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December 4, 2020 7:00 pm
BJU President Steve Pettit continues a discipleship series entitled, “Truth and Love” from 1 John 4:7-8
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. The school was founded in 1927 by the evangelist Dr. Bob Jones Senior's intent was to make a school where Christ would be the center of everything, so he established daily chapel services today. That tradition continues with fervent preaching from the University chapel platform today on The Daily Platform.
Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University is continuing a study series entitled truth and love which is a study of the book of first John, there's a study booklet available that Dr. Pettit has written for this series.
If you would like to follow along. You can order a printed copy from the website.
The Daily Platform.com. Let's now listen to today's message from first John 47 through eight entitled God's love glass you take your Bibles and turn this morning. The first John chapter 4, first John four and I'd like us to read the last phrase of verse six and then were going to read our two verses this morning will look at verses seven and eight for those of you that are visiting or perhaps watching online, our theme this year has been this semester is been truth in love, a study in first John chapter 4, we have spent the first four messages basically establishing a foundation in introduction to understanding first John and then we looked at the first six verses we had a message on a call to the sermon and then last message was on how to spot a false teacher so John is dealing with truth and with error. It's a little bit is is pretty straightforward.
Kind of combative kind of writing your face directional messages and then we come to verse seven and it's almost like he switches gears and notice of the end of verse six it says. Hereby know we the spirit of truth in the spirit of error. The notice, if you will.
Verse seven he says, beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and every one that loveth is born of God, and know with God. He that loveth not know if not God, for God is love. John shifts his message from the theme of truth to the theme of love. It almost feels like an abrupt disconnect where John unplugged someone toward any plugs in another court but what we need to understand is that truth and love are not disconnected from one another. They have what we call a symbiotic relationship that is you can't have wine without the other and so as we do our study this semester is really that both of them go together is more like two cords being plugged into the same side-by-side wall socket. You have both truth and you have love so question why is it so critical to understand the truth in love, go together, especially within the context of first John chapter 4 well just to remind you, the author is been telling us that where there is the presence of false teachers.
There is the absence of truth. Now John tells us that not only involves teachers, there is the absence of truth. But there is the absence of love. What is he say he that loveth not know with God not God, for God is love. So the presence of divine truth should always be surrounded by the atmosphere of divine love. So in the fourth chapter of first John, the underlying idea concerning false teachers is not just that they reject truth, but they actually fail to love the people of God. They may give a public impression but not a reality of really loving God's people.
So as we begin to look at this passage.
Starting in verse seven and goes all the way to the end of chapter verse 21.
The most notable aspect that we see and will see it over and over just repetitious and that is all the references to love. There are more rapid references to love in first John four than any other chapter in the whole Bible.
30 different references in this morning as we look at verses seven and 86 20% of those references are found in these two verses. Just note the word love, beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God and everyone that loveth is born of God, and know with God. He that loveth not know if not God, for God is love. So what is John writing your what is he telling us. Essentially he's giving us the two main reasons why it is that believers are obligated why it is that we are commanded to love one another in one of those two reasons the first reason is this love, he says, is the nature of God. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God.
This is like John's fundamental foundational statement the command for us to love one another is grounded in the nature of God. If we don't love then he says we don't know God. He that loveth not know if not God, for God is love. John is telling us that love know what you think with me on this is more than an attribute. We talked about the attributes of God is his omnipotence is is on the president's powers. Knowledge is grace is truth. This is different. He is saying here that love is more than an attribute.
It is the assets. It is the expression of who God is God is love.
John says, for love is of God and the word of their means and out from it is out of God just like light radiates out of the South from the sun just like a mighty river gushes out of a deep spring so John is saying that love radiates it gushes out from God. John is saying that the motivating reason for all that God does all of his actions are because God is because God loves.
Think about it. When God created the world out of nothing by the word of his mouth God spoke those words in love when God established his covenants with the patriarchs. Like Noah and Abraham and Moses and David. He ratified those covenants in love when God delivered the Jewish people from the Egyptian bondage.
He redeemed them and he brought them out in love, listen to Deuteronomy 7 verse seven, it was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and shows you where you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you all of the actions of God flow out of his nature of love. Let me also say that every aspect of the life of God's son. Everything about Jesus was a revelation of the father's love for the world for God so loved the world that he gave so when you read the Gospel accounts of Jesus's incarnation is temptation. His miracles is teaching his sufferings. His arrest is trial his crucifixion, his burial, his arrest, his resurrection is appearance to the disciples after he rose from the dead, his ascension, all of these things are a demonstration of the love of the father how deep the father's love for us. How vast beyond all measure that he would give his only son to make this ranch's treasure. Everything that God does comes out of his heart of love. Now if all that God does finds its source in his love. Maybe you asked the question why love. Why not just sore righteousness or mercy or grace. Why love.
For example, consider Genesis chapter 1 in verse one think about the verse you know the verse in the beginning God created the heavens and earth as we look at that verse.
The first attributes that sort of stick out to us about God is that number one God is eternal in the beginning and that God is all-powerful, he created. So from this verse we learn who God is. We also learn what God does. But what we don't know is we read the first verse of the Bible is why God did, why did God create the heavens of the earth. What was the reason for creation. So you ask yourself questions was God lonely. Did God want to demonstrate to us his creation and his creatures did he want to show us his mind empower later. Only read in Genesis 1 and two, that everything God made was for good. And so we begin to learn creation is a reflection of God's desire to provide a benefit and a blessing to what he's made it doesn't really tell us why God created so why did God make everything in his book delighting in the Trinity by Michael Rees. If you've never read.
I would highly encourage you to read it, delighting in the Trinity by Michael Reed. He gives us an explanation of why God created everything with a couple of illustrations, his first illustration was from the early church father Augustine who deduced that the doctrine of the Trinity.
That is, there is one God, whose revealed himself in three persons. The father son and Holy Spirit that he has deduced the doctrine of the Trinity from the nature of love. If God is loving then that love or that nature has to be expressed. It's impossible to love without expressing it. You can't hold in love. You cannot selfishly hold own to love. Love is outgoing, it must go out to someone. Therefore, from his own deduction.
There has to be more than one person in the godhood to whom love can be expressed and so what we discover in the Trinity, we discovered that the father loves the son and that the Spirit also loves the father and the son.
There's a second illustration about the whole concept of creation God's love in the 12th-century.
One of the most influential religious thinkers was a Scotsman name Richard of St. Victor Richard argued that if God were just were just one person he could not be intrinsically loving since for all eternity. That is before creation.
He would've had no one to love. Love has to express itself. He went on to say that if there were two persons, God might be loving but in and excluding ungenerous way. After all, when two persons love each other.
They can be so infatuated with each other that they just simply ignore everybody else in your nose at your In a God like that would be very far from good news. But when the love between two persons is happy, healthy and secure, they rejoiced to share it just so it is with God, said Richard being perfectly loving from all eternity.
The father and the son have delighted to share their love and joy with and through the spirit. It is not then that God becomes sharing being triune God is a sharing God. He is a God who loves to include. Indeed, that is why God creates his love is not for keeping it is for spreading the nature of love radiates it cannot be held back.
It cannot be contained.
It must be expressed. This is why God created all things, because God is love many of you have read the Screwtape Screwtape letters, by CS Lewis in his writing. He captures the difference between the devil and God. He shows that the devil is needy and a solitary God where is God's self giving overflowing in love is ecstatic, Screwtape, a senior demon writes these words, one must face the fact that all the talk about his love for men and his service being perfect freedom is not as one would gladly believe mere propaganda but an appalling truth. He really does want to fill the universe with a lot of loathsome little replicas of himself creatures whose life on its minuscule miniature scale will be qualitatively like his own, not because he is absorbed them, but because their wills really conform to his.
We won't cattle who can finally become food he wants servants who can finally become sons.
We want to suck in. He wants to give out. We are empty and would be filled. He is full and flows over all creation is an expression of God's love in Hebrews chapter 1 verses two and three. Jesus is called expression of God's nature. It says happened these last days spoken on us by a son by whom also he made the world who being the brightness of his glory and the express image of his person, Jesus is the express image of God's person is very interesting that the word person there is the word for foundation like the foundation on which a house is built on the writer of Hebrews is saying is, is that Jesus is the perfect perfect expression of what is foundational to the nature of the heavenly father. So what is foundational to the nature of God as we finish this section. Take your Bibles and turn to John 17 and I want you to read with me verses 24 to 26.
As we discover that love is the foundation of the fathers nature. Notice he said he's praying this is Jesus's high priestly prayer.
He says father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am to see my glory that you have given me because you love me before the foundation of the world.
Oh righteous father.
Even though the world does not know you.
I know you and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name and will continue to make it known that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them. Jesus is say that he came to express the image of God and at the very core of the very foundation of the fathers nature is a love love expressed in creation and a love expressed in the sending of his son. So here's the whole point. Why does God command us to love one another because it's what God is like.
It's his nature but not only does he read the command to love and the nature of God. But there's a second reason and that is because love is actually the nature of a Christian just like love is the nature of God. This is what God is like. He's also saying that love is actually what a Christian is notice he says here. First John four, seven and eight everyone that loveth is born of God, and know with God. When a person is born again. The new birth. It's a spiritual experience whereby God's own nature, is imparted to the believer. God's life comes to live in us and the result of this new life is that God gives us a gift and what is that gift specifically what you turn in your Bibles to Romans chapter 5 and note if you will please. Verse five because he tells us what this gift is that he puts into our hearts.
Romans five in verse five it says because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us the new birth, the new life. The spirit of God coming to live inside of you. What is that it is God's only love his own nature being poured forth, bursting forth into our own hearts. Why do we love him because he first loved us and we respond back to God and that love and I remember when I got saved. It's like the old preacher from West Virginia said God poured a honey bucket of love and my soul serious is like everything was new. The world was new us all the world is God's creation and I loved and I would begin to meet people that are Christians that were really say that really knew the Lord and suddenly, like a magnet being drawn.
I was drawn to them in love to love them. I still feel that way. What draws us to a roses fragrance. What draws us to a believer.
It's the fragrance that Christ is in their life. One commentator Howard Marshall said a person cannot come into a relationship with the living God without being transformed into a loving person. Let me say this is not what we call natural love is a supernatural love.
It's a lot possessed only by believers because you can't have it if you don't possess the Holy Spirit. Now an unbeliever can love because he's made in the image of God and because of God's common grace that God gives to all of us. Therefore, you can have the benefits of love through family and through marriage and friendship, but an unbeliever cannot love like God loves apart from God's own nature, being in your heart.
Love is God's gift imparted to us. His love is within us.
This is a love first of all, for God and then secondly, it is a love for other and John is establishing a very important principle, and that is if God is love than the more we know God than the more we are going to love one another and everyone that loveth is born of God, and know with God. Peter tells us something similar. In second Peter chapter 1 repeaters giving us a pathway to spiritual maturity and then he brings us to the high point, the pinnacle so he says beginning in verse five, and besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith and then he gives the seven different characteristics virtue add to virtue knowledge and knowledge patient's intemperance, add the patient's intemperance, godliness, and brotherly kindness and then he concludes any sense add to brotherly kindness charity or love. What is the pinnacle.
What is the high point of Christian living. What's the ultimate goal we say. The ultimate goal is to become like Christ.
But what is that mean it means that we become a person who is living a life of love and sacrifice and charity giving ourselves the other D Martin Lloyd Jones and all riders on the spiritual life are agreed that the ultimate stage of growth is the stage of loving Paul's first three chapters in the letter to the Ephesians explains the blessing of the church and the blessings that we have because of our relationship with the father through his son Jesus Christ and that we come to the image of of chapter 3 and he concludes the chapter with a climactic prayer for the spiritual maturity of the believers in what is his request. Many of you have memorized this this is that we would comprehend with all saints what is the breath and the length and the depth and height and to know the love of Christ which passes all knowledge that they might be filled with all the fullness of God growing in God and growing in love are the same things.
If we are not becoming more and more loving, unselfish sacrificial giving up of our rights. Giving up of our self to others that were missing the boat and at some point it would be appropriate to ask the question, do you really know the Lord. If your whole life is selfish.
What is a safe we don't love the Martin Lloyd Jones said love is the ultimate test of our perfection of our Christian faith Christian faith.
Do we love one another is a more vital task. In the realm of experience and self-examination.
Then our orthodoxy.
In other words he's saying the greatest test is not just what you believe truth but is the way you live love so to me it sounds pretty serious because of your selfish your whole life is about you. You may have an outward conformity to the Christian faith. But you don't have the power of a new life. The power of a heart that loves everyone that loveth is born of God, and know with God. He that loveth not know if not God, for God's love. It's is black and as wide as you can simply make it. It's one or the other.
Even John reaches back in the history and he comes to the story of the two brothers Cain and Abel and Cain killed his brother Abel and the question is asked why and John says that Keynes hate crime is inspired by a different spiritual power is the devil himself. The presence or absence of love is the proof that the divine life of God has been or has not been implanted in the so I think Bob Jones University ought to be at least one of the most loving places on the planet. Why because his loves in her heart and everyone we see as a brother and a sister and that we give of ourselves unreservedly why because God is love. Father, thank you that you love us. God, I pray that you will deliver us from selfishness. Lord I pray for those who were not born again that you will can fix them that their life is self-centered and for those who are your children to help them more to grow in the right pathway to a life of love in Jesus name, amen. You been listening to a sermon from the book of first John by Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University.
If you would like to order the study booklet titled truth in love written for the series, visit our firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about the impactful programs and ministries happening at Bob Jones University, visit the news website beach are you email@example.com you can also follow BJ you on twitter, Facebook and Instagram at BJ you eating you and also follow Dr. Steve Pettit at BJ you president. Thanks again for listening. Join us again next week as we continue the study in first John on the daily