this passage in Hebrews 10, beginning in verse 24. Here’s where the Bible says, “Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another and so much the more as you see the day approaching.”
You see, really, if we loved the church like God loved the church, and remember, Christ so loved the church He gave himself for it according to Ephesians 5:25. He purchased it with his own blood. It’s precious to him. But if we love the church like he loved the church, then we’re going to think about one another, and we’re going to want to stir each other up to love and good works. We’re not going to forsake our assembling together. We’re going to make every effort to be there so we can encourage one another, to help each other towards heaven. When that day comes that Jesus will take us home, we’ll be ready and we’ll be prepared. You can’t do that out there by yourself. God gave us the church to help us towards heaven, and we need to be working hard to do that very thing.
I suppose that there are many who do not have the love of God perfected in their hearts, that they don’t have that confidence we’ve talked about, don’t have that love for his church. And there are those who are not keeping the commandments of Christ. They’re not obeying God.
But Jesus said, “If you love Me, you’ll keep My commandments,” John 14:15.
And as we learned from 1 John 5:3, it’s not a grievous thing, it’s not a burden for us to keep his commandments if we love him.
And yet there are many who claim Jesus is Lord, but seem to go on living their lives as they please instead of in a way that would please him.
Jesus said, “Why call Me Lord, Lord, and not do the things which I say,” Luke 6:46.
I hope today that as you consider your heart and your life and where you stand before God that you will respond to his love. God loves you, and he wants you to respond to that love so that you can have the confidence and assurance of the hope of eternal life, so that you can be a part of his church, to strengthen it and to encourage it, to show your love for each other in the body of Christ, and so that you will be an obedient child of God, one who seeks to please him every day and in every way. God help us to know his love and then to show his love to others.
What can we do for you here at The Truth In Love?
Will you let us know how we can help you?
SINGING>> Here I labor and toil as I look for a home,
just an humble abode among men,
while in heaven a mansion is waiting for me,
and a gentle voice pleading, come in.
There’s a mansion now empty just waiting for me
at the end of life’s troublesome way.
Many friends and dear loved ones
will welcome me there near the door of that mansion someday.
Ever thankful am I that my savior and Lord
promised unto the weary sweet rest.
Nothing more could I ask than a mansion above,
there to live with the saved and the blessed. There’s a mansion now empty just waiting for me at the end of life’s troublesome way.
Many friends and dear loved ones
will welcome me there near the door of that mansion someday.
When my labor and toiling have ended below,
and my hands shall lie folded in rest,
I’ll exchange this old home for a mansion up there
and invite the arch angel as guest.
There’s a mansion now empty just waiting for me
at the end of life’s troublesome way.
Many friends and dear loved ones will welcome me there v near the door of that mansion someday.
ROBERT >> Thank you for watching our program today. We have but one goal: to help us all towards heaven. This is the mission God has given us, to go and make disciples of Jesus Christ, baptizing and teaching them, Matthew 28:19. We know that the gospel of Christ is God’s power unto salvation, Romans 1:16.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and life; no one comes to the Father but by Me,” John 14:6.
Yes, “there’s no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved,” Acts 4:12.
Therefore, like Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:2, “We seek to preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
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SINGING>> Unto the hills around do I lift up my longing eyes.
Oh whence for me shall my salvation come,
from whence arise?
From God the Lord doth come my certain aid,
from God the Lord whom heaven and earth hath made.
From every evil shall he keep thy soul,
from every sin.
Jehovah shall preserve thy going out,
thy coming in.
Above thee watching,
he whom we adore shall keep thee henceforth,
yea for evermore.