Bible Study of 1 John: Day 191
God Defines Love
Thursday, May 25, 2017
Carefully prepared just for you by your friend, Debbie Holt
Thank You for Your love. Make me a vessel of Your love so others may see You today. Amen.
I John 4
Today I’m going to quote from Warren Wiersbe’s commentary on I John because he makes some very good points on this theme of love. Please reflect on his words as they show the deep measure of God’s love, as opposed to the garbage we hear today about “love”.
“For the third time, we are considering the subject of love. This does not mean John has run out of ideas and has to repeat himself. It means that the Holy Spirit, Who inspired John, presents the subject once more, from a deeper point of view.
Read 1 John 2:7-11
First, love for the brethren has been shown as proof of fellowship with God.
Read 1 John 3:10-14
Second, it has been presented as proof of sonship.
Read 1 John 4:7-16
But in I John 4:7-16, we get down to the very foundation of the matter. Here we discover why love is such an important part of the life that is real.
Love is a valid test of our fellowship and our sonship because “God is love”. Love is part of the very being and nature of God. If we are united to God through faith in Christ, we share His nature. And since His nature is love, love is the test of the reality of our spiritual life.
God is love.
This does not mean that love is God!
The fact that two people “love each other” does not mean that their love is necessarily holy. It has accurately been said that “love does not define God, but God defines love.”
Much that is called “love” in modern society bears no resemblance or relationship to the holy, spiritual love of God. Yet we see banners saying “God is love” displayed at many festivals, particularly where young people are “doing their own thing” – as if one could dignify immorality by calling it “love”! (pg. 515-516, The Bible Exposition Commentary)
Agape love is the theme here. It is a “God love” that only God can produce. Even unsaved people are capable of loving their family to a self-sacrificing degree. But it doesn’t take long to see the limits of man’s love without God. Marriages are forsaken, children are abandoned, and even lives are taken because of the limits of “man’s” love.
Conditional love is the best we can do without the saving grace of Jesus that makes us new creatures! Born again … circumcised heart … Spirit-led … need I say more?!
Read 1 John 4:8-12
God’s love is proclaimed in the Word (“God is love” 4:8), and is proved at the cross (“God has sent His only begotten Son into the world”4:9). Now we have the rest of the story … God’s love is completed in His body (“so that we might live through Him” 4:9). God’s love is completed (perfected) in the believer. (I John 4:10-12)
You were to look for three “tests” of a true believer in yesterday’s assignment. God’s Word tells you to test the spirits to see whether they are from God!
What are the tests?
- Confess that Jesus is the Christ and has come in the flesh. (4:2-3) Remember, gnostics deny this.
- Listen to God’s Word. (4:5-6) “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim.3:16-17)
- Love one another. (4:7-8)
You were to also list the next saying/doing contrast.
Read 1 John 4:20
Did you find it?
- 4:20 “If someone says, ‘I love God’, and hates his brother, he is a liar”
- Conclusion: hate your brother = don’t love God
Today you’ve seen that God lovingly tells you how you can KNOW that you are born again.
- Do you confess that Jesus has come in the flesh? Many false religions stumble over this fundamental truth.
- Do you listen to (obey) the Words of Scripture? Many false religions pick and choose the verses they “approve”, but do you stand on the inerrancy of the whole counsel of God’s Word?
- Do you love others with the Christ-like selfless love? Agape love knows no limits!
- Does your love for God stand the test of love for others?
Think on these things, and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you any area in which He doesn’t have your whole heart! It’s too important to ignore!!
The word “confidence” is used four times in I John. Look up the Greek word and write out its definition.
Then write out what you learn about “confidence” in:
The word “hates” is used 5 times in I John. Look up the Greek word and write out its definition.
Then write out what you learn about “hate” – (this was one of your contrast words that you are listing):
Thank you for this time You’ve given me in Your Word today. Imprint it on my heart. Amen.
What is God showing you through this study? We’d love to know. Leave us a comment below.
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