How Can We Love God?
7 July 2019 PM – 1 John 4:12-21 – 1Jn2019 – Scott Childs
Introduction: A young man spent an entire evening telling his sweetheart how much he loved her. He said that he could not live without her; that he would go to the ends of the earth for her; yes, he said he would even die for her. However, on leaving, he said, “I’ll see you tomorrow night if it doesn’t rain.” How often we say we love God yet deny it by our actions.
Read 1Jn 4:12, 20-21. John states that it is easier to love a Christian brother that we can see than it is to love God whom we cannot see. How then can we love God?
Transition: In our text this evening, I find four ways that we can and ought to love God.
First, we can love God by abiding in Him and …
1. Loving Others as He Loves Us
a. God commands us to love
1) Jesus gave this command to His disciples.
a) (John 13:34) “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”
b) (John 15:12) “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.”
2) Brotherly love has been a theme of this book.
a) (1 John 3:11) “For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.”
b) (1 John 3:14) “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.”
c) (1 John 3:18) “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”
d) (1 John 3:23) “And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.”
e) (1 John 4:11) “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”
3) John repeats it again for us in v.21.
4) John adds that if we say we love God but hate a fellow believer, we are lying, v.20.
b. Loving others is a way of loving God
1) When we love others, we are obeying God’s command.
2) Obedience is evidence of our love. (John 14:15) “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
3) As we abide in Christ and He then abides in us, He is able to live His life through us. Since He is no longer her in human flesh, we are His agents. When we love others, we are loving God because we are fulfilling His desires. (Ephesians 5:2) “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.”
Second, we can love God by abiding in Him and …
2. Testifying of His Love
a. The Holy Spirit is our Helper
1) Every Christian has the Holy Spirit living within.
2) The Holy Spirit reminds and teaches us how to stay in abiding fellowship with God. (John 14:26) “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
3) No Christian can have peace with God if he is not abiding in fellowship with God. The Holy Spirit’s conviction is a miserable feeling when we are not walking close to the Lord.
b. The Spirit enables us to testify of Christ
1) We are able to testify that the Father sent Jesus to be the Saviour of the world, v.14.
2) The Spirit enables us to confess (or agree) that Jesus is the Son of God.
3) When we are abiding in fellowship with God and the Holy Spirit and we tell others of the Person and Gospel of Jesus Christ, we fulfil God’s heartbeat. (Mark 16:15) “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” When we obey and share the Gospel message with others, we are doing God’s bidding and thus loving God. (John 14:23) “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”
Third, we can love God by abiding in Him and …
3. Believing His Love for Us
a. We have known and believed God’s love
1) We know experientially that God loves us. We can sense this through His forgiveness, peace, and comfort.
2) We know that God is love. We believe in our minds that God loves us. However, God wants us also to believe in our hearts and actions. Love is not just words. Love is action. When we truly believe God loves us, we cast all our cares upon Him knowing that He cares for us (1Pe 5:7).
3) God assures us in Romans 8:35-39 that nothing can separate him from the love of God. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
b. We love God when we believe His love for us
1) God wants us to dwell in His love. Rest in it. Meditate on it. Cherish it. (Romans 8:31) “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”
2) When we dwell in God’s love, fellowshipping with God, it gives us joy and peace. It also expresses our love for God. We show love to God when we trust Him rather than to worry.
3) Just believing that God loves us and accepting His love is a way of showing love to Him.
Forth, we can love God by abiding in Him and …
4. Living as Christ lived in this world
a. Living as Christ perfects our love for God
1) The word “perfect” does not mean to make perfect but to make complete or mature.
2) That which perfects or matures our love for God is when “as he is, so are we in this world.” We express love to God when we walk as Christ walked (1Jn 2:6); purify ourselves as He is pure (1Jn 3:3); live righteous as He is righteous (1Jn 3:7); and lay down our lives for others as Christ did for us (1Jn 3:16).
3) Living as Christ lived will perfect, complete or mature our love for God. Obedience to Christ now will give us boldness or confidence on Judgment Day.
b. Perfected love has no fear of judgment
1) One day we will all give account to God our Creator and Saviour. (Romans 14:12) “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”
2) True Christians have no fear of damnation because of God’s love for us. (Romans 8:33) “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.” (Romans 8:1) “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
3) Christians will suffer loss at the Judgment seat of Christ, but we have nothing to fear when we love God by living as Christ lived. (2 Corinthians 5:10) “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
4) One of the best ways we can love the Lord is by living every moment of every day for His glory. (Ephesians 5:10) “Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”
Conclusion: Have you been loving God in the four ways John identified? (Review them). Let’s ask God to increase and improve our love for Him.
Song: My Jesus, I love Thee 332, More Love to Thee 323