1 John 4:7-12 Part One - The Charge To Love One Another

Our text this morning is 1 John 4:7-12.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.”

Our text this morning can be divided into two sections. We will spend our time on the first section this morning and address the second section next week.

The first section of our text is rather short. It consists of the first six words of our text. In it we are given a charge by the apostle John, ‘Beloved, let us love one another’.

The second section of our text gives seven reasons for this charge which is given to believers.

  1. Because love is from God (4:7b – ‘Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God’)

  2. Because love is evidence that one is born of God (4:7c – ‘...whoever loves has been born of God’)

  3. Because love is evidence that one knows God (4:7d - ‘whoever loves has been born of God and knows God’)

  4. Because not loving is evidence that one does not know God (4:8 – ‘Anyone who does not love does not know God’)

  5. Because God is love (4:8b – ‘Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love’)

  6. Because God demonstrated His love (4:9-11 – ‘In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so love us, we also ought to love one another.’)

  7. Because we are to demonstrate God’s love to others (4:12 – ‘No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.’)

A Brief Overview Of Our Text

As we begin let me draw your attention to several important considerations about these seven ‘reasons’ that John gives. First, these reasons are God centered and they are Gospel centered. They focus upon the LORD and what He has done. We are to love others because of what God has done and not because people have earned this love or because they deserve it in some way. We will obey this charge to love one another best when we keep our attention on the LORD and when we continuously apply the gospel in every situation.

Secondly, John is optimistic about the people we are to love. For example, John addresses them as ‘Beloved’ twice in our text. These are people who have been ‘born again’. These are people that have come to ‘know God’. These are people that have been ‘loved’ by God. God’s love for His people is ‘perfected’ in them. It is easy, because of past experiences with other believers, to become jaded and pessimistic about those in the church; but John would have us remember what God has done for each person in His church.

The third thing that we notice in this text is that John is also realistic about those who are being given the charge to love one another.

  1. We see John’s realistic approach to this in the giving of the charge. A believer has no excuse not to love others; yet, we often need the charge to remind us to act consistently with the new life that we are to walk in. Believers are taught