I’m continuing my look at the book of 1 John, and I’m very excited about the first verse we’re going to look at. It’s one of the verses that really drives my faith and my core beliefs. If you missed the first two parts of this series you can find them here: PART ONE PART TWO
verses that jumped
My favorite verse in the entire book of 1 John is a simple statement that should shape how we’re living our entire lives.
1 John 3:18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
Central to my walk with Jesus is a wholehearted belief in the above sentiment. Faith, belief, and love SHOULD BE VERBS IN OUR LIVES. Jesus isn’t an idea, love isn’t text in a greeting card, faith isn’t a concept taught in bible school. These are action words, and I couldn’t love John’s way of putting it any more. Don’t say you love someone, show that you love them! Don’t say that you believe in Jesus, show that you believe in Jesus! If we’re going to have any hope of battling back the darkness in our world, if we’re going to have any hope of making significant gains in the number of souls we’re winning for God, if we’re going to have any hope of igniting a new generation on fire for Jesus, we’re going to have to live 1 John 3:18 every second of every day. Love’s an overused, misunderstood word. It’s candy and flowers and teddy bears and greeting cards. The word, in and of itself, is completely useless. The word without follow through, the word without accompanying action, is good for nothing. Let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. It’s a truly beautiful sentiment that I feel should be at the center of how we conduct ourselves at all times.
I also have to say, I find it adorable and endearing that several times John refers to the readers of his letter as little children. He wrote it at a time when he’d aged far beyond what most of the other disciples had. John knew that many of the others he’d come up with and established the church with had been put to death. He was a holdover, a true elder of the church. It feels very fatherly and loving to have him refer to us as little children. It adds a great warmth to 1 John that I really enjoy.
I’ve spoken before about how simple the commandments of the bible are when you really look at it. Here’s another example of that.
1 John 3:23 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.
Believe in Jesus and love one another. Pretty much everything in your life falls into place after that. The bible is complex and deep and mysterious at times and challenging, but man, it’s so perfectly simple when it needs to be. Believe in Jesus, and love people.
I recently heard a teaching that related to this next verse that I really enjoyed.
1 John 4:1-2 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. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,
The teaching I mentioned above was about how we should test what we hear. Just because a preacher says something doesn’t make it the word of God. Pray about what you hear, test it against the bible. John gives us a good benchmark here as well. If a person or a teaching won’t confesses that Jesus Christ came to the earth and died on a cross and was resurrected three days later, it’s pretty safe to assume that’s not a Godly teaching.
Here’s another one of those profound and simple truths.
1 John 4:8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
God’s not a hate filled giant sitting on a cloud in heaven. God doesn’t just love us, but God himself IS LOVE. To be completely honest, before reading 1 John I actually thought the phrase “God is love” was a song lyric. I didn’t know it was in the bible. John gives such a simple and beautiful description for us here and I couldn’t love it more. Who is this God we serve? What’s God all about? Well, God is love. What a way to start the conversation. What a way to start breaking down the wrong ideas people have about the nature of God. Love, the great emotion, the thing we all crave and need so badly and want so dearly, that is what God is.
John continues to talk about the nature of love in chapter 4.
1 John 4:18 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.
Perfect love comes from God. Knowing the perfect love of God is knowing that Jesus died for our sins, that we’re bought and paid for by his blood and that we’re headed towards a glorious eternity with God. There should be no fear of punishment when we’re experiencing the perfect love of God, because experiencing that perfect love means you’re secure in the knowledge that Jesus has saved us from the punishment of death.
closing and prayer
I’ve got one more part of 1 John before we move on to the rest of John the apostle’s writings. I’ll have that ready on Monday, then 2 and 3 John and Revelation on Tuesday, and then something a little different for next Thursday as we look at the old testament book of Job. I know I’ve said it before, but I urge you to make time to read your bible. It’s such a wonderful way to get to know the Lord better and grow in your relationship with Him.
For prayers this time around, I’d ask that you pray along with me for all the people who returned to school this week. From elementary to high school to college, school is a place of trials, tests, and temptations for Christians in this day and age. Let’s pray for returning students to have strength, protection, and wisdom this school year. Let’s also pray that they find a way to show the love of Jesus to others not just through their words, but through their actions.
If you prayed the above prayer, know that I prayed it in agreement with you as your brother in Christ. I’m telling you friends, God is making a move in the world right now, you can just feel it in the air. If you’re not correct in your walk with God today there’s no better time than now to go to Him in prayer, get into His word, and fix that. It’s an incredible time to be a child of God, and I hate to think that anyone out there is missing out on it! I love you guys, but more importantly than that, God loves you! See you on Monday!