Monday, October 23, 2017

Helping Other Ministries

In the modern world, there is a lot of emphasis on getting the big picture right.  Politicians focus on trade agreements or the Federal Reserve Bank to resolve economic problems.  Churches focus on organization and programs to accomplish God’s work.  Businesses ship jobs overseas or use cheaper materials to increase profits.    Too often we forget that the big picture is comprised of thousands of individual pixels.  If all the pixels are right, the big picture will also be right, but each pixel that is not right makes the picture less satisfactory.    Similarly, in an economy, each person who is struggling to survive weakens the economy, and each person who is not spiritually strong hampers the accomplishment of God’s purposes.  Federal Reserve monetary actions or trade agreements will only obscure economic problems temporarily.  Reorganizations and new programs will only obscure the lack of spiritual development for short time. 

If we address the individual problems, we have much greater success in resolving the problems with far less stress, and at much lower cost.  Many times just fixing a few small problems at the individual level eliminates the bigger problems at the top.  This series on Spiritual life has focused on individual spiritual growth, and III John continues that focus.  It was written to a specific individual, rather than a church, and focuses on his personal responsibility. 

The first thing we see about Gaius was that he remained faithful to what he had been taught, as is clear from III John 1:1-4.  “The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.  Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.  For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth.  I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”  He was actively practicing what he had been taught, not just clinging to a creed. 

One of things he was doing was showing his love for others, helping them as he was able, whether financially or in other ways, according to III John 1:5-8.  “Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well: Because that for his name's sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles.  We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.”  John encourages him to help those who have gone out as missionaries at their own expense, such as Paul and Barnabas, so that they can devote more of their time to the ministry. 

Please understand that most modern missions programs bear little resemblance to what Pau, Barnabas, and others did in the early church.  Today, most missionaries are fully supported by a missions group or individual churches, but as we see, Paul and Barnabas worked at various jobs on the field.  When Paul wrote I Corinthians, he had served several years as a missionary.  In I Corinthians 4:11-13, He describes he and his companion’s efforts.  “Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.”  They largely supported themselves.  In fact, in Philippians 4:15, we are told Paul only had one church that supported him, and even that was not a consistent thing.  “Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only, For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.”    

Help from individual Christians had a major impact on what Paul and other missionaries of his day were able to accomplish, and Paul mentions different ones had done to help him.   John encourages Gaius to become personally involved in helping those who are reaching out to spread the gospel, providing them a place to stay temporarily or feeding them, not just sending them a monthly donation.   This personal involvement also helps in less obvious ways, sometimes spotting problems with a ministry or meeting emotional or spiritual needs that money cannot address.   

Friday, October 20, 2017

Standing For The Truth

Like Paul’s epistles, the primary focus of the epistles of James, Peter, John and Jude is on developing a strong spiritual life.  II John 1:1-3 stresses the point that truth is eternal.  “The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth; For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.  Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.”

Jesus is the truth, as he states in John 14:6.  “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”  In John 14:16-17 Jesus promised, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”  The same spirit of truth that empowered Jesus abides with and in those who believe. 

Many cars today have GPS systems in them, but sometimes people get lost because they haven’t learned how to use them, or don’t follow the instructions.  In the same way, every Christian receives the Holy Spirit, but many never learn to let him direct them.  John was thrilled that the Christians he was writing to were following what the Holy spirit taught them, as he says in II John 1:4-7.  “I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.  And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.  And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.  For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” 

Just as the map and the GPS should indicate the same things, the scriptures and Holy Spirit should give pretty much the same directions.  However, if you just ask people off the street how to get someplace, you risk getting bad instructions, because they may not know.  We need to be careful where we get our directions for living a spiritual life, because some have no clue and others deliberately mislead.  Just as following bad instructions can wind up with us getting lost or stuck in a dangerous situation, following flawed spiritual teaching can put us in spiritual danger. 

II John 1:8-11 tells us to be careful about who we listen to.  “Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.  Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.  If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”  We can lose the rewards we have already earned by just going along with false teachers.    If they do not Take God’s teachings seriously or follow them, they don’t really believe in God as the final authority.  To go along with their practices, or even to tell them God bless you is to in effect to place your approval on their false teachings.  We are supposed to stand for what is right, not to support what is not.    

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Stay Focused On The Lord

We live in a world where we are surrounded by sin, and confronted with it on every hand.   We are often told that we should not judge others, but as we saw in a previous post, it is not being judgmental to say that certain actions are wrong, and imply a person is not a Christian.  John returns to the subject in I John 5:18-19.  “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.  And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.”

Because the Holy Spirit changes the attitudes of those who receive Christ as savior,  they become aware of what they do, and avoid sin, feeling miserable when they do something wrong.  I John 3:9-10 states, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”  He cannot be satisfied living in and practicing sin.  When he submits himself to God, Satan’s attacks have little impact as James 4:7 states.  “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” 

Because we have received the Holy Spirit, we can know that we are saved, as Romans 8:16 tells us.  “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:”  While the world around us is full of wickedness, We are God’s children, because Jesus Christ has made propitiation for our sin.  He also gave us his Holy Spirit to teach us what the truth is, according to John 16:13-14.  “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.  He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.”  As a result,  I John 5:20 states, “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. “ 

Because we know we are children of the true God, and are kept by his power, we don’t need to look for something more or follow other things, whether religious, or simply worldly things such as wealth, or public acclaim.  We can trust God to provide the things we need freely and abundantly.  As a result, I John 5:21 advises us, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”  We should not let ourselves be distracted by our desires for such things as a better income, a new car, a bigger home,  a bigger ministry, or a mate.  We need to stay focused on God, As Jesus stated in Matthew 6:22-34.    

“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.  But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!  No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.  Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?  Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?  Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (Matthew 6:22-34)

As long as we keep worrying about these things, our life will be inconsistent.   James 1:8 warns, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”    

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Sin Unto Death

Humans received a conscience as a result of Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden.  Unfortunately, even that conscience has gotten perverted as a result of sin, according to Titus 1:15.  “Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.”  As a result, our ideas of right and wrong have become distorted.  For example, in our present political system, If one party says it, it is a horrible lie, but if the other says it is treated as unimportant.   We do the same things with other sins, accepting some as unimportant, while others are viewed as very important.  Historically, the Catholic church and some protestant churches classified sins as either mortal sins such as suicide, which could not be forgiven, or venial sins such as getting drunk, which could be forgiven just by an act of penance.   Which sins are considered unforgiveable varies with the particular religious group. 

I John 5:16-17 tells us, “f any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.  All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.”    Clearly, there is some distinction between which sins can be forgiven and which cannot.  John says we don’t need to pray for those who have committed that unpardonable sin, that sin unto death.  So what is that unpardonable sin? 

Mark describes the scribes and Pharisees accusing Jesus of casting out demons through satanic power.  Mark 3:28-30 records Jesus’ response.  “Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.”  The modern English word for blaspheme is slander.  Luke 4:1 tells us Jesus was full of the Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit.  They were effectively slandering the Holy Spirit by claiming that the things he was doing were by Satan’s power rather than God’s, and unless they changed their attitude, would face God’s judgment.   Luke 12:10 confirms the record, telling us, “And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.” 

In blaspheming the Holy Spirit, people blaspheme the very nature of God.  Psalm 5:4 describes his nature.  “For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.”  When we become Christians, we receive a new nature, which is similar to that of God, according to Ephesians 4:24.  “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”  As a result, III John 1:11 tells us, “Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God."

When Jesus sent out his disciples, they were empowered by the Holy Spirit, Just as Jesus was.  He gave them specific instructions as to how they were to react if people refused to accept the Holy Spirit’s message, as Mark 6:11 describes.   “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.”  The same instructions are repeated in both Matthew and Luke. 

There comes a point where people reject God so completely there is no longer hope of changing their minds, and God no longer works to change them as Romans 1:28-32 tells us.  “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” 

These are people who have heard and understand God’s laws and still refuse to pay attention.  Hebrews 6:4-6 tells us, “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.”  They have been close enough to see God’s power and love, yet reject it as not good enough for them.  As I John 5:15-17 tells us thare is a sin unto death, and we are not keep praying for or trying to reach those who have turned away from God so determinedly. 

In I Samuel, 15:26, Saul had deliberately disobeyed God’s command and refused to repent, although he still wanted Samuel’s approval.  “And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.”    Though Samuel could not place his approval on what Saul had done, He continued to pray for him and hope he would change, as I Samuel 15:35-16:1 describes.  “And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the LORD repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.  And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.”

God told Samuel not to waste more time on Saul because he was not about to change.  Instead he was to reach out to others who would receive his message.  When we see someone who claims to be a Christian who absolutely refuses to accept God’s word, we should not continue to waste our efforts on them.  Titus 3:10-11 commands, “A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.”  By refusing to accept the Holy Spirit’s teachings in the Word of God, the person has blasphemed him, effectively calling him a liar.  

Friday, October 13, 2017

Answers To Prayer

I John 5:13 states, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”  John wrote down the evidence so that we can be sure of our salvation. And commit ourselves fully to God in faith.  It would be foolish to blindly accept the promise without any evidence, but with evidence of God’s fulfillment of his promises in the past, we can have faith he will do so again, even though we do not see them fulfilled immediately. 

Because we know he has answered prayers for his people in the past, we can pray confidently today, as I John 5:14-15 tells us.  “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”   Please not that the verse says if ask anything according to his will he hears us.   The implication is that if the prayer is not in alignment with his will it simply gets ignored. 

Romans 8:26 tells us, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”  There are two very important points about this verse.  First, we don’t have to worry about wording our prayers just right, because the Holy Spirit will correct our mistakes so that God will hear the message properly and understand what we are asking, even when we don’t know how to express it.  At the same time, the Holy Spirit filters out improper prayers so that God never hears them. 

This is a very important point because many have taken the English translation of John 14:13-14 to mean that if you simply use the words ‘in Jesus name’ in your prayer, Jesus will have to give you whatever you ask.   When their prayers are not answered they feel like God has broken his promise.   Let’s look at the verses  more closely.  “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”  At various times I have worked for different companies where I was authorized to purchase things in the company’s name.  While I had the authority to buy what the company needed to do the job, I was not authorized to buy whatever I might want.  Each purchase had to be submitted to the purchasing department for approval.    The Holy Spirit acts kind of like God’s purchasing department in our prayers, forwarding valid requests and rejecting those that are not in accord with God’s purposes. 

When people get angry because they do not immediately see and answer to their prayers.  There is always a reason why they are not answered quickly.  Sometimes, the Holy Spirit rejects our requests because they are for selfish purposes, as James 4:3 tells us.  “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”  When our prayers are not answered immediately, we need to think about why we were praying.  Many times we ask for even good things for the wrong reasons.  For example we can ask for the church to grow or for someone to get saved just for the sense of pride or pleasure we get, or for the way other people view us, rather than from concern for the people involved, and the Holy Spirit knows the real reason. 

When I would order materials for a job, sometimes were delayed because of road construction or the need to make other stops as well.   Sometimes God’s answers are delayed because of satanic interference, such as Daniel describes in Daniel 10:12-13.   Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.  But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.” 

Sometimes, I got different materials than I had ordered because what I had ordered was no longer available, or because a new item would do a better job.  Other times we didn’t receive things when we asked because we were not ready for them.  A cast iron bathtub can really get in the way when you aren’t ready to install it and there was danger of damaging it.   God didn’t allow David to build the temple because he needed to first get the conflicts with their neighbors settled. 

I just had to learn to reorganize my work to fit the delivery schedule, rather than getting upset because everything did not fit my plan, and sometimes God wants us to reorganize our work instead of getting upset that he didn’t do things exactly as we wanted them.   The changes seldom made much difference in what the job took.  God knows far more about what is needed than my suppliers did, and can be trusted to get what is needed on time.  Learn to use what he has given you and trust him to supply the other things you may need.   If a prayer isn’t answered right away there is always a reason.  

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Basis For Christian Faith and Practice

When a person is born again by believing in Jesus Christ, as Jesus described in John 3, he becomes a new person, according to II Coringhians 5:17.  “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  We receive a whole new attitude or spirit, as I Corinthians 2:12 describes.  “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. “  It is the same spirit or mind set Christ had, according to I Corinthians 2:16.  “…But we have the mind of Christ.”

Because we have the mind of Christ as a result of our faith it is possible for us to keep all God’s commandments, without fear or undue struggle.  I John 5:3-5 tells us, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.  For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.  Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”  Everyone who has believed in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God who came to save mankind receives the power to overcome the temptations and sin of this world. 

“This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.” (I John 5:6)

Jesus Christ came to earth in the form of a human baby, growing in his mothers womb, surrounded by amniotic fluid traditionally called the water, until his birth just like any other baby.  Eventually he was expelled lfrom his mother’s womb like any other baby, in the process we call birth.  It is the natural birth process.  Later he was crucified, and buried, rising from the grave three days later, almost as if he had been reborn through the blood of his death.   Both his birth and his resurrection were miraculous, and fulfilled the prophecies about the messiah’s coming.

“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” (I John 5:7)

As proof that Jesus is the son of God, there are three beings in heaven that testify to that fact.  All three appeared at Jesus’ baptism, in Matthew 3:16-17.  “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”  There was no question that God, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus himself accepted Jesus as the Son of God.  They are equals.    

There are also three things on earth that give evidence Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, as I John 5:8 tells us.  “And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.”  The Holy Spirit shows Jesus to be the Messiah in numerous signs and through the scriptures.  Jesus’ miraculous birth, fulfilling hundreds of prophecies, clearly demonstrated that he was the Messiah God had promised.   That he was then crucified and resurrected fulfilling every prophecy about that event as well provides incontrovertible proof Jesus had to be the Messiah.  The evidence from all three is in full agreement.

Based on the evidence, refusing to believe Jesus is the Messiah is very much like those who still insist the earth is flat despite the number of ships and planes that circumvent the earth every day, the obvious visual evidence of a ship slowly dipping below the horizon, and many other evidences.  It is a deliberate refusal to believe the truth, regardless how much evidence is presented.  I John 5:9-10 tells us, “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.  He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.”  What greater testimony could you get than God’s own statement that Jesus is His Son.  By refusing to believe it a person is essentially calling God a liar.  It also means they have deliberately ignored the evidence of the Holy Spirit’s working in the lives of those who believe. 

By their refusal to Believe God, they have rejected what he promised if they would believe,  I John 5:11-12 makes it very clear.  “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”  Eternal life is to be found only in faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God.  Refusal to believe in him brings only eternal damnation.  John 3:18 says, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. “  John 3:36 reiterates the statement.  “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

Many times Christians are accused of blindly following traditions without any evidence.  As we have seen, we are not blindly following some tradition,  I John 5:13 states, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”  We have a great deal of evidence supporting our beliefs.  Those who do not believe have deliberately chosen to ignore the evidence, just like those who still cling to the belief the world is flat.  

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Why We Love Others

In John 3:16, Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  This is the ultimate demonstration of love, that God loved us enough to give his life for us even when we had no interest in him, as John 4:9-10 tells us.  “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”  He loved us so much that he gave his life to pay off the penalty for our sin, knowing we might never return that love. 

If we have received God’s spirit into our heart, and understand that he loves us we ought to love other people, as I John 4:11-tells us.  “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.   No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.“  Man was created in the image of God, according to Genesis 1:27.  “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”  As a result of sin, that Image was seriously damaged, but when people becomes Christians, that godly image is restored. according to Colossians 3:10, Christians “…have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.”  While we have never seen God himself, every Christian should remind us of him.  As a result, we ought to love them. 

Romans 10:9-10 tells us.  “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.   For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”  I John 4:14-17 Makes it very clear that Jesus is in fact the Son of God who came to save the world.  “And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.  Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.  And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.  Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.”  Because we have believed, we have received God’s spirit to produce the same kind of love in us.  That love is perfected or demonstrated by our love for others, giving us assurance that we have been made like God again and need have no fear when the judgement comes. 

When we are living in fear of losing our salvation or not making it to heaven, our love for God is not fully developed, as I John 4:18-21tells us.  “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.  We love him, because he first loved us.  If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?  And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” 

If we are afraid of losing our salvation, we do not understand how much God loves us.   Our love for him is based on how much he loved us even before we cared about him and is shown by our attitude toward those around us.  If we don’t love others who have an attitude somewhat like God, how can we really love God?  If we really love God we will love others simply because he told us to. 

I John 5:1-2 summarizes what John has said.  “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.  By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.“  Everyone who has accepted Jesus as the son of God who came to pay for man’s sins is saved, and if they have truly been born into God’s family, they will love his other children as well.  All of the commandment relate to how we treat others, and our attitude about obeying him shows whether we love him or not.