2019-06-02 – 1 John 3.11–24 – Love in Action
Bible Text: 1 John 3.11–24 | Preacher: Pastor Jerry Higdon | Series: 1 John | 2019-06-02 – 1 John 3.11–24 – Love in Action
(Bluetooth Speaker, Yard Sale, Camp)
Good morning everyone. It is so nice to be able to spend some time with you all in fellowship with the Lord. Thank you and God bless you for being with us today.
Last week we talked a little about how Christians are being purified or refined to be more like Jesus. As Christians, we are expected to repent or turn away from our sin. Sometimes we are successful in that effort, but sometimes not. However when we sin, we should acknowledge it, and ask for forgiveness, and be grateful knowing that God continues to forgives us.
The Key points were: There is no such thing as a Sinless Christian. We are all “work in process” and take comfort in that we have an Advocate in Jesus Christ. And finally we should be loving each other and praying for each other daily.
Today’s topic is all about Love in Action. Since last week we celebrated Memorial Day, I thought I would recant a military illustration for you today. 92 year old Toby Stoudt down the street was in the Merchant Marines. However when he went to the processing station with a buddy, it turned out they both had a medical issue that kept them from joining. I believe one had a heart murmur and the other eye problems. So they were told to come back in a couple weeks to get re-checked. When they came back to medical processing station, they decided to swap each others paperwork, and not-surprisingly they both passed with flying colors. They loved their country so much they were willing to do anything they could do to defend it. Amazing Love causes one to do amazing things doesn’t it.
Please turn in your Bibles to 1 John 3:11, pg 1083 in the Pew Bibles, The Inspired, Infallible and Living Word of God, and let us start with Prayer.
We ended last Sunday on verse 10 of First John 3, that says: “Whoever does not do what is right is not of God, especially the one who does not love his brother or sister. Todays scripture continues that thought at chapter 3, verse 11:
11 For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another..
This Bible of ours is actually a Love Letter from God to us. The whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, God shows His love for us and He commands us to love one another. Then He later God demonstrated that love so clearly in His Son,
God Incarnate, God in the Flesh, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
We all should know well John 3:16, where Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”. And likewise, if we truly love Jesus, then we must show that same love to one another. Love in Action.
As John begins this section of his letter with his central theme of love, I find it amazing that even though we Christians hear this message, the command of love so often, and yet we still seem not to get it right. Unfortunately today it seems even many of our churches are full of self-centered, bickering people. That is not at all what Jesus intended. The world should know the church for its love and joy, but instead many regard the churches today for its judgmentalism and rigidness. It is very sad indeed. The church is referred to in our Bible as Christ’s Bride, and Jesus wants His bride, the church, to reflect His love to the fallen world.
So it is important today my brother and my sister, that you don’t let this message of love slip off your consciousness, like water off a duck’s back. Listen and take head to the instruction the Apostle John has for us here today. Again John said, “We should love one another”.. Then at verse 12 he continued: 12 unlike Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous.
John begins this teaching by exploring the relationship between love and hatred, and between hatred and the spirit of murder. This verse brings up the very first born son of all mankind, Cain. Cain is being called out as a prime example of one who didn’t have much love in them at all. This story is also a great lesson-example for us today in scripture, where a question is recognized in the Old Testament, that only really gets answered in the New Testament. We all know that Adam and Eve’s son Cain killed his brother Able, but unless you read about the incident in the New Testament, you will never fully understand why he did it.
Turn back with me if you will to Genesis 4 on page 3 of the pew Bibles. It says:
1 The man [Adam] was intimate with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain. She said, “I have had a male child with the Lord’s help.” 2 She also gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel became a shepherd of flocks, but Cain worked the ground. 3 In the course of time Cain presented some of the land’s produce as an offering to the Lord. 4 And Abel also presented an offering—some of the firstborn of his flock and their fat portions. The Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but he did not have regard for Cain and his offering. Cain was furious, and he looked despondent.
6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you furious? And why do you look despondent? 7 If you do what is right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”
8 Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. 9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s guardian?” 10 Then he said, “What have you done? Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground! 11 So now you are cursed, alienated from the ground that opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood you have shed. 12 If you work the ground, it will never again give you its yield. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”
That is the story of Cane and Abel. Cain didn’t have much love for his little brother Abel. The question you might have is, “why did Cane kill Abel?” Our first verses here today explain a little about what happened. John wrote, “Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous”. Cain was evil, prideful and jealous. I found a few more New Testament verses that illuminate that understanding.
Hebrews 11:4 says, “By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was approved as a righteous man, because God approved his gifts, and even though he is dead, he still speaks through his faith”. And Jude 1:11 says, “Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, have plunged into Balaam’s error for profit..”
All of these different New Testament authors fill in some of the details as to the backstory of Cain and Able written about in the Old Testament. That is why it is so important for us to read all of scripture. God wants you to dig deep into His well of knowledge and wisdom so you might know Him and learn how to apply His wisdom to your daily lives. In 2 Timothy 3:16, The Apostle Paul wrote, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work”. In our verses today, John doesn’t want us to be like the unloving, unfaithful Cain. He wants us to love one another, have faith in God’s provisions, and give with a cheerful heart from the first-fruits of our labors.
This is love in action does. Love for God and love for each other.
In our next verses call out that as born again Christians, we need to maintain an eternal life perspective in our thinking and our actions. Verse 13 reads,
13 Do not be surprised, brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers and sisters. The one who does not love remains in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.
The Holy Spirit gave me a special thought the other day. We all will have either Eternal life or Eternal Death – Everybody has to make their own choice in this matter in choosing Eternal life or Eternal Death. That is something tough for us to ponder, however God offers us His solution for eternal life through Jesus His Son. Although He doesn’t want anyone to parish, He doesn’t force His will upon anyone.
These verses here, call out the attitude of hatred and the act of murder. Certainly there is a difference between an attitude or thought, and that of carrying out an actual act of murder. But the truth is, the spirit that underlies both hatred and murder is exactly the same spirit of death. Recall Jesus’ own teaching on this from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:21-22):
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to [the same] judgment..”
This hits home for us when we think about the people who have angered us. Inside, we seethe with anger when we suffer for unrighteousness or blows to our pride. Anger of course, is a common, God-given response to cause us to take action. I would argue that anger is normal and vital, but dangerous.
We all know Anger comes and goes with the situations. But when we hold onto anger, it can become hateful bitterness within us. It morphs into an unforgiving spirit in our hearts that Jesus warns us against. In Matthew 6:14-15, Jesus said:
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
I am the first to admit that this is not an easy task to accomplish sometimes. However as Christians, it is something that we must do. When we hold anger against another person, then we cannot love him or her as Jesus calls us all to do. I will also suggest that it is even difficult for us to love ourselves and our Father God if we harbor such anger, hate and strife. Let go and Let God, Amen?
16 This is how we have come to know love: He laid down his life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has this world’s goods and sees a fellow believer in need but withholds compassion from him—how does God’s love reside in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in action and in truth.
As we pointed out in the key takeaways from last week, “our doing proves out what is in our hearts”. The love we demonstrate for our brothers and sisters proves out that we have God’s Love in our hearts. Furthermore, the tighter we hold on the things of this world, the less we are able to demonstrate God’s love to those He puts in our path. There is an old song by 38 Special that goes, “Just hold on loosely, But don’t let go, If you cling to tightly, You’re gonna lose control”
In John 15:12-13, Jesus said, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” And that is exactly what He did for the disciples and all of us here today. He laid down His life for us. How fortunate are we, and how grateful we should be
Again, verse 18 says, “Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in action and in truth”. Then 19 continues, 19 This is how we will know that we belong to the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows all things.
Again, when we show love for our brothers and sisters through action and truth, then in that, we can know that we are true Christians. However the opposite is also true, when our actions don’t show our love for others, then we are not a true Christian. All of us should be convicted in our hearts at times. Our heart is our emotional muscle, that is what it does, it loves and it convicts. If it isn’t doing that then maybe you should check your pulse. The Holy Spirit is in the Christian’s heart, and He is our counselor.
Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 1:21, “Now it is God who establishes both us and you in Christ. He anointed us, placed His seal on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a pledge of what is to come”.
Paul also write in Ephesians 4:30, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption”.
When we sin, the Holy spirit inside our hearts, the Bible says, grieves. We should endeavor not to grieve the Holy Spirit. However, even that guilt we feel, is evidence of the Holy Spirit being in our hearts and it is evidence in a different way that we belong to God, and we all are accountable to God for our actions.
These last verses is actually a summary of the whole of this chapter 3. John wrote:
21 Dear friends, if our hearts don’t condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive whatever we ask from him because we keep his commands and do what is pleasing in his sight. 23 Now this is his command: that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another as he commanded us.
24 The one who keeps his commands remains in him, and he in him. And the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit he has given us.
Does your sprit show God’s Holy Spirit resides within you? Does your actions demonstrate true Love in Action?
In this section, John has taught us, his “little children” and friends:
The significance of letting go of anger so that it doesn’t turn into hatred,
The importance of deliberate acts of compassion that demonstrate our love,
The blessings of keeping Christ’s command to love one another.
The assurance of the Holy Spirit with us.
This is a lot for us to chew on here today, and it is wonderful instruction for us to heed. I pray that you understand and choose to apply this to your daily walk with Christ.
Like our 92 year old Merchant Marine Toby’s example today of love for country, let your love for God be evident through demonstrations of Love in Action.
Jesus Loves You my dear church family. As Jeremy read to you earlier, Jesus said, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete”.
Please stand. Let us Pray..