1 JOHN - Chapter 4 - Perfect Love Print E-mail

1 JOHN – Chapter 4 – Perfect Love

Tuesday Morning Bible Study

November 13, 2018

Pastor Carolyn Sissom



 John challenges the Church to the level of true fellowship which is actually companionship in the Spirit.  There are many levels of earthly fellowship in Churchs; but John is speaking here of the Spirit’s witness from one spirit to the other that we are sons of God.  Such fellowship is apart from any other dimension on earth.  It provides an avenue to communicate on a level beyond the capacity of earthly love and earthly fellowship.  There is an inward sense of “knowing” which removes barriers normally associated with social exchanges.  Such is and will be the characteristic fellowship of heaven.  John defines and refines this truth that we are to experience this divine fellowship on earth as it is in Heaven.  Carolyn that which is in Heaven will be Heavenly on earth.”


But before John gets to his vision of Perfect Love, John retraces his course of thought:


4:1-6:  Beloved do not believe every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  Hereby you will know the Spirit of God:  Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ came in the flesh is of God.  Every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ came in the flesh is not of God; and that is that spirit of antichrist, whereof you have heard that it should come, and even now already is in the world.  You are of God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.  They are of the world; therefore they speak of the world, and the world hears them.  We are of God.  He who knows God hears us.  He that is not of God does not hear us.  By this we know the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.


These false prophets spoke by inspiration which was sufficient to ensure them a large following.  But Christians forgot, and still do, that we live in a whirlpool of spiritual influences.  We must test the utterances, and the spirits which inspire them.  Not all that appears to be supernatural is genuinely so---there is deliberate deceit and there are delusions.  The test John prescribes is quite comprehensive.


1 John 4: 6-8: Eight ways we can discern true prophets from false ones:


  1. Confess that Jesus the Messiah has come in bodily form.
  2. Must not come in the spirit of the world.
  3. Listen to the truth.
  4. Demonstrate love.
  5. Spirit of Truth must be in them.
  6. Remain true to the written Word of God.
  7. Be overcomers who have the greater One living in them.
  8. Have a Commitment to the Body of Christ.


Prophets and teachers are to be judged by their doctrine; and doctrine is to be judged, not by its emotional quality and strength, but by its agreement with the apostolic testimony to Jesus.  Beliefs and utterances which are disloyal to the person of Jesus as recorded and interpreted in the apostolic testimony are inspired not by the Spirit of Truth but the spirit of falsehood. The spirit which will animate the Antichrist is a spirit which the world finds congenial.  Right belief to the person of Jesus is based upon the apostolic testimony, and John holds the high ground of being one of the primary witnesses appointed by God for that great privilege, honor and duty.


John says, “We (the apostles) are from God.”  The apostles received the Spirit to enable them to bear their witness, basic to the very existence of the Church.  Other Christians are enabled by the same Spirit to believe the apostolic witness.   One of the works of the Spirit among men then and now is to create the apostolic testimony to Jesus, teaching the apostles the meaning of what they had seen, and enabling them to testify as to the person of Jesus, that He is the Son of the Father, and to his work, that He is the Savior of all who will receive Him.


1 John 1:3: That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship us; and truly our fellowship is the Father and with His Son, Jesus.


Built around the knowledge of Jesus and the fellowship he had with the Father, John declared that early disciples simply entered into their intimacy.  We, too, are invited into that intimacy.  Within this fellowship there is no darkness, un-forgiven sin, or hatred.  The spirit of antichrist was not allowed.  A “closed heart” was not allowed.  Unrighteousness was not allowed. 


The world has no knowledge of the fellowship with the divine love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Nothing in the natural mind of man can perceive the depths of this privilege.  What the world determines as fellowship cannot be equated to this holy communion.


The tests of being children of God and living in God are obedience, love and faith. 


Considering the human mind in its three functions of intellect, emotion and will, we are renewed in all its parts by the indwelling of God; the intellect is enlightened to believe, the emotions are kindled to love, and the will is turned and strengthened to obey.


Jerome (3/27/347-9/30/420) one of the Desert Fathers, tells us that during St. John’s last years “little children, love one another” was the one exhortation which, after he had become too old to preach, he never ceased to give.  “It is the Lord’s command, he said, and if this is done, it is enough.”


1 John 4:7-10:  Beloved let us love one another; for love is of God; and every one that loves is born of God; and knows God.  He that does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.    


Love comes from God, whether manifested in God or in man, love is of divine origin being God’s own nature, and everyone who loves is born of God.  (Of course not everyone who feels the force of natural affection or physical attraction or the warmth of friendship, have experienced divine love.)  Divine begetting preceded the love; divine love is an activity of the implanted eternal life, and is therefore a proof that the life and love of God is present. 


Satan loathes the bond of fellowship of this divine entity.  Companionship is an entering into one another; but not co-dependency.  Each walks beside the other because they are agreed.  Each share a depth of spirit-union which disqualifies the dispassionate, egotistical, and self willed.


1 John 1:7: We walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, God’s Son cleanses us from all sin.


1 John 4: 11-16:  Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.  No man has seen God at any time.  If we love one another, God dwells in us, and his love is perfected in us.  By this we know that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he has given us his spirit.  We have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.  Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwells in him, and he in God.  We have known and believed the love that God has for us.  God is love; and he that dwells in love dwells in God and God in him.  


He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no causes for stumbling in him.  Such fellowship in God is the perfect love which passes all understanding.  This love is kind, humble, intuitive, responsive, caring, abiding and continuous.  Doing the will of God and walking in one’s anointing leads to a type of camaraderie mostly unknown today.  The Church is plagued with jealousy, competition, ambition and a desire for recognition, honor and pre-eminence.  The Spirit alone must bring together that which man cannot initiate.  He alones defines the limits of the fellowship and its demeanor.


1 John 4:17:  Herein is love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as he is , so are we in this world.  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear; because fear has torment.  He that fears is not made perfect in love.


  By living in God, love has been brought to its full expression in us so that we may fearlessly face the Day of Judgment, because all that Jesus now is, so are we in this world.  As a young Christian, I lived my life in fear that if I did something wrong, that I would bring judgment on me and my family.  This was not living in the love of God.  The Lord took me through a breaking and broke that off my life.  I no longer live in fear of anything.  Death has no power over me.  All that I will live and walk through on this earth, the Lord will carry me through.  I have no fear of life, the future, or the day of judgment.


We will have open faces on the day of judgment “for the true believer filled with God’s love, the day of judgment is not to be feared but looked forward to, for perfect love will have made us completely like Christ.  Love provides us with no reason to fear the future or to fear punishment from God; or fear the day of judgment on the earth.  


I do not preach fear, I preach love because when our love is made perfect, there is no fear.


Because all that Jesus now is, --- not like Jesus was, but because of grace, we are like he is now; pure and holy, seated in heaven and glorified.  Faith has transferred his righteousness to us. 

1 John 4:18: Love never brings fear, for fear is always related to punishment.  But love’s perfection drives the fear of punishment far from our hearts.  Whoever walks constantly afraid of punishment has not reached love’s perfection.  Our love for others is our grateful response to the love God first demonstrated to us.


Anyone can say, I love God, yet have hatred toward another believer.  This makes him a phony, because if you don’t love a brother or sister, whom you can see, how can you truly love God, whom you can’t see?  For he has given us this command: whosever loves God must also demonstrate love to others.


Dake breaks out the day of judgment with the view that Christians will be judged at the judgment seat of Christ, and sinners will be judged at the great white throne.  I am not an authority on this; nor do I believe anyone else is an authority.  We all read the same scriptures;  but it is my persuasion, when we go to heaven, we will then be judged by Christ.  Sinners will not go to heaven, and they will be judged at the Great White Throne judgment.


Rom. 14:10: Why do you judge your brother? Or why do you set at ought your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.


2 Co. 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 has done, whether it be good or bad.


Rev. 20: 11-15:  I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.  I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  The sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them; and they were judged every man according to their works.  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.  This is the second death.  Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.


1 John 4: 19-21: We love him, because he first loved us.  If a man say, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he that does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen.  This commandment have we from him, That he who loves God loves his brother also.


The early disciples were able to walk into the fellowship enjoyed by Jesus and His Father because of the cleansing blood of Jesus.  His blood has not lost it’s power and continues to open that door, but the prospect of such fellowship is rarely mentioned at all in modern churches. 


Yet, we enter the “witness program of 1 John 5, it has the power to catch away even the newest believers and carry them into a fellowship indecipherable by most Christians.   We have one more Tuesday bible study on the 27th to finish 1 John – chapter 5.


Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries Church


Scripture from K.J.V. – I entered into the labors of F. F. Bruce Bible Commentary and Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible.

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