1 John 4:6
We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. That is how we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of deception.
The Time Spirit and the Holy SpiritM. Dix, D. D.1 John 4:6
The Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of ErrorR. Finlayson 1 John 4:1-6

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them, etc. Very suggestive are the words with which our text begins, "Ye are of God." As having communion with him; as heartily holding and confessing the truth which unites with him (verse 2); as having been born of him, and being his offspring morally and spiritually, they were of God. The text suggests the following observations.

I. THAT CHRISTIANS ARE EXPOSED TO THE ASSAULTS OF HERETICAL TEACHERS. It was so in St. John's time. There were those that denied that Jesus Christ had come in the flesh, maintaining that his human body was apparent, not real. And others held, with Cerinthus, "that the AEon Christ had entered into the man Jesus at his baptism, and remained with him until the commencement of his sufferings; but denied that Jesus Christ came in the flesh" (Ebrard). Christians are still assailed by the teachers of grave errors, many of which relate to the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

II. THAT CHRISTIANS MAY OVERCOME THE ASSAULTS OF HERETICAL TEACHERS. St. John's readers had done so. "Ye have overcome them." By their fidelity to the truth they had obliged the teachers of error to retreat (cf. 1 John 2:14, 19). And their complete and final victory the apostle looks upon as an assured certainty. The false prophets were probably plausible, persuasive, and influential; but they were not irresistible. They had been repulsed; they would be completely vanquished. We are not bound to accept any teaching that is offered to us. If we please, we may refuse to read the questionable hook or to hear the teacher of whom we stand in doubt. Or we may read the book and hear the teacher, and then test their teaching by that of our Lord and his apostles, and accept or reject it according to its agreement or disagreement with the Divine standard. "Despise not prophesyings; prove all things; hold fast that which is good."

III. THAT CHRISTIANS MAY OVERCOME THE ASSAULTS OF HERETICAL TEACHERS BECAUSE OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD WITHIN THEM. " Ye have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world." He that was in the Christians is God; he that was in the world is Satan, "the prince of this world."

1. God dwells in his people.

(1) By his Word. The author whose works have been sympathetically and diligently studied may be said to be in the student. The student knows the views and opinions, the thoughts and theories, the principles and convictions, of his favourite author, and sympathizes with them. The godly soul knows God in his Word (Psalm 1:2; Psalm 119:97); and by means of his Word is filled with his thoughts, feelings, and principles.

(2) By the faith which they exercise in him. Their faith in him is not mere intellectual assent, but spiritual conviction, which makes his existence and presence real unto them.

(3) By their love to him (cf. verses 12, 13, 16; John 14:23). There is no real spiritual indwelling apart from love.

(4) By his Spirit (cf. verse 13; John 14:16, 17).

2. God is greater than Satan. "Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world."

(1) God is independent, but Satan is dependent. Satan cannot do anything except by permission of the Most High (cf. Job 1:12; Job 2:6). But as for God, "he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?"

(2) God is infinite, but Satan is finite. However great the power of the evil one may be, it is limited. His intelligence is limited, his agencies and instruments are limited, and the duration of his power is limited (Revelation 20:1-3). But God is infinite in intelligence, in wisdom, in power, in duration, in perfection.

(3) God is the God of truth, but Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). Truth is a permanent and victorious force; falsehood is transient, feeble, and doomed to extinction. The power of the prince of this world is based upon lies, and, for that reason, its overthrow is certain. But the power of God is the power of truth and holiness, and is therefore destined to continue and grow eternally.

(4) "God is love," but Satan is malignant. However persistent and strong hatred may be, it is not persistent, patient, or powerful as love. In love God dwells in his people for their salvation; but Satan dwells in the world for the destruction of the worldly. And the loving, saving Spirit is immeasurably greater and mightier than the hating, destroying spirit.

3. God's presence within his people is the secret of their victory over heretical teachers. "Ye have overcome them: because greater is he," etc. This Presence in the soul imparts power for spiritual conflict and conquest. The most effective safeguard against error in religious faith and union is not the subtle and strong intellect, but the devout and godly spirit and the upright life. "The meek will he guide in judgment," etc.; "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him," etc. (Psalm 25:9, 14); "If any man willeth to do his will, he shall know of the teaching," etc. (John 7:17). In the conflicts of the spiritual life the mightiest weapons are not logical, but devotional. In this sphere the greatest victories are often won upon our knees. The consciousness of God's presence within us is the inspiration for the achievement of the sublimest conquests. - W.J.

Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error
I. THE TIME SPIRIT. What the Germans call the Zeit Geist; the spirit of the world, and of the age in which we live. What is that spirit? It is the world about us, this age of ours, speaking inarticulately to the soul of man. The world lies all around, a varied, splendid scene; vast, rich, fair, full of wealth and beauty. Till it can express itself, it is like a very lovely body without a soul. But it makes to itself a voice in the time spirit, and so talks to our hearts. Its mediums are manifold and diverse; among them are art and literature; the voices vary greatly, according to race, age, and clime. This is an age of marvels. Here are scholars studying and speculating; inventors planning and contriving; politicians doing their best as architects of their own fortunes. Here be poets, and painters, mechanics and artisans; here are grand cities, growing grander year after year; here we have luxury, comfort, delights of all sorts, music, world's shows, balls, dances, entertainments, with titles, dress, gala, and glory to the full. What is all this? A mere chaos of activities till the Zeit Geist speaks. To this it gives, what is needed, expression and interpretation; as the musician would say, it interprets the world's psalm of the world life.

II. IS THERE THEN NO OTHER VOICE? Surely something is lacking here. There is such other voice: the voice of another spirit, greater than the time spirit. We name Him in the Creed when we say, "and I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life." This is the Spirit which speaks against the spirit of the age; which strengthens, purifies, and elevates, as the other weakens, corrupts, and depresses; whose utterances are wisdom and truth.

III. Such are the two spirits, which, on either side, perpetually address the soul of man. HOW SHALL WE KNOW THEM APART? Or rather what constitutes their difference? If is marked and strong. The time spirit preaches boastfully of man, of the world, of life; the Holy Spirit of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. The spirit of the age applauds and flatters us; the Holy Spirit rebukes, reproves, convicts. The time spirit talks to us of the glory and greatness of man, of temporal things as all-sufficient, of the world as the measure of our destinies, of a free and reckless life without responsibility, faith, or fear. The Holy Spirit on the contrary, speaks of the sin of man, his weakness and corruption; of a righteousness which consists in faith, obedience, and self-denial, of a battle against the world, of a coming judgment on the earth and its guilty tenants. And this is the essential difference between the voices; the one bids to indulgence, the other to discipline; the one addresses the physical, the other the moral nature; the one displays the kingdoms of this world and all the glory of them, the other points to that straight and narrow gate through which we enter into the kingdom of heaven. There are strange fables and legends of the old time and of the new; stories of syrens, who, singing in their rock-bound coasts, drew hapless mariners to wreck and death before their cruel eyes; stories of melodies so sweet and strange, that men, if once they listened, straightway forgot home, and kindred, and all that ever they knew, and cared for nothing but to listen to that song forever. And we must choose what we will do; whether we will hearken to the syrens, and forget thenceforth all that ever we were taught of God and Christ, of sin and its dire penances temporal and eternal, of righteousness and its crown. Such is our choice; and it presses on us for a decision, since the time is short, and the fashion of this world passeth away.

(M. Dix, D. D.)

John, Jude
TRUE, Child, Distinguish, Doesn't, Ear, Error, Falsehood, Gives, Heareth, Hears, Hereby, Knoweth, Listen, Listens, Recognize, Spirit, Test, Truth
1. He warns them not to believe all who boast of the Spirit;
7. and exhorts to brotherly love.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
1 John 4:6

     1155   God, truthfulness
     1444   revelation, NT
     1462   truth, in NT
     3110   Holy Spirit, titles of
     8766   heresies

1 John 4:1-6

     4132   demons, malevolence
     7774   prophets, false

1 John 4:5-6

     5165   listening

Love of God and Man
FIRST SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY. Eversley. Chester Cathedral, 1872. 1 John iv. 16, 21. "God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. . . . And this commandment have we from Him, That he who loveth God love his brother also." This is the first Sunday after Trinity. On it the Church begins to teach us morals,--that is, how to live a good life; and therefore she begins by teaching us the foundation of all morals,--which is love,--love to God and love to man. But which
Charles Kingsley—All Saints' Day and Other Sermons

First Sunday after Trinity God is Love.
Text: 1 John 4, 16-21. 16 God is love; and he that abideth in love abideth in God, and God abideth in him. 17 Herein is love made perfect with us, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as he is, even so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love: but perfect love casteth out fear, because fear hath punishment; and he that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19 We love, because he first loved us. 20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. III

Christ's Mission the Revelation of God's Love
'Herein 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 iv. 10. This is the second of a pair of twin verses which deal with substantially the same subject under two slightly different aspects. The thought common to both is that Christ's mission is the great revelation of God's love. But in the preceding verse the point on which stress is laid is the manifestation of that love, and in our text the point mainly brought out is its
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

The Servant as his Lord
'... As He is, so are we in this world.'--1 John iv. 17. Large truths may be spoken in little words. Profundity is often supposed to be obscurity, but the deepest depth is clear. John, in his gospel and epistles, deals with the deepest realities, and with all things in their eternal aspects, but his vocabulary is the simplest in the New Testament. God and the world, life and death, love and hate, light and darkness, these are the favourite words round which his thoughts gather. Here are nine little
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

Love and Fear
'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.'--1 John iv. 18. John has been speaking of boldness, and that naturally suggests its opposite--fear. He has been saying that perfect love produces courage in the day of judgment, because it produces likeness to Christ, who is the Judge. In my text he explains and enlarges that statement. For there is another way in which love produces boldness, and that is by its
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

The Ray and the Reflection
'We love Him, because He first loved us.'--1 John iv. 19. Very simple words! but they go down into the depths of God, lifting burdens off the heart of humanity, turning duty into delight, and changing the aspect of all things. He who knows that God loves him needs little more for blessedness; he who loves God back again offers more than all burnt offering and sacrifices. But it is to be observed that the correct reading of my text, as you will find in the Revised Version, omits 'Him' in the first
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

May the Sixth the Perfecting of Love
"Herein is our love made perfect." --1 JOHN iv. 11-21. How? By dwelling in God and God in us. Love is not a manufacture; it is a fruit. It is not born of certain works; it springs out of certain relations. It does not come from doing something; it comes from living with Somebody. "Abide in Me." That is how love is born, for "love is of God, and God is love." How many people are striving who are not abiding. They live in a manufactory, they do not live in a home. They are trying to make something
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

Love's Logic
But, dear friends, I trust after many years of instruction in the doctrines of our holy faith, I need not keep to the beaten doctrinal track, but may lead you in a parallel path, in which the same truth may be from another point. I purpose to preach an experimental sermon, and possibly this will be even more in accordance with the run of the passage and the mind of its writer, than a doctrinal discourse. We shall view the text as a fact which we have tested and proved in our own consciousness. Under
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 17: 1871

A Psalm of Remembrance
Let me add another figure to render this truth yet more apparent. Suppose an eloquent foreigner, from a sunny clime, should endeavour to make you appreciate the fruits of his nation. He depicts them to you. He describes their luscious flavour, their cooling juice, their delicious sweetness; but how powerless will be his oration, compared with your vivid remembrance, if you have yourself partaken of the dainties of his land. It is even so with the good things of God; describe them as we may, we cannot
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 5: 1859

Can you imagine a being placed halfway between this world and heaven? Can you conceive of him as having such enlarged capacities that he could easily discern what was done in heaven, and what was done on earth? I can conceive that, before the Fall, if there had been such a being, he would have been struck with the singular harmony which existed between God's great world, called heaven, and the little world, the earth. Whenever the chimes of heaven rang, the great note of those massive bells was love;
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 5: 1859

Dark Times
1 JOHN iv. 16-18. 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. 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. 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. Have we learnt this lesson? Our reading, and thinking, and praying, have been in vain, unless
Charles Kingsley—The Good News of God

"And if Christ be in You, the Body is Dead Because of Sin; but the Spirit is Life Because of Righteousness. "
Rom. viii. 10.--"And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness." God's presence is his working. His presence in a soul by his Spirit is his working in such a soul in some special manner, not common to all men, but peculiar to them whom he hath chosen. Now his dwelling is nothing else but a continued, familiar and endless working in a soul, till he hath conformed all within to the image of his Son. The soul is the office house, or workhouse,
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

"For what the Law could not Do, in that it was Weak Though the Flesh, God Sending his Own Son,"
Rom. viii. 3.--"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak though the flesh, God sending his own Son," &c. Of all the works of God towards man, certainly there is none hath so much wonder in it, as the sending of his Son to become man; and so it requires the exactest attention in us. Let us gather our spirits to consider of this mystery,--not to pry into the secrets of it curiously, as if we had no more to do but to satisfy our understandings; but rather that we may see what this concerns
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

The Torment of Fear
(First Sunday after Trinity.) 1 John iv. 16, 18. 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. 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. 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. The text tells us how to get one of the greatest blessings;
Charles Kingsley—Town and Country Sermons

"The Fruit of the Spirit is Love"
I want to look at the fact of a life filled with the Holy Spirit more from the practical side, and to show how this life will show itself in our daily walk and conduct. Under the Old Testament you know the Holy Spirit often came upon men as a divine Spirit of revelation to reveal the mysteries of God, or for power to do the work of God. But He did not then dwell in them. Now, many just want the Old Testament gift of power for work, but know very little of the New Testament gift of the indwelling
Andrew Murray—Absolute Surrender

Scriptural Predictions of an Apostasy.
Who has not wondered, as they read of the Savior's and the apostles' warnings of "false teachers," grievous wolves, delusive powers, and deceptive lights, what it all could mean? These things certainly are not without meaning. Jesus says, "And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound the love of many shall wax cold. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they
Charles Ebert Orr—The Gospel Day

The Established Christian Urged to Exert Himself for Purposes of Usefulness.
1, 2. A sincere love to God will express itself not only in devotion, but in benevolence to men.--3. This is the command of God.--4. The true Christian feels his soul wrought to a holy conformity to it.--5. And therefore will desire instruction on this head.--6. Accordingly, directions are given for the improvement of various talents: particularly genius and learning.--7. Power.--8. Domestic authority.--9. Esteem.--10. Riches.--11. Several good ways of employing them hinted at.--12, 13. Prudence
Philip Doddridge—The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul

The Manifestation of Holy Love.
"And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us." --1 John iv. 16. The question which now presents itself is: In what way is the divine, majestic act of making man a partaker of true love accomplished? We answer that this is-- 1. Prepared by the Father in Creation. 2. Made possible by the Son in Redemption. 3. Effectually accomplished by the Holy Spirit in Sanctification. There is in this respect, first a work of the Father, which the Heidelberg Catechism designates, "Of God the Father
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

Love in the Triune Being of God.
"God is Love."--1 John iv. 8. Between natural love even in its highest forms and Holy Love there is a wide chasm. This had to be emphasized so that our readers might not mistake the nature of Love. Many say that God is Love, but measure His Love by the love of men. They study love's being and manifestations in others and in themselves, and then think themselves competent to judge that this human love, in a more perfect form, is the Love of God. Of course they are wrong. Essential Love must be studied
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

I May Briefly Reduce the Chief Persuading Motive to this So Needful and So Much...
I may briefly reduce the chief persuading motive to this so needful and so much desiderated grace into some three or four heads. All things within and without persuade to it, but especially the right consideration of the love of God in Christ, the wise and the impartial reflection on ourselves, the consideration of our brethren whom we are commanded to love, and the thorough inspection into the nature and use of the grace itself. In consideration of the First, a soul might argue itself into a complacency
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Dwelling in Love
"We love Him, because He first loved us."--1 John iv. 19. Mechthild of Hellfde, 1277. tr., Emma Frances Bevan, 1899 I rejoice that I cannot but love Him, Because He first loved me; I would that measureless, changeless, My love might be; A love unto death and for ever; For, soul, He died for thee. Give thanks that for thee He delighted To leave His glory on high; For thee to be humbled, forsaken, For thee to die. Wilt thou render Him love for His loving? Wilt thou die for Him who died? And so by
Frances Bevan—Hymns of Ter Steegen and Others (Second Series)

Whether Initial Fear Differs Substantially from Filial Fear
Whether Initial Fear Differs Substantially from Filial Fear We proceed to the eighth article thus: 1. It seems that initial fear differs substantially from filial fear. For filial fear is caused by love, whereas initial fear is the beginning of love, according to Ecclesiasticus 25:12: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of love." Initial fear is therefore other than filial fear. 2. Again, initial fear fears punishment, which is the object of servile fear. Thus it seems that initial fear is the
Aquinas—Nature and Grace

Here Some one Will Say, this is Now not to Write of virginity...
52. Here some one will say, This is now not to write of virginity, but of humility. As though truly it were any kind of virginity, and not that which is after God, which we had undertaken to set forth. And this good, by how much I see it to be great, by so much I fear for it, lest it be lost, the thief pride. Therefore there is none that guardeth the virginal good, save God Himself Who gave it: and God is Charity. [2211] The Guardian therefore of virginity is Charity: but the place of this Guardian
St. Augustine—Of Holy Virginity.

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