Love Perfected

Text: 1 John 4:12

In his first epistle, John wrote a lot about love. One thing he talked about was love being perfected. To be perfected means to be completed, accomplished, and fulfilled. In these passages, there is also a connection between love being perfected and God abiding in us (and us in Him). We recognize the importance of abiding in Him; therefore, love must be perfected in us.

Perfect Love Confesses Christ (1 John 4:15-17)

  • If we confess, we abide in God – “by this, love is perfected with us
  • Confession is a verbal affirmation of our belief (cf. Matthew 12:34) – it is a prerequisite for salvation (Romans 10:9-10); must be public (1 Timothy 6:12); we must confess Christ so He will confess us before the Father (Matthew 10:32-33)
  • What belief are we confessing? – Jesus is the Son of God (Acts 8:37); God’s love for us (1 John 4:16, 9-10), to which we respond with love (1 John 4:19)

Perfect Love Keeps God’s Word (1 John 2:3-6)

  • Many will claim to know God, but John charged some of these with being liars – love “has truly been perfected” in those who keep His word
  • Loving God means keeping His commandments (cf. 1 John 5:3; John 14:15) – we cannot claim to love Him and refuse to do His will (cf. Matthew 21:28-32); obedience proves that we know Him (1 John 2:3, 5) because we recognize His authority (Matthew 28:18; Colossians 3:17)
  • We must walk as He walked (1 John 2:6) – He is our example (1 Peter 2:21-22); He learned obedience (Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 5:8) and we must obey Him to be saved (Hebrews 5:9)

Perfect Love Is Toward One Another (1 John 4:11-12)

  • Love is perfected in us “if we love one another
  • Many claim to love God – yet this is shown through obedience [previous point], our actions; it is not enough just to talk about loving God, we must show it (1 John 3:18)
  • However, many act differently when it comes to those who are in the flesh with us – those who claim to love God but hate their brother are liars (1 John 4:20); we love others because God loves us (1 John 4:11, 7-8); Christ loved them enough to die for them (1 John 3:16) so we must do good to them, not harm (Romans 14:15); this must be shown in our actions (1 John 3:18; cf. 1 John 3:17; Galatians 6:10; 1 Peter 4:8; James 5:19-20; 2 Corinthians 2:6-8)

Perfect Love Looks with Confidence Toward the Day of Judgment (1 John 4:17-18)

  • When “love is perfected in us,” we can “have confidence in the day of judgment
  • We need to remember what will happen when the Lord returns – all will be judged according to their deeds (2 Corinthians 5:10); He will do what He said He will do in rewarding the faithful and punishing the wicked (Matthew 25:31-32, 46)
  • Why does “perfect love cast out fear“? – not that our love for Him will nullify our disobedience (cf. 1 John 5:3); “fear involves punishment” and many are afraid of this when He returns (cf. 1 John 2:28-29); if we fear Him, we either do not know Him or are not obeying Him as we should (2 Thessalonians 1:8)

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