1 John Chapter 3:10 says that if we do not love our brothers, we are not of God, that’s setting the standard high and setting it early. In fact, these verses even say that we demonstrate that we are the children of God by our love, and, conversely that we are the children of the devil by our lack of the same.
Verse 11 says that we have seen from the beginning that we are to love, that the story of Cain and Able demonstrates to us that love for our brother is something that should be automatic, that fratricide, murder of your own brother is shocking and obviously from Satan.
This verse also says that we see into the heart of Cain by this action, his deeds were evil and he was even motivated to kill because his brother’s deeds were righteous. It seems hard to believe that that would motivate murder, but when we think about it, murder happens for a lot less reasons than that.
Verse 12 then says that we see that when the world hates us, it should not be shocking, as Cain hating Able should not be.
We need to take joy in knowing that when we have love in our hearts for our fellow believers, that in itself demonstrates that we are part of the family of God.
I’ve heard people say in the past, “I love Jesus, I just can’t stand his wife.” Or, “I like what Jesus stands for, it’s just that I can’t stand being around Christians”. This is a cynical attitude that just can not be a part of our thinking. If we apply that to any of our relationships, we can surely see that that relationship is going to end in a permanent parting. If we give ourselves wholeheartedly to that relationship, knowing that it is worth salvaging, we can have hope in seeing it survive, and rejoice in knowing that we are demonstrating that our faith is real. The same holds true with our relationship with our brothers and sisters within the church. We need to give ourselves wholeheartedly to that relationship.
Well, how do we know what this love looks like? Verse 16 says that we are laying down our lives for the brethren. We are to look like our Father, this morning we looked at the love God has for us. We must take that love and pass it on.
Verse 17 cuts right to the heart of the matter, offering up a practical situation. We have
the ability to meet a genuine need, and we refuse to, and not even because we don’t have time or don’t notice, but because we don’t feel any compassion in our hearts. In fact the verse goes farther saying that we close the door of our hearts on them. They have come knocking, and we’ve looked out the upper window, closed the blinds and pretended we’re not home. Now I do that on Halloween, but I don’t think too many people are in need of candy. If I do it for true needs, I prove that the love of Christ has not really made it into my life.
Notice what it is that we are being asked to give up, “this world’s goods” – stuff. Stuff we can’t take with us we are being asked to give away in order to prove that the eternal “stuff” really works.
Verse 18 calls us on a human trait that I feel is too prevalent. We claim our love, and we don’t demonstrate it. Words are too easy. Actions speak louder.
Chapter 4:7-16 gives us an interesting idea, the way the world gets to see God is through our reflection of His love.
Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Remember this is agape love.
The opposite is also true according to verse 8.
Verse 11 says then that we need to love as He loved us. This is not God’s expectation, instead it is a natural response based on understanding that we have been loved.
Verse 12 says that we demonstrate God’s love by our love for one another. I wonder what the world sees; I wonder what they would say about our love? Are we selfless, selfish, or inconsistent?
Verse 20 calls it as it is. These are not my words, I would never say this, how could I? How could any human? 20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? This tells us somewhat what we base our love on, interactions.
And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
Now what? We can’t sit and debate the merits of the word “must”. We just have to obey. We must go out and make right, we must go out and live peaceably. “As much as it is within you, live peaceably with all men”
Many of us think we have no opportunity to serve as missionaries, we lament our timid personality, we regret our stammering tongues, our slow mind our poor grasp of scripture, but, one consolation we can get from the Scripture is that we are told that “they will no we are Christians if we have love for one another. God is giving us a way to shine light in our dark world we were thinking about his morning by simply living in love.