Topic: Salvation Scripture: 1 John 4:1–4:21
(note: our apologies, there is no sermon audio available for this message)
It would be wonderful for all God’s children to get along. Among others who talk about Jesus and who teach Scripture, we are called to practice discernment. 1 John 4:1 warns us about false prophets and false teachers who twist and distort the Word of God. Not all who talk about Jesus or who quote Scripture should be trusted. Instead, we are called to practice discernment, especially regarding those who loosen central doctrines and lighten the Christian’s calling in our world.
Confessing Jesus as the Son of God was a dangerous thing, and yet it is mentioned in 1 John 4:3 & 15 as the most basic requirement for being a Christian. Doing this would get Jews kicked out of the synagogue (John 9:22) and it was a dangerous thing to confess Christ as Lord. Christians were martyred for such statements, and yet we can read this today as if it’s an easy declaration. There are many false teachers today who, like those in the days of 1 John, deny Jesus as God in flesh while trying to make the Christian calling more acceptable to the nonChristian world.
Once again, 1 John stresses the love of God as the foundation for everything else. Verse 9 is especially clear, “God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him.” This is where Christian love begins: Jesus Christ. Because of who Jesus is and what he did, we receive the love of God and we love others with that same love.
1 John 4:19 is a verse every Christian should memorize: “We love because he first loved us.” This keeps everything in perspective. We do not love others in order to earn anything, but simply as an outflow of what God has poured into us. We don’t need to live in order to earn God’s favor. We have become children of God because Jesus is Lord and because God raised him from the dead… therefore use your life to show what God’s love looks like to an unbelieving world still in need of his amazing grace.