Love for one Another: Bible Survey for New Christians

March 30th, 2009

1 John 3:11–24

Summary:
as also to love one another as brethren.

3:11. For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another,
3:12. not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother's righteous.
3:13. Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.
3:14. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.
3:15. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
3:16. By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
3:17. But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?
3:18. My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
3:19. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.
3:20. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.
3:21. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.
3:22. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.
3:23. 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.
3:24. Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

Comments:

John says once again, the bottom line to prove the genuineness of our faith: Love one another.

He goes on to talk about Cain and Abel. Why did Cain kill Abel? Cain's works were evil. Do you remember what was going on with that story? The two brothers decided to offer a sacrifice to God. So sacrificing is evil? No, they both offered an offering. Cain is recorded as offering it first. The evil comes in when God went to accept the offerings. He went right past Cain's and praised the offering of Abel. Why?

It isn't the fact that one was a farmer and had vegetables and fruit piled up, while the other was a one that tended livestock and had animals to offer. What the offering was isn't the matter. God saw what came from the heart. Cain could have had a truck load of fruit on the offering, while Abel had only a little lamb. God saw through to the motive. Cain was doing it out of propriety. It is the correct action. Possibly on the inside Cain said something like, I'm giving all this stuff, but its only because I feel like I have to. Where Abel probably had the attitude of, I'm giving all this stuff, but I'd give more if I thought God would want it that way.

The thing that sealed it for Cain was that when God confronted him, God didn't condemn Cain. God didn't even have bad words for Cain, but a warning to leave this in the past and do good. Otherwise, evil is waiting to attack Cain. And it did. Cain turned any rejection he may have felt into the string of emotions that lead to hatred. He didn't try to break the cycle of those unseen emotions and attitude. It led to an action, murder. Even then, God didn't curse Cain. God told him that he was basically to be cast out and be a wanderer, but God marked Cain and protected him anyway. God still loves those who chose against him, and leaves a door open in hopes of a return to him. OK, side rant is done.

The world hates us, the ones who are believers and followers of God. They see the blessings, but they can't see what is on the inside that brings the blessing to us. They see that their life is miserable. They may or may not realize that our life isn't any better, but a believer has that inside attitude of love. It makes them hate. Hate is the attitude that drives murder.

Jesus gave the example. He laid down his life, even for those who were present that wanted him dead. The priests of his own people, the Romans, (gentiles, us) who did the deed. Maybe not out of direct hatred, but out of the indifference that comes from just doing their job. Wow, which is worse in that situation?

If God gave you a thing, material wealth, skill, talent or ability, and you see someone who has that need, don't hold back. Give it. That's the purpose God blessed you with it. Use it. Remember that passage where Juses claims that if you do it to the least of these, you have done it to me? Helping others is never a wasted effort.

It isn't good to say you have love, but don't mean it. I know it can be so very hard to love certain people, even fellow believers. Try, with all your power to not only display love, but mean it. For the weak areas in your own life, pray for God's strength and for Jesus to fill in the gaps. Keep a heart that is God centered, not me-focused, or focused on what ever problem is at hand that we face. Even loving that unlovable person.

Ask God, he gives to his followers.

Believe in Jesus. Love others. Can I say it enough? This is the true sign, the true proof of who we belong to.

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