INTRODUCTION: The themes and phrases of 2 John and 3 John are like each other and to 1 John. Most scholars believe 2 John was written by the aged Apostle John who calls himself the Elder in this letter. The short letter would have filled one papyrus page and was addressed to “the elect lady and her children” (1). John probably was writing in code to a local church and its members to protect them from discovery and persecution. John encourages the church to remain faithful and warns them of false teachers who are coming to deceive them. Christians believe in Jesus Christ and love one another. They will stand against the lies of the devil.
BELIEVERS SHARE A COMMON BOND (1-3).
*Truth and love indwell and unite believers forever. The common truth is that Jesus Christ is God’s Son and is fully human and fully divine (see v. 7). The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth, because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever (1-2).
*God the Father and God the Son’s gifts of truth and love generate grace, mercy and peace. Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father's Son, in truth and love (3).
BELIEVERS WALK IN LOVE AND TRUTH (4-6).
*Obedience to God’s commands means that you are walking in the truth. Belief in Christ is the basic truth of the Christian faith. I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. (4).
*The basic command from God is that we love one another. The true expression of love is that we do what God says. The fulfillment of God’s law is best depicted as loving God and loving our neighbor. To be a Christian is to believe in Christ and to love one another. And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it (5-6).
BELIEVERS REJECT FALSE TEACHERS AND DOCTRINE (7-11).
*Deceivers try to disrupt the faith and practice of local churches and Christians. They deny the basic teachings of the church and substitute false ideas about Christ. For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist (7).
*Faithful Christians watch out for dangerous ideas that would lead them astray spiritually or cause them to lose their heavenly rewards. They test all progressive teachings to see if they match the truth of God’s Word. Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son (8-9).
*Loving your neighbor does not mean you have to compromise your beliefs. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works (10-11).
Followers of Jesus Christ love one another and refuse to compromise the truth of the gospel.
INTRODUCTION: Jesus is heading to Jerusalem to die. He knows that conflict and trouble await him. There is intense speculation about whether Jesus will appear in the Temple to teach during the Passover season. Jesus stays with friends in Bethany and sends his disciples to get a colt. He rides into Jerusalem on the colt and people begin spreading the word, “Jesus is coming!” They sing praises. They worship him. Then without warning, Jesus clears the Temple of merchants and merchandise. He drives away the buyers and the businessmen. When he had everyone’s attention, Jesus proclaimed a truth that stands for all time, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’” (Matthew 21:13). We read about this incident in Matthew 21:12-13. As we think of our mission for 2019, we need to ask ourselves an important question: Is Parkview Baptist Church a house of prayer?” We can be if we do two things.:
RECOGNIZE THAT JESUS IS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH.
*Jesus has supreme authority over everything. He controls and leads the church. “Christ rules over all forces, authorities, powers, and rulers. He rules over all beings in this world and will rule in the future world as well. God has put all things under the power of Christ, and for the good of the church he has made him the head of everything” (Ephesians 1:21-22 CEV).
*The church is a living organism not simply an organization. “The church is Christ’s body and is filled with Christ who completely fills everything (Ephesians 1:23 CEV).
*Jesus knows what is best for his church. “And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’” (Matthew 21:12-13).
MAKE PRAYER THE MAINBUSINESS OF THE CHURCH.
*Jesus wants his place of worship to be a place of prayer. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’” (Matthew 21:13).
*Any business in the church other than prayer is secondary. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers” (Matthew 21:13).
HOW CAN PARKVIEW BAPTIST CHURCH BECOME A “HOUSE OF PRAYER?”
THE MISSION 2019: Pray for Breakthrough
PURPOSE: Maturity in Effective Prayer
VERSE: He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’” (Matthew 21:13).
MOTTO: Breakthroughs always begin with prayer.
OBJECTIVE: Pray, pray some more, and keep on praying until we see a breakthrough.
Goals: The goal is to lead God’s people to pray for some major breakthroughs in our church in 2019.
(see the handout for suggested goals and 40 Days of Prayer campaign)
INTRODUCTION: Mary and Joseph found themselves in a new situation. They were away from home with a new child and had been surrounded by shepherds and wise men and prophets with strange tales. They were awed and excited. Life was filled with expectancy and hope. Then tragedy hit. Trouble was brooding in a jealous king and threatened their lives and their newborn son. After Christmas trouble comes. After the good times trouble comes. It seems to be an unwritten law that after any spiritual, material or emotional high times of trouble, confusion or depression hit us. How are we to deal with these times? Mary and Joseph provide us with a godly response in Matthew 2:11-23.
HOLD ON TO THE PROMISES OF GOD.
*Mary and Joseph both had promises from God that they could cling to (Matt. 1:20-23 and Luke 1:29-38).
*When we are troubled or down or disappointed we need to go to the Word of God and lean on God’s promises. Mary and Joseph walking to Egypt only had the words of the angel to trust. Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” (13).
BE OBEDIENT TO WHAT YOU KNOW TO BE TRUE.
*Joseph obeyed the word. He acted on the light that he had.
He married Mary and named her son. “When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus” (1:24-25)
He fled to Egypt with his family. “And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod” (2:14-15).
*The temptation is to sit or rebel when we are in tight spots.
TRY TO GET THE LARGER PICTURE.
*Joseph obeyed step by step but did not know the larger plans or purposes behind his move to Egypt.
He escaped to Egypt in fulfillment of prophecy. “And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt…This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I called my son’” (2:14-15).
He listened to God’s guidance and warnings and settled in a safe place predicted by the prophets. “And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene” (2:21-23)
*Don’t ever think that your present situation is your final situation. God has larger purposes in mind.
KNOW THAT GOD WILL PROVIDE EVEN IN THE TIME OF TROUBLE.
*Mary and Joseph were poor. How could they make a trip to Egypt? God took care of that with the gifts from the wise men. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.(2:11).
INTRODUCTION: The Christmas season is the time of Advent. Advent means “coming.” Today we lit the Fourth Advent Candle, the Love Candle. Christmas marks the entrance of love into the world. Christmas is the ultimate expression of God’s love for us. John 3:16 has been called the Gospel in a nutshell. It tells us everything we need to know about God, love, giving, faith and eternal life. Say this verse with me, For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). This is a wonderful verse to remind us of what Christmas is all about.
CHRISTMAS IS ABOUT LOVE.
*We express love at Christmas. We gather with friends and family. We share the excitement and wonder of children as we remember the birth of the Christ child. The child in the manger, the celebration of angels, and a mother’s love are all wrapped up in the Christmas story. God loved us and sent his son. For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son (3:16).
Love motivates us to give our best.
CHRISTMAS IS ABOUT GIVING.
*Christmas is about gifts and giving. We give because God gave. We think of wise men bringing their gifts to give to the newborn King. The wise men and shepherds also gave their worship in gratitude for God’s gift to us all. The greatest gift was God’s gift. He gave his one and only Son. For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son (3:16).
*God’s love is sacrificial love. We are called to love oneanother like Jesus did. By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers (1 John 3:16).
The best gift is serving others in Jesus’ name.
CHRISTMAS IS ABOUT BELIEF.
*People believe in the Christmas spirit even if they do not believe in the Christ of Christmas. They take to heart the message of the angels singing “Peace on earth, good will to men.” They wonder why this same spirit cannot last the whole year round. Christmas is about belief. It’s about faith. It is putting your trust in the promised Messiah who was born in Bethlehem. For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
*God had a purpose in sending his Son. He gave us Jesus, so we could receive life. Jesus gave his life, so we could receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life. 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 (1 John 4:9-10).
Christmas is the time to believe:
Believe that Messiah has been born.
Believe that salvation has been given.
Believe that we can have life that begins now and lasts forever.
Believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior who forgives us and gives us peace with God.
Will you believe in God’s love for you this Christmas
INTRODUCTION: The Christmas season is the time of Advent. Advent means “coming.” Today we lit the Third Advent Candle, the Candle of Joy. We associate Christmas time with joy. We sing carols, we give and receive gifts, we spend time with family, and we eat good food. But many cannot find joy at Christmas. They remember loved ones who have passed on or they have lost their jobs. They see pain and violence and hunger in the world and wonder where the joy of living is. But the angel told the shepherds that Christmas is a time of joy: “And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).Christmas is the time to celebrate the JOY that Jesus Christ gives to us.
JOY OVERCOMES ADVERSITY.
*Joy was born in a manger. Joy can be born during hardship and difficulty. And Joseph also went up from Galilee…to be registered with Mary…who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn (Luke 2:4-7).
*Joy appeared to the shepherds. Joy can appear to anyone, at any time, and at any place. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:8-10).
*Joy was heralded by angels. The message of joy is available to all who will receive it. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:10-14).
Joy comes through a Savior. The shepherds believed and found their Messiah. When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. (Luke 2:15-17).
God can bring great joy out of trying circumstances.
JOY IN THE LORD BRINGS VICTORY.
Joy settles conflicts. Paul reminds his co-workers that their joy lies in service and unity in the Lord. Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved. I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord (Philippians 4:1-2).
Joy rests in the Lord. The Lord Jesus is the source of joy in all circumstances. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice ( 4:4).
Joy is a command and a choice. Because you always have the Lord with you, you can always choose to rejoice no matter what the situation. Rejoice in the Lord always (4:4).
Joy endures to the end. Keep rejoicing until victory is won. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice (4:4).
“The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).
INTRODUCTION: The Christmas season is the time of Advent. Advent means “coming.” The prophets of old predicted that the Messiah would come. They said that he would bring peace. We lit the second Advent candle, the Peace Candle, this morning. Jesus promised that he would give us peace. He told his disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27). Christmas is the time to celebrate the peace that Jesus Christ gives to us.
CHRISTMAS CELEBRATES THE WAY OF PEACE.
*Zachariah praised God for restoring his voice and for the birth of his son, John. Zachariah’s song praises God for providing salvation to his people (Luke 1:68-75) and for sending his son to prepare the way of the Lord (1:76-79). He says that the Messiah would guide “our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:79).
*The angels at the birth of Jesus announced peace on earth to people of goodwill. The favor of God is upon those who follow him. “And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:12-14).
God provides the way of peace through his Son Jesus.
CHRISTMAS CELEBRATES THE MAN OF PEACE.
*Isaiah prophesied that a Prince of Peace would come and his government would bring lasting peace and justice. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end…to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore (Isaiah 9:6-7).
*Jesus fulfilled the prophecy and was born a savior. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11).
*Jesus died in our place and forgave our sins. We have peace with God
because of Jesus. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).
*Jesus can give us peace because he has conquered sin and death. He rose from the grave and gives us access to God. On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord (John 20:19-20).
Jesus proved he is the man of peace by his life, death and resurrection.
CHRISTMAS CELEBRATES THE GOODNEWS OF PEACE.
*The angel announced that the birth of Jesus was Good News. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:8-11).
*The Good News that Jesus brings is the freegift of salvation for all. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law…the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:21-24).
*We are made right with God and find peace with God by faith in Jesus. Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).
*Jesus reconciles us to God by giving his life for us on the cross. We have forgiveness of sins through his sacrifice. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:19-20).
*The peace of God will guard our hearts and minds as we trust in him. Let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:5-7). Claim the Good News of peace this Christmas!
INTRODUCTION: The Christmas season is the time of Advent. Advent means “coming.” The prophets of old predicted that the Messiah would come. God’s people anticipated his coming. We lit the first Advent candle, the Prophet’s Candle or the Candle of Hope, on the Advent wreath this morning. Christmas celebrates the promised coming of God in the flesh through his son Jesus the Messiah. Christmas also anticipates the time when Jesus will come again and establish his eternal kingdom. God offers us hope atChristmas.
Paul writes in Romans 15:13: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
HOPE BEGINS WITH THE GOD OF HOPE.
*Our God is the source of hope. His name is Hope. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing (15:13).
*At a time of despair and hopelessness, God promised his people that a Savior would come who would deliver them. The people looked to God in expectation for the coming Messiah. “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness’ (Jeremiah 33:14-16).
God is your source of hope this Christmas.
HOPE BELIEVES, ENDURES AND OVERCOMES.
*God fulfilled his promise to Israel. It took many centuries, but the hope of the coming Messiah helped God’s people to endure. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:30-33).
*God gives us the faith to trust him in all circumstances. The Holy Spirit empowers us and encourages us to keep going. We can thrive and have peace and joy no matter how difficult the situation. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope (15:13).
You can go on in hope because Jesus is Immanuel, God with us.
HOPE LASTS FOREVER.
*Hope is eternal. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13).
*Christmas is about God becoming one of us, so we could become part of his family. Jesus Christ gives us the hope of eternallife. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
You can have the hope of eternal life this Christmas!
INTRODUCTION: John says the mark of the Christian is love. God has given us the Holy Spirit to assure us and guide us into truth. The Spirit gives us assurance of our salvation and discernment of what is right and what is wrong. John concludes his letter with a discussion of eternal life. John writes, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). Believers can be certain that they have eternal life. Chapter 5 gives three reasons why every Christian can be confident that he or she has eternal life.
ETERNAL LIFE BEGINS WITH A NEWBIRTH (1-5).
*A person who has been spirituallyborn from above believes that Jesus is the Christ and loves other believers. Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him (1).
*Believers obey God and love oneanother. This proves they have been born again. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome (2-3).
*People who are born again believe Jesus is the Son of God and overcome the world by their faith. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (4-5).
“Belief, love, and obedience are marks of the new birth” (John Stott).
ETERNAL LIFE IS VERIFIED BY DIVINETESTIMONY (6-12).
*How can we be certain that Jesus is the Christ? The Old Testament required the testimony of two or three witnesses to verify the truth of a matter (Deuteronomy 19:15). John says that there are three witnesses that testify to the truth that Jesus is the Messiah.
The Father’s affirmation of Jesus at his baptism and the finishedwork of Jesus on the cross testify to Jesus as the Messiah. This is hewho came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only
but by the water and the blood (6).
The internalwitness of the Spirit of Truth confirms that Jesus is the
Christ. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth (6).
The historical facts and the subjective Spirit provide three witnesses that Jesus is the Christ. God has given this testimony and it should be accepted as true. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son (7-9).
The believer accepts the testimony of God. The unbeliever does not. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son (10).
The believer receives eternal life through Jesus Christ. God gives us eternal life only through Jesus. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life (11-12).
ETERNAL LIFE BRINGSFIRMASSURANCES (13-21).
*John writes the letter to assure believers that they have eternal life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life ((13).
*Believers also can be confident that God will answer their prayers of petition and intercession. And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life…There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death (14-17).
*Believers can be certain of three things: victory over sin and the devil; assurance of salvation; and the presence of Jesus Christ in our lives. We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols (18-21).
INTRODUCTION: John says the mark of the Christian is love. He interrupts his discussion on love with a short comment on truth and error. What if a person has doubts about his or her salvation? How does a Christian know what is spiritually true and what is false? God has given us the Holy Spirit to assure us and guide us. Jesus said, “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me” (John 15:26). The Holy Spirit is the Helper and the Spirit of Truth. He gives us assurance and discernment. He shows us the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. John shares this in 1 John 3:18-4:6.
THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH ASSURES US OF OUR SALVATION.
*God reassures our condemning heart. When we doubt our salvation or have guilt about our sins, we need to review our relationship with God. Are we resting in the truth of God’s Word and loving others? God is greater than our conscience and knows our true desire to follow him. “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything” (3:18-20).
*God blesses an uncondemning heart with answered prayer. We can pray boldly because we have confidence and keep his commandments. “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him” (3:21-22).
*What are his commandments? Faith and love. We believe in Jesus Christ the Son of God and we love one another. We have a decisive act of faith carried out practically in continuous acts of love. “And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us” (3:23).
*We abide in Christ by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. As we keep his commands, the Holy Spirit empowers us and assures us. “Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us” (3:24).
THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH REVEALS WHAT IS TRUE OR FALSE.
*Not all teachers are inspired by the Spirit of God. That is why we need to test the spirits before we accept the message of the speaker. “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (4:1).
*The Spirit of God always acknowledges that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has come in the flesh. Every spirit that denies Jesus as the Son of God is not of God and is the spirit of antichrist. “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already” (4:2-3).
*Believers are from God and have proven it by overcoming the deceptions of the antichrists. God in the believer is greater than the devil who is in the world. “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (4:4).
*False prophets are popular with the world and speak a message the world likes to hear. “They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them” (4:5).
*The Holy Spirit reveals the spirit of truth and error by the way an audienceresponds to the truth. Christians are from God and believerslisten to them when they speak. Unbelievers do not listen to them and expose their true character. “We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (4:6).
God has given us the Holy Spirit to assure us and guide us into truth.
INTRODUCTION: John says we are to live a life of obedience and love. We must walk as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6). We can do this because we are children of God. Children of God can thrive in a hostile world. It requires that God’s people love one another. For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another (1 John 3:11). The mark of the Christian is love. John defines what he means by love in chapters 3:11-18 and 4:7-21.
LOVE IS THE OPPOSITE OF HATE (3:12-15).
*Love exposes evil. The world hates us because their true unrighteous character is revealed in the presence of love. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him (3:12-15).
LOVE IS SACRIFICIAL AND GIVING (3:16-18).
*Jesus showed us that love is self-sacrifice. He gave up his life for us. We do that practically by taking care of others in need. By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth (3:16-18).
GOD IS LOVE AND THE SOURCE OF LOVE (4:7-12).
*The essence of God’s being is love. Love comes from God and the supreme example of God’s love is the sending of His Son Jesus to die for us on the Cross. As we love oneanother we experience God’s love. 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 (4:7-12).
LOVE IS EVIDENCE THAT WE ARE CHILDREN OF GOD (4:13-16).
*We become Christians by faith in Jesus Christ. His Spirit liveswithin us. Believers love like God loves and prove that they are part of God’s family. 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 (4:13-16).
GOD’S PERFECT LOVE DRIVES OUT FEAR (4:17-18).
*The more we abide in God’s love, the more confident we become before God. God’s love drives out the fear of punishment. We can face any trial because we know God loves us. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love (4:17-18).
WE LOVE BECAUSE GOD FIRST LOVED US (4:19-21).
*God’s love compels us to love. We cannot see God but we can see others. We demonstrate God’s love by loving people around us who are in need. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother (4:19-21).