Lesson 8 - Loving One Another

Lesson 8 - Loving One Another

(1 John 4:7-5:3)

Make no mistake about it.  "God is love."  See 1 John 4:8, 16.  At a time when Jerusalem was in ruins God told His weeping prophet, Jeremiah, "Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love."  Jeremiah 31:3.  And God has done more than just talk.  He demonstrated His great love for us.  "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."  1 John 4:9.  How can anyone question God's love for them?  A crucified Son of God is His answer to any doubt.  "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."  Romans 5:8.

The apostle John and the believers he addressed in his letter had something in common which is true of all Christians today.  "We have known and believed the love that God has for us."  This being true, we share a common testimony.  "And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world."

God gave His Son that we might live, and that we might live our lives loving Him and others.  Do you love God?  Do you love the Father and the Son?  Do you love others?  "And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also."  Loving one another is not just a nice gesture, but also a commandment.

Believers didn't always love God.  Even the apostle John, a son of thunder, wasn't always a loving individual.  But love begets love.  "We love Him because He first loved us."

Saving faith is more than an intellectual assent.  It is also more than a logical deduction, a reasonable conclusion of some syllogism.  Faith comes by hearing the Word of God.  Romans 10:17.  That's why it is so important that the gospel be preached to every person.

"Faith works through love."  Galatians 5:6.  Apart from love our belief system can be nothing more than a dead mental exercise.  See 1 Corinthians 13:3.  Love sets faith in motion.  It's interesting that the apostle John repeatedly used the action verb "believe" throughout his gospel.  Peter put it this way: "Whom having not seen you love.  Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory."  Wow!  What a statement!  Listen to what Jesus said to religious Jews, who claimed that God was their Father.  "If God were your Father, you would love Me."  John 8:42.  Without love our faith can be nothing more than a dead orthodoxy.

Here are two statements to remember about regeneration, the second birth; (1) "Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God," and (2) "Everyone who loves is born of God."  1 John 4:7.

The second statement is the result of the first.  We aren't born again because we love people.  Faith and love are companions in the Christian life.  We love others because we have been born again through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The apostles linked faith and love.  Paul wrote, "We heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints."  Colossians 1:4.  (Our faith is in the Lord, not in the saints.)

"Everyone who loves Him who begot (God) also loves him who is begotten of Him (believers)."  The conclusion?  "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments."

Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments."  John 14:15.  If we love God, we will keep His commandments.  "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments."  And John adds, "And His commandments are not burdensome."

In Ephesians 5:1, 2 we read, "Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.  And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma."  Those who walk with God walk in love.

 

Lesson 9 - Believing God's Record

 
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