1 John 4:1-67 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother..
One of our own members, Damion Walker, brings a message from 1 John chapter 4 on what is true love as expressed by God in His character and word. He brings clarity to the need for believers to be salt and light in this world.
“13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:13-14
Worldly issues have captured our attention. We’ve often replaced the primary message of the gospel with secondary messages on political, social, and cultural issues. Choosing to focus on what we are for, or against, distracts us from being loving ambassadors of Christ. Our world is desperate for truth that tastes good and love that brightens the soul.
According to Barna research findings, only 17% who attend church regularly have a biblical worldview.
“Barna defines “biblical worldview” as believing that absolute moral truth exists; the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches; Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic; a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or do good works; Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; and God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today.”
When the church begins to look like the world, it doesn’t want anything to do with us – we become tasteless and dim. Damion assures us that in these trying times God has shown us how to stay focused on what it means to be a healthy believer showing others how to “taste and see that the Lord is good!”
3 Defining Traits of A Christian who Lives a Life of No Ordinary Love
1. Knowledge of God’s Love and His Standard
2. An Abiding Relationship with Jesus Christ
3. A Remarkable Love for One Another
“What is no ordinary love?” It is clear in verse 16 of 1 John 4 that “God is love.” How can we live out that true love in ways that bring people to God and together? First, we must understand what the world considers true love, is not. Damion shared with us that he grew up in the south. In that culture, he fell in love with R&B music. All of those songs had lyrics that defined love for me, as a young man. One hit number claimed that unconditional love says, “I will climb the highest peak, swim the deepest sea, I would cross the desert land, I would do anything for your love. Yeah.” I learned that that is not realistic – not an expression of true love.
True love is how God shows us His agapé love. Loving others sacrificially, just as He has through sending Jesus to die for each one. God has an impossible standard for love, but He empowers us to love like Him. This power to love like Him comes through abiding in Him.
Abiding in Jesus is recognizing God’s love for us through the giving of His Son, as fully God. We need to declare with our mouths that Jesus is the Son of God. Living His love is primary – all else is secondary. If you find that the Holy Spirit is convicting you of pursuing a different kind of love, here are three impactful ways to restore God’s Love in your life.
Returning to Godly Love for One Another
1. Remembering – what God has done and said and believing it
2. Repentance – seek forgiveness for dropping the gospel, forgetting that it is paramount
3. Reconciliation – ask God to reveal any division in our church, or with other believers, take steps to reconcile these differences
Spend time knowing God’s love and then loving others like He does. Find ways to bring people together in community rather than separate them into factions. Build-up. Bring peace. Be as Jesus.
- What are some issues of our day that entice some Christians to focus what is secondary, not primary, to the gospel?
- How might believers do a better job of being salt and light to the worldly people around them?
- What could be some ways the world defines “true love?” How does scripture define “True Love?”
- Why do you suppose so few regular church attenders have a biblical worldview, as Barna’s research shows? What might both members and church leaders do to improve this?
- Ask God, in your group or in private, how you have focused on secondary issues rather than the primary one of loving the Father and others as Jesus does.
- Commit to taking steps to increase your influence in the church body and the world – follow the three ways: Remembering, Repentance, and Reconciliation.