Friday, February 21, 2014

Bible Study: Live A Life Of Love - 1 John - Chapter 4

Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the epistle of 1 John. I feel a great sense of urgency to publish them because I’m not sure how much time we have left on this big, blue marble. Thank you for reading them. I pray that God blesses and encourages you through this material. I’m not sure of the condition of the world at the time of this publication. But at the time of its writing, mid to late summer 2010, things are still looking pretty bleak with the economy and unemployment, BP finally thinks they’ve stopped the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, and many people I know personally are experiencing difficulties of mega-crisis proportions – including my own diagnosis of breast cancer. Are these the first stages of birth pains? The last? God only knows. And He is very busy these days. Seek His wisdom. Encourage each other. Pray. Jesus is coming to deliver His people and judge the wicked…


Take a few minutes to pray and savor chapter 4 of 1 John. Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…

4:1-3 – As Christians, we are to test every spirit. These verses are speaking about false prophets and false teachers. We do this very simply: “…every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.”

4:4 – Believers are from God. We have overcome the spirit of the antichrist “…because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

4:5 – The spirit of the antichrist speaks the language of the world. Those who belong to the world, and not to God, will listen to these false teachers. The only protection from this is to belong to Jesus.

4:6 – The disciples were sent by God to declare His message. In John’s case, His mission was to record history and the teachings of God. Whoever knows God will “listen” to the disciples – through their recorded testimonies. Whoever is not from God, won’t “listen”. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

4:7-11 – This is a very vivid picture of how God loves us and how we should love our brothers and sisters in Christ. Our love is what makes us recognizable as belonging to Him.

4:7 – Because love comes from God, those who love God must love each other. This is how you can know who has been born of God and knows God – they will love.

4:8 – Because God is love, whoever truly knows God will love.

4:9 – God showed his love by sending Jesus into the world that we might live through him.

How do we live through Jesus?

4:10 – Love is God sending Jesus as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

How did Jesus act as the atoning sacrifice for your sins? Have you accepted this wonderful gift that He has given you? Have you thanked Him, lately?

4:11 – Since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

What does this verse mean to you? Should we also be willing to make ultimate sacrifices for our brothers and sisters in Christ?

4:12 – If we love each another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.

What do you think this has to do with seeing God? Can you explain how our loving each other makes His love complete?

4:13 – How is the gift of the Holy Spirit proof that we live in Him and He in us?

What evidence do you have that the Holy Spirit lives in you? If you can’t confidently answer this question, please seek out a trusted pastor who can help you answer it.

4:14 – The disciples are eye witnesses that the Father has sent Jesus to be the Savior of the world.

4:15 – This is a powerful scripture:

“If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.”

4:16 – Why do you think John reiterates that God is love and that whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him?

4:17 – In what way is love made complete among us? How does this give us confidence on the day of judgment? How are we are like Him in this world?

4:18 – Memorize this!

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

Don’t just memorize this. Really get to know it. If you belong to God, there is nothing to fear! NOTHING! I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Once the initial shock wore off – along with an unhealthy dose of terror – I ran straight to my Daddy! He assured me that what He was allowing to touch me first touched Him. He promised that this was for my benefit and the benefit of others. He said He loved me and still loves me and He has plans for me – to prosper me, to give me hope and a future. His love is perfect, and it really does drive fear away.

4:19 – We are incapable of love without Him.

4:20-21 – Here’s another powerful couple of verses. Someone who really loves God CANNOT hate his brother in Christ. If someone hates his brother, he CANNOT love God.

What do you think this has to do with being seen?

• First John instructs us in how to live a life of love. Like First Peter, it also llustrates several life lessons and warnings for Christians. What is God teaching you in this chapter of scripture? How will you apply it to your life this week?
• What attributes of God do you see in this book?
• What verse of scripture seemed to be God speaking directly to you? What is He teaching you in these verses? How does He want you to respond?

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