As we begin this morning, ask the Father to open your mind and heart to His message to you. Ask Him to speak as you read His word. Let’s tune in:
11 For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters,[a] if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
19 This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him,and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
From the beginning of Jesus’ Gospel, He preached love. The sermon on the mount is an excellent example:
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:43-45
Let’s look closely at the passage in 1 John:
- v11 His message was always the same: LOVE.
- v12 Cain acted out of anger, jealousy, envy, and hatred. We combat these feelings by the Spirit within us (verse 24). The fight inside is a sure sign of our salvation.
- v13 Jesus told His disciples the same thing: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”John 16:1 To be like Jesus means that people will treat us just as the world treated Jesus. Sinners act like sinners. Get used to it.
- v14 The love we have for our brothers and sisters in Christ and the compassion we have for lost souls is confirmation of Christ’s love in our hearts. We have passed from death to life (John 5:24). How should His love affect us daily? Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. Romans 6:13
- v15 A reiteration of verse 12 and Matthew 5:21-22. Murder is part of the list of unrighteous living in Romans 1:29-31.
- v16-18 This is a good example of how to love our brothers and sisters. Our society is well-off enough that this problem doesn’t present itself very often. But, when it does, we should be the first ones to their door. Notice that it does NOT include everyone, but just the family of God. Should we be stingy concerning the rest of mankind? Certainly not. But our main concern is loving the brethren. We give to those outside the Body of Christ as the Spirit leads us, and always with the hope of reaching them for Christ, with Christ, by Christ.
- MEMORY VERSE: Dear children, let us not love with [just] words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18
- v19-22 Inner peace comes by walking long enough with and close enough to Jesus to know the difference between what our hearts tell us and what He tells us. Our hearts are fickle and full of wickedness; they amplify what is in our minds and give feeling to our thoughts. Now we see why we must renew our minds constantly with the word of God. We must be in constant contact and continuous conversation with Jesus. Otherwise, we will believe our hearts and act out of passion. THAT’S DANGEROUS! See Galatians 5:19-21 for a list of out-of-control passions.
- v23 The Gospel in a nutshell. We believe that Jesus is who He said He is, that He did what He said He did, and that He will do for us what He said He would do: Save us! Then, we love as He loved. He told the Jews that followed Him across the lake to Capernaum, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” John 6:29. Then He told the disciples (in the upper room just before His crucifixion), “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34 Both of these verses are combined in verse 23. Notice that its address is 3:23, just like Romans 3:23 is the beginning of the Roman Road to Salvation.
- v24 It takes the Spirit to love as He loved, so being able to do so is our verification that we are saved. His Spirit within us is our seal of salvation. It’s Jesus in us! When we have Him, we have already moved from death unto eternal life (see verse 14).
John wanted us to know with certainty that we are saved. He gave us the signs of salvation: Love in our hearts, His Spirit in us guiding us, and the world hating us. Let’s take comfort in that fact that as it was for the first Christians, it is for us today. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8