1 John 3:11-24
Love Into Action

As we study the New Testament we see that God has insisted on practical things for the Believer. For instance, in Colossians 2:6 we read, "Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him." Again, in Romans 1:7 we're called to "be saints." We don't always act like we're saints. Now we are called on to put our love into action. If we are believers, we are to love other believers.

VERSE 11. "For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another." We're called to practice in our walk what we declare in our talk. In reality and practicality we are to be what we say we are. JOHN 13:17 says, "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." Jesus was speaking to those who say all the right things but don't do them. Jesus had a comment on this. MATTHEW 7:21-23. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22: Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23: And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

Verse 10 of 1 John 3 plainly tells us that anyone who doesn't love their brother in Christ is not of God. Verse 11 plainly tells us that "this is the message you heard from the beginning." True love is more than an emotional thing, it's motional. It does something. True love wants to give and sometimes giving is costly. Think of what it cost God to give His love to the world. JOHN 3:16. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes him shall not perish but have eternal life."

True believers don't find it difficult to fellowship with one another. A family where there is no love isn't a normal family. As kids, my family had what is now called sibling rivalry. That designation didn't exist at that time. Mom called it fighting. But, if anyone outside of our family wanted to cause one of us trouble, they got six more to pick on for free. We hated to admit it but we did love each other. Cain and Abel are a serious example of hatred and not love in the next verses.

VERSES 12-13. "Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.
13: Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you."

In Hebrews 11:4 , the writer tells us "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh." Abel's faith still speaks 6000 years later, just as Cain's unbelief still condemns him.

Faith comes by hearing and Abel heard and believed the words of God. I don't know how or what God told him, but by hearing and believing he became righteous. Cain had the same opportunity but he chose to reject it and he sinned. He hated his brother because "he was of that wicked one" and Abel was righteous.

If we're believers we shouldn't wonder that the world hates us. Believers are citizens of heaven, just here on a visa. The unsaved are citizens of this world, and their master is Satan. There are two different natures involved. We are all born in an unsaved condition and the unsaved are of the devil. JOHN 8:44. "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." We are born children of wrath. Only God can change that.

The believer becomes a child of God, possessed with a Divine nature and is dead to the unbeliever insofar as fellowship is concerned. It would be unnatural for the world to love a believer, but it's natural for believers to love each other. If we don't love our fellow believers we don't love God. Born again people possess the Holy Spirit and the Spirit bears fruit and a fruit of the Spirit is love. Galatians 5:22-23. In JOHN 14:15, Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep my commandments," and He commands us to love one another. Verses 11-13 have shown us "true love produces action."

VERSE 14. "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death." True Believers have assurance from God in several ways.

1. Through the testimony of the Word. 1 John 5:10-13. "Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son.
11. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
12. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
13. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life."

2. Through the testimony of the Spirit we have assurance. Romans 8:16. "The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children." (NIV)
3. Through the testimony of our own heart. This is the new heart that God gives us at the moment we believe. 1 JOHN 3:19-21. [Quoted from the NIV]. "This is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God."
4. Through our love for the brethren. True believers love their fellow believers and this is further proof that they are saved. "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren."

God is love, and Christ is God's love gift to the sinner. If we receive Him then certainly we have Jesus in our hearts and we will also love other believers. We aren't saved through loving other believers, we love the believers because we are saved. "Anyone who does not love remains in death."

Not only does love toward believers bring assurance of salvation to the heart of the believer, it also shows the world the we are disciples of Christ when we demonstrate love in action as He did.

VERSE 15. "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him."

There are several ways stated clearly in the Bible telling us how we can know for sure we are saved. The heart that is full of hate is potentially capable of murder. There is no doubt here that anyone, no matter what they profess and still hate their brother, is not saved. God calls them a murderer, and no murderer can enter the Kingdom of God. That murderer has to come to Christ for forgiveness of their sins before that murder charge, or any other sin charged to us, can be put away for eternity and the soul made fit for heaven.

VERSE 16. "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."

In this verse we see love in action, actually love at it's highest. Jesus loving a whole world full of lost sinners. He loved us to the extent that He laid down His life for us, even though we deserved hell.

When we say He gave His life for us, it actually means that He died instead of us. He took our place in death. When God looked down at the cross and saw Jesus hanging there, He saw you and me and all Believers represented there just as if we actually had hung there and died for our sins.

Laying down our lives for the brethren doesn't necessarily mean that we die for them, it means we should lay our lives down in living for them. We are to present our lives a living sacrifice, not a dying one, and this means to act toward believers in an unselfish way. We should put serving them ahead of ourselves. This is what Christ did, and we are to imitate Him in our lives. This is the love He desires of us.

VERSE 17-18. "But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his heart of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
18: My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth."

Jesus never overlooked one human need. Since Believers possess His nature, shouldn't we even search for needs to fill? Jesus never did one miracle to supply His personal needs. He could have lived in a mansion and had servants, but He chose to serve others instead. He was never too busy or tired to minister to the needs of the lowest sinner who came to Him.

He got tired, hungry, weary, was often too busy serving others to eat, He even ate on the run. One time He was so weary that He sat on Jacob's well while the others went to get food, and instead of eating, He saw to the salvation of the soul of a sinning woman of Samaria. She went and told others and they got saved.

Jesus spent time ministering to derelicts such as blind Bartimaeus and to prostitutes, and the impotent man at the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem. He loved them unto death, He died for them. He also saw to their needs when He walked the earth. The only time it's recorded that He rode was when He entered Jerusalem on a colt just a week before He was crucified.

I don't need to go into detail how we, as Christians, can help others. Certainly at one time or another we all have been helped by a brother or sister in the Lord in some way or another. God has given the least of us so much surely we can pass some on to others.

VERSES 19-22. "And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
20: For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
21: Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.
22: And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight."

Here is assurance that we can't lose our salvation. Sometimes we may not love the brother who has offended us, but that doesn't mean we aren't saved. If we realize that God wants us to forgive our brother just as He forgave us then we can restore that fellowship both with the brother and with God at the same time. That's God's love. He gives us that same type of love if we will let Him work in our lives. As the verse indicates, "lay down your life," put your brother first, help him, encourage him, instead of promoting yourself.

There are times when all of us have done things that we regret and we feel that God can't or won't forgive us, and verse 20 should dispel that. "God is greater than our heart, and knows all things."

VERSE 23. "And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment."

God's command. Believe that Jesus died for your sins. God's command. Love one another. Not ten commandments, not works, not sacrifices of blood. This is what God wants from us, don't add anything more to it. Live like the Christian you profess to be and love one another like God wants you to, don't add a bunch of stuff to that. Just do what God asks.

VERSE 24. "And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us."

When we don't understand why things are the way they are with us, God wants us to trust Him. Job was devastated by the loss of his family and possessions for reasons he couldn't understand. After his conversations with his friends and companions and after he tried testing God's authority, he finally bowed and worshipped God. And the Lord declared His might and splendor to Job. Job 42:1-6.

Worshipping God is the supreme compliment we pay our Heavenly Father. It affirms His supremacy over all life and acknowledges Him as the One in charge of everything in the universe including us.

When we don't understand, God wants us to trust Him. In the midst of his agony, Job gave us this statement of confidence in God. "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." [Job 13:15.]

In times of trial that we all will have, trusting God is the way through these trials. Despite not understanding why things are the way they are, we can depend on God's goodness and love to sustain us. He's trustworthy and He will never disappoint the one who unconditionally trusts His unconditional love. God said just what He meant and just what He wants us to understand, "Trust Me." And then He assures us that what He says is true. "we know it by the Holy Spirit He gave us."

This is what the scripture means when it says, "keep His commandments," it means to trust Him completely.