“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is (springs) from God; and he who loves [his fellowmen] is begotten (born) of God and is coming [progressively] to know and understand God [to perceive and recognize and get a better and clearer knowledge of Him]. 8 He who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love. 1 John 4:7-8 AMP
God wants us to come to know Him more and more clearly. He knows that we can only come to know Him better as we allow Him to do a work IN us and He really wants to do His work in us! The process is that we come progressively to know Him by observation and experience as we press in to His word and His Holy Spirit. We get an ever-clearer knowledge of Him as we submit ourselves to His will and His life and nature are displayed through us. The more we yield ourselves to Him, the more usable and useful we become to Him. The evidence in your life that you know God and that you are coming to know Him even more is in your love walk. If you walk in love toward your fellow man and woman, you demonstrate that you are indeed acquainted with God.
In this the love of God was made manifest (displayed) where we are concerned: in that God sent His Son, the only begotten or unique [Son], into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God loved us so [very much], we also ought to love one another. 12 No man has at any time [yet] seen God. But if we love one another, God abides (lives and remains) in us and His love (that love which is essentially His) is brought to completion (to its full maturity, runs its full course, is perfected) in us! 1 John 4:9-12 AMP
The essence of love is this: not that we loved God first, but that God loved us first and sent Jesus – His only begotten, unique Son – to die for us long before we met Him, long before we ever even came into the world. For all that God has done for us and loved us so greatly, we owe it to Him to walk in love to other people. Even though no one on the earth has actually seen God, they can see Him in us when we walk in the love of God.
By this we come to know (perceive, recognize, and understand) that we abide (live and remain) in Him and He in us: because He has given (imparted) to us of His [Holy] Spirit. 14 And [besides] we ourselves have seen (have deliberately and steadfastly contemplated) and bear witness that the Father has sent the Son [as the] Savior of the world. 15 Anyone who confesses (acknowledges, owns) that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides (lives, makes His home) in him and he [abides, lives, makes his home] in God. 16 And we know (understand, recognize, are conscious of, by observation and by experience) and believe (adhere to and put faith in and rely on) the love God cherishes for us. God is love, and he who dwells and continues in love dwells and continues in God, and God dwells and continues in him. 1 John 4:13-16 AMP
We know that God loves us because He tells us in His word that He does and He also demonstrated it by sending Jesus to die for us. When we have faith in that love, we walk in the blessings of that love and God, Himself, comes to make his permanent dwelling in us!
In this [union and communion with Him] love is brought to completion and attains perfection with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment [with assurance and boldness to face Him], because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection]. 1 John 4:17-18 AMP
Because we know how much the Father loves us, we have an expectation that we will be able to stand confidently before Him on the Day of Judgment with no fear of punishment. The more our love walk matures, the more confident we are of God’s loving acceptance toward us and that He will hear and answer our prayers. When we need to ask Him for something, He will accept us and receive us.
We love Him, because He first loved us. 20 If anyone says, I love God, and hates (detests, abominates) his brother [in Christ], he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, Whom he has not seen. 21 And this command (charge, order, injunction) we have from Him: that he who loves God shall love his brother [believer] also. 1 John 4:19-21 AMP
When we know that God loves us then we can reach out and love others. So many Christians are fighting with their brothers and sisters in the Lord, rather than loving them. They say that they love God, but by their actions, they demonstrate that they do not. When we are yielded to God’s will, we will obey Him in everything. If He says, “Love your neighbor,” then we should take it to heart and do exactly that. This is not optional – it is a command. If we don’t love our neighbor then we don’t love God. If we love our neighbor, then we do love God.