WHY it matters//
Jesus says in Matthew 22 that the greatest command that we have as Christians is to love Him with all of our heart, soul and strength and to love our neighbor as ourself. This is much easier quoted than accomplished. What we love the most will determine everything else. As love Jesus more than anything, we overflow in love to our neighbor. It’s clear that as Christians we are supposed to love but the harder question is how we define and measure love. And just as important: is the cultural definition the same as God’s definition?
WHAT it's talking about//
1 John was written by the Apostle John. Based on the issues the letter addresses it was probably written sometime between 85-95 AD. John most likely lived in Ephesus for the last part of his life and this letter is believed to have been a circulatory letter to all of the churches in Asia minor. In this part of the letter John is discrediting early Gnostic teaching, which spread heresies such as Jesus not really being the son of God, that he only appeared to be human (but was only spirit), or that moral law was not important because of the evil nature of the flesh. John is reminding the church that love is one of the tests of anyone who truly follows Jesus. Without love we are not trustworthy witnesses.
1 John 4:7-21 NLT
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.
14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.
16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.
18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19 We love because he first loved us.
20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.