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You Gotta Get It Before You Can Give It! (1 John 4:14-19)
Sermon Notes
Sunday, 27 October 2013 00:00

Love Perceived (4:14-16)
In 1 John 4:7-16 the subject “we/us” includes the readers along with the apostles (no “you’s” are here in this context in contrast to the “we/us,” which indicates that John is including his readers in the “we/us”).

Verse14 can be paraphrased as follows: And so, when we love like this, we (meaning both the readers and the apostles) have seen the reality. By loving one another, the readers can have fellowship with the apostles in what the apostles had seen,” which is precisely what the prologue had promised in 1:3 ~ — 3 that which we have seen (perfect) and heard (perfect) we declare (present) to you, that you also may have (present) fellowship with us;
~ And this was nothing less than fellowship with God, as 1:3 concludes: and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.

14 And (so) we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.
4:15 “Fellowship” was with the apostles in what they had “seen” (v.14).
But the readers were also to have “fellowship” in what the apostles had “heard” (1:3).

What the readers can hear in the midst of the loving fellowship of believers is nothing less than a confession that Jesus is the Son of God. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
When Jesus is confessed as the Son of God, He is being confessed as it says in 4:2, as “Christ come in the flesh,” as the One Who guarantees eternal life that you can never lose and future physical, bodily resurrection to every believer.

Love Perfected (4:17-19)
Love is perfected only in a Christian who conveys it to others.
But there is a connection between love perceived and love perfected.
Until I perceive God’s perfect love for me, I am not able to dispense God’s agape love to another on any kind of sustained basis.
Love is perfected only when a Christian conveys that love to others.
Another aspect of this perfecting or maturing of love is boldness in the day of judgment:
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.
17Since God is love, the believer who loves is like He is, and thus has boldness (cf. 2:28, confidence) in anticipation of the day of the Bema Seat judgment, even though that loving Christian is still in this world.
This takes us back to 2:28 and the concept of “confidence before Him at His coming.
[This is not a judgment for the saved to determine their destiny in heaven or hell, since that is already a settled issue (John 5:24; Romans 8:31-34). But Christians will give an account of their Christian lives at the Judgment (Bema) Seat of Christ (Romans 14:10-12; 2 Cor 5:10-11).

The idea of having boldness in the day of judgment is a stimulating concept!
Reasonable Christians, even though fully assured of their salvation, will realize “the terror (fear/phobos) of the Lord” (2 Cor 5:11). The possibility of triumphing over that “terror” is challenging indeed. Yet this is possible if believers “abide in love” (1 John 4:16).
The reason why one who “abides in love” can expect boldness at the Bema is because as He is, so are we in this world. Since God is love (4:8, 16), the one who loves is like He is, even though that loving believer is still in this world.

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.
18This experience of loving other believers casts out fear, an experience that is incompatible with perfect love.
By “perfect love,” John does not mean sinlessness. The word teleios is the noun of the same root as the verb teteleiotai, translated “has been made perfect in 2:5; 4:12, 17.
Here, as in those places, the concept is of a matured love that has reached its goal or objective.
John’s point here is that when God’s love to believers has reached its goal in them, by making them channels for that love to one another, this experience casts out fear.

However, the disobedient Christian will experience God’s discipline, since the presence of fear involves torment (= kolasis - punishment).
John likely has in mind the truth that “whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives (Hebrews 12:6).
In fact, this NT truth is found on the lips of the Lord Jesus in Revelation 3:19, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.”

If a Christian experiences fear as he anticipates being evaluated at the Judgment Seat, then this fear can be regarded as a punishment intended to awaken him to his need to correct his behavior. Unpleasant as it is, like all divine discipline (Heb 12:11), it is nevertheless a signal of God’s love and of His desire to see believers made perfect in love.
If the Christian responds to this kind of discipline, the discipline is then effective and “yields the peaceable fruits of righteousness (Heb 12:11), which for John are inseparable from love.

This way of understanding the 1 John 4:18 is based on the concept of proximity to the thought of confidence at the Judgment Seat of Christ, and assumes that the fear of this judgment bears its own punishment or torment.

[Next week I want to give you another point of view regarding 1 John 4:18, and particularly this word kolasis/n, translated “torment, punishment, painfulness” in various translations.
Next week is also communion Sunday for November. Don’t forget to “fall back” an hour so you get that extra hour of sleep!]

19 We love Him because He first loved us.
John speaks here for the first time in this letter of our loving God – our response to His love for us! With regard to the Christian’s exercise of love, John has up to now spoken of that love as directed toward other Christians, (loving one another).
Here in v.19, however, John speaks for the first time in the epistle of our loving God.
(Standard critical translations unfortunately omit “Him” NIV, NASV, as the reference to loving God is pivotal here, as we will see next week when we consider v.20.)
One’s love for God is sourced in His love for believers (as noted in 4:9-10).

 

 

 

 

 

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