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International Bible Lessons Commentary

The Uniform Sunday School Bible Lessons Series

1 John 4:13-5:5

L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.
Teaching the Truth in Love

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1 John 4:13-5:5
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1 John 4:13-5:5
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1 John 4:13-5:5
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1 John 4:13-5:5

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1 John 4:13-5:5

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1 John 4:13-5:5


International Bible Lesson

“For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3—NRSV).

When Is Obeying God Easy?

When Is Obeying God Easy?
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Class Preparation Guide for
2 John 1:1-13


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April 19, 2015

International Bible Lessons Commentary
1 John 4:13-5:5
New Revised Standard Version
L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.


The International Bible Lesson (Uniform Sunday School Lessons Series) for Sunday, April 19, 2015, is from 1 John 4:13-5:5. Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further follow the verse-by-verse International Bible Lesson Commentary below. Study Hints for Discussion and Thinking Further (available in the left-hand columm of this page in easy-print format) discusses the questions below to help with class preparation and in conducting class discussion. You may want to read to your class the International Bible Lesson (available below this commentary and in the left-hand columm of this page in easy-print format). Easy-print Bible Lesson Commentaries, Crossword Puzzles, Word Search Puzzles, and True and False Tests for Bible Lesson review are also (in the left-hand side of this page). You may also find the International Bible Lesson Forum helpful, especially when combined with Google translate.

Some teachers have asked for a handout they could give to students at the close of class so students could prepare for the next class meeting. This new handout for Sunday, April 26, 2015 is the: Class Preparation Guide for 2 John 1:1-13.

International Bible Lesson Commentary
1 John 4:13-5:5

(1 John 4:13)  By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.

If someone wanted to know whether they were Christians or not, John’s answer in this verse could help them. First, Christians abide in or remain in Christ and Christ abides in or remains in them. Second, the Holy Spirit within them can give them the assurance that Christ abides in them and they are abiding in Christ. Third, the Holy Spirit will give that assurance through the Holy Scriptures (see the verses below and 1 John 3:24; 2 John 1:9 and John 15:5-10).

(1 John 4:14)  And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world.

John and the other apostles saw and touched Jesus. They heard what He taught and saw what He did. They saw Him after He rose from the dead; they received the Holy Spirit; and they accepted His Great Commission (1 John 1:1-4; Matthew 28:18-20). They testified with evidence acceptable in a court of law that God the Father truly exists: the Father sent His Son into the world; His Son came as the Savior of the world (John 3:16).

(1 John 4:15)  God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God.

John gave additional evidence that someone can use to know if they are Christian: do they confess that “Jesus is the Son of God.”  John gave the reason God abides in someone. God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God – not “a” son of God or one of many important people, but Jesus is “THE” Son of God (see John 3:16). God abides in those who confess Jesus is the Christ, and when they also abide in God, they “bear much fruit” (John 15:5). Bearing much good fruit flows from a right relationship between God and the believer: another evidence for assurance that a person is a Christian.

(1 John 4:16)  So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.

Christians believe Jesus is the Son of God, and they know and believe that God loves them. John restated such truths as we find in John 3:16 – because God loved the world so much, “God gave” His only Son. The Father did not simply “send” Jesus into the world to teach us truths about how to live for God and serve others. Jesus did that, but we know and believe that God loves us because God “gave” His only Son to die as the “atoning sacrifice for our sins” (see 1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:10). God’s nature is love. God’s character and choice is love and to love. Love motivates God to do all God wisely can to promote the happiness and well-being of every creature. Those who abide in love abide in the circle of love that God has created with His commandments through the Scriptures and the perfect example of His Son, Jesus Christ. God empowers and enables true believers in Jesus Christ to live within His circle of love as God lives within them and through them. Christians remain (abide) in love in all they do. Love motivates them and they remain (abide) in God: they express their love by obeying His commandments.

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

God perfects His love within and among the true followers of Jesus; through those who truly believe Jesus is the Son of God and who relate to Jesus as the Scriptures have revealed Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. A Day of Judgment is coming, and those who are born-again are transformed by the presence and love of God in Christ within them; so they can be bold and unafraid of punishment on that day.

(1 John 4:18)  There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.

When God in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit come to live within us, they fill our hearts with their love, and we love others and bear much fruit as their love overflows out of our hearts. Their love in us and our loving response to their love as described in the Bible casts out all fear of punishment from God on the Day of Judgment. If we fear punishment from God we need to move closer to God in Christ and pray for the Holy Spirit to help us love God and others according to biblical teachings. We need to remind ourselves of all God the Father, Jesus Christ (the Son of God and Savior), and the Holy Spirit have done for us and will do for us according to the Scriptures.

(1 John 4:19)  We love because he first loved us.

We love and love God and others according to the commands, example, and teachings of Jesus only because God first loved us, sent His Son to die for us, and then sent His Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, to live in us, guide us, empower us, and help us understand and wisely apply the Bible’s teachings.

(1 John 4:20)  Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.

John had written, “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us” (1 John 4:12). Now, John writes and basically asks, “How can you love God whom you have not seen and not love a brother or sister in Christ that you have seen?” If you hate others, you cannot love God. Those who hate do not know the true God.

(1 John 4:21)  The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

The Bible, Jesus, and the Apostles have given us commands in the New Testament that God expects us to obey in daily life. We must love God, we must love our brothers and sisters in Christ, we must love our enemies (Matthew 5:44) and our neighbors (Matthew 22:37-40). The indwelling Holy Spirit can help true Christians love God and others and obey God in every situation they face every day. The Holy Spirit can help the true Christian love wisely so others are benefitted as well as themselves. The Holy Spirit can help believers lead others to repent of their sins and trust in Jesus Christ through the love they have for them.

(1 John 5:1)  Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child.

John gives believers another test by which they can know if they are true Christians: “do we believe that Jesus is the Christ” – the Messiah that God promised to send, and do we believe Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, as the Bible represents Him? If we repent of our sins and trust in Jesus Christ as the Holy Scriptures teach, then we are born-again. Those who are born-again believe in Jesus Christ according to the Scriptures; their new birth leads them to love and obey Jesus Christ according to the Scriptures. If someone is truly born-again, they will truly love God, they will love His Son, Jesus Christ, and they will love other children of God as their brothers and sisters in Christ.

(1 John 5:2)  By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.

If we love God the Father and God the Son, we will love the children of God – those who are born-again into the family of God by grace through repentance for sin and faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The Bible commands and requires the true children of God to love God and obey God’s commandments. If we love God and obey God’s commandments, we will also love God’s children. John says we can know whether or not we are loving God and God’s children as born-again believers.

(1 John 5:3)  For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome,

Love for God and obedience to God go together. If we are obeying God because we love God then we have no fear of punishment by God – this is gospel living – this is good news. If we are trying to obey God because we are afraid of punishment by God – this is living under the law of God and not the love of God. It is not burdensome to obey God when we love God and love to obey God because we truly love God and want to bring God joy and glory.

(1 John 5:4)  for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith.

When we are born of God, God the Father, Son, and Spirit live and love within us; therefore, we can keep on loving and obeying God when the world tempts us or persecutes us. Through the abiding and indwelling Spirit of Truth we can have a strong faith in God and do the most loving and wisest things according to the Truth of God, which conquers the world.

(1 John 5:5)  Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

The entire focus of the Bible is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. God the Father commands everyone to believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Believing in Jesus as the Son of God enables us to love God and others as the Bible reveals, and by doing so we conquer the world. If we find ourselves being defeated by the world or living a defeated life before the world because of the world and the world’s temptations to disobey God and Jesus, then we need to examine our beliefs and see if we truly love Jesus and believe in Jesus as revealed in the Bible.

Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further

1. Give one way that we can know we abide in Christ from 1 John 4:13.

2. Describe who Jesus is from your reading of 1 John 4:13-5:5.

3. Who does John say God abides in?

4. What commandment did John emphasize in 1 John 4:13-5:5?

5. What is one of the things we can do to demonstrate our love for God?

Begin or close your class by reading the short weekly International Bible Lesson below.



When Is Obeying God Easy?

International Bible Lesson
1 John 4:13-5:5
Sunday, April 19, 2015
L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3—KJV).

“In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3—NIV).

“For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3—NRSV).

John wrote his letter to Christian churches, a letter that he probably wanted circulated among the churches that he oversaw as elder. Some of these churches would have been named in his Book of Revelation. He wrote to those who were “born of God,” who believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and his letter was included in the Bible to help all Christians until Christ comes again as the Book of Revelation foretells. The Spirit of Christ indwells and transforms all Christians, bringing them from spiritual darkness and death into spiritual light and life. Through their faith in Jesus Christ, the Spirit of Christ fills believers with the love of God and enlarges their hearts to receive more of God’s love. As their expanding hearts are filled to overflowing with the love God, Christians love God and other Christians more and more. John wrote that just as Christians love their heavenly Father, so they also love His children. When Christians love God and one another, they are obeying God’s commandments: God’s commandments are to love God and others. God’s commandments are not grievous or burdensome because the Spirit of Christ and the love of God within Christians enables and guides them to love God and others in practical ways every day. God’s commandments are not burdensome, because God loves us and His commandments describe the best way for people to live in order to get the most out of the life that God has given them. Loving and obeying God through faith in Jesus Christ enables Christians to live victoriously when persecuted or tempted by the world.
– L.G. Parkhurst Jr.

Some teachers have asked for a handout they could give to students at the close of class so students could prepare for the next class meeting. This new handout for Sunday, April 26, 2015 is the: Class Preparation Guide for 2 John 1:1-13.



— E-mail: lgp@InternationalBibleLessons.org : You may be reprint or reproduce this International Bible Lesson for not-for-profit use. More Uniform Bible Lessons are available at InternationalBibleLessons.org. Read the verse by verse International Bible Lessons Commentary at: InternationalBibleLessons.com.  See the recommended study and worship resources at SmallChurchResources.com.


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The Bibles used in the
International Bible Lessons and Sunday School Commentary:

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission, All rights reserved. Noted as ESV.

New American Standard Bible, copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Noted as NASB.

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New Revised Standard Version, copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Noted as NRSV.

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