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Love One Another, Pt. 3
1 John 4:15-21
June 15, 2014

Some things that should be self-evident aren’t as obvious as we might suppose.

When he was a football coach, Buddy Ryan was known as being a no-nonsense, tough-nosed coach. He learned well from his father, as an article from 1994 recounts:

Leaving Korea as a master sergeant and coming home, “[Buddy] saw a makeshift boxing ring being put up by his father in the backyard among the cottonwood trees. He had seen it often before. When he was growing up, Buddy and his three brothers would fight in elimination rounds to see who would meet their father. He put on the gloves, but he didn’t want to hurt his old man. Before Buddy raised his gloves, [his father] stepped on his foot and sucker punched him. He looked down at Buddy and said: ‘Just in case you forget what life’s all about.’”

Though he was tremendously successful as a medical doctor and then as the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, Jerry Buss was a failure as a father. His son Johnny recalls the impact of Jerry’s divorce from their mother:

“It left us confused about who our father was. We knew Dad only as the guy who came over on weekends and took us to MacDonald’s. I could never understand why he’d want to go to Las Vegas…rather than take us to Disneyland. Even though he provided for us wonderfully, we were starved for the love of a father.”

James Boswell is best known for his biography of the British author and essayist, Samuel Johnson. Boswell apparently spoke often of a particular day in his childhood when his father took him fishing; even in adulthood, he remembered many of the life lessons his father shared with him on that day. One sleuth, having heard often of that day, decided to check Boswell’s father’s diary for his account of that day — having heard what the day was like from the perspective of the child, how would they day be discussed from the perspective of the parent? Turning to the appropriate day, the man found only a single sentence entered: “Gone fishing today with my son; a day wasted.”

It should be self-evident that one of the things that makes a man a man is his love for his wife and children. But it just isn’t that obvious to too many people. And that’s why John spends so much time in his first epistle talking about the importance of loving one another. Love is a priority that cannot be emphasized too much either for fathers or church members. We need these repeated reminders. A fundamental priority of the spiritual life is to love one another. In fact…

 If we know God, we must and we will love one another.

In this passage, John summarizes what has been said about love in the body of Christ; we find in these verses three foundational principles about biblical love.

  1. The Assurance of Faith and Love (vv. 15-16)
  • The right truths must be believed (vv. 15-16a)
  • The right affection must be practiced (v. 16b)
  1. The Triumph of God’s Love (vv. 17-19)
  • God’s love produces final confidence in us (v. 17a, 18)
  • God’s love treats us as He treats Christ (v. 17b)
  • God’s love is the foundation of our love for others (v. 19)
  1. The Necessity of Brotherly Love (vv. 20-21)
  • Loving others is antithetical to hating others in Christ’s body (v. 20)
  • Loving others requires initiation (v. 21)
  • Loving others requires perseverance (v. 21)
  • Loving others requires selflessness (v. 21)

Download the rest of this sermon on 1 John 4:15-21.

The audio will be posted on the GBC website later today.