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The Love that Casts out Fear (1 John 3,4)

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1 John 4

Warning against false teachers
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God. Because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 Hereby do you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ came in the flesh is of God. 3 And every spirit that does not confess that Jesus came in the flesh is not of God, and they are proved to be of the antichrist; of whom you have heard that it comes, and now is already in the world.
   4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them. Because greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. 5 They are of the world. Therefore speak they of the world and the world hears them. 6 We are of God. He that knows God hears us. He who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

Love one another
   7 Beloved, let us love one another. For love is of God, and everyone that loves is begotten of God and knows God. 8 He that does not love, does not know God. For God is love. 9 Herein was the love of God manifested to us, in that God has sent His only Son into the world that we might live through him. 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. 11 Beloved. if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.
   13 Hereby we know that we abide in him and He in us, because He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. 15 Whoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him and he in God. 16 And we know and have believed the love which God has toward us. God is love, and he that abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
   17 In this way is love made perfect with us, so that we may have boldness in the day of judgment. Because as he is, even so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; because fear has punishment, and he that fears is not made perfect in love. 19 We love, because He first loved us. 20 If a man says, I love God, and hates his fellow believers, he is a liar. For he that does not love his fellow believers whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment have we from him, that he who loves God, loves his fellow believers also.


4:2,3 See on 2 Jn. 7-9. Our understanding of the nature of Jesus is therefore very important.

4:10 God took the initiative in loving, and we are asked to love others in this same way. We should be thinking how we can initiate loving acts towards others, rather than simply responding to others’ love to us by loving them back.

4:20 It’s therefore impossible- although very tempting- to claim to be a Christian if we continually find excuses why we can’t have contact with other believers. Love is to be something active, concrete and meaningful in practice; we therefore can’t be ‘out of church believers’, we need active engagement with our brethren in order to reflect God’s love to them as we are commanded here. Private Bible reading in our room, understanding doctrine correctly, praying to God alone, may sound all very good; but we can’t actually love God unless we love His children, for He is manifested in them.