Thursday, May 23, 2024

2024.05.23 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 John 4:7–11

Read 1 John 4:7–11

Questions from the Scripture text: What does the apostle call them (1 John 4:7)? What does he urge them to do? From where does love come? By whom have those who love been begotten? Whom do they know? What is not true about someone who does not love (1 John 4:8)? Why not? What has God done with His love (1 John 4:9)? In what way has He manifested it? What is unique about this Son? Into what has He sent Him? For what purpose? What didn’t we do (1 John 4:10)? But what did God do for people who didn’t? What did He send His Son to be? What does the apostle call them again in 1 John 4:11? What does he say (again!) we ought to do? Upon what basis?

Why must Christians love one another? 1 John 4:7–11 prepares us for the second serial reading in public worship on the Lord’s Day. In these five verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that Christians must love one another because God reveals Himself in loving us and reveals who His children are by their loving with that love.

Love is of God1 John 4:7-8. God is love. All that love is, God is. It is such an essential characteristic of His that failing to love is proof that we don’t have any real relation to Him (1 John 4:8). This is what the new birth produces in a believer: love for God as someone who knows Him, and love for those who are His. For many, one of the first symptoms of their conversion is their newfound, profound love for believers.

God’s love manifested1 John 4:9. The doctrine of God the Son being begotten of God from all eternity has been an important, essential doctrine throughout this letter. But it is a doctrine that is important for more, even, than just knowing the truth about God. It is a doctrine that essential for knowing His love. How very many ways God has displayed His love toward us! But all of them together are not to be compared to His sending His Son into the world.

God’s love initiates1 John 4:10. Whom does God love with His saving love? This verse has a surprising answer: those who did not love Him but sinned against Him. Those who sinned against Him. And how much did He love those who sinned against Him? So much that He gave Himself to be the propitiation; He gave Himself to suffer His own wrath in their place. We never begin to love God except by His redeeming love toward us, first in His Son, and then by His Spirit.

God’s love propagates1 John 4:11. The logic in this verse works two ways. The first is that the one who has been loved ought therefore to love others. The second is that if we see someone else upon whom God has set His electing, redeeming love, then they must become objects of our special love for God.

When you think about how you relate to others, what evidence is there that you have been born of God? How has God shown His love for you? What part did your loving Him have in this? 

Sample prayer:  Lord, forgive us for how we have valued loving too little, when loving is the chief fruit of being born of You and knowing You. Forgive us for forgetting that You have loved us and given Christ for us, when we did not love You and only sinned against You. We thank You that You have given Yourself in Your Son to endure Your own wrath in our place. Grant that through Him Who has atoned for us, we would also love You and one another, we ask in His Name, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH427 “I Sought the Lord, and Afterward I Knew”

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