Bible Bites - Love One Another - 1 John 3:11-24
1 John 3:11-24
11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 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. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.
I know the general idea of Bible Bites is to keep things in small, and bite-size portions, but, I really think it's worth it to go through this entire scripture in one sitting.
Let me highlight a few portions to discuss.
When we read this over, the first thing that John tells us is that the command to love one another is not new. It's been heard from the very beginning! But as human history proves, it's one that seems all too easy for us to forget at times!
And hatred is no small matter. If we have hatred for our neighbor, in our hearts, we are murderers!
If you're struggling with hatred towards a person, definitely check out Ephesians 6:12-13. Here we read,12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. While you're at it, please read over the whole armor of God and how to apply it in Ephesians 6:10-18.
When we find ourselves hating someone, first we ought to repent, second we should remember that everyone that sins, has fallen to the deception of the enemy, and thirdly, we ought to be praying for them. (Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.)
The next thing that jumps out at me is John's warning that we should not be surprised when we find the world hates us. We should expect it, and so not be shaken when we encounter hate and malice toward us. This is the way it has always been. Unrighteous Cain hated his righteous brother Abel, even to the point of murder!
After this, John goes on to tell us what love looks like.
We know love by the great example that Christ gave us. That while we were still sinners, he laid down His life to take our punishment that we might live. God knows every bad choice, every evil thought, and mistake we'd make, and He still chose to lay down His life for us! Can there be a greater example of love than this?!
Love isn't just a feeling, it manifests through our actions.
We can be assured that God's love abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us when we love one another, obey His commandments, and do what pleases Him. In doing this we can be confident that we abide in Him and He abides in us and that whatever we ask of Him, we receive.
Now, I'm not saying that God will suddenly become your personal genie or Santa, giving us tons of money, a brand-new car, and a glistening jet to go on globe-trotting holidays. No, when we are truly abiding in the Lord, we will be so aligned with Him that our desires will finally match up with what He desires for us and we will have it whenever we ask in Jesus' name.
So, let's follow His commandment, to believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ and love one another. Can you imagine how different the world would be if we could all do this. His love demonstrated through us can truly change the world!
Heavelyn Father, we thank you that even knowing our darkness and sin, you still chose to send us your only begotten Son to take our punishment so that we might live. We pray that your love would so abound in us that when others are in our presence, they will feel you in their presence. Help us to be conduits of your love, mercy, and grace in this world, to truly love one another so that others may see your love in us and be drawn to you through Jesus Christ.
In Jesus' name we pray. Amen!