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Monday, July 15th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
1 John 4

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

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Verses 1-6

The Witness of Acknowledging the Deity of Jesus Christ - The passage in 1 John 4:1-6 basically says that faith in the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ is the foundational truth that divides the true child of God from false Christians. Many believers may differ on parts of the Scriptures, but a personal acknowledgment of faith in the redemptive work of Calvary by the Son of God identifies a person as a genuine child of God. God’s children will hear the truth and not reject it. However, false Christians, who are led by the spirit of anti-Christ, are of this world and hate the truth of redemption.

All other religions, even those that imitate Christianity, have one belief in common. They all deny the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. They do not believe that He came from heaven in the form of man and that He has returned to sit at the right hand of the Father.

1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

1 John 4:2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

1 John 4:2 Comments - It is obvious that John was dealing with the same issue in his first epistles. Note a similar comment in 2 John 1:7, “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.”

1 John 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

1 John 4:4 “because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” Comments - He that is in us is God, and he that is in the world is Satan. No matter what kind of day I have experienced, there is a constant abiding “feeling” in my heart, inside of me. I feel like leaping a hundred feet high, as David said, “by my God have I leaped over a wall.” (2 Samuel 22:30) I feel like taking charge of the biggest, ugliest situation in life. Inside, I feel like a giant . This must be God’s abiding spirit in me. I feel like I cannot be defeated.

1 John 4:4 Comments - Kenneth Hagin comments on Luke 10:19 where Jesus Christ tells His disciples, “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” The English word “power” is used two times in this verse. The first use is regarding the power that Jesus gave His disciples and the second occurrence refers to the power of demons. In the Greet text the English word “power” is two entirely different words. The first word is “exousia” ( εξουσι ́ α ) (1849), which means, “the power of authority (influence) and of right (privilege).” The second word is “dunamis” ( δυ ́ ναμις ) (1411), which means, “inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth.” [31]

[31] Kenneth Hagin, The Believer’s Authority (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c1984, 1992), 7-8.

We know that God is all-powerful, but we must not forget that Satan has limited power on this earth, which he uses to control and destroy men (1 John 4:4).

1 John 4:4, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

Jesus is simply saying in Luke 10:19 that thru His name He has given to His church divine authority, which Kenneth Hagin defines as “delegated power.” He has delegated to us all of the authority of Jesus Christ Himself. Therefore, although Satan does have limited power and he does exercise his power, we, as believers, have been delegated the use of God’s power and are easily able to overcome him.

Kenneth Hagin gives the illustration of a policeman directing traffic. [32] Although he himself does not have the power to physically stop the cars, he can simply raise his hands or blow a whistle and these powerful cars come to a stop. This is because the policemen has been delegated the power of the government which has authority over those people driving the cars. In the same way, we are to be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. We do this by taking the name of Jesus Christ and exercising our authority over the devil.

[32] Kenneth Hagin, The Believer’s Authority (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c1984, 1992), 7-8.

1 John 4:5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.

1 John 4:6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

Verses 7-21

The Witness of Loving the Brethren The second way that we can distinguish between the true believer and false Christian is by the love walk. Those who believe and acknowledge the true will endeavour to walk in love with the brethren. This is a second thing that the false Christian is unable to do. This pericope opens and closes with a command for the brethren to love one another.

1 John 4:7 Comments - Being born of God and knowing God are two different things. Once we are born of God, we can get to know Him by having fellowship with Him.

1 John 4:8 Comments - 1 John 4:8 is referring to Christians and not unbelievers. Those who are born of God and do not have fellowship with Him are not able to know Him. When a believer does come to know God, he is not able to walk in love. When we have fellowship with God, we get to know Him, and we understand the love walk, because God is love.

1 John 4:9 “In this was manifested the love of God toward us” Scripture Reference - Note:

1 John 3:16, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”

1 John 4:9 “that we might live through him” Comments - Kenneth Copeland explained the phrase “live through Him” by giving the illustration of an orphan who has been abandoned by his parents. The child is placed in an orphanage. One day, a couple comes along and falls in love with this orphan. They adopt him and sign the adoption papers. From that day forward, the orphan is no longer an orphan, but is now a child of those parents. His life now is lived through them. They become the source of his life and sustenance. They provide all of his needs and all they want is for that child to love them back and to have fellowship with them. [33]

[33] Kenneth Copeland, Believer’s Voice of Victory (Kenneth Copeland Ministries, Fort Worth, Texas), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program.

1 John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

1 John 4:10 Comments - It was God’s love for us that caused Him to send His Son to die on the Cross for us (John 3:16). He did this because He wanted someone to love and to have someone who could love Him back. In other words, He wanted fellowship with us.

1 John 4:12 Comments - Although we cannot see God, we can see acts of love that testify of who God is.

1 John 4:16 Comments In order to believe that God dearly loves us, we must first understand that God is love; that is, love is the primary constitution of His divine nature. One self-evident truth to God’s divine nature is that man is in fellowship with God when he is walking in love with his brother. Because God is love, and He abides in us, then His love abides in us. Therefore, when we walk in love with one another, we are expressing the divine nature of God that dwells within every child of God.

1 John 4:17 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.

1 John 4:17 “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment” - Comments - 1 John 4:17 refers to the Judgment Seat of Christ where all believer are judged immediately after they go to Heaven.

“because as he is, so are we in this world” Comments Although we are not like Jesus in our physical bodies and minds, we are like Him in our spirit-man, which has been created anew (2 Corinthians 5:17) and made perfect (Hebrews 10:14).

2 Corinthians 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.”

Hebrews 10:14, “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”

1 John 4:17 Comments As an expression of the divine truth that God is love, we are to walk in love with one another because His love dwells within us. Therefore, we can walk like Jesus because we can walk in love towards other. This love walk is a testimony of our divine fellowship with God who dwells in us. This love walk gives us confidence in our relationship with the Father so that we have no fear of the Day of Judgment, knowing that we will receive His praise and affection when we go to Heaven.

1 John 4:18 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.

1 John 4:18 Comments As we walk in love with one another, this confidence in God drives out the fear that controls the unregenerated person, who is bound in sin. A mature saint has no fear of eternal judgment, nor fear of man. Although the average believer recognizes obvious abuses of love in his Christian life, there is a deeper walk with the Lord where we become much more sensitive to walking in love with others. In 1 Thessalonians 4:10 Paul exhorts the believers to strive to grow in their love walk by saying “that ye increase more and more.” John the apostle defines this type of mature love as “perfect love” (1 John 4:18). John explains that it means a believe can come to the place where he no longer makes decisions based on the fear of man, but he strives to please God in pure love and devotion to Him as all costs. We find an excellent example of mature, self-less love in the life of Onesiphorus (2 Timothy 1:15-18). In contrast to Phygellus and Hermogenes, who were ashamed of Paul’s bonds and hid their faith in Christ for fear of Roman persecutions, Onesiphorus boldly kept the faith in the face of possible persecutions, even going as far as visiting Paul during his Roman imprisonment, which Luke mentions in general in Acts 28:30. Onesiphorus walked in self-less love, while many others in Asia were self-centered because they were moved by fear.

We find another example in Hebrews 10:32-34, where the author describes the persecutions endured by these believers because of their faith in Christ. Their goods were plundered by those who were persecuting them. Despite such persecutions, these Hebrew saints were not ashamed of Paul’s bonds.

We find another excellent example in the Gospel of Matthew of how perfect, or mature, love casts our fear. Matthew 1:20 reads, “But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” Joseph had just found out that his spouse was pregnant, so he was troubled and wondering what to do. It is interesting to note that the angel addressed Joseph’s worries with the statement, “Fear not.” This reveals that the source of our concerns is fear. We know that fear is the opposite of faith. When the angel revealed to Joseph God’s divine plan at work in his life, he stopped worrying and trusted God with this difficult situation he was facing; because Joseph, a just man, loved God. It was this love that removed his fears.

Bob Larson uses this acrostic to define fear: “False Evidence Appearing Real.” [34] Kenneth Copeland says the phrase “because fear hath torment” means that as faith opens the door for the anointing to work, so does fear open up the door and allow torment to come in. [35] It took genuine faith in God for Joseph to believe what the angel said about a virgin birth and to act in obedience to these words. A virgin had never conceived before. Nothing like this had ever happened before. Joseph had no reference point in his life to compare such an event. He had to utterly trust and fear God in this situation.

[34] Bob Larson, Bob Larson in Action, on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program.

[35] Kenneth Copeland, Believer’s Voice of Victory (Kenneth Copeland Ministries, Fort Worth, Texas), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program.

This would explain why Revelation 21:8 tells us that the fearful will have their part with other unbelievers and abominable people in the lake of fire, since their love for God was not genuine.

Revelation 21:8, “But the fearful , and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Illustration When a man and a woman unite in holy matrimony, they begin building an intimate relationship, becoming increasingly confident of the steadfast love from the other partner. When this fellowship is broken through strife, fear enters the heart because the love of the partner becomes uncertain. God’s love for us is unfailing. Our understanding of His love, and our willingness to walk in this love with others builds a strong confidence in our hearts of God’s love towards us, casting our any fear of divine judgment against us.

1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.

1 John 4:19 Comments God’s love has been poured into our lives by the impartation of the Holy Spirit, who came to dwell in us (Romans 5:5). Because He poured His divine nature of love into us, for God is love (1 John 4:8), then we have the capacity to love others. In addition, when children are greatly loved and nurtured by their children, then grow up with the capacity to love others; but those who grow up in homes with little love find it difficult to love others, simply because they have no love to give to others.

Romans 5:5, “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

1 John 4:8, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”

1 John 4:18-19 Comments Maturing From the Fear of God to Love for God - King Solomon wrote three books that have been forever recorded in the Sacred Scriptures: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon. The themes of the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes emphasize our duties to fear of the Lord, while the theme of the Song of Solomon places emphasize upon our need to love God with all of our hearts. It is with the fear of the Lord that we depart from evil and began to serve the Lord and obey His Word. As we mature in the Lord we get to know Him and begin to love Him. This is why John the apostle, who was the beloved disciple, could say that perfect love, or mature love, casts out fear. As John grew to know the Lord he grew in his love for Him also.

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on 1 John 4". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/1-john-4.html. 2013.
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