Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
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.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
19 We love him, because he first loved us.
20 If a man says, 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?
21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
Annabelle couldn’t believe her eyes. Was this really what she thought it was? You see, Annabelle had been begging her parents for a new puppy. In fact, for the past 3 months, it is all she could think about. She got the idea from her friend, Ava. Every time Annabelle would go to Ava’s house, they would play with Ava’s 13-year-old German Shephard. The dog would just lay on the ground and let the girls put ribbons in its hair, strap their dolls to its back, and on one occasion, they even painted one of its paws with nail polish! They had so much fun with this dog. Annabelle couldn’t wait to do all these things with her new puppy!
As soon as they got the puppy home, the puppy chewed the head off her favorite doll. Then, while Annabelle was on the trampoline, he snatched her purple converse tennis-shoe and darted down the street. Annabelle was quickly becoming discouraged by her new friend. Every time she turned around, Annabelle would find something else that her puppy had destroyed. She thought she loved him but rapidly let her feelings of frustration start taking over. It was hard work having a puppy, and Annabelle began to think that she didn’t want him anymore. She began to think that he would be better off with another family who could love him better than she could.
Love | 1 John 4:1-12 | We live in an unholy world that is not perfect and is full of darkness and frustration. Our world uses the term “love” to exalt immorality and justify whatever “feels goods” at the moment. The Bible tells us that this is imperfect love. God, however, is the very nature of perfect love. Last month we studied that God is light; therefore, He is holy. Whenever love and holiness are united, love is perfected. Verses 9-10 tell us, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Love and holiness came to earth as a man so that we could know this perfect love. Not only that, but as believers in Jesus, according to verse12, “…God dwelleth in us. His love is perfected in us.”
Love Indwelling | 1 John 4:13-16 | God desires to live in us. We are not merely students reading a book or spectators watching a deeply moving event. We are participants in the great drama of God’s love!  He is not satisfied to tell us that He loves us or even show us that He loves us. God desires to indwell us! Indwelling takes place when we confess that Jesus is the Son of God. (1 John 4:15). Once a person has confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, the glory of God now lives in that person. In John 14:16, we are promised another Comforter that would abide with us forever. This Comforter is the Spirit of God. What an intimate gift for God to indwell his children. Truly, there is no relationship like it! If you have never experienced the indwelling of God, confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and enjoy this newfound relationship.
Love Perfected | 1 John 4:17-21 | We have a beautiful promise from verse 17 that says, “Herein is our love made perfect…” Herein what? Well, if we read verse 16, we quickly see that love is perfected when we dwell in God’s love. The Christian life is to be a daily experience of growing in the love of God. It involves a Christian’s coming to know his heavenly Father in a much deeper way. As a Christian falls more in love with God, God’s love equips the believer to love others. It has to be this way; according to verse 20, “…for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”
If you’re like Annabelle and frustrated with someone that you love, don’t be quick to “get rid” of that person. Take some time to pray about it. Ask the Comforter to help you know how to love that individual. He promises to perfect your love for them by equipping you with love for them.
 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary, The Complete New Testament in One Volume (Colorado Springs, Colorado: David C. Cook, 2007), 995.
What are some ways the world uses the term “love” to exalt immorality and justify whatever “feels goods” at the moment?
How does it make you feel to know that God wants you to be a participant in the great drama of God’s love?
Who do you need to be equipped, by God, to love?