Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

1 John: True, Fulfilling Fellowship With God
Part XVI: Identifying True Fellowship By Its True Love For God
(1 John 4:20-5:3a)
  1. Introduction
    1. If we truly fellowship with a God Who is loving at the core of His Being, we should truly love the Lord.
    2. What that kind of love actually involves is described in 1 John 4:20-5:3a, and we view that passage to discern if we truly fellowship with God by whether we thus truly love the Lord (as follows):
  2. Identifying True Fellowship By Its True Love For God, 1 John 4:20-5:3a.
    1. One mark of true love for God is a true love for a fellow believer in Jesus Christ, 1 John 4:20-21:
      1. John wrote that if anyone claimed he loved God, but hated a fellow Christian, he was a liar, 1 Jn. 4:20a.
      2. The reason is simple: if a Christian does not love his brother in Christ whom he has seen, he can not love God Whom he has not seen, for God's command on love joins a person's love for God with his love for a fellow brother in Christ, 1 John 4:20b-21.
      3. God's reason for tying these two loves together has extensive, profound Biblical roots (as follows):
        1. First, the creation of man in God's image ties one's love for God and his love for mankind together: (1) God created man in His own image, so man, who has will, intellect and emotion, reflects the nature of God Himself, Genesis 1:26-27. (2) Thus, hatred against another brother in Christ includes a hatred against God Whose image that believer bears. (3) This close association between man who exists in God's image and God Himself also forms the basis for capital punishment in Genesis 9:6: murdering a person who bears God's image is a crime against God, demanding that the criminal himself forfeit his own right to bear that divine image by being executed by human government.
        2. Second, the Law of God as summarized by Jesus Christ, God's Son, ties one's love for God and his love for his neighbor closely together, cf. Matthew 22:37-40. If God's Law ties these two loves together, true love for one requires that there exist a true love for the other.
        3. Third, God has spiritually baptized every believer into the Body of Christ, providing him a spiritual gift that is needed by every other believer, 1 Corinthians 12:13, 4-11, 14-25. This divinely designed interdependency was built by God not only to edify the body by every other part of the body, but to create unity in the body, and a practical basis for love in the body itself, Ephesians 4:7-15, 16.
      4. One might ask who constitutes a true Christian brother so that he knows he loves God by loving such a believer, so John claimed that anyone who believes Jesus is the Messiah is born of God, 1 John 5:1a.
      5. Thus, regardless if a believer fellowships with the Lord and is godly or if he is carnal and out of fellowship with God, if he truly trusts in Christ, then everyone who truly loves God the Father will truly love that believer, and that unconditionally regardless of his current spiritual state, 1 John 5:1b.
    2. Another mark of true love for God is obedience to God's commands, His Word, 1 John 5:2-3a:
      1. One might wonder how we know we love God's true children, other believers in Christ, so John explained that we know we have such a love when we love God and obey His commands, 1 John 5:2.
      2. In essence, then, loving God is also expressed by obeying His commands, 1 John 5:3a, meaning that there is an inseparable link between loving other believers, loving God and obeying God's commands.
      3. Since God's commands are found in His inspired, written Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17), a true love for God is evidenced by one's unconditional love for other believers and obedience to written Scripture.
    3. In summary, then, we can conclude that loving God is evidenced in loving other believers, godly or otherwise, and obeying God's commands in written Scripture, cf. John 14:21, 23.
Lesson: We know we truly love God when we unconditionally love fellow believers and obey Scripture.

Application: (1) May we test to see if we truly love God by if we unconditionally love fellow believers, godly or carnal, and if we obey God's written Word. (2) Since we learned in 1 John 3:17-18 that loving other believers calls for actions of love, a true love for God is evidenced in acts of love for God's children, acts of meeting tangible needs in others. (3) If we fail this test, we must confess it as sin and rely on the Holy Spirit to love other believers in action unconditionally and to obey written Scripture.