1 John 4

Truth and Love
1 John 4
1 John 4. The .

Discerning Truth and Error (4:1-6)

1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, if they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
2 Hereby ye know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses Jesus Christ come in flesh is of God; 3 and every spirit which does not confess Jesus Christ come in flesh is not of God: and this is that power of the antichrist, of which ye have heard that it comes, and now it is already in the world. vv.2-3 Why is it emphasized that any spirit of God must confess “Jesus Christ come in flesh”? First, it shows the eternal deity of the Son. He had to exist in order to “come” in flesh. The ordinary human couldn’t say they had come in flesh, because they are flesh. They did not exist before in any other state. Only of the Son could it be said that He “came in flesh”. It isn’t so much the fact that Jesus Christ came into this world that is emphasized here, but the mode of His coming; i.e. in flesh (John 1:14). God who is love manifested Himself in flesh, and it was the only way He could thus be fully manifested to man. There have been many attacks against this truth, such as the assertion that Christ was just an appearance of human flesh, or just a human body indwelt with the Spirit, or even some claimed the man seen here below was a substitute person used by God for a temporal purpose. All of these are false and destructive to the faith. To deny Jesus Christ come in flesh destroys the manifestation of God as love!
4 “Ye” are of God, children, and have overcome them, because greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. 5 “They” are of the world; for this reason they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. 6 “We” are of God; he that knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

Love in the Family of God (4:7 – 5:3)

The Love of God Toward Us, Settling Every Question of Our Past (4:7-10)

7 Beloved, let us love one another; because love is of God, and every one that loves has been begotten of God, and knows God. 8 He that loves not has not known God; for God is love. vv.7-8 Love and Its Source.
9 Herein as to us has been manifested the love of God, that God has sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son a propitiation for our sins.

Love Manifested Through Us and Perfected in Us (4:11-16)

11 Beloved, if God has so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time: if we love one another, God abides in us, and his love is perfected in us. v.12 love manifested in the lives of believers toward one another shows the world what god is like whom they can’t see. John 1:18 – Christ displayed God perfectly on earth.
13 Hereby we know that we abide in him and he in us, that he has given to us of his Spirit. 14 And “we” have seen, and testify, that the Father has sent the Son as Saviour of the world. 15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 And “we” have known and have believed the love which God has to us. God is love, and he that abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

The Love of God With Us, in View of the Future (4:17-19)

17 Herein has love been perfected with us that we may have boldness in the day of judgment, that even as “he” is, “we” also are in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has torment, and he that fears has not been made perfect in love.

A Responsive Love (4:19)

19 “We” love because “he” has first loved us. v.19 As those who have been the recipients of divine love, we have the capacity to love with the same divine love.

Reality of Love to God Tested; Its Proof and Counterproof (4:20-21)

20 If any one say, I love God, and hate his brother, he is a liar: for he that loves not his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? v.20 If we want to measure our love for God (not the point) it is our love for our brethren. Christians claim to love God, but those claims are tested.
21 And this commandment have we from him, That he that loves God love also his brother. v.21 “from him”… consider Who gave the apostles (and us by extension) the commandment.