“LOVE REQUIRES ACTION” 1 John 3:11-24
INTRO – Quick review 1 John:
- Author: Apostle John
- Date: Probably AD 85-90
- Audience: Does not name specific audience, but may have intended for the letter to go to the churches mentioned in the opening chapters of Revelation (which he also wrote): Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, & Laodicea.
- Reasons for writing book: Part of reason was to address growing problem of false teachers & false doctrines that were creeping into the church. Also, wanted to challenge readers to deepen their theological & doctrinal foundations, strengthen the practical living out of their doctrine, & intensify their love for God & their fellow man.
- Main themes: I see 2 broad themes – Knowing who Jesus is, & knowing how to live our lives b/c of Him.
One of the main things we see over & over again in 1 John is the subject of love. When Jesus says something is the most important commandment, then I don’t think we can’t study it enough. It’s one of the most important tests of our Christianity. William Barclay: “Into the human heart there are bound to come doubts. Any man w/ a sensitive mind & heart must sometimes wonder if he really is in any way a Christian at all. John’s test is quite simple & very far-reaching. His test is love. If we feel love for our fellow man welling up within our hearts, then we can be sure that the heart of Christ is in us. We may be conscious of many sins, but if we are conscious of love, then we are not far from Christ. John would have said that a so-called heretic, whose heart was overflowing w/ love, & whose life was beautiful w/ service, is far nearer Christ than someone who is impeccably orthodox, yet coldly correct, & remote from the needs of men” (The Letters of John & Jude, p. 102).
So, once again, we find ourselves examining what love is all about in our lives as Christ-followers. It is such an important component of our faith. In fact, our faith is a dead system of beliefs if it is not characterized & energized by love.
So, here we go. LOVE REQUIRES ACTION:
- Say it & show it
- Declare it & do it
- Announce it & act on it
- Talk about it & take it to the streets
As we look at this passage, we can find these 3 divisions:
The Foundation – v. 11-15 – “…this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.”
- Matthew Henry – This message of loving one another is that which “came among the principal parts of practical Christianity.”
- In other words, it is at the very core of practical, everyday Christian life. It is an essential, fundamental core element.
- Simply put: You can’t truly say that you are living a committed Christian life w/out love. It’s the only way that the world can tell if we are followers of Jesus.
But we can’t just talk about it…
The Demonstration – v. 16-18 – “…let us now love in word or talk, but in deed & in truth.”
- AMP – “…let us not love [merely in theory] with word or with tongue [giving lip service to compassion], but in action and in truth [in practice and in sincerity, because practical acts of love are more than words].”
- Oliver Greene, founder of The Gospel Hour: “There are occasions when a minister visits widows where there are children in need, & after a pastoral call the minister bows in prayer & asks God to supply the need of that family, when at that time there are hundreds – perhaps thousands – of dollars of God’s money in the bank to the credit of the big church w/ the tall steeple! The parishioners in that church sing, ‘O, how I love Jesus!’ but they love Him in word only – not in deed & in truth. The Bible admonition is, ‘Be ye doers of the Word, & not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.’”
The Confirmation – v. 19-24 – “By this [by the demonstration of Christ’s love] we shall KNOW that we are of the truth & REASSURE our heart before Him…”
- Living a life of love toward others brings a strong sense of confirmation & confidence to the Christ-follower.
- “reassure” – peitho – to persuade; to have confidence
- v. 19 in NLT – “Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.”
LOVE REQUIRES ACTION:
IT GIVES – IT DOESN’T TAKE – v. 11-15
- Cain took.
- World hates/murders – v. 15 (James 4:1-4)
- James 4:1-4 – “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God” (NLT).
- But we aren’t a friend of the world; we are a friend of God. We aren’t takers; we are givers.
- 1 Peter 1:22 – “You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart” (NLT).
- And how do we do that? By giving! The world takes, takes, takes. Love gives, gives, gives!
IT SHARES – IT’S DOESN’T KEEP FOR ITSELF – v. 16-18
- Compassion is the language of love.
- Mission Byram
- Love has feet! – v. 18
- Sean of the South – “BROKE” – (http://seandietrich.com/broke/)
IT OBEYS – IT DOESN’T “DO ITS OWN WAY” – v. 19-24
- 1 Cor. 13:5b – “…[love] does not insist on its own way…”
- God commands that we believe – v. 23. And He commands that we love.
- When we are loving Him, we are obeying Him. When we are obeying Him, we are abiding in Him. Obedience = Abiding – v. 24
CONCLUSION – So, what do you need to do today to put your love into action?
- The most loving thing you can do today is to come to give your life to Christ.
- Maybe you need to get plugged into Mission Byram, or Country Oaks, or Lunch 4 Christ.
- Maybe you need to get plugged into a Life Group, or maybe you need to help your Life Group be more active in living out the love of Christ.
- Maybe you need to make a phone call or a visit today or this week & reconcile w/ a brother or sister in Christ that you are out of fellowship with.
- Been gossiping about them
- Been holding a grudge against them
- Been building a wall between you & them
- Maybe you need to go visit a shut-in, the nursing home, the hospital, someone who is sick, someone who needs prayer, someone who just needs someone to listen.
- Maybe you need to go share the Gospel with someone.
LOVE REQUIRES ACTION!