Life in the Spirit (Love, Joy, Peace)
1 John 4
To live in the Spirit…
1. You must first be BORN in the Spirit
2. You must KNOW the Holy Spirit
3. You must WALK by the Spirit
4. You must be INDWELT by the Spirit
5. You must DEVELOP Spiritual DISCIPLINES
6. You must be FILLED with the Spirit
7. You must be LED by the Spirit
These are what we have covered in the past few weeks. There is something to be noticed here in those words in BOLD LETTERS. To live in the Spirit always takes the Active Initiative of the Holy Spirit and the humble response of the recipient. We will notice in the narratives of the Bible that God refuses to do His work on earth without vessels.. without us.. God needs no help in accomplishing His mission but He has chosen that He won't do it without human partnership to do His will on earth and move His Kingdom forward. GOD won't do it without a vessel. The vessel can't do it without God -the Spirit. But when we say YES to God's calling, we will see mountains move!
In 1 John 4, the Apostle John is instructing the early church to be vigilant and discerning in the spirit. This was a time when deceptions and false beliefs propagated by Gnostics and Mysticism started to rise and spread influencing the thoughts and beliefs of those who are also in the church. As we continue to explore this month's theme on Living in the Spirit, I think the Apostle John offers much insight not just on this passage but in a lot of his epistles and writings in the New Testament. Here is three that we can infer from them:
8. To live in the Spirit means to live full of LOVE
God is Love. The Holy Spirit is God. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Love.
If the sum and substance of Christian theology is “God is love,” then the goal of all our sermonizing and gathering and teaching must be love. God is our goal.
The Trinity is vitally important because it leads us to actually participate in the essence of God’s self-giving love. To be indwelt by the Spirit is to be immersed in the love of the Father for the Son and then to overflow with that love into self-giving actions on others’ behalf as we point them to Jesus. To Live in the Spirit means that these manifestations of the Spirit begin to show in our lives.
If the Holy Spirit keeps on filling us up then our love should never run dry.
I John 4
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 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. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 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. 17 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. 18 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.
19 We love because he first loved us. 20 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. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
In multiple parts of Paul's letters as well (e.g. 1 Corinthians 14, Ephesians 4-5), he emphasizes that the ultimate mark of God's children is a life of overflowing love.
1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Q1: What realisations did you have with the verses above?
Q2: What do you think is the difference between worldly love and Spirit-filled love?
Q3: Why is it impossible to give selfless love without receiving the same?
Q4: Complete the following statement: "I know God loves me because ____________. I know I love my brothers and sisters because ________________."
9. To live in the Spirit means to overflow with JOY
Because we are loved and we love, then we have the fullness of joy! Supreme joy is God’s nature and character! We see proof everywhere in God’s creation—birds singing, animals leaping, flowers blooming, brooks babbling and the sun shining! Many people would be less depressed if they would spend more time outside.
God is joyful—far more than any human being ever was! It’s tragic that many people think of God as somber and stern rather than cheerful and smiling with a great sense of humour. He is enjoying His creation, and especially the delightful anticipation of many new “sons of God”
Since God is exceedingly joyful, His children should also be joyful! Luke’s description of true disciples: “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 13:52).
Our joy begins because Christ lives in us. He tells us to “rejoice because your names are written in heaven”. We then have an intimate relationship with the One calls “God my exceeding joy.” In His presence “is fullness of joy”.
Jesus prayed for us in John 17 .. that we may have the fullness of joy within us.
Jesus instructs us in John 16:24 to "Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete."
Nehemiah proclaims "the joy of the Lord is our strength"
The Bible consistently exhorts us to count it all joy… to rejoice… when we go through all kinds of tests and tribulations.
This does not mean we are going to be immune to the world's sorrows. The Bible also says in proverbs that there is “a time to laugh and a time to mourn.. a time to cry and time to dance…” but the Bible also assures us that "all the sorrow may last for a night but JOY comes in the morning!"
Q: How does knowing that God is joyful God change your perspective on Him and on Christianity?
Q: Why and how is Joy a mark of a true disciple of Jesus Christ and a child of God?
Q: How do we cultivate Joy in our spiritual life?
Q: Complete the following statement: "I am most joyful when __________________."
10. To live in the Spirit means to live in PEACE
When we are filled by the Spirit of Love and overflowing with the Joy of the Lord, we will be living in perfect PEACE.
“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst out into song before you, and all the tress of the fields will clap their hands.”
The word peace in the original Hebrew is the word "Shalom" which has in its root meaning "completeness" or being whole". Meaning "NOTHING IS LACKING".
In its pure meaning, it does not mean the absence of troubles or problems, but it is an assurance and security that the Lord has given us everything we will ever need. So remember that whenever we proclaim this over to one another:
24 “The Lord bless you
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you PEACE.”’
- Numbers 6:24-26
Q: How do you know when you are living in God's Peace? Q: Complete the following statement: "I am at peace when ____________." Q: What will you do more of so that Love, Joy and Peace can increasingly flow in and through your life?