Posted by Peter Thompson

I John 4:13-21

Are You Dwelling in God?

INTRODUCTION:  In the gospel of John which John wrote before this book that we are studying, he records the words of Jesus who is God the Son.    Jesus was answering a question that Judas, not Iscariot, asked about Jesus revealing himself to them after Jesus was gone from the earth.  Jesus said, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”  That word abide is the same word in the Greek as the word dwelleth here.  It means to live in, stay in, remaining  in.  So John says here is the way that you can know whether you as a Christian person are abiding in God like Jesus himself told us to.  And if you are abiding in God then Jesus said you will bring forth fruit.  You will be productive for God.  So let’s take a look at four characteristics that you must possess in order to abide or dwell in God.

  1. YOU ARE TRULY SAVED AS EVIDENCED BY THE SPIRIT THAT LIVES IN YOU (V. 13)
  2. John is about to connect these four characteristics of a person who is dwelling in God with the word “and”
  3. But he begins here with the idea of the Spirit of God living inside of you
  4. You see every Christian person at the moment of salvation receives the Spirit of God
  5. He dwells in us, He guides us into truth, He comforts us when we are in trouble, He aids our prayer life
  6. Only people that are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ have the Spirit of God living in them
  7. So the first characteristic of a person who is dwelling in God is that they are saved people
  8. There is no opportunity to dwell in, stay in, have fellowship with God without being saved first
  9. So if you are here this morning, and this idea of remaining in God all the time so that you can be fruitful in His service sounds great to you, but you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior you are wasting your time trying to put these other characteristics into your life
  10. To dwell in God and be fruitful for Him
  11. Requires a relationship with Jesus Christ first
  12. Because no one can come to God unless they first come to Jesus
  13. The Bible teaches that you are a sinner, that you have broken the law of God
  14. In Romans we read that the payment for that sin is death-this is an eternal death in the lake of fire
  15. Jesus took your sin on himself and died on the cross to pay that price and then rose from the grave to go between you and God
  16. All you have to do is believe with all your heart that He paid for your sins, believe that He rose from the grave and confess Him as Lord like it says in Romans 10:9
  17. When you do that you will be saved from sin and hell for all eternity
  18. You will have what the Bible calls everlasting life-with that everlasting life, you receive the Spirit of God
  19. Christian, you should see the evidence of that Spirit in your life
  20. Just like the wind you cannot physically see it
  21. But you can see the things that it does
  22. That guiding, that comfort, that assistance in prayer
  23. You should see those things in your life
  24. If you don’t have that, you should consider the possibility that you are not saved
  25. John says here, that if you want to dwell in God, then that salvation, and the resulting Holy Spirit in your life is the first characteristic
  26. YOU HAVE EXPERIENCED JESUS CHRIST AND ARE SHARING HIM (VS. 14-15)
  27. So the Spirit of God lives in you, “And” John continues with the next characteristic of a person that is dwelling in God in v. 14
  28. A person who is dwelling in God has seen and does testify that God sent His Son into the world to be the Savior of the world
  29. He reminds the reader what is being talked about in v. 15
  30. Where he writes, “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.”
  31. This is somebody who is abiding or dwelling in God-they will confess or proclaim that Jesus is the Son of God
  32. So in v. 14 we have two actions the first is having seen Jesus Christ
  33. Now John and possibly some of the people that He was writing to had actually seen Jesus Christ with their physical eyes on this earth
  34. But the word seen here in this passage is deeper than that
  35. It has the idea of viewing something or someone with the added idea of meeting with them and getting to know them.
  36. What John is describing here is a person like himself, that has met Jesus, a person who has gotten to know Jesus by experience
  37. If you know Jesus Christ as your Savior like we described earlier
  38. Then you have met him, you know Him, you have experienced Him
  39. Depending on how much time you have spent with Him in your life, some of you have experienced Him more than others
  40. But there is more to this with the second action word that we see in v. 14
  41. The word is “testify”
  42. This is a court term even in John’s day
  43. If someone was going to testify in court, it meant that they were going to tell what they had seen, heard or experienced so that the truth of something could be established
  44. In this case, Jesus is the Son of God, He came to this world to be the Savior of the world
  45. You know it because you have experienced that saving power of Jesus Christ
  46. And if you are dwelling in God you will tell what you have experienced to establish this truth with other people
  47. You need to share your experience with Jesus Christ with all the world
  48. Why? Because that is what God would have you to do
  49. In order to walk with God, in order to dwell with God
  50. You do the things that God wants you to do, and He has made it abundantly clear in His word that He wants you share with people what Jesus did for you and consequently what He can do for them.
  51. If you want to dwell in God and bring forth fruit for Him, you have to know Jesus by experience and you have to share Jesus with others.
  52. YOU HAVE EXPERIENCED AND BELIEVE THE LOVE THAT GOD HAS FOR YOU (VS. 16-19)
  1. So here again in v. 16 John reminds us what this discussion is about
  2. He that dwells in God and God in Him
  3. Again two action words
  4. Has known the love of God
  5. And has believed the love of God
  6. The word known here comes from the root word ginosko that we have talked about many times before
  7. “To learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel.” (Enhanced Strong’s Concordance)
  8. This is knowledge by experience
  9. How does a Christian person know that God loves them
  10. Because He saved us, because He blesses us daily even though we do not deserve it
  11. I have experienced God’s love in my life
  12. But if a person is going to dwell in God they must also believe the love that God has toward us
  13. The word believe is from a Greek word that has the idea of trusting
  14. It is the same believe that we have when we are saved
  15. We place our trust in Jesus Christ
  16. Here the trust is in the love of God
  17. In order to dwell with God a person must believe or trust that God loves them
  18. I have heard people who claim to be Christian who say I’m not sure that God loves me, because this or that happened in my life
  19. That person is not dwelling in God
  20. In v. 17 your love is made perfect or brought to maturity when you can come boldly before the throne of God in the day of judgment because you acted like God acts in this world
  21. In other words you are loving God and people
  22. And you can stand proud on judgment day
  23. And you can know that You acted like God in the way you loved
  24. All of that is based on His love first
  25. 19 says, “We love him, because he first loved us.”
  26. 18 says that there is no fear in love
  27. Perfect love cast out fear
  28. He says also that fear has torment-in other words the thing to be afraid of is punishment or torment
  29. You don’t have to fear that because of God’s perfect love for you
  30. He paid that price for you, you believed, and now you are saved
  31. No judgment for you, and it all began and ended with God’s love for you
  32. You have nothing at all to worry about with God on judgment day
  33. God loved you and spared you torment
  34. God loved you and you see that love every day as you love people
  35. You have nothing to be afraid of because you believe in the love of God toward you
  36. You have experienced the love of God if you are a saved person
  37. He sent His only Son to die on the cross for you
  38. His Holy Spirit drew you to God
  39. You are saved today because of God’s love
  40. So you should go through your everyday life believing that God loves you
  41. When the bad things happen, continue to know that God loves you and wants what is best for you
  42. That is dwelling in God, and when you do that you will be fruitful in your service to God
  43. YOU ARE SHOWING HIS LOVE TO THE WORLD (VS. 20-21)
  44. John writes of having love for a brother here
  45. Now, this is not necessarily a blood brother
  46. Here this word for brother is adelphos
  47. It can mean brothers by blood, it can mean brothers in Christ, it can also mean your fellow man
  48. Here it seems to best fit that last definition
  49. Your fellow man
  50. If you say that you love God but you do not love your fellow man you are a liar
  51. The word here is “agape”, as it has been through this whole section
  52. A committed and sacrificial love shown by action
  53. John says if you cannot have that kind of love for a person that you can see
  54. How in the world are you going to have that kind of love for God that you cannot see
  55. John backs up what is being written by a commandment
  56. God commanded that if we love Him we will love our fellow man
  57. You see, that is how we show our love for God is in our love for our fellow man
  58. If you love God and you want to dwell with Him and be productive in His work
  59. Then you must love other people.
  60. Again, this is a love that is shown by your actions
  61. So in helping others, giving to others, sacrificing for others, encouraging others, helping others to come to God and serve God
  62. Putting up with other people junky attitudes
  63. And responding patiently and kindly
  64. By those actions you show the love of God, and as you show the love of God, you are dwelling in Him

CONCLUSION:                  Just because you know Jesus Christ as your Savior, just because you are going to heaven when you die, just because God has given you eternal life does not mean that you are living for God.  It does not mean that you are dwelling in Him.  In order to dwell in God you must be truly saved, you must be sure of your belief in Christ and sharing Him with others.  You have to be living in the love of God, knowing that He loves you and believing that he loves you.  You also have to be showing His love to the world.  Then you will be dwelling in Him.  Without any one of these characteristics you cannot dwell in fellowship with God.