Today’s readings – 1 John 4:19-5:4 Psalm 2 Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand –
when I awake, I am still with you.
Do you ever use the phrase “life’s rich tapestry”? When something surprising or unexpected comes along, I sometimes use that phrase to describe the event, as if a surprising picture has emerged from the cloth which the Lord God is weaving as we move through the various stages of life.
The apostle John has been taking at least three important threads of the life of every Christian and weaving them together in his letter as he shows us how we should live and teaches us to have confidence and assurance in the Lord Jesus Christ and our eternal life in him.
These threads are love, obedience and faith.
On Monday Sarah outlined the situation which John was writing into, with believers at risk of being led astray. John underlined that righteous actions will mark those who are born of God. Those born of God will ensure that they do not make a practice of sinning and they will do what is right. God’s children will be marked by obedience to God’s commands.
On Tuesday Mike underlined our calling to costly, sacrificial and utterly selfless love for our brothers and sisters. This will be characterised by loving actions.
On Wednesday Matt showed us that the love which we need to show others arises from God’s supreme love for us in sending Jesus to save us. We need to know this amazing love and to rely on it minute by minute.
Today John weaves together all these threads as he shows us how these three core parts of the Christian life are indispensable and inextricably intertwined.
The reason we love, is that God first loved us. God’s fantastic love for us drives us to love our brothers and sisters in Christ. If we find ourselves hating our brothers and sisters in Christ, how can we love God? God himself commands us to love our brothers and sisters! So since we love God, we need to obey his command.
In chapter 5 John shows us how the threads are all woven together. Everyone who has faith that Jesus is the Messiah (Christ) is born of God. This faith leads us to love God and to love our brothers and sisters in Christ. But how do we know that we love God’s children? We know this because we love God and we are obedient to him, by carrying out his commands. But how can we carry out his commands? The answer is that our faith allows us to overcome the world (that is society organised apart from God) and give us victory over the world.
Faith ➞ Love ➞ Obedience ➞ Faith
So it follows that all who have faith in the Lord Jesus as God’s Messiah and saviour will demonstrate the love and obedience which new birth will certainly give rise to! All of this is a wonderful gift from God, who gives us this faith and, through his Holy Spirit, convinces us that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
Having understood this, we see the importance of the God-given faith which we have in the Lord Jesus and we rejoice that it leads us into love, obedience and yet more and deeper faith.
thank you that in your great mercy you have caused us to have faith in your Christ, the Lord Jesus and to be born again.
Thank you that, in turn, this leads us into love for you, for each other and also into obedience to your commands, which are not burdensome, as you have overcome the world.
Enable us to serve others by loving and encouraging our brothers and sisters in Christ and also by calling others to faith in him, by the power of your Holy Spirit, we pray.
We ask this for the honour and glory of your name.