ove is of God
Where Love Comes From
1st John 4:7-12
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Introduction (1John 4:7)
A. The letter called 1st John is written to Christians – to “the beloved”
B. About Christians loving Christians
C. And about ‘love’ in general
D. Says something very strong: “love is of God”
1. What does that mean?
2. Get this, and your ‘love life’ will be transformed – your heart could be changed forever
E. This world has been looking for love since almost day one!
F. We find bits and pieces of it, but true love is hard to find, and very hard to keep
G. If we are going to understand love this year, we need to understand where it comes from!
II. Background (1John 4:7-12)
A. The apostle John is trying to convince us in this Book that love is NOT something we know much about
B. As a matter of fact, this chapter repeatedly shows that true love does not happen in this world without God first showing us how to love!
C. Key phrases:
1. Love is of God (4:7)
2. God is love (4:8)
3. The love of God (4:9)
4. He loved us (4:9-10)
5. He SO loved us (4:11)
6. His love is perfected in us (4:12,17,18)
7. It is of His Spirit (4:13)
8. We must know and believe the love that God hath to us (4:16)
9. We need to dwell in His love (4:16)
10. He first loved us (4:19)
D. A lot of times ‘love’ is mentioned.
E. But love is not the point – the SOURCE of our love is the point!
F. Seriously, we need to learn this well! There is a lot to learn about the source of our LOVE!
A. The Command – Love One Another (4:7)
1. We are commanded to love!
a. To love God
b. To love our neighbour
c. To even love our enemies
2. Not easy – I don’t know of any command that is easy to do. That’s why they are commands!
3. Oh yes we can SAY we love, but doing it, showing it, and actually experiencing it is very hard!
4. Look around you. The more you know people, even Christian people, the harder it is to love them
a. It is easy to love “an ideal” – much harder to love a reality!
b. People let you down - Lose your trust
c. They live selfishly, ignoring your needs
d. They take advantage of you
e. They sin. They do things that are just plain wrong
f. I am describing Christians!
5. Yet, we are commanded to love them like family!
6. And God never gives a command without teaching us HOW to do it (1Thes 4:4:9)
B. The Meaning - What does it mean “to love”?
1. We could spend all day searching and struggling for the best, most perfect meaning
a. THE most debated subject of all time!
b. I think most dictionaries just give up trying to find a way to define love
2. So, Where do people normally find out what love is?
a. Usually people try to discover love in their heart
b. Or they look to their friends - Just listen to girls talk
c. Mostly, From their culture – movies, entertainment, romance novels, music
1) Different cultures view love very differently
2) Most are very twisted in their view of love
3) Most only ever experience animalistic love, and torturous emotional love
3. Somebody tried to define it this way… "Love is what makes two people sit in the middle of a bench when there is plenty of room at both the ends." ~ Unknown
4. Simply, To love means: To give attention, and kindness to some one or some thing, meeting their needs ahead of your own
a. You could say you love your car
1) So you spend a lot of time on it, cleaning, washing, fixing it up
b. You could say you love your dog
1) So you spend a lot of time with it, caring for it, feeding it, playing with it, exercising it
c. You could say you love your husband
1) So you spend a lot of time away from him, ignoring his needs, not playing with him, and listening to him
2) Oh, but you feed him J
d. You could say you love Your children
1) So you give them your attention, showing them great kindness, meeting their needs ahead of your own
e. You could say you love Your job
1) So you spend more and more of your time with your co-workers, listening to them, and their needs
5. I will simply add this…
a. To love, means that you love someone like you love and cater to, and give attention to… YOURSELF!
6. Listen to God’s way of defining love (Romans 12:10; 1Peter 1:22; Ephesians 5:2)
a. Rom 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
b. 1Peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
c. Eph 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
d. Unfeigned – not faked, or counterfeit, but real, sincere
e. Obedient to God – doing right out of obedience to God
f. Pure heart – experienced only by a pure, clean heart
g. Fervent – not boring, or apathetic, but passionate and on fire!
h. Constant – living it moment by moment, and forever, not just at high points (Eph 5:2)
C. The Source of Love - “of God” (1John 4:7,8)
1. Everyone loves some thing or some one
a. We actually love quite a lot.
b. It is built into us – naturally designed into each and every one of us
c. But we don’t do it very well
d. We fall quickly into love, and often quicker, we fall out of it again!
e. But there is more to love than what comes naturally
2. Love springs from MORE than just your heart
3. Three different areas of our being that express and experience love (1Thes 5:23):
a. The body – flesh – chemicals – natural love
1) To physically show love is very healthy
2) Holding hands, Hugging, Kissing
3) To live in a hateful, bitter way is very destructive to your health
b. The soul – your emotions, feelings, gut feelings
1) This is where we usually talk about love
2) “I love you with all my heart”
3) Your emotional health is very dependent upon loving and being loved with emotions
c. Your spirit – selflessness – charity (1Cor 16:14)
1) This is where love is least understood – in your spirit
2) Your spirit is that part of you that is supposed to be connected with God
3) And yet, it usually is the place with the least active love going on
4) Your heart, and your spirit are connected (Psalm 34:18; 143:4; Prov 17:22)
5) When that part is ignored, you miss out on God showing you and filling you with His love
4. Man constantly is working upward – and failing
a. Some people live for a physical, fleshly, animalistic kind of love
1) End up thinking only sex is love
2) And they try every form of sex
3) Try every form of sexual enhancement drug
4) Look to pornography
5) Can end up bitter rapists, and whores
b. Some people are addicted to their emotions – thinking that how they FEEL is love
c. Some try and love unconditionally, without reservation, selflessly, but fall very short!
d. And so we end up with divorces, rape, frigidity, bitterness, hatred, silent treatments, domestic violence and abuse.
5. God works downward
a. Starts work in our spirit
b. Works through our emotions
c. Works last in our flesh
d. Working into us, through and through, real love
D. According to the Bible, REAL Love is of God – comes from God
1. True love is a supernatural work of God on our hearts (Gal 5:22; 2Tim 1:7)
a. Not of us – doesn’t just flow out of us like it should
b. Not from a pill, or from a bottle
c. Just like everything that there is, it came from God
d. Not just natural – but designed to work a specific way
2. True Love begins with God (John 17:26; 1st John 4:19)
a. God is love
1) He defines it – not the world
2) It is His nature
3) And it is OUR new nature when we get born again
a) Every Christian that loves the other Christians around them, is born of God
b) And knows God
c) If you don’t love people well, it is because you don’t know God well
d) God is love
4) What a thought!
5) It is his most active characteristic
a) Thank God that God is NOT wrath, even though He is angry at our sin
b) Thank God that He is not justice, even though he is right in everything he does
c) Thank God that the very foundation of all that God is, is love!
b. (I have to say this…) Reject the notion that “LOVE is God”
1) People have always worshipped the ‘god of love’ Aphrodite, Eros, Cupid, Venus
2) God is love… But Love is NOT God!
3) God is Light… But light is NOT God!
4) So, you cannot reverse these thoughts!
5) And people who spend all their lives seeking love, will never find love until they find God
6) But if you find God, you WILL find love, and Light, and peace, and forgiveness, and life forevermore!
3. If you are not actively seeking to KNOW God, you will not be able to love like you should, and you will not know love like you could!
E. THE Example of Love (1John 4:9,10; Romans 5:8)
1. Love was Manifested – openly, publically revealed – open for examination
2. Love was given - God gave His only begotten Son – Jesus
3. Love was free – didn’t cost US anything
4. Love was and still is for all - Towards US all – the whole world
5. Love had a great purpose – our benefit - To give us life – now and eternal (Rom 6:23b)
a. Propitiation - Full, complete, unrevokable and absolute forgiveness
b. To anyone who will receive it
6. Love costs the Giver everything
7. Do you only know ABOUT Jesus – in your head?
8. Or do you seek to know Him heart to heart, all the why’s all the how’s, to know Jesus Christ, is THE greatest knowledge of all
IV. Application - So. We SHOULD be able to love one another (1John 4:11)
A. If we understand what love really is
B. If we spend time getting love from the source
C. If we get to intimately know THE example of love – Jesus
1. The more you know Him, the more you will love
2. The more you focus on the spiritual kind of love, the more love you will have in your heart, and in your life!
A. Do you KNOW God?
B. Have you experienced His forgiveness?
C. That will begin your training in how to love one another