There is not a better feeling than to hear someone you love tell you they love you. It is wonderful to know that you are loved and to hear it. But you only have this feeling from someone you know loves you. If you do not know they love you they can say it all day but the impact won't be there.
When my wife tells me she loves me it's amazing! I know Victoria loves me. Or when Carson or Nora walk up to me and say “Daddy I love you” that makes me feel good because I know she loves me. Or when dad sends me an email often times he will close the email out by telling me he loves me.
We have an innate desire to want to be loved. The Apostle John reminds us in this passage that we have been loved by God and God placed us in His family to be loved. We are doubly loved. We are loved by God and loved by our brothers and sisters in Christ. God has placed His children in a loving family, a family that loves because God loves them. I don’t know about you but that is something I want to be a part of.
John’s main theme in 1 John 4:7-12 is that we should love one another, our brothers and sisters in Christ. The Apostle gives us three reasons why we should love one another.
- God is Love
- God has loved us.
- God abides in us.
In this post we will look at God is love and will review the last two points in another post.
Let us love one another because God is love.
What do you think is the distinguishing mark of God’s children?
Love is what sets us apart from the world. Jesus told his disciples this in John 13:34-35: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this, all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
In Mark 12 when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was he answered: “Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
God’s children are characterized by their love. We will be known and the world will know we are disciples of Jesus because of our love.
John does not leave this in the theoretical realm either. The way he writes shows he loves those he writes too. Verse 7 starts with the word beloved. He loves them much. These people are his dear friends. We can trust then that when John writes that we should love one another he is doing this as one who is loving. William Tyndale said that John “singeth his old song again.” John wrote often of love. He penned perhaps the most popular verse in the Bible, For God SO loved the world. In chapter four of First John alone he uses the word love 26 times. John has much to say about love, because he loved much.
Why does John command us to love one another?
First, we should love one another because love is of God and the one who loves has been born of God and knows God. Our love for one another is an evidence that we have been born again and that we know God. This is evidence that we have been born again because God is the source of love. Love finds its origin in God. Therefore when we love one another we give evidence that we have been born of God and know God.
Second, we should love one another because the one who does not love does not know God because God is love. If God is love and we claim to know God but we don’t love then we don’t know God. Simple as that. You have to love the simplicity of John. He deals in black and white. He is not concerned with the gray areas.
If you love one another, if you love God’s children, then you have God as your Father because your Father is love. One writer told of a time when a member in his church came to him and said they were not sure if a member of the church was a Christian. Like any good pastor, he was alarmed and asked why they thought this. The member replied that there was no evidence of love in their life. The pastor responded by saying “I don’t know whether the person is a Christian or not, but it’s certainly hard to tell when love isn’t present in his life.” He went on to say it is hard to tell “because love is the manifestation of the indwelling of God.
Verse 8 and 16 of this chapter make the wonderful statement that God is love. This deals with the very nature and essence of God. God is love, therefore, He defines love, love does not define Him. This means that if we wish to know what love is and what love does we must look to God. This is the second statement of this nature John makes in this letter. In 1 John 1:5 he says that God is light and John records Jesus in the gospel of John saying that God is Spirit. Hebrews also tells us that God is a consuming fire. How do these fit together? John Stott wrote: “He who is love is light and fire as well. Far from condoning sin, his love has found a way to expose it (because he is light) and to consume it (because he is fire) without destroying the sinner, but rather saving him.” God is love and we should praise Him for His infinite wisdom that all of His wonderful attributes work together for His glory in the salvation of sinners.
This is a perfect transition to verses 9 and 10 which will be our starting point in our next post.