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John’s Sermon on 1 John 4:12 – 1 John 4:12-15


John’s Sermon on 4:12

Text. 1 John 4:12-21

John preaches a sermon, for the next few verses, v13-21 are actually a commentary and expansion on what he has taught in verse 12. Now, the biblical authors did not preach to amuse you or to tickle your ears – John is going to talk about the Christian’s confidence in the day of judgement. That will require some explanation, – and it won’t be casual listening. so, let us see…

1. God Indwells Us by the Holy Spirit . v13-16
1. The Holy Spirit comforts and assures us. The indwelling Spirit:-

  • Internally witnesses to our conversion. We know that we dwell in him and he in us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:16  The Holy Spirit witnesses to our conversion. Now for that reason it is absolutely essential that we understand that the Holy Spirit…
  • Is the portion of every believer! At conversion, we are baptised into the body of Christ, by the Holy Spirit! 1st Corinthians 12:13  We need this ‘baptism into one body by the Holy Spirit’ in order to be born again, to be Christians, – there is but one spiritual baptism, although there may be many spiritual fillings! He has been sent to guide us into all truth, he remains with us to be our comforter, he is the down-payment of our final redemption.

2. The Holy Spirit equips us to witness about Christ’s saving work.
We TESTIFY. What do we testify about? Many people testify about themselves. Some people testify what others want to hear. While your life story and your conversion and your experience may be inspiring and interesting, it is NOT THE GOSPEL. So John testifies about Jesus. In one succinct doctrinal statement, all crammed into one short sentence he tells his readers:

Jesus is God’s Son!
God sent his son!
He is the Saviour of the World.
We need a Saviour because we are condemned sinners.

All of this is a summary of the Gospel, the Good News that because all have sinned and come short of God’s glory, Christ died for sinners.
We CONFESS. Confession is stronger than testify. It is not PROFESSION – confession is a heart-felt, whole-hearted acceptance and affirmation of correct Christian doctrine about Jesus, it is to give a resounding AMEN to what has been taught about Christ’s divinity. You cannot be saved if the Jesus you believe in is a false Jesus!
We BELIEVE. We have doctrinal standards and statements, and we heavily believe and know that they are true.
Do you see that as John speaks of the work of the Holy Spirit, indwelling the believer, he fills his teaching with biblical truth, with correct belief about Jesus. For John and the rest of the early church apostles, Christian belief, correct doctrine was essential, for false teachers and false doctrines lead people into a lost eternity. And belief and confession come BEFORE love. So, may I ask – Is Christ at work in you and me through his Spirit?

2. God Prepares us for Judgement Day . v17-18
17Herein 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. 18There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
This is the second point of John’s sermon. He expands on his statement in verse 12, that God’s love is perfected in us. That perfection, (maturity) gives us a calm quiet assurance about what will happen to us in the future. Hebrews 9:27 …as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. Most of our friends don’t want to think about any of this, because although they may try to ignore God and choose to live self-centred lives, and not think about death, but read how the Hebrew writer describes God, in Hebrews 12:29. For our God is a consuming fire. Read also Rev 20:11-15,

If you are not a believer in Jesus, be afraid. There is a judgement day, and it is already appointed and you will be there. Please be afraid, – you need to know that the wages of sin is death.
If you are a Christian, do not be afraid! For the one who has experienced God’s saving love, and has the Holy Spirit in dwelling their life, THERE IS NO FEAR for God’s perfect love has expelled the fear! Paul confirms this in Romans 8:15

So, see the contrasts in the verse:-

  • Boldness or fear? While the unbeliever will have dread and fear at judgement, the Christian has boldness! When we stand before God on judgement day, we will be ‘coming before God with confidence’ just like we do in a prayer meeting or in our home or in prayer… No fear whatsoever!
  • Love or torment? That’s the issue. When we leave this world we go into eternity, we go to God’s fulness of love, for God is love, or we go to eternal torment.

It does us no harm whatsoever to consider these matters. They are solemn matters, and we cannot skirt them or avoid them. We must understand the doctrine of eternal punishment of the lost so that we are clear about the need for evangelism.

3. It is All the Lord’s Work.
19 We love him, because he first loved us.
Finally, John gives us a great example of how a sermon should conclude. He brings us back to Jesus, and to his saving initiative for us. We are to love God and to love our neighbour, but only as a response to Christ’s saving love for us.

We affirm the words of Josiah Condor:-

My Lord, I did not choose You,
For that could never be;
My heart would still refuse You,
Had You not chosen me.

You took the sin that stained me,
You cleansed me, made me new;
Of old You have ordained me,
That I should live in You.

Unless Your grace had called me
And taught my op’ning mind,
The world would have enthralled me,
To heav’nly glories blind.

My heart knows none above You;
For Your rich grace I thirst;
I know that if I love You,
You must have loved me first.

Listen to this sermon on

From → 1st John

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