[1 John 4: 14- 18]
“We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the 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.  We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.  By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in 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, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”
Dear brothers and sisters, this is the 43rd session of 1 John Lectures.
1 John 4:14 says, “We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.”This verse also explains againthe certainty that the Son of God did come to this earth in a human body.
Jesus also had the same body as ours. He suffered all the hunger, thirst, tiredness, coldness, hotness, sorrows, and pain. He lived 33 years and eventually died on the cross. His disciples became the witnesses of Jesus Christ because they directly witnessed His life, death, and resurrection.
In fact, what the Jews expected was not the Savior to save mankind from sins. They expected a king who would restore their nation and let them enjoy honor in this world. The Jews at that time had been suffering from various foreign rulers for a long time. In that situation, they thought if the Messiah that was prophesied in the Old Testament came, he would become a strong king like David, drive away all the foreign influences, and give glory to the Jews.
But after the event of the cross, the Holy Spirit taught the disciples about the true meaning of the Messiah. He let them understand the hidden way of the cross. They came to know that Jesus Christ is the Savior for all mankind and the King of all kings. They realized the fact that, because sinless Jesus shed His blood and died, anybody who believes in this fact can be forgiven of his sin and receive salvation. After they realized this providence of the cross, the disciples spread it with all their lives.
The next verse, verse 15 says, “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.”At the time of the Early Church, there was a great revival as the disciples spread the gospel. Through Peter’s preaching, there was explosive work of the Holy Spirit, and 3,000 and 5,000 people at a time accepted Jesus Christ. In today’s sense of understanding, it was such great work of the Holy Spirit that with just one sermon, a big church could be formed.
The disciples lived with Jesus and were taught directly by Him, but many believers who heard the gospel had not met Jesus in person. We too cannot see Jesus, who came 2,000 years ago either. But because the Holy Spirit confirms that Jesus has become our Savior, we can certainly believe in the Lord. That is why we can ardently spread the gospel as if we had seen Him and heard Him in person.
In the same way, when the believers spread the gospel with confidence, others will also open their hearts and accept the Lord, and they will also receive the Holy Spirit and gain salvation. This is such great wisdom of God. When Jesus Christ overcame death and resurrected, the enemy devil and Satan were so angry for they had dug their own grave. They thought they would win only if they just killed sinless Jesus, but rather it was the way of their destruction.
Because they could not hold innocent Jesus under death, they just had to watch Jesus resurrect. Also, because Jesus paid the price of sins of the sinners by dying in innocence, they had to give away the souls who were under their authority as children of God. 1 Corinthians 2:8 says, “the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory;” As said, if they had known what would have happened, they would have never killed Jesus.
But the enemy devil and Satan did not give up. They thought they had another way of winning against God. Namely, they thought they could stop the people from believing spiritual secrets such as the fact that God’s Son came in flesh, or that He rose from the dead.
The thoughts of the men of flesh are controlled by Satan. If they infused doubts into men through fleshly thoughts, and hinder them from having faith, Satan thought they could obstruct the providence of salvation. But knowing everything, God knew the thoughts of Satan and He had His own countermeasure. This countermeasure is the Holy Spirit as has just been explained.
If we open our hearts and accept the Holy Spirit, we can believe even the things that men cannot actually believe. And through that faith and works of the Holy Spirit we confess that Jesus is our Savior. We can also deny ourselves every day and forsake the world even to the extent to grow up to have perfect faith with which we can give our lives. So, verse 15 says about such children: “God abides in him, and he in God.”
But what we have to remember is that we do not necessarily abide in God just because we confess our faith with lips. It is explained in the next verse, verse 16. It says, “We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”
For us to believe in the Lord is to know and believe the love of God who gave us the life of His only begotten Son. This does not mean just knowing this as a fact. We have to put the love of God into us, too. We can say God abides in us and we in Him only when we abide in His love, which means only when we practice love.
Dear brothers and sisters,
To understand the love of God is to understand the origin of God. Once we know His love, we cannot help but love others, too. Suppose you see a certain man seeking his own benefit to such a degree he even does things that are illegal. But those who know the love of God will not feel uncomfortable or hate that man. They cannot condemn him thinking, “I was also forgiven through the cross of the Lord. I was a sinner but I have become a precious child of God through God’s mercy.”They remember the fact that God loves and cherishes that soul just as He loves them.
They look at him with the eyes of the Father, so they consider his good points much bigger than his shortcomings, and even if he has shortcomings, they just wait for him to change. They would just want to help him do better. When we have the heart of God this way, we can receive blessings in every matter. We will then receive spiritual authority and darkness will go away, so we can be blessed whether we are coming in or going out, and we will be the head and not the tail.
Dear brothers and sisters,
Similar expressions are repeated in 1 John 4:7-16. Let me summarize it once here so you can remember them easily. God is love itself. His love is so great that He gave His only begotten Son Jesus Christ on the cross to save us sinners.
Also, we heard Jesus came to this world to become our Savior, and we confess Him as our Savior. Also, God sent the Holy Spirit so we could believe Jesus Christ as our Savior. The Holy Spirit also helps us live by the Word of God so that we are able to abide in God. To live by the Word of God is, after all, to love each other just as God loved us.
Because we confess the Lord and have received the Holy Spirit, we can abide in God’s love. Also, we will cultivate the love of God in us to the extent that we know and realize the love of God, practice the truth, and love our brothers. This is the contents on 1 John 4:7-16, which we covered in several previous sessions.
Dear brothers and sisters,
I believe these lectures on 1 John are not so difficult for you when you listen to them. You may even think that you already learned these things through other sermons like the series, ‘Message of the Cross’. You already heard so many times and are aware of the providence of God who is cultivating human beings. You’ve heard about the love of God giving up His only begotten Son and of the fact that true faith is to keep the commandments.
But I hope you will not just hear and store it as knowledge but your spiritual depth will increase as you listen to these messages on 1 John. Just when you hear one sentence, “God is love,” each one of you will have different emotions. According to the measure of faith and to the extent to which you realized and experienced the love of God, each of you will understand the message in different depths.
Through the lectures on 1 John, I hope you will more deeply realize the love of the Father and that love will abide in you, too. In doing so I pray in the name of the Lord that, you will quickly become God’s children who resemble Him completely.