Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Pastor's Blog

Faith and Love 5/06/2012
May the grace mercy and peace from God our Father and His Son, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with us today and always, Amen.

As we continue our study of 1 John, we recall that in chapter 2 of John's first epistle, these words were written by the Apostle, which point out of the unction and anointing that we as believers have and which empower us with the ability to discern truth and error. Here are the verses:

18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.
21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.
25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.
26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.
27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

Now as we move to the 4th chapter of 1 John, it is apparent that the chapter break here does not mean a transition to another subject, but rather a parenthesis in the discourse of love is brought forth. In review of this entire letter from the start, we can see that John wrote that our beginning of life is from God and that in order for us to enter into this Life we must come to the Light. Not only must we come to the Light, but we must continue to abide/life in the light as He is in the light. He goes onto to write that the evidence of our entering into the life of God through Christ will be through our attitudes and actions towards our fellow believer. He does this continually through both the positive and negative approaches, in essence saying: This is what the life of Christ looks like or this is not what the life of Christ looks like.

As we begin to look at this 4th chapter, which is a continuation of that which John introduced in the last 2 verses of chapter 3, we read those verses:

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.
24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

From faith in Christ, through the indwelling of the Spirit, love flows towards God and one another. This is what is being introduced in this portion. It is the overall theme. God's love towards us which was demonstrated through the cross warrants our response of faith which then shows itself in love.

Previously he wrote that we have an unction or an anointing of the Holy One and he defined that which this unction/anointing revealed to them, which gave them the ability to discern between truth and error.

2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.

He writes that one is a liar if they deny that Jesus is the Christ/Messiah, saying that that person is antichrist in their denial of the Father and the Son. With this denial of the Son, there is no access to the Father. No Christ, no Father and therefore, no Christ, no salvation.

In chapter 3 there is the continuation of the theme of love of the Father, of his love for us and our love for others It seems like he is saying the same thing over and over again, and to a certain degree, he is doing that. But yet within his repetitive message, he is building upon that which is written before. In the beginning of this book we saw God described as life and light. In this chapter we are going to see a greater revelation of God: Love.

In the understanding of the revelation of God, it is important to remember that as beautiful as the creation is that surrounds us, it of itself cannot reveal the love of God. It is able to reveal the but it is not able to reveal the love of God. ESV Romans 1:20a "For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made."

In verse 23 he says that we know/are assured that he abides in us by the Spirit which He has given us. There is only one Spirit of God, it is that Spirit which reveals Christ to us, Who came to show us the Father. As John did in chapter two, he now brings up the subject of antichrist again. John here warns us to not believe every person that comes along saying that they are speaking for God, but that we are to test them to see if they are of God, for there are many false prophets who have gone out into the world. They are those who maintain that what they are saying is of God, but in reality they are not speaking for him.

KJV 1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

He gives a simple test by which false prophets can be judged: Do they acknowledge the historical happening of Jesus Christ's incarnation? Do they believe it and confess it by their convictions, words and actions? Let us consider the truths we confess when we recite the Apostle's Creed, for when we repeat that Creed, we are are confessing that Jesus Christ came into this world without a human father (God) but through a human mother (human). He came as a man in fhe flesh, like one of us in order to make atonement and destroy death, but yet He was God. He was fully God and fully man/human. We must leave it at this, recognizing that there would be much scripture to consider this part of John's letter in order to explain and illustrate the importance of the incarnation of Christ. No incarnation of Christ, no salvation.......

4 Ye are of God, little 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: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

He now returns to speak to three different groups: He speaks to Christians, who have overcome the false prophets, and who have not succumbed to their lies. He speaks to those of the world and then he speaks of his inclusion in the body of Christ when he says, "We are of God."

How did they overcome? John tells us how they did it. They were able to overcome because greater is he that is in them, than he that is in the world. They believed what God said concerning himself and Christ, His Son. We call this faith. It was not anything that the Christians had of themselves, it was gift of faith which enabled them to experience the presence of God through Christ in them. The Holy Spirit dwelt in them. He dwells in us today by faith. His presence in us gives us discernment and judgment in all things.

Outside of this faith, we are yet of the world, therefore we speak of the things of the world and the world listens to us. In contrast to this, we recall that in the beginning of the 3rd chapter John wrote that the "world knows us not, because it knew not him, and therefore will not listen to us.

But we are of God, we are in union with Him and therefore all who are in this union with God through Christ are in fellowship together. John includes himself in this union, saying that those who know God hear "us", and if one is not of God, they will not hear "us". This is the
second test of discernment, for the Holy Spirit is the spirit of truth and the spirit of antichrist is the spirit of error. The confidence with which John speaks is certainly daring, but yet contagious. He knew "in whom he believed and was persuaded that He was able to keep that which he had committed unto him against that day", even as Apostle Paul had written to his fellow Christian Timothy. (2 Timothy 2:1:12b)

John has written of that which God did through love (sending His Son to the cross) and that through faith we live in union with HIm. Now he begins to speak of the fruit of faith in verse 7: Love

1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God 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 to be the propitiation for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

The origin of love is God. The display of this love is Him sending His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. His giving of His Son is not the evidence of His love, but rather it is the essence of His being. The love of God is being made clear in His Son.

What is it that causes us to see the love of God? Is it our heavy load of sin that makes a person come to the cross, or is it God's mercy that causes us to come to Him. It is only in the disclosure of God's love that causes us to come to Him, for without the invitation for a place to unload our burden, we will never approach his throne of grace. The cross it like a magnifying glass, where the love of God is seen. The cross is a pulpit from which Christ preached His love to the world. The cross is the pulpit of His love!

We need to remember that because God is righteous and holy, he cannot simply cast aside sin, but a sacrifice must be made in order for it to be atoned for. His anger needed to be satisfied, but here we need to understand that his wrath should not be seen as anger as we know it, but rather his wrath is seen as his settled indignation and uncompromising hostility towards sin. It is love of holiness that makes his judgment of sin certain. It is impossible for him not to deal with evil.

How can God punish sin and yet make sinner sinless? When there is a crime, who pays the debt? Someone does, and in this case Jesus paid the debt. He is our substitute for sin. We place ourselves in the place of God, substituting ourselves for Him, thinking that we are God. In spite of all that, God substitutes HImself for us by becoming sin for us. In his demonstration of love,

God revealed His love by the cross, loving the unlovely and that is us. When we come to understand this, we love others because they are persons, created in the image of God. In the understanding and experience of faith, which then works in love, all people are lovable. No one is excluded from God's love. God's love in us becomes visible when we love those who do not love us. Today many do not read the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John but they read the gospel according to you and I. This is the love of God incarnate, Christ living in us. The invisible God is made apparent through the love that God's people have for one another. Where God's life is there will be God's love.

12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

God is a Spirit, He cannot be seen, but here it seems to say of that which we have been writing previously. When faith works forth in love, it is an indication that God dwells in us and through this indwelling, love is matured/fulfilled,completed in us. What is meant by this?
How can one tell by looking at a person that God lives in them? Not by outward observance one cannot tell, but by observing their life and listening to their words, one will get an indication as to whether the Spirit of God dwells in them or not.

13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

After stating that we have the assurance that we live in union with him because He has given us of his Spirit, John returns to his own experience saying that they saw and therefore are able to testify that the Father sent the Son to the be Saviour of the world. He was sent for all and it is the Father's desire that all would come to the saving knowledge of salvation through repentance and faith. In essence, John is saying,we saw and we gave witness of this in our lives. It will be likewise for anyone who shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God. Upon faith being given, love will follow, for when the life of God indwells us through faith, love will flow out of Christ who lives in us. .

17 Herein is our love made perfect, 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 casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

This fruit of faith is now seen in the place that all within themselves know that there is a day of reckoning coming, regardless of how deeply one may bury it by ignoring it, stuffing it or trying to hide it. There is a day of accounting coming to all, but here John writes that the completeness of this love in the heart of a believer will give boldness or openness in the day of the judgment. This is at first somewhat confusing as we would think that faith would give us this boldness or this confidence, but that is not what is says here. It says that the mature/fuliflled love will give us this confidence.

But there is an explanation at the end of the verse: "because as he is, so are we in this world." Because as Christ is, so are we in this world. What does this mean? Paul wrote of this in his epistle to the Galatians:

2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

We have known and believed of the love that God has to us, for God is love and where this love is experienced, we dwell in God and He in us. If we believe in the finished work of Jesus Christ and are living in the power of His resurrection, this love has been completely fulfilled with us. The power of God's love is understood when we understand how much God loves us. When we live in that, we have openness in the day of judgment, for we do not have anything to fear because of something that is hidden. As Jesus Christ is in the world, so are we. The church is the body of Jesus Christ, where the church is Christ is, where Christ is, the body is. They cannot be separated.. When we live in this reality, there is nothing to fear, for all is covered.

Because we are in union with Jesus Christ through faith which expresses itself in love, there is no fear. How could we have fear if we are in Him in union and there is no separation between us? Completely fulfilled love throws out fear, because fear has torment. To live in fear means that we are in fear of retribution or of punishment. If we know that God loves us, the evidence of which is seen in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. what is there to fear ever? If we fear, we are not completely fulfilled in love. If we live in fear, we are fearing punishment because we have not come to a clear understanding of the cross and resurrection of Christ. Completely fulfilled love throws out fear. We know that we have passed from death to life because we love as we have been loved.

When we come to understand and experience by faith the benevolent love of God in Christ, we will have no fear. If we fear, we have not come to understand God's love because we still fear punishment from God. How could we ever love someone whom we fear will punish us. If we re introduce the fear of punishment, we are not fulfilled in love.

Summarizing it all, John writes the following words.

19 We love him, because he first loved us.
20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

In order to remind all that love originates with God, John repeats the order: He first loved us, and therefore we love Him. God imparts His life to us, by faith we lay ahold of HIs life through Christ and through the indwelling Holy Spirit, love for Him and others flows out of us.

The evidence of God's love for us is that He sent His Son, the evidence of our receiving this love is our love towards our brother and sister. If there is no compassion for others, we are a liar. When we come to understand the love of God in Christ, we no longer know any man after the flesh. We look upon other humans as God looks at them. Perhaps we could say
that the understanding of this commandment from God is: That he who loves God loves his brother as God loves him. That is His desire for us, that we would come to live in the same relationship of love that He and His Son live in. And if all believers are in union with the Father and the Son, it would then mean that in the church there is only One. He is Christ and we are in Him. Therefore we as the church love as God loves and in so doing, the world will know that we are in Him and He is in us. They may not like it, and will oppose us, but the witness of God in us is that we love one another.

Dear Lord, may the words of our mouths, and the meditations of my hearts, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

In God's love,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 06 May 2012 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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