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May 25th Sermon | love like Jesus | 1 John 3:11-18


Read 1 John 3:11-18

 

God is working through His people.  God is working through His family.  When a person puts their faith in Christ and Christ alone then they saved by God’s power, and God’s work.  God died on the cross and came back to life three days later, He died a perfect God/Man, so that we may live forever in Him and through Him. 

 

If John is so adamant about watching out for those who may be lying about their faith in Christ and their salvation, then how do we know if someone loves Christ?  How do we know if a church community is following Christ?  We look at the most important work that God does in someone—We look for the love found in God’s community. We look to see if they are loving others as Christ has loved them.

 

To love like Jesus.   What does this mean?  What does this look like? 

 

 

The Point:  The Evidence of God’s work in a person; of God’s work in a community is the love that community has for God, for each other and for the lost around them.  A Christian loves their brothers and sisters in Christ just as Christ as loved them first.

 

 

This portion of Scripture is broken up into two parts:  What is the Christian person’s fruit in their life? And What does God’s love look like?

 

 

1. Evidence of God’s work in our life is love for one another/ not hatred.

 

John begins this passage by reminder the church of the clear message which comes from the Good News of Jesus Christ.

 

Vs.11

 

“For this message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.” 

 

What a simple message! This is the main message/ truth of the Christian faith.  Love one another for Christ has loved you first.  Jesus reminds us of the two most important commands in the gospel of Mark:

 

Vs. 12-15

 

“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.  Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.  We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers.  Whoever does not love abides in death.  Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in Him.”

 

This is the main message/ truth of the Christian faith.  Love one another for Christ has loved you first.  Jesus reminds us of the two most important commands in the gospel of Mark:

 

 

“Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

 

--Mark 12:29-31

 

In this context, a pharisee, asked Christ “what the true way to eternal life is?” and this was Jesus’ answer.  This summarization of the ten commandments is the heart of the Christian life:  Love God first, then love others.  To look at how to love others we then look at the ten commandments found in Exodus 21:1-21—there are specific commands that God has given His people to ensure that they know what loving each other looks like. 

 

This includes:  1. Do not murder 2. Do not commit adultery 3. Do not steal 4. Do not give false testimony against your neighbor 5. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, wife or belongings 6. Honor your father and mother. 

 

If you noticed these are all ways on how we are to love one another—we must serve each other in Christ, think of ourselves last and put others first.  This is an AGAPE love, an unconditional love that the world doesn’t deserve but it has received from Christ Himself. 

 

John makes it even clearer by using Cain and Abel as an example:  Genesis 4 we get this story of Cain and Abel being born and growing up. They are the first sons of Adam and Eve—the first of God’s family on the Earth.  Cain gives an improper offering to God because it is not an offering of blood—this means that Cain doesn’t know the gospel, he doesn’t understand the need of a blood atonement for His sins.  His offering is fruit and vegetables whereas Abel’s is a blood atonement of a lamb.

 

“The LORD respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering: Abel brought an offering of blood (the firstborn of his flock) and Cain brought an offering of vegetation (the fruit of the ground). Many assume that this was the difference between their offerings, but grain offerings were acceptable before God (as seen in Leviticus 2), though not as an atonement for sin.”

 

--Enduring Word Commentary

 

In this situation we know that Abel was saved, Abel understands the law of atonement and the need for God to save him but his brother, Cain, did not understand this—this means that Abel was saved and Cain was not.  How else do we know this?

 

Because Cain then became jealous, he coveted what Abel had (which he did not have) which grew into hatred which then led to murder.  Cain did not have God as his Lord because of the fruit in his life—an improper sacrifice to God, jealousy, and a murderous hatred towards his own brother.  (Cain directly disobeyed and acted against God’s commandments).

 

This is the point John is trying to make in his letter:  Those who have Jesus as their Lord will not act in hatred, they will not be jealous, they will not murder their brothers/ sisters, they will honor their parents and those above them, they will love others as Christ has loved them.

Scripture also makes it clear that the world is full of hatred.  It is broken, it is lost, it is sinful this is why it will be full of hate.  That hate will also be thrown at God’s family and John reminds that we should not be surprised when the world hates us—it hated Christ first.

 

Do not lash back with hatred, lash back with love, generosity, and God’s love through you.  God’s love is disruptive, it doesn’t make sense, and the world will hate it yet the world needs it.

 

What does God’s love look like?

 

2. God’s love is selfless, sacrificial, it benefits everyone else and not the self, yet God’s love only brings glory to one person, God Himself. 

 

You see, when we love others with God’s love it is sacrificial, our priority is to help the other person at our cost, at our sake.  Yet, this brings back to God Himself and not ourselves.  If we are truly saved we will love as our savior and God has loved us; we will give our lives for others.

 

Vs.16-18

 

“By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.  But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart to him, how does God’s love abide in him?  Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”

 

We have now moved to the portion of John’s letter where the commands from God through John become practical.  What does God’s love look like?  How do we know when love is being practiced? 

 

Examples:  Christ gave His life for His church, for His family and for the sinful world whoever is willing to accept Him and call Him Lord.  We take communion every week at Enrich, look at this flask, imagine that this isn’t juice or wine rather it is Christ’s blood!  Christ shed much more blood than this when He died on the cross.

 

In Luke 22:44 Jesus was praying in the garden of Gethsemane and He was in extreme anguish knowing that He had to go through the crucifixion.

-He appeared to be sweating blood meaning he suffered from a rare condition called “Hematidrosis.”  It is in this prayer that He asks the Father God if He must take this cup of judgement—He was in anguish because He knew the answer was yes.

 

“And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground”

 

--Luke 22:44

 

Here is a mere glimpse or taste of what Christ went through so that we may have eternal life through Him.

 

“Once Christ had been tried and condemned, the first step in the execution process was a severe scourging, inflicted with a type of whip that may have had pieces of sharp bone and metal tied into its thongs. The whipping was apparently severe, resulting in a large volume of blood loss that may have been as much as a quarter to a third of the body’s total blood supply.

 

“Jesus was attached to the cross with spikes five to seven inches long that were driven one each through his wrists and one through both of his feet. There are no major arteries at the sites of the nailings, but the spikes may have hit any of a number of crucial major nerves.”

 

 

“Eventually, the combination of blood loss before the crucifixion and the toll of the ordeal itself would have brought on something called hypovolemic shock, a state similar to what occurs in severe bleeding victims who are about to die. Meanwhile, the stress on Jesus’ respiratory system would have precipitated symptoms like those of congestive heart failure and blood clots would have begun to form on the major arteries or valves of the heart.

 

--Los Angeles Times Archives

 

When John says : 

 

‘’By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” 

 

This is what laying down one’s life looks like! This is what John is reminding the church of here:  Remember YOUR saviour died like this, like an animal, on a cross, undeservedly.  And why?  Because He wants to give you eternal life in Heaven and a hope that only comes from Him. 

 

If we keep reading we are reminded that those who have goods must be generous with those goods, they must serve their family, there brothers and sisters, the context here is that John is commanding the church to serve each other as a family should—because the church is a family under Christ.  Lastly, John gives one final command:

 

“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”


If we compare this to what Jesus commands after His resurrection in Matthew 28:18-20 the message is simple:

 

We are called to love each other and GO OUT, find disciples in the world, share the gospel with the lost, and love those with a love that makes no sense! A love that is self sacrificing, a love that disrupts all conversations—we love people so much that we will feed them, we will clothe them, we will help them and we will tell them the truth of their sinful nature and point them to who can save them from that—Jesus Christ, God Himself.  We must love like Jesus.

 

The Point:  The Evidence of God’s work in a person; of God’s work in a community is the love that community has for God, for each other and for the lost around them.  A Christian loves their brothers and sisters in Christ just as Christ has loved them first.

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