1 John 3:11-20

Author

Karen Miller

Scripture

1 John 3:11-20

For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning,
that we should love one another;
not as Cain,
who was of the evil one and slew his brother.
And for what reason did he slay him?
Because his deeds were evil,
and his brother’s were righteous.
Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you.
We know that we have passed out of death into life,
because we love the brethren.
He who 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.
We know love by this,
that He laid down His life for us;
and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
But whoever has the world’s goods,
and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him,
how does the love of God abide in him?
Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.
We will know by this that we are of the truth,
and will assure our heart before Him
in whatever our heart condemns us;
for God is greater than our heart and knows all things.

Observations:

-John exhorts us to love one another; he seems to be specifically talking about loving other Christians here.
-Then he sets the bar low:
don’t love like Cain did and murder your brother
don’t be evil to your righteous brother
-Next, he reminds us that we are the righteous and will be hated by the world – just as Abel was hated by Cain because Abel was righteous and Cain was not.
-Then John tells us that love for the brethren is evidence that we have passed out of death unto life
-Then he sets the bar slightly higher:
John tells us that hating our brother is equal to murder and a way to abide in death
(This certainly seems reminiscent of Jesus words in the Sermon on the Mount about hating our brother being the same as murder)
-Then John reminds of how Jesus loved us:
-Jesus laid down his life for us.
-And now the bar just got raised really high:
We are called to lay down our lives for our brothers.
What does that mean?
John gives an example:
If we have worldly goods and see our brother in need we should open our heart
And provide. But if we close our heart to that brother the love of God does not abide in us.
John calls us to love not in word only but in deed and in truth.
-Again, our love in deed and in truth seems to be evidence that we are of the truth.
-Then there is this last odd statement:
Our hearts can condemn us,
But God is greater than our hearts and knows all things.

Application:

1. Love my brothers and sisters in Christ well.
2. Ask God to show me any bitterness/hate against a brother or sister in Christ. Repent, forgive and ask God to help me love anyone He reveals.
3. Ask God to open my eyes to see people in need and then open my heart to meet those needs.
4. Lay down my own selfish interests and even my life to love the people God puts in my path each day.

Prayer:

Lord, thank you for these truths you inspired John to write. Thank you for the way that you loved us and continue to love us. Thank you Jesus for laying down your life for me so I could be set free from sin and Satan and all that opposes You. I want to love people well but I have a lot of selfishness in my life. So please forgive me and please open my eyes to see needs around me and then open my heart and my schedule to meet those needs. I have a lot of tasks to complete this week, but I pray that would not get in the way of loving people well. If I have any bitterness or hate in my heart, please reveal that to me. Then grant me the grace of true repentance and allow me to forgive so that I might be set free to love whole-heartedly in grace and in truth. Even now I see ways that you are already calling me to sacrifice a few things to love some specific people well this week. Thank you for that and help me to follow through on what You have shown me.

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