Lesson # 3

We are the Family of God
Lesson # 3
Copyright © 2002
D. S. Briggs, BA; ThM; D. Min.

I John 4:7-8; 10-11;20-21
Background Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13
Memory Verse: St. John 15: 12 - 14

“This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if you do whatsoever I command you.”

Much has been taught in these last days about the mark of the beast. Found in the book of the revelation of john, this mark is how we are told to be able to identify the anti-christ when he is come. Through the Apostle John’s writings we are given a glimpse into the place, presence and power of the anti-christ. It is through this mark of identification that we are informed how to avoid his demonic system when it appears. Without this mark in one’s hand or forehead, no man will be able to sell, or buy. Without this mark, which literally pledges ones life and loyalty to the beast, one will ultimately lose their life. Through this system, “betrayers of the beast” will be killed.

Frightening, isn’t it? More frightening still is the haunting parallel of what is now simply known as 9/11. Since the gruesome reality of September 11th, 2001, America was violently awakened as a country. Across all political, racial, and socio-economic barriers we now collectively came to understand that there existed and has existed for some time a well-organized group of people in this world who were willing; who had procured the means to sacrifice their lives, in order that they may disrupt and destroy our way of life. By doing so, they would be venerated or honored within their own culture. We discovered that we were no longer “safe” within our own borders from our enemies. We found out that our very liberties had been used to attack us on several levels.

Since then, one of the methods that has been actively discussed to prevent future attacks of this magnitude is to implant every citizen with a “micro-chip” in their hand…for identification purposes. Of course the carnal mind cannot grasp the implications if such a measure was adopted because they have been blinded by the god of this world (Cf: 2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 12:9)

As frightening as this might be for some, I am more concerned about the mark of the believer than the mark of the beast. As believers of the Lord Jesus Christ, every believer must have a mark that biblically identifies us to not only the lord but to each other. This mark of identification is not…

¨ the cross that hangs around our necks
¨ bracelets or anklets that have a cross on them
¨ A ring that has a cross imbedded in it
¨ Christian apparel
¨ Christian/Gospel music
¨ Bumper stickers
¨ License plates or frames
¨ Religious pictures, prints, or catch phrases
¨ Religious tattoos
¨ Church membership/relationship/or leadership

What then is the mark of the believer? Love. (cf: 1 John 3:14 – 18)

The Bible mentions two particular types of love in the New Testament. One is called “phileo”. This is best described as brotherly love. (cf: 1 Corinthians 16:22; Hebrews 13:1) The second type of love is “Agape”. Pure and undefiled love. This is the preeminent type of love spoken of in the New Testament. This is the mark of the Christian that sets us apart from the world and identifies us to each other. No secret codes, handshakes, formulas, procedures, membership numbers, or rituals.

Simply love.

Let’s look at the text

Ø Vs # 7…Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God
Ø Vs # 8…He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love,
Ø Vs # 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
Ø Vs # 11…Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another
Ø Vs # 20…if a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
Ø Vs # 21…and this is the commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God love his brother also.

The apostle John writes to the church at a time when the church and it’s doctrine was under attack by false teachers and the ever tempting lure of worldliness. Gnosticism taught that since all matter was inherently evil, that it was impossible for Christ to take on human form. They also believed that they had revealed to them a “hidden knowledge”, which made them spiritual superior to others in the sense that they were above moral right and wrong. This led to lasciviousness and conduct unbecoming to Christian standards that the early churches taught.

In addition, Docetism taught that Christ only appeared to take a human form. The end result of both of these doctrines is an absolute denial of the incarnation of Christ. These false doctrines were finding their way into the church. As a result, first John was written to refute these doctrines and to put forth three marks of Christian living:

ü Righteous Living
ü Love for the Brethren
ü Jesus is the Christ, incarnate and victorious.

I.) The Relationship………………………………………………….vs # 7 - 11
A.) Spoken to the believer – Beloved
B.) We must have an intimate relationship with Christ
1.) We must be saved and sure
2.) We must submit to the Savior
3.) We must study the Scripture
4.) We must walk in the spirit of Christ
C.) It is through our love we come to truly know God
D.) This love is made possible through the indwelling Christ
E.) God sent his son to be the atonement of our sins
F.) In this God demonstrated his love for us first

Beloved – this term speaks not only to those that john dearly and deeply loved, but to those who had professed faith in Jesus Christ as the risen Lord. We should not miss the deeper meaning here. If one has not established a personal relationship with the Lord, then they will be spiritually unable to fulfill any of the demands of the gospel.

II.) The requirement…………………………………………………vs#20 - 21
A.) We must not only love Christ, but love each other
B.) It is impossible to love god, but not our brothers
C.) This love spoken of by John is agape love
1.) Love that is unconditional
2.) Love that is not preferential
3.) Love that is rooted in our love for Christ
D.) Note the cause and effect: “if you hate, you do not love”

hateth – miseo in the Greek. The word is translated as to detest, loveless, hateful. This is not only by our verbal expressions but through our visual example…not just our attitudes, but our actions as well. This attitude is one every Christian should avoid! (Romans 13:8)

brother - this term should not be used as a standard of separation. This refers to not only our “brothers” in the faith, but to our sisters, and neighbors as well. Christ himself has declared that…”ye shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength…and...thou shall love (agape)thy neighbor as thyself. (Mark 12:30-31)

Concluding thought:

So what does love have to do with it? Everything!!! The Bible declares in Psalms 101:7…”He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight. If we do not love each other as Christ commanded, and still say “We love God.” We are found to be liars based on the word of God. If found to be liars, we have no right to expect to dwell in the presence of the Lord, not to enjoy the benefits of being one of God’s children. (Romans 13:10)

How sad that the church would rather block the blessings of God by holding onto hate for their brothers and sisters, rather than forgive and love, which is the proper Christian way to live. The church of the living God should be a place where the love of Christ carries the order of the day. All things should be done in love, by love, with love and through love. This is what Paul means when he writes to the church at Corinth “If I have not love, I am become as a sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal”. (I Corinthians 13:1)

“by this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another”
St. John 13:35

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