The Book of 1st John Chapter Four Verse Ten Commentary by
Pastor Ron Beckham
There Is More
“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10)
Well that’s it! You did your best, you played by the rules (or not), but it wasn’t enough. Your opponent, whether it was a person or some kind of earthly agency or corporation, was stronger than you, and you lost! Just like the old year is gone because the New Year has come, what you wanted is gone and it is no more. Have you noticed it? Ties, like in sporting events, where both of you get the same score in life are unusual because something or someone wins almost all the time. The new victor in life is talked about by everybody, and the old is soon forgotten. What is the “old” in your life? Have you tried something, but it did not work, and you wonder, what’s next? Will there be anything more for you? (Shhh—spoiler alert—yes, there is more—and it's much better—for you).
But for now, what is it like when you feel all is lost and you can’t go on? That lost feeling is true for the one who attempts life alone, but in Christ you CAN go on, and can finally see what true Victory is all about. You may not agree because you’ve tried to make things new before: A new scheme, a new relationship, a new job, and perhaps plastic surgery… But here you are, and everything seems old yet another time. Can I keep trying? What can I do to make life better?
There is an element in life that is very much like a street fight. It’s everybody against everybody because secretly or overtly, EVERYBODY likes to win. But here’s the problem—you don’t want to be against God in this arena we call “life.” He is, to an incredible extent, the best fighter of all. He will win, He controls the very elements that comprise your body and hold you together, and so your obvious choice is to side with Him, for without Him, you will ultimately lose everything—forever.
“God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16), and yet God’s love is so much more than for Him to merely accept us the way we are. God’s love, no matter how expensive the short-term cost may seem to be, will utterly change us for the good! You may say, “I don’t want to change! I want to stay the way I am!” But the reality is—you DO want to change; you just don’t know it yet. God takes the things of this world, including prosperity, poverty, health, sickness, loss and gain, using them to bring us to His Son and fill us with His Spirit, because we need to be rescued from what we are. Those ways that let us down in the past must GO from our lives.
1 John 4:10 is today’s Scripture, which contains the words: “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” A very human need is expressed here. Some try to selflessly express love and please God by doing something for Him or somebody with no expectation of anything in return, but look inside your soul—you want, you NEED to be LOVED! Your attempts to achieve that deep need haven’t succeeded very well, and it’s obvious you need help to help others, just like we all do. You need the Lord and His love to do inside of you, what you can’t fully do for yourself or anybody else. God did what we cannot do. The Scripture that follows our verse for today is this: “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” Isn’t that amazing? The truth is that we are indeed supposed to selflessly love others, even though, as noted, our deep need is to BE loved. We are called to do the impossible! The Holy Spirit of God is the author of the Letter, the Book called “Ioannou Alpha,” the “First of John,” as it was written, but God the Spirit incredibly expresses Himself in loving ways, through ordinary people like John the Apostle, through you and even through me.
My call from the Lord is to teach, and yet I have discovered that this call in my life is to do what is humanly impossible for me. When I sit down to write about some Scripture or another, I often have no idea what to say. The words in God’s Book, the Bible, are beautiful, but what on earth could somebody like me have to say about them? And then thoughts begin to come, which I have come to recognize as thoughts greater than mine, about concepts, ideas and realities that I did not previously know.
It’s very strange, beautiful and a continuing surprise to speak about God’s Holy Word, but I am called to do it, and so I do. And as to that NEED to be loved—I can testify to you, that in saying “yes” to God’s call in my life, that need is being satisfied. The words continue: “By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit” (1 John 4:13). You and I are no longer alone after we have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ—and we have His sure Word on the subject in 1 John 4:15—“Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides IN him, and he in God.”
Even when people offend you and take what you have, you are not alone in your loss. God is with you; incredibly He is IN you, and when they take from you, they take from Him also. It’s like your body is a rental car, leased to you by God, and the two of you are riding in that “car” together. That loneliness, that need, the ache inside—He is Your Savior, the Healer of your soul, your spirit, your body and your life. He is yours, now and forever—He brings fulfillment to people like you and me. And if someone wrecks your “car,” your body, God Himself is your Insurance Company who will more than reimburse you for your loss—forever.
In cities pretty much everywhere, there are places that are considered to be the “good” parts of town and others are thought to be “bad.” Unfortunately for us, everyone in humanity, from God’s perspective, not only lives in, but actually IS the “bad” part of town. In Isaiah 64:6, God speaks for all of us when He says through the prophet: “We are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.”At this point, it looks like we are back at the beginning and there is no hope, but keep reading while the Holy Spirit through Isaiah continues, “But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter, and all we are (is) the work of Your hand” (Isaiah 64:8). He who created humanity changes you and me for the good. Faith, for me, is being revealed as something much more than a belief in a religious or philosophical system—Faith is Him in me, drawing me, changing me, just as the Holy Spirit through Scripture promises us all. In faith, I KNOW. As I trust in Him more, I gradually find that something of me is becoming like Him. I am and you are, “the work of (His) hand.” In a similar manner, HOPE is eternally interesting. It’s not just hoping something will be true. I am coming to experience true hope as the absolute certainty that God will DO in the future what He has promised in the past. In other words, hope is faith expressed in the future tense.
The title of today’s sermon states, “There Is More,” and indeed there is. Faith in Christ is like putting a “For Sale” sign in front of your house. He is the right Buyer, and there are many bonuses when you give your house, yourself to Him. You get to continue living in your “house,” even though He is now the Owner; and this is wonderful: You get to live in HIS house also. Your life is His, and He is yours. And your day-to-day Companion, your Roommate, if you will, is God’s Holy Spirit—you won’t be lonely—forever.
O Lord, I am Yours. I AM the bad part of town, and I confess my sins. I trust in You, Lord, who CAN do what is impossible for me. I give myself to You—now and forever. Thank You for saving me. In Jesus Name. Amen.