1 John 4:13-16 - By This We Know That We Abide In Him
Our text this morning is found in 1 John 4:13-16. We read,
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
Our text gives us four ways that a believer can be assured that they know God and that they are enjoying fellowship with the LORD. He does this in the following ways:
A believer can have assurance because God has given us His Holy Spirit. We see this in verse 13, “By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.”
A believer can have assurance because by the Spirit they have come to believe the apostolic witness concerning Christ. We see this in verse 14, “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world.”
A believer can know that they are enjoying fellowship with God because of the Holy Spirit enables them to confess Christ. We read in verse 15, “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.”
A believer can have assurance because they have come to know the love that God has for them. We read in verse 16, “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”
Since Mindy and I have been married we have had six cats (Rudy and Sabrina; Buster and Purity; Chester and Mel). We picked out our first two cats, Rudy and Sabrina, from the pet store. They appeared to be really young and we were told that we could take the cats home in a couple weeks.
We reluctantly left without the cats but often returned to see them. None of the cats seemed to be improving in health and one day we received a call from the pet store. They told us that the cats were not doing well so we went and saw the cats. They looked sickly and in poor health. We were told that we could decide not to take the cats that we had bought if we wanted to back out but we decided to take them home with us anyways. Over the next few weeks the cats got stronger and more healthy and we were pleased with their progress.
One night we went back to the pet store to check on the other cats who were part of that litter and discovered that they had all passed away. As we considered these things it seemed to us that our cats became more healthy because they were being loved and cared for.
If our first cats became healthy because they were loved and cared for then how much more does God want His children to thrive and be healthy because they know that He loves them? How much more does God want us to know that we are enjoying fellowship with Him? The Christian who does not know that they are loved by God is not going to experience the health that God desires for them.
God wants His people to know that they are enjoying a special relationship with Him. God is not content to simply have a people who know Him from a distance; rather, He wants His people to know that they have a special relationship with Him. He wants them to trust Him and to respond to Him because they know that God will never mislead them or hurt them.
Spurgeon speaks of this type of relationship when he says, “We may not merely come to the palace of mercy, and the throne of grace, but to the very heart of God. Confidences such as ours surpass all the familiarity of friendship, and yet they are permitted, and even commanded, between the all-glorious Lord and our poor sinful selves. There is as much deity in the favor which He displays to the undeserving as in the matchless splendors of His celestial courts. Happy are the people who have such a God; shall they not accept with rapture the goodness which He sets before them?”
Contemplating such things made Spurgeon pray, “O my most tender God and Father, I can never fully estimate the stoop of your majesty in condescending to love me, nor the greatness of your generosity in inviting me to have fellowship with you. Give me, I pray, grace to value such priceless goodness, and every day to live in habitual fellowship with you. Since you make me free of your courts, teach me how to be a resident courtier, going no more out forever.”
Having considered the fellowship that God has extended, and having prayed for the grace to value the fellowship that Spurgeon had with the LORD, he may have turned to our text today, 1 John 4:13-16, to be taught how to enjoy this fellowship and to never wander from the LORD in thought or in deed.
God’s people often struggle with uncertainty and they can lack assurance. Many can be so overwhelmed by the spiritual trial or by their circumstances that they ask, ‘How can I be sure that God lives in me? How can I be sure that I am not deceiving myself? How can I know that God loves me? How can I know that I am enjoying close fellowship with God even while I am experiencing these things?’
John penned our text so that we can ‘know’ we abide in Him and that we have fellowship with the LORD.
Our text gives us four biblical truths, or four biblical realities, to consider; so that we can know that we abide in Him and He abides in us. Abiding in the LORD is the theme that is seen throughout this text.
v.13 – “By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us”
v.15 – “God abides in him, and he in God”
v.16 – “whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in Him”
When John speaks of ‘knowing’ that we abide in Him he uses a word that speaks of the fact that believers can know by personal knowledge and through personal experience that they have a relationship with God and that they are enjoying fellowship with Him. <