Sunday School Lesson – March 5, 2017 The Source of All Love
To follow along, visit your local Christian bookstore, and ask for the Bible Expositor and Illuminator
Time: about A.D. 90-95 Place: Probably from Ephesus
Golden Text: “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another (1st John 4:11)
The concepts of love is a point of confusion in our culture. A prominent example of selfish love is when the person seeks only his or her interest. True love seeks the best for the one loved. This often requires a degree of sacrifice, something that is given gladly when the heart is right. The greatest example of true love is the love God has for us, and He has given us the power to reproduce His love through us to others.
1st John 4:7 – Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. “Love for one another” in this scripture means to love fellow Christians, proves our spiritual birth and our relationship with God. “Born of God” is a spiritual birth, not just salvation. “Knoweth God,” refers to an intimate, experiential knowledge of God, rather than just information about God. Many Christians can quote scriptures from Genesis to Revelations, but when it comes to applying what they quote to their life, they can’t do it. Love is one of the attributes of the Fruit of the Spirit. Love originated with God, and love is one of His attributes, according to scripture, one that still hates proves that he or she is still living in darkness rather than spiritual light. One who loves, however, is reflecting the change God has placed in their life. He has removed hatred and replaced it with love.
John 4:8 – He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. It is impossible to know God intimately without loving others. Anyone whom God dwells reflects His character. To claim to know God while failing to love others is to make a false claim. Love is a significant aspect of God’s nature so that those who are His children share in that nature and therefore manifest love towards others. Since this love is part and parcel of our being in Him, a person who loves is born again while the one who does not love does not even know God. It is impossible for an unregenerate person to love purely.
John 4:9 – In this was manifested the love of God towards us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. The love of God was visibly demonstrated through Jesus’ work on the Cross on our behalf. “Only begotten Son” expresses the sense of uniqueness, not a literal birth, He is the very essence of God. Anytime, we feel as though we’re not loved, all we have to do is remember the love God has for us by sending His Son for our sin so that we can have eternal life.
John 4:10 – Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Jesus was our propitiation; the Greek word is hilasmos meaning “atonement.” That means there was one who made amends or suffered punishment for wrongdoing, Jesus did that in our place. Even if someone would die for us, they couldn’t pay the penalty for our sins only Jesus could do that. Only His blood would wash away our sins; only His blood would be the ultimate sacrifice.
John 4:11 – Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. God made the ultimate sacrifice for us as a demonstration of His love. That explains John’s thought that since God so loved us, we too ought to love one another. The fact is, if love is in you, it will be manifested; this is one of the evidence of the Spirit of God indwelling. It’s impossible for His indwelling to be in us and it does not manifest on the outside.
John 4:12 – No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. No one has seen God, Biblical examples of people seeing God is known as a theophany, meaning that God made an appearance in either human or angelic form. Theophanies were not complete revelations of the Person of God. God showed the backside of Himself to Moses (And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live – Exodus 33:20). (And will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts; but my face shall not be seen – Exodus 33:23). One may ask, how do we know He exists? When we look at creation, it will reflect what God created when we look at our past life, we will know that it was changed by God and not ourselves. As we continue to seek Him and submit to His instructions, our love will be perfected.
John 4:13 – Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us because he hath given us of his Spirit. Mutual abiding refers to the fellowship we have with God as a result of our salvation. The evidence that God abides in us and we in Him is the experience of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. After receiving salvation, one should also receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is why Jesus instructed His disciples to go to Jerusalem and wait for the promise which was the infilling of the Holy Spirit, this wasn’t just for Jesus’ disciples of the Bible, but for everyone that professes he or she have received Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.
John 4:14 – And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. The fact that John and other apostles had personally seen Jesus gave great credibility to his words. John had traveled and learned from Jesus for over three years, so he had been taught by Him in great detail. When we have experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we can see clearly that the Father sent His Son, we too can experience the teaching of Jesus by reading the Bible, He taught what He had learned of His Father.
John 4:15 – Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in Him, and he in God. A sincere confession of belief is an indication that the confessor is saved. To be a Christian, a person must believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Once we understand who Jesus is and how we can have a relationship with Him and His Father, we can be so close to Him that we become a revelation of His existence to all those around us.
John 4:16 – And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. This love is experienced and expressed through the Christian’s life on a daily basis, not just when things are going well, but also in the tough and rough times. The depth of loved discussed in this text does not come immediately or automatically, it comes from spiritual growth over a period, just like intimate knowledge of God. As a believer spends time fellowshipping with God and abiding in the Saviour, his or her love for God grows. What’s on the inside always expresses itself on the outside.
John 4:17 – Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. As we seek God through prayer, reading and studying His Word and submission to His instructions our love is perfected. Jesus’s judgment of the world on His return, a person who abides in love will not be ashamed. When H abides in us, and we abide in Him, His coming will be our day of celebration.
John 4:18 – There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. A mature understanding of God’s love removes any fear of God’s judgment. Love and fear are incompatible when it comes to spiritual matters, and it is love that wins over fear. Fear is the concerns of punishment, the person who fears has not become mature in love. Jesus is soon to come, and we need to examine ourselves to determine to what degree we’re living in God’s love and exhibiting that love to others.
John 4:19 – We love him, because he first loved us. God’s love is immeasurable and priceless. The more we come to comprehend His love for us, the less we fear him. God’s love is a constant and unending love, and it was in existence long before we were. It’s amazing how God gave us Him and then gave us His love to love Him and others.