15 1 John 4:15-21- Boldness in the Day of Judgment

1 John 4:15-21 – Boldness in the Day of Judgment (Pdf file)

1 John 4 15In our study of 1 John last week we learned that our lives are to be the expression of God’s truth and God’s love. We become children of God by learning and believing the truth. Then through the gift of the Spirit in us we can truly love one another and then reach out with that love to the world.

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. (1 John 4:15,16)

Whoever believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he died to pay the penalty for our sins and that God has raised him up from the dead is saved. And the life of God and the love of God is now a part of that person’s life. It is a part of our lives. And as we grow and mature as Christians the most wonderful thing happens. We begin to share the truths that we are learning from Scripture. And we begin to love people with the same kind of love God has for us.

To be concerned with loving people is to understand a fundamental reason for our salvation. When we first begin the Christian life we are concerned about other matters. We want to be assured that our sins are forgiven. We want our prayers to be answered. We want to be assured that God loves us. But as we mature in our faith, we desire to obey and please God more and more. We want to live our lives according to His Word. And we come to understand that a life of love, where we share the love of God with others in both word and deed, is the fulfillment of God’s law.

It is at that moment that God’s love is “perfected’ in us; it reaches its intended goal. We reach out to love and serve others and it is evident that God abides in us and we in Him. We know we have fellowship with God and Jesus Christ—our joy is made full. And this gives us confidence and boldness, rather than fear to face a future event everyone in the world will face: the day of judgment.

Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. (1 John 4:17)

I sincerely doubt if there is anyone who does not know or feel deep in his or her heart that at some point in time there is a day of judgment. In fact, in some sense we all long for a day of judgment. We want evil to be punished. We want those who have brought pain and sorrow into the world to get what’s coming to them. The problem however, is that we do not wish to be judged! But we will. A day of judgment for each and every one of us is as certain as the next breath you have to take. Hold your breath as long as you can, but you will still have to take that next breath. And ignore it all you want, judgment day is coming. The apostle Paul in Acts 17: 31 tells us that God,

has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.(Acts 17: 31)

Every person who has ever lived or ever will live will face divine judgment. The unbelieving, the wicked and those who reject God and His offer of salvation will perish, forever. But here is the good news! Those who hope in God and trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins shall not perish, but will receive everlasting life and glory. In John 5:24 Jesus Christ proclaimed,

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

All of us who are saved by faith will never, ever be judged for our sins. Romans 8:1 boldly states, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” But there is still a day of judgment for all of us who are children of God. It is not a judgment concerning our perishing or receiving everlasting life. It will be a judgment concerning how we have lived our lives as children of God. It will be a judgment for rewards or loss of rewards.

The questions will be asked, “What have you done with the truth you have learned? What have you done with My love that I have poured into your life? Have you wasted your life of has love been perfected in you? Did the truth you know and the love you have touch the lives of others?” The apostle Paul describes this judgment in 1 Corinthians.

According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 3:10-11)

The foundation of our lives as children of God is the Lord Jesus Christ. Someone taught us about Jesus Christ. Someone led us to faith in Christ. That is all well and good. But now, what have we done with our faith? How have we lived our lives? Have we invested in the world and the glories of the world? Or have we invested in the things of God?

Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s  work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. (1 Corinthians 3:12-15)

On the day of judgment for our rewards we will be judged on how we have lived our lives as children of God. Did we seek to live a life that is pleasing to God? Were we conformed to this world or were we transformed more and more into the image of Christ? Did we love and serve others or did we serve ourselves?

All that we did for the good of others and the glory of God will be rewarded. The life we build out of gold, silver and precious stones will survive the fire of judgment. But the life built out of wood, hay and straw will be burned up and we will be saved but we will lose out on rewards. And so the question is this: on that day of judgment will you hear Jesus Christ say, “Well done, good and faithful servant…Enter into the joy of your lord”? Or will you stand before Christ empty handed and ashamed? This is what John means about having confidence in the day of judgment.

Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. (1 John 4:17)

Remember, when John says love is perfected in us, he doesn’t mean that we have loved every one perfectly. He means that the direction of your life is growth in love. Love is perfected in us when we desire to love and serve others, to seek their good, even if it costs us deeply.

When we call or text someone to encourage them or ask how they are doing, we walk in love. When we pray for people, when we give and serve, love is perfected in us. When we share the good news and encourage faith, hope and love, we prepare ourselves to have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is so are we in this world.

God is love and in our actions we prove that we are too. His love, His goodness, His heart can be seen in all that we say and do. When we live like Jesus Christ, who showed us what God is like, we don’t lose out now, here today, or in the future. John wrote, “as he is, so are we in this world.” Yes, we are indeed like him in a spiritual sense. And what a glorious truth this is. But each of us needs to ask this question: Am I like Christ in practice? Can the life of God in Christ be seen in what I do and say?

I know that we all need to grow and mature in our faith, hope and love. And we will never be fully like Christ in this life. But we must ask ourselves, “Am I striving to become more and more like him? Am I pressing “toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”?

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us. (1 John 4:18-19)

Loving others like God loves us casts out the fear of judgment from our hearts. Loving others we no longer fear dishonoring God. We no longer fear being ashamed when Jesus Christ returns. The song “Amazing Grace” says it well. “Twas grace that taught my heart to fear.” In other words, the grace of God in giving Jesus Christ to die for my sins taught me how horrible my sins are. My sins condemn me and so I fear before God’s judgment.

But we then sing. “Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relived.” God’s grace to me in Christ relived my fear of judgment for sin, because Christ took all of my sins. And now I can love God and I can love others, because He first loved me.

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also. (1 John 4:20, 21)

I like John’s bluntness! If you do not love others just like God loves you, then you are a liar. You don’t really love God. God loved me through Jesus Christ when I was unlovable. Therefore I can love the unlovable. The fact that love can be commanded shows that it more than a feeling. It is a decision to do good. Loving others like God loves us means that we take action to care and serve; to seek another’s highest good even at our own expense.

I’m not saying that love like this is always easy; it’s not. If loving others like God loves us were easy, John wouldn’t have labored in making his point. And maybe some of us have suffered deep wounds from people, perhaps even from some Christians. And so you think I can’t love that person. I won’t love him/her. Well, God doesn’t supply us with an exception list. We are commanded to love others in the same way God loves us. And he has empowered us to do just that.

Our lives, right now, are to be the expression of God’s truth and love. If we have the life of God, we can show the love of God. Let us do this.