1 John 3:11-18 | Love One Another

1, 2, 3 John | Truth and Love  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  43:18
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ILL: Michael Green wrote of a story about a man who was walking down the street. He passed a used-book store, and in the window he saw a book with the title How to Hug. He was taken by the title and, being of a somewhat romantic nature, went in to buy the book. To his chagrin, he discovered that it was the seventh volume of an encyclopedia and covered the subjects from “How” to “Hug.”
Green goes on to write, Everyone knows that the church is a place where love ought to be manifested, and many people have come to church hoping to find a demonstration of love—only to discover an encyclopedia on theology.
Michael P. Green, 1500 Illustrations for Biblical Preaching (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000), 63.
What is love?
Here recently, our family was sitting around together and my wife Heidi asked the girls, which one was going to be getting married first. To which, one of my daughters piped up, suprisingly quick, I will probably get married first, because I love, love...
Our western world has all sorts of definitions for love.
Some view love through the lens of romance, while others see it more as sentiment. Some view it as very individualistic, while others even see it as somewhat mystical.
Our current culture demands that love is love. Translating that term as: I get to choose who I love and how I love them, and someone who disagrees with how I have chosen to express my love is bigoted and hateful.
But is love individualistic? Is love subjective to our opinion on the matter?
As we have mentioned before, one key theme throughout the book of 1 John is Fellowship. And along this vein of fellowship that we see run throughout the book is the complimentary theme of assurance.
As you recall, John is not only writing to encourage these believers in the early church, he is writing to address the issue that some who used to be a part of the congregation left to pursue false doctrine.
These secessionists left in pursuit of wrong belief and wrong behavior.
Their wrong belief led to wrong behavior. Or we put it this way, their right behavior didn’t last, because of their wrong belief.
And as he illuminates some identifying markers of those who live contrary to Christ, the apostle John gives his readers some identifying markers of genuine followers. Throughout the middle section of this book, John gives us four assurances of what a genuine pursuit of Christ will look like.
Are you taking notes to study out later? I hope you are
Here are three of them.
three of the four assurances of authentic relationship with God John has covered so far:
1. A believing faith in the scriptural truth about Jesus (2:20-27)
2. A commitment to obey God’s commands (2:3-6; 2:29-3:10)
3. A true love for fellow believers (2:9-11; 3:10-23)
And if you want the fourth, you will have to come back next week!
Who I love is evidenced by the fruit of my life.
If I love the Creator more than created things, it is going to be made evident in my life.
Obedience to the Creator, instead of living in open defiance to Him, is an identifying marker of a genuine relationship with Him.
However, If I love created things (myself or others) more than my Creator, than it too will be made evident in my life.
Now, as we walk through this section of John’s letter, we notice four different levels of relationship that we can choose to live in
As Warren Weirsbe pointed out: murder (vv. 11, 12), hatred (vv. 13–15), indifference (vv. 16, 17), and Christian love in action (v. 18).
Warren Wiersbe, Be Real (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1985), p. 120.
1. Love Distinguished (vv. 11-15).
A. Emphasis (v. 11).
1 John 3:11 ESV
11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
B. Antithesis (v. 12).
1 John 3:12 ESV
12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous.
Let’s turn and look at that story together:
Genesis 4:1–8 ESV
1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” 2 And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. 3 In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. 6 The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.” 8 Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.
Look back with me now to our text in 1 John
1 John 3:12 ESV
12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous.
C. Evidence (vv. 13-15).
1 John 3:13–15 ESV
13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
2. Love Defined (vv. 16-18).
A. Model (v. 16a).
1 John 3:16 ESV
16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
If love for the brothers is to be used as a measure for what is true or false, it is essential that this love itself should be shown not to be counterfeit. John draws a striking contrast between Cain who hated his brother and murdered him and Jesus Christ ‘who laid down His life for us’ (3:16 niv and kjv). True love is thus sacrificial and life-giving rather than life-taking.
Mervyn Eloff, Teaching 1, 2, 3 John: From Text to Message, ed. David Jackman and Adrian Reynolds, Teach the Bible (Ross-shire, Scotland; London: PT Resources; Christian Focus, 2016), 119.
B. Mimic (v. 16b).
C. Example (v. 17).
1 John 3:17 ESV
17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?
D. Pattern (v. 18).
1 John 3:18 ESV
18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
God’s love in me should be seen through me.
Christian artist Shai Linne in his introduction to doxology wrote these words,
Theology is the study of God and it's very important; Doxology is an expression of praise to God So, the point here is that all theology should ultimately lead to doxology If theology doesn't lead to doxology, then we've actually missed the point of theology So if you have theology without doxology, you just have dead, cold orthodoxy; Which is horrible, right? On the other side, we have people who say: "Ugh! Forget theology; I just wanna praise!" Right? But, if we have doxology without theology, we actually have idolatry! Because it's just a random expression of praise; but it's not actually informed by the Truth of who God is
So, God is concerned with both! He's concerned with an accurate understanding of Him; And that accurate understanding of Him, leading to a response of praise, adoration and worship towards Him
Here in our passage of study today, we have the blending of both.
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