Raising Up Deliverers – Introduction – Judges 2 – Week 1

Raising Up Deliverers

Introduction, Judges 2

Week 1

Rob Covell

Introduction: In this series, Raising Up Deliverers, we will look at lives of Deborah, Gideon, Jephthah and Samson, and receive the keys of perseverance of faith. Perseverance is one area of growth in our spiritual lives in Christ, that is a catalyzing force for greater favor of God in our lives, greater spiritual authority, and spiritual maturity.

James 1:2-4 – Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

The spiritual themes that we see in the book of Judges is as follows:

1 – Perseverance of faith contrasted to loss of faith

2 – Israel’s obedience leading to blessing and favor, or their disobedience leading to oppression from their enemies.

3 – God’s grace and faithfulness to His people

4 – God co-labors with imperfect, but willing people to fulfill His purposes

5 – When things look hopeless in a nation, God has a holy prescription for its healing

1 Corinthians 10:11 – These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come.

As we look at Judges, we can learn from all the examples of the Judges who began well and finished well, who began well and ended poorly, or who began broken and ended even more broken. Each character we will study will unlock deep discipleship lessons for each one of us, so that all of us will walk in undivided devotion to the Lord.

According to Jewish tradition in the Talmud, the last Judge of Israel, Samuel complied the book. The date for the book is between 1086-1004BC. Although the author is anonymous in the text, we can trust Jewish rabbinic tradition because of their commitment to preserving history by oral tradition, and their zeal for accurate scholarship through scribal traditions.
The style of Judges follows a “blessings for obedience” and “curses for disobedience” cycle as described in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28. Judges is an appeal to the future generations of God’s people to avoid sin cycles in their lives. If we carefully observe some the strongholds we have overcome, often we will see patterns. Judges shows us the same type of theme throughout the book as a warning. The verses below describe the sin cycle the Israelites were in.

Judges 2:7&10

a) It is the responsibility of one generation to give next generation an opportunity to encounter the Lord. The experiential knowledge transfer of things about God protects the coming generation from the oppression of sin, and devastation in society.

b) There is a two-way responsibility. One is the current generation needs to give the coming generation an accurate narrative of God, and coming generation needs to respond to the truth about God.

c) The Israelites were in covenant with the Lord, and therefore were bound by the conditions of their covenant with Him. The key here was that they did not “know” the Lord. Hebrew – know – yada` – to know by experience, to discern or see, to learn to know, to no one carnally (sex), i.e. Adam “knew” his wife – Genesis 4:1

d) 2 Peter 1:3 – His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

Judges 2:14-16

a) Deuteronomy 28 describes complete success in every area of personal and national life because the Lord is with them. The oppression from their enemies, and their inability to overcome them, was an indicator of their spiritual condition.

b) Hosea 4:6 – My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. “Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.

c) In a similar way, the more agreement we have with the flesh and the world, the more access the enemy has to afflict our lives. See 1 John 5:18 – We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.

d) Romans 8:12-13 -Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

e) They were in great distress – Even in the midst of deep sin and rebellion against the Lord, He remained faithful and merciful to respond to the distress of His people. The fruit of repentance is a speedy deliverance. The Lord was faithful to raise up people who deliver his people from their troubles.

f) Judges – Hebrew – shaphat – to judge, govern, vindicate, punish, to act as lawgiver or judge or governor (of God, man) – The definition of this word implies much more than a natural ability to lead. It indicates a God given supernatural grace/anointing to rule, make divine decrees and administrate justice for the people.

g) Saved – Hebrew – yasha` – to save, be saved, be delivered, to be liberated, be saved, be delivered, to be victorious, to save from moral troubles –

Judges 2:17-19

a) These verses show us the grace, mercy and patience of the Lord towards His people. Nehemiah 9:31 – But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.

Judges 2:20-23

a) The favor of covenant blessings is conditional. The great mercy, grace and patience of the Lord were always available to the Israelites in the time of the Judges. However, the favor of God is empowered by relational obedience to His heart.

b) Compromise is always an avenue for temptation. 1 Corinthians 10:13 – No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

c) Prophetic promises are conditional and the measure of their fulfillment depends on the measure of our agreement.

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IN VIA – 1 John 5:13-21 – Week 10 – Rob Covell

In Via

1 John 5:13-21

Week 10

Rob Covell
Introduction:In this Session, we will complete our verse by verse study of 1 John, and conclude with John’s final exhortation of how to fellowship with a God who Life. We will look at verses 13-21, and through these verses we see the following movements:

1 – John’s purpose for writing his Epistle

2 – How to have confidence in prayer

3 – Praying for those who are struggling with sin

4 – Agreement with God keeps us safe from evil

5 – Our confidence in knowing Jesus Christ

6 – John’s final exhortation to stay away from idols

1 John 5:13

a) John begins to conclude his letter to the Ephesian Church by reminding them of the purpose of his letter. He plainly tells them and us, that we would know we have eternal life through the Son. All of John’s encouragements, warnings and exhortations in the text come from the heart of a spiritual father to his spiritual children, so that they may stay in truth and prosper in their faith in Jesus.

b) Knowing we have eternal life in Christ, gives us assurance of faith and confidence in knowing that we are accepted in the Father and loved by Him. No amount of religious works makes us acceptable to the Father; only faith and trust in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, His burial and His resurrection make us acceptable to the Father.

c) In ancient culture, knowing the name of someone speaks of experiential knowledge of that person’s heart. Greek – onoma – the name is used for everything which the name covers, everything the thought or feeling of which is aroused in the mind by mentioning, hearing, remembering, the name, i.e. for one’s rank, authority, interests, pleasure, command, excellences, deeds etc.

d) The destiny for all believers in Jesus Christ is eternal life. This is life that only God possesses and we receive. The Greek words – aiōnios zōē – life that will always be, without ceasing, or without beginning or end – This is life that is untouched by the present day, and is a realm of eternal bliss in God, as we explore the infinite depths of His Being.

1 John 5:14-15

a) Every son or daughter of God should have confidence in our approach to Him in prayer. Colossians 1:22 – But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.

b) We know that we have – When we ask according to His will, we are guaranteed to receive our requests. The Lord is good and generous, and Jesus presents this truth in Luke 11:9 – “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you
will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

c) Ask anything – This does not imply that we can manipulate God or demand whatever we want from Him. But that we He encourages us to pray for or about anything. Philippians 4:6 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

d) According to His will – One of our struggles is asking according to our will and not His. We begin to pray His will when our hearts align with His heart. The more we know about Him relationally, then the more our prayers and petitions begin to reflect His will. Seeking the Lord in the Scriptures, in prayer and walking out His heart in the everyday, builds confidence in asking, and joy in receiving in prayer.

e) Some may ask, “why doesn’t God just do His will?” – We would answer that the Lord loves relationship and partnership with His sons and daughters, and enjoys the pleasure of giving their requests.

1 John 5:16-17

a) Verses 16 and 17 are some of the most difficult verses to exegete in this Epistle, next to 1 John 5:6-8. However, if understand the context, culture and the occasion of the Scripture we are reading, then understanding what is being said in the text is becomes apparent right away.

b) First, we must say that we should always pray for Christians who are in sin and not pass judgment on them. In verse 16, we see a definitive promise that the Lord will bring them back to life, which is relationship with Himself.

c) Theologians put forth 2 possible interpretations for these verses regarding sin that does not lead to death and a sin that leads to death.

d) 1 – Some theologians propose that John is referring to the physical death of a disobedient believer. They refer to 1 Corinthians 5:5 – hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord. They also reference 1 Corinthians 11:29-31 – For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. The conclusion is that there are some sin patterns in believers that are so grievous, that is it God’s love and mercy to remove them by death, so that they may be ultimately saved.

e) 2 – Other theologians propose that John is referring to the Gnostic Heresy and Cerinthus who was leading people away from Christ to spiritual ruin and death. Their position is that John is referring to the spiritual death of someone who ultimately rejects the truth of Jesus Christ. If we survey 1 John, we would see that the context and themes throughout the Epistle reference spiritual thought sand concepts in metaphors like life, light and born again. These theologians reference Matthew 12:31 – And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. These theologians conclude that John is referring to blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, and is referring to the Gnostics teaching as teaching that brings a spiritual death that cannot be resolved in prayer.

1 John 5:18

a) All believers have a desire and a spiritual appetite to please God, love Him and obey His heart. 2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! Romans 8:1-2 – Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 1 Peter 1:23 – For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.

b) A lifestyle of habitual sin and constant disobedience to Jesus Christ is an indication that there is something very wrong. There are only 2 options: 1 – that person is not truly in Christ. 2 – That believer is so oppressed by their agreement with sin, that they have a major stronghold.

c) Notice that the verse says that Jesus keeps them safe from the evil one. The closer we walk with Christ, being led by the Spirit, the ever-increasing safety we have against the direct, straight up attack of temptation from satan. James 4:7 – Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

1 John 5:19-20

a) John concludes his letter with a contrast between the children of God and those controlled by the world. The children of God have vastly different affections of the heart as contrasted to the affections of the world.

b) Knowing Christ, is an experiential knowledge that flows from relationship. See 2 Peter 1:3 – His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

c) John declares the deity of Jesus Christ at the end of verse 20.

1 John 5:21

a) Notice the title of affection and endearment that John concludes this letter with.

b) In the context of this Epistle, this would have been a 2-fold warning. 1- Stay away from the temple of Diana/Artemis. See Acts 19. 2 – Stay away from the Roman Agora, where every person entering would be required to offer an offering to the Roman Emperor.

c) Included in this warning would also be the idols of our hearts. Colossians 3:5 – Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Paul says in this verse that the affections of our hearts can be classified as idolatry because these take away our love for God.

IN VIA – 1 John 5:1-12 – Week 9 – Rob Covell

In Via

1 John 5:1-12

Week 9

Rob Covell

Introduction: In this Session, we will begin the last movement in 1 John, which is how to fellowship with God, who is Life. As we have moved through this Epistle, we have seen 4 movements in the text.

1 – How to fellowship with God.

2 – How to fellowship with God, who is Light.

3 – How to fellowship with God, who is Love.

4 – How to fellowship with God, who is Life.

The context and occasion of 1 John, was to combat the false teaching of Cerinthus, who was a prominent Gnostic false prophet/teacher, that was leading the Church in the Roman Province of Asia away from the Apostolic truth that the Apostles had taught regarding the Person of Jesus Christ. John describes false teachers like the Gnostics as antichrist.

This Epistle was written late in John’s life, to his spiritual children, to warn them about false teachers, warn them about living in repetitive sin patterns, to keep them in Christ, and strengthen their faith as John was about to depart as pass from this life, to life eternal. The time stamp for this Epistle is approximately 90AD.

In verses 1-12, we will encounter some of the most beautiful and deep Holy Spirit inspired language found in the Scriptures. John continually uses terms of endearment towards his spiritual children, uses repetitive themes he heard as he walked with Jesus and listened to Him, and John communicates the deepest thoughts about God in the simplest language.

1 John 5:1

a) John repeats the themes of being born again by faith in Jesus and the theme that love for the Father translates into love for the Son of God. Jesus, in his encounter with Nicodemus, told him; John 3:3 – Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

b) Being born of God, or born again, is by the Holy Spirit as He woos our hearts to put our faith in the reconciliation of Jesus Christ in the Atonement.

c) The evidence of being born of God, is love for Jesus Christ in our lives. John 14:21 – “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” There is no separation in our love for the Father and our love for the Son. We cannot love one without loving the other. Jesus, “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30)

1 John 5:2

a) John gives us a qualifier by which we can measure our love for God and love for others. Romans 13:9-10 – The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

b) When obey the heart of God, we do not damage the people around us. We are in fact loving people, when we are loving God. We should also say that loving God, compels us to care for people, be generous, fight for the oppressed, and honor all people because they are made in His image.

c) John is attacking the Gnostic teaching that immorality and sins of the flesh are acceptable, because the flesh is corrupt and irredeemable.

1 John 5:3-5

a) John continues to define the qualifiers of our faith, which is to keep the commands of God. Because of the heavy grace and identity teaching that is present in Christianity, many believers have been empowered to live in a constant state of disobedience. True freedom and liberty is the power to choose to honor God’s heart, because we have the spiritual appetite to please Him.

b) His commands are not burdensome – Greek – burdensome – barys – heavy in weight, severe, stern, violent, cruel, and unsparing. Jesus said in Matthew 11:30 – “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” The commands of God are designed to communicate His love for us, because His boundaries keep us in His love and favor, and protect us from the damage of sin to our souls and bodies. They are not burdensome because we have been anointed by the Holy Spirit to have an appetite or desire to please Him. We have been hardwired by the Spirit to have an appetite for victory over sin.

c) Overcome – Greek – nikaō – to conquer, to carry off the victory, come off victorious – Faith in Jesus empowers us to draw from His victory and apply His victory and authority to our lives. 2 Peter 1:3 – His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

1 John 5:6-7

a) This section of 1 John is perhaps the most perplexing language of this Epistle. Christian theologians throughout the centuries have been attempting to understand exactly what does John mean when he says, “but by water and blood”. Martin Luther and John Calvin explained this as meaning the 2 sacraments of Baptism and Communion that Jesus gave the Church. Augustine believed this was a reference to the water and blood that flowed from Jesus’ side after He died on the cross. Jerome tried to explain in his Vulgate Latin translation of the Scriptures as referring to the Trinity. Others have proposed that John was referencing the natural birth of Jesus (water of the womb) and the blood He bled on the cross.

b) To understand Scripture is to understand the context, culture and occasion for the text. Let’s review what we know about the occasion for this Epistle, so that we can propose the best interpretation. 1 – John was combating the “phantom Jesus” false teachings of the Gnostics. They denied that Jesus really came in the flesh, because it would be impossible for Jesus to be God and be in the flesh, because the flesh is corrupt. This doctrine of the Gnostics was very damaging because it disqualifies Jesus as the Son of Man, and makes it impossible for Him to pay the penalty of sin, as the representative “Adam”. This Gnostic teaching also allowed for the acceptance of immorality and sin because the human flesh is totally corrupt and irredeemable. 2 – John was an eyewitness to Jesus life. He witnessed Jesus miracles, talked with Him, touched Him, witnessed His death on a cross, touched His physical resurrection Body, and witnessed His ascension.

c) In light of these 2 contextual facts, we could interpret the “water and the blood” and the “Spirit who testifies” as referring to the baptism of Jesus, the blood of cross, and the Holy Spirit confirming the truth of gospel. Jesus’ baptism was a baptism of indentificational repentance, that launched His ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit after He completely defeated the temptations of the devil. The blood on the cross proved He was real flesh and blood, suffered real pain, and died a real death. The Holy Spirit being poured out at Pentecost is the final witness that confirms the gospel message about Jesus.

d) Notice that it says in the text that the Holy Spirit is truth. He will never lie to us, or lead us into darkness. We can completely trust Him and His intentions towards us.

1 John 5:9-12

a) Eternal life is only found when we have authentic faith in Jesus, the Son of God. It is amazing to think about the goodness and kindness of God by giving us life. The Scriptural context for eternal life, is defined as life that will always be. When we put our faith in Jesus Christ we instantaneously receive life that will always be. That is why there is no death for the child of God; we transition from mortal life to life that will always be.

b) Eternal life is only an attribute of God. Verse 11 shows us the divinity of Jesus Christ, because for one to be the source of life, is for one to be divine. John 14:6 – Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

c) Take a moment to consider our own lives and either determine if we have the Son and His life. If we have the Son, then we have rich gratitude and thankfulness towards God that encourages us to live for Him. If we do not have the Son, then receive the Son, be spiritually born again and enter into life that will always be.

IN VIA – 1 John 4:13-21 – Week 8 – Rob Covell

In Via

1 John 4:13-21

Week 8

Rob Covell

Introduction: In this Session, we will complete 1 John 4, and explore verses 13-21, which contain some of the most beautiful thoughts regarding the love of God. These verses could possibly be the highest exaltation and explanation of what kind of love God possesses.

Charles Spurgeon preached 5 messages alone from these words: “We love Him because He first loved us”. Below is an excerpt from one of those sermons.

Charles Spurgeon – “Look through all the pages of history, and put to the noblest men and women, who seem to still live, this question, ‘Who loves Christ?’ and, at once, up from dark dungeons and cruel racks there rises the confessors’ cry, ‘We love him;’ and from the fiery stake, where they clapped their hands as they were being burned to death, the same answer comes, ‘We love him.’ If you could walk through the miles of catacombs at Rome, and if the holy dead, whose dust lies there, could suddenly wake up, they would all shout, ‘We love him.’ The best and the bravest of men, the noblest and purest of women, have all been in this glorious company; so, surely, you are not ashamed to come forward and say, ‘Put my name down among them.'”

If we could take away one thing in from these verses, it should be that we are confident in God’s love for each of us, and from that foundation, we live a life that proves that we love Him too.

1 John 4:13

a) The tangible presence of the Holy Spirit is our assurance of faith. All believers in Jesus Christ should know we are in faith by our experiential knowledge of the Holy Spirit.

b) Let’s break down the key Greek words in verse 13, so that we may have the fullest understanding of the text. Know – Greek – ginōskō – to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel, to know, understand, perceive, have knowledge of, Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman – We can see from the Greek definition that “to know” that we live in God, is based on experiential perception and relationship with God. Live/Dwell – Greek – menō – to remain, abide, in reference to a place – to sojourn and not leave, to kept continually – in reference to time – to continue to be, not to perish, to last, endure – in reference to a condition – to remain as one, not to become another or different, to wait for one and not move. – The Greek definitions of know and dwell indicate a constant reach on the behalf of the believer to stay in the place of fellowship with God.

c) The Holy Spirit helps us and confirms that we are knowing and remaining in the Lord. Galatians 4:6 – Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” Jesus called the Holy Spirit the Counselor, the Advocate, the Helper. To know God, is to interact and
know Him by His Spirit. This is a lifestyle of hearing and responding to the Holy Spirit.

d) Notice that verse 13 says that the Spirit is given to us. We do not have to work to receive the Spirit because the Spirit comes by faith in Jesus Christ, and our having the Holy Spirit is an expectation that all believers in Jesus should have and experience.

1 John 4:14-15

a) The “we” that references in verse 14, is the witness and testimony of the Apostles. In the context of this Epistle, John is most likely the last surviving original Apostle and eye witness to Jesus Christ. He is reminding his spiritual children that the things they taught, wrote and said are true and trustworthy. Today the original Apostles speak to us through their Epistles and we can trust their words because they spoke by the Holy Spirit. See 2 Peter 1:21 – For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

b) The cornerstone and foundation of our faith is seen in the goodness of the Father sending His Son to redeem and reconcile humanity and creation to Himself. Savior – Greek – sōtēr – savior, deliverer, preserver – World – Greek – kosmos – the whole of creation, universe, of all humanity and the whole created order, both spiritual and natural. Christianity is inclusive because all are extended and offered reconciliation with the Father through Jesus Christ. Christianity is exclusive in the sense that one can only know God, dwell with God and be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ.

c) If we acknowledge the Son, then God lives in us and us in Him. This is a beautiful description of salvation by faith alone and not works. To acknowledge Jesus Christ requires nothing but the confession of the heart that is broken over sin. To acknowledge Jesus is a daily decision of the will to live in a way that pleases Him and empowers us to dwell/remain/live in Him.

1 John 4:16 (a)

a) “And so we know and rely on the love God as for us” – NIV – So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. – ESV – Our lives are sustained by the experiential love of God. It is a love that is constant, reliable, tangible and imparts acceptance and courage to trust the Lord with the totality of our lives. We know and rely on the love of God because we daily experience the active love of God in our lives.

1 John 4:16 (b)

a) God is love – Love – agapē – this is the type of love that is unconditional, and contends for the best towards the object of that love. It is the type of love that is motivated by benevolence, goodwill, and the greatest amount of affection. The whole narrative of Scripture reveals that to be true about God. Love is at the center of His personality and colors everything He does.

b) When we consider the discipline of God, the coming judgment of God, the holiness of God, the commands of God to the obedience of disciples to His
Word; these things are in the context of His love.

c) Whoever lives in love lives in God – When we are living in love, we manifest a similar nature and character as God. Our hearts are motivated by what He likes, and our daily choices reflect things that would please Him. Romans 13:10 – Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
1 John 4:17 a) Verse 17 is very clear that having confidence in God’s presence flows from being conformed to the image of Jesus. Romans 8:29 – For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

1 John 4:18

a) When we experience the accepting love of God, we are empowered to respond to His love, because we are not afraid anymore of the judgment for sin, or the shame and embarrassment that comes from sin.

b) Let’s look at the definitions of the Greek words so that we can begin to live more boldly in His love. Perfect – Greek – teleios – brought to its end, finished, wanting nothing necessary to completeness, perfect or perfected. This Greek word shows us that God’s love is complete, it cannot grow, it does not need to mature. Certainly, the fullest expression of God’s love was demonstrated to us on the cross, as the Son suffered and became the sacrifice for sin.

c) Perfect love drive out – Drives out – Greek – ballō – to throw or let go of a thing without caring where it falls, to scatter, to throw, cast into, to thrust out. d) Fear – Greek – phobos – terror, fear, that which causes terror.

e) Punishment – Greek – kolasis – correction, punishment, penalty, torment.

f) The experiential love of God and our response to the love of God, removes all fear of Him punishing us.

1 John 4:19

a) Our knowledge of love began with Him first. None of us have ever loved truly, until we experienced His love. He made the first move toward each one us. Charles Haddon Spurgeon said, “Yet we must not try to make ourselves love our Lord, but look to Christ’s love first, for his love to us will beget in us love to him. I know that some of you are greatly distressed because you cannot love Christ as much as you would like to do, and you keep on fretting because it is so. Now, just forget your own love to him, and think of his great love to you; and then, immediately, your love will come to something more like that which you would desire it to be.”

1 John 4:20-21

a) If we are not loving the people around us, it is an inconsistency in our lives that does not agree with the love that God possesses. It is easy to say that we love God, because we often equate love for God as deeply personal and private, with a God who is invisible. However, John in verse 20-21 teaches his spiritual sons and daughters that love for people proves love for God.

b) It is possible for us to attend every conference with popular speakers, move in spiritual power, move in intercession, and end up offering to the Lord the fruit of our hands like Cain, and not offer up the fruit of the Spirit that touches hearts and affects lives. If we love God, we love that which was made in His image.

c) John 13:35 – By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. – Jesus expressly tells us that loving others is proof of discipleship.