What’s Love Got to do With It?
1 John 4:7-21 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God 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 has been perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. 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. 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. 19 We love [a]Him because He first loved us. 20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, [b]how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
Let’s recap. John sets forth the characteristics of those who have true fellowship with God and reveals five specific tests by which we may have assurance that we have eternal life: the test of apostolic truth about Jesus; the test of an obedient faith that keeps His commandments; the test of holy living, turning from sin to fellowship with God; the test of the Spirit’s witness and lastly, the test of genuine love for God and the brethren.
HE who does not love does not know God, for God is love. So lets talk about love.
First, we must have and develop a love for the Lord. We love Him because He first loved us when He gave Jesus to die for our sins. If you have never repented and been born again of the HS, you cannot truly love. Your love will be feelings/emotionally based and you will vacillate between feelings of love and bitterness. You must have a revelation of the cross and what Jesus did on the cross. You have to have a revelation of your own wickedness and sinfulness apart from the cross. This should produce in you a love and gratefulness to the Lord.
God’s love is not unconditional- it is conditioned upon you keeping your heart fixed on the Savior of the world and reliant on His blood sacrifice to forgive your sins.
Jude 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
John 15:9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.
In both these Scriptures, there is a watchfulness to remain in His love. How is this possible? How do we keep ourselves in the love of God? By doing the things that John tells the church: remain in apostolic doctrine, do not sin, obey His commands and be led by the Spirit of God. This is the first and greatest commandment
Matthew 22:36-37 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
IF HE is not your everything, you will have a divided heart and cannot truly say you love Him. Obedience is the fruit of our love. DO not let apostate and lukewarm Christians tell you differently. You cannot say you love Him and you do not obey Him and you cannot say you love Him and continue to live a life of selfishness and sin. Just as you cannot say you love Him and do not love His church. This is a false confession. Do not deceive yourself.
1 John 3:9-10 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. 10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.
Hasn’t He done enough for you on the cross? Is that not enough for your allegiance and loyalty? You were redeemed and set free from the bondage of sin and death, how can you not love Him? How can you not give Him your everything? What is keeping you from giving Him all your love and devotion?
Here is another test of our love. John says, he that still operates in fear has not been perfected in His love, is not keeping himself in the love of God.
Scripture declares that fear is bondage. Fear has torments. If you still fear, then why? Here’s what I think are some possible reasons:
You do not truly love Him, it’s a half-hearted devotion. You are not “all-in” as they say and are still trying to figure things out and do things in your own strength and own way.
You do not have a revelation of the cross and your own sinfulness.
You do not fully trust God. Love and trust are inseparable. If you truly love Him, you will trust Him with everything- your life, your children, your job, your home, your family, your future. In my mind- it is a black and white issue. Either you trust Him or you do not.
You do not really know Him. I think a lot of people fall into this category. You put God in the position of a man and put all your insecurities, hurts and doubts that others have done to you onto Him. You equate God with your absent or abusive father/mother. You equate God with those who you trusted and they betrayed your trust. You equate Him with those who lied to you, abandoned you and rejected you. THIS IS NOT OUR HEAVENLY FATHER.
You will only go so far, but no further. Love requires being “all-in”. It is an all or nothing proposition. You cannot truly love unless you are willing to get hurt. Yet, God will never hurt us like a man. He will never be unfaithful, disloyal, abusive or hurtful like a man. It is not in His nature. I plead with you to get to know Him!
You have to spend time in His Word and time in prayer in order to know Him- and most are not willing to put in the time. I spent 3-4 hours a day in prayer and Scripture studying.
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, [b]how can he love God whom he has not seen?
This word hate means to “love less”. It has to do with preferring others better. You cannot love others more and others less. This is in fact “hate”. This means that you cannot say you love God and you show preferential treatment to certain brothers/sisters in Christ. Love is an all or nothing proposition. Sunday we talked about the Standard of men and women’s role/ marriage. Well this is the standard in the church- we love ALL the brethren or none of the brethren. To love less, is to hate.
1 John 3:14-15 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love [a]his brother abides in death. 15 Whoever hates (loves less) his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
Because we cannot see God our love for Him is displayed in our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ. This is why when people tell me they love God, but treat the church disrespectfully and rudely, I do not believe their words. John tells me they are lying.
Now, it is important to note that we are living in a time of great lawlessness and people calling good evil and calling evil good.
Matthew 24:12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
We are in this time, when true love has grown cold and many within the professing church have no love for the brethren. It is the sign of the times. WE have to let Scripture define love, not the world.
Thankfully we have a whole chapter in Scripture dedicated to explaining to us what love is and what it is not.
1 Corinthians 13:1-7 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
You can have great spiritual gifts and operate in these gifts and not have a heart of love. MY home church had many that spoke in tongues, but were mean-spirited. Spiritual gifts mean nothing w/o love
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
Here again, you can have wonderful and wise gifts according to the Spirit and you can prophesy to everyone and have great faith, faith that God can do the impossible; yet still have not love in your heart.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body [a]to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
You can give everything away including yourself, be generous with your money and time, serve everyone and still have no love in your heart. I have shared with you how I can work hard and serve others, putting my head down and plowing through and still have evil thoughts and animosity towards others. You can serve mankind and have bitterness, resentfulness, envy and murder in your heart. THIS IS NOT BIBLICAL LOVE. God is not impressed with your religious activities and “works”.
Here is biblical love. IT is a love that stems from a heart that seeks the best for others. It is a heart that has been changed by God’s love for them and in turn cannot help but take care of others and see their loves transformed. The NT is concerned with man’s heart. If your heart does not change, it does not matter what you do. You will go to hell for good works with a heart that loves less.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not [b]puffed up;
Love suffers long. Love is patient. Love does not blow up and does not have a short fuse with others. Love knows that God has been gracious and longsuffering with us and we are to show that same resolve to others.
Love is kind to everyone. If you are only kind to those you like, it is not love, it is hate- to love less. I don’t care what you do for others if you treat those you like good and others poorly.
Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
Love is not envious. Because you know God loves you and He has a plan for you and HE will take care of you and bless you; you are not envious of what others get; whether its giftings, possessions, etc. Love does not envy.
Love does not parade itself. Love does not boast, is not arrogant, or prideful. IN fact we are told the “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” We should remember that it was not Satan’s actions that caused his fall, it was the pride in his heart to exalt himself. The enemy has used pride for thousands of years to ensnare man because it works. Pride is not just boasting arrogance, it is also not being vulnerable to allow others to see your faults, to pray with you and to help you. Refusing help is pride.
5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, [c]thinks no evil;
Love is not rude. Again, I do not care how generous you are with those you want to be generous to if you are rude to others. Your love has grown cold. I shouldn’t have to tell you this, we should know what rude looks like. We are living in a time when there is a huge amount of disrespect. Make your children respond when spoken to. Teach them manners and how to talk to adults. Do not ghost people. Listen to how you talk to others and your tone of voice. LOVE IS NOT RUDE.
Love does not seek its own. IT is selfish, self-centered. It is not self-promoting. This means that love seeks the best for others, puts others first, thinks of how things affect others and not ourselves. Love prefers others better than ourselves.
Philippians 2:3-4 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
Love never seeks its own. Love does not forsake the gathering and isolate- this is selfish and self-centered behavior where love has grown cold. Explain “the gathering” means “the whole”, not just meeting with those you like to have coffee with
Proverbs 18:1 A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all [a]wise judgment.
Love is not provoked. To provoke is to stimulate or incite (someone) to do or feel something, especially by arousing anger in them. Love is not easily offended. I operate in self-control and train my flesh how to keep my feelings and emotions in check. I keep my anger and frustration under control. I do not fly off the handle for any reason. I offer my other cheek to be slapped. I take correction, instruction in righteousness. I do not render evil for evil, but pray for my enemies and do good to those who despitefully use me.
Love thinks no evil. I take every evil thought about my brother captive. I refuse to think evil about others, but choose to believe that they have good and right motives, unless they show me differently and then I pray for God’s goodness and mercy to extend to them.
Proverbs 15:26. – The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord.
God’s Law touches the thought of the heart as well as the outward action.
6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
“You shall not hate your brother in your heart; but you shall surely rebuke your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him…..You shall love your neighbor as yourself”. Leviticus 19:17-18b
we are to rebuke our neighbor for his wrong doing. So our Lord teaches, “if thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him”. Paul warns Timothy and Titus, “Them that sin rebuke before all” (1 Timothy 5:20). “Reprove, rebuke” (2 Timothy 4:2). “Rebuke them sharply” (Titus 1:13). “Rebuke with all authority” (Titus 2:15). By withholding reproof in a bitter spirit, or from a feeling of cowardice, we may become partakers of other men’s sins. We must love in truth! By not rebuking a sinning brother, you too can be held responsible for his sin. If you know of someone’s sin and let him alone to continue to sin which may prove of eternal fatal consequences to him; you are not acting in love. (You would do well to listen to what God says love is and not the world). Rather, it’s a sign that you really hate them in your heart, are apathetic concerning sin and it’s consequences. Love hates sin because it destroys lives.
Love holds dearly to the truth. WE do not lie to one another. We do not keep things from each other. WE confess our faults to one another and pray for each other. We hold tightly to the Word of God and we refuse false doctrine and heresy. WE reject the world’s philosophy and teachings. We cling to God’s standards and commandments and doctrines. Love rebukes a wandering brother. Love rebukes a sister in error. Love me enough to help me get on the right path if you see me slipping.
7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
LOVE is set as a high bar and the highest of moral victories in the life of a saint, “And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” This is serious business.
How can we truly love like this? We crucify our flesh, die to ourself and our selfish desires and we live as unto the Lord. It takes training and discipline to walk in love- but we have the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives- the apostle tells us, “By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.”
I have failed this love test multiple times- but I do not get frustrated and discouraged. I draw nearer to the Lord and draw from His strength the power to love like He loved.
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