1 | 3 Points of Connection

The Apostle John uses 3 points of connection to God – love, belief & obedience – as a litmus test for us to know if we belong to God and then the same 3 actions become important building blocks in how we live out our faith journey for his glory and our best good.

2 | God’s compassion when our hearts condemn us

This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. | 1 John 3:19-20

John reassures us that it is common that our hearts might condemn us. John steps in here to reassure us by pointing out that Christ has already met all of the perfection we need to stand before God when he took our sin as his upon the cross. In this life, we’re going to struggle and fight against sin and our inadequacies, but we have a God that is compassionate towards us because he made a way for us to meet his standards and we can rest in that.

3 | Test False Spirit/Teachings

John is rallying the church to be discerning and giving us practical ways to test whether the spirit of teaching is from God or not. The great news is, we have the Holy Spirit in us that helps us discern truth. The major question to ask does the teaching or the teacher acknowledges that Jesus came in the flesh with the full divinity of Christ. Once that is established then we can start to work through how to overcome the lies we’ve believed that stem from false teaching or false beliefs.

4 | God’s love being made complete in us

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. | 1 John 4:7-14

As believers, we are blessed to have Jesus’s love pouring into us, so when we love others sacrificially as Christ did for us we then reflect God’s love for humanity. It is in this cycle of love that God’s love meets its intended goal or completion.

5 | Perfect love casts out fear

If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. | 1 John 4:15-21

God’s perfect love casts out fear even when we will stand before him on the day of judgment (evaluation) because we’ve been given Jesus’ righteousness.

6 | To love is to obey

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. | 1 John 5:1-5

When our love for the Lord grows as we get to know him more, we begin to love what he loves & desire what he desires. So living out his commands become a natural outcome of our love for Him. As we move forward in that synergistic obedience we find that obeying is not burdensome because he meets us there with grace and strength. In addition, it frees us up to live on mission with Jesus and live into his purpose for us without the burden of sin weighing us down.


In our 4th study session of Kelly Minter’s book “What Love Is: The Letters of 1,2,3 John” we cover 1 John 3:19-1 John 5:1-5. Some themes we see in week’s study include God’s compassion towards us, how to test false teachings, how God’s love can be made complete in us, how his perfect love casts out fear, and how obedience flows out of our love for him. Grab a cup of coffee and join us for this discussion!

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