TEXT: 1 John (Chapter 3-4)
OBSERVE: Chapter three begins with an encouragement to the readers to fix their hope on the coming Jesus. A clear delineation is then made between children of God and children of the devil and between people who hate fellow believers and people who have God’s love in them. The author proposes two tests for identifying false prophets: they do not confess that Jesus came in the flesh, and they do not heed the tradition preserved from the beginning. Then the author returns to his main point: love is the sign and source of a true relationship with God.
INTERPRET: The previous two chapters of this letter introduced the stark differences between those who truly have fellowship with Christ, as opposed to those who are “in darkness”. Chapter 3 then continues this theme with an emphasis on love. This serves as a bridge between John’s descriptions of lives lived abiding either in darkness or light, to an explanation of how Gods faithfulness gives us confidence as Christian believers.
Chapter 4 emphasizes the way God’s love removes the natural human fear of rejection. Fear is a punishment of its own, and John makes it clear that those who do not believe have every reason to fear judgment. However, believers can have confidence that not only has Christ forgiven their sins but he gives them God’s love. Following in this Godly love leads to acceptance, which leads to confidence, driving out fear. This passage is a vital part of this letter, explaining how confidence in the life of a believer ought to be accomplished.
APPLICATION: Followers of Christ believe that Jesus came in the flesh and died on the cross for their sins. When we are truly transformed by these truths that John is stressing; we come to understand that God’s love is epitomized at the cross. The love that God extended to us should not only have us believe in him but should give us an overwhelming desire to love like him. God’s love is unconditional and unending. God’s love transforms those who believe and it will transform others whom we extend this love to. We need to love like God loved; a Godly love.
God’s love will also help us live a life of acceptance and confidence. God’s reckless love for us should drive out all fear of sin and darkness. Jesus has made a way for us and we are to live lives that reflect the acceptance and confidence we have in Christ. Belief should always be reflected in how we are responding to God’s love for us.
REFLECTION: Have you been transformed by God’s reckless love for you? Are you extending this Godly love to others? Have you put conditions or limits on the love you share with others?
PRAYER: JESUS, I love you because you first loved me and drew me to yourself in acceptance. I have confidence that you will hold me safe and secure in your love so that nothing can come between us. I ask that you empower me with your love so that I may extend this love to others. AMEN.
SONG: RECKLESS LOVE
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.