Study Guide

Johannine Epsitles (1-3 John) 1 John 4

1 John 4

Flesh and Blood

  • One big thing to note: "do not believe in every spirit." Um, okay.
  • Really, the speaker just means that people and ideas might seem like they're from God, but they're not. You've got to put these folks to the test.
  • The test involves making sure these people and ideas center on the fact that Jesus came "in the flesh." That just means that it's important to believe Jesus was a human being and not just some divine being who only looked like a human. Or an android. Jesus was definitely not an android…
  • The author says that lots of false prophets and antichrists are peddling some old nonsense about Jesus (hint: the speaker is calling out the folks who have broken off from the community). These guys are "from the world," which means they care about ordinary non-godly things. And you'll remember from 1 John 2 that this is…bad. Very bad.
  • Now we're back to love again.
  • The speaker tells the audience that they should love each other because "God is love." If you have love in your heart then you're living how God wants you to.
  • The speaker says that God loved the world so very much that he sent Jesus. Jesus gave up his life so that people could have a sin-free relationship with God.
  • And because God loves humans a ton, the author continues, we should love each other. Really, it's the least we can do.
  • No one has ever seen God face to face, but when we love each other, we show the world what he looks like. It's very poetic.
  • Simple recipe from the author:
  • Step 1: Believe that God sent Jesus to save the whole world.
  • Step 2: Love your fellow Christians.
  • If you're filled with love, there's no reason to be afraid about the end of the world, says the speaker. Unless, of course, you read the Book of Revelation.
  • He finishes off the chapter by saying that if you go around saying that you love God but you're hating on other Christians, then you're just a liar.

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