Exploring 1 John Session 21 1 John 3:16-18
Exploring 1 John Session 21 1 John 3:16-18
1 John 3:16-18 (MSG)
16 This is how we've come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God's love? It disappears. And you made it disappear.
In our last session, we learned that Cain murdered his brother Abel. That’s the way of the world. The world is the culture that humanity apart from God has made. People of the world murder others all the time. Now we are not just speaking of the violence that we see so rampant, where one person takes the life of another, that certainly is murder. Jesus tells us to look more closely.
How I treat a brother or sister in Christ is immensely important. That’s one reason why respect is in our definition of loving others. Loving others is treating everyone with respect and meeting another’s need out of our abundance. Respect is showing deference, esteeming our fellow disciples greater than ourselves, holding every Christ-follower in high regard, showing them our favor. Respect is giving them the benefit of the doubt and most importantly forgiving them, bearing their burden, and encouraging them; listening to them. Jesus is our example, our model, He demonstrates the behavior that we are to emulate.
Having acknowledged, believed committed, asked, and being assured of your relationship with God, recall how God treated you.
Colossians 1:21-22 (MSG) You yourselves are a case study of what he does. At one time you all had your backs turned to God, thinking rebellious thoughts of him, giving him trouble every chance you got. But now, by giving himself completely at the Cross, actually dying for you, Christ brought you over to God's side and put your lives together, whole and holy in his presence.
In the Kingdom of God, nothing is coerced. God has not predetermined your behavior, you get to choose. You can choose to keep what has been given to you, what’s yours is yours, you can choose to give what is yours away to help another. Anytime you take that which is yours and give it in aid to another you have made a sacrifice. When you sacrifice time, talent, treasure, position you are doing the same thing Jesus did. When it's not your job to empty the trash, run the vacuum, do the dishes, but you do because you want to encourage the person whose job it is, that’s a sacrifice of love. When you sacrifice your rights that’s being like Jesus who teaches that our only right is to love.
Do you see the contrast between Cain who kills his brother and the love we are called to give to our brothers and sisters in Christ? Love is our mandate. This kind of love demonstrates itself in deeds. We’re not talking prayers and warm thoughts of well-being as good as they are, we’re talking giving our stuff to another, we’re talking about being part of the solution.
Loving others doesn’t necessarily mean you like the one your loving on. That sounds off in our culture today because the culture has tied love and feelings in an inseparable knot. There will be brothers or sisters in Christ that you may not like, you may not like their personality, their opinions, their complaints. There will be brothers or sisters in Christ that are exasperating, they never seem to mature in the faith, they will say they want deliverance from a problem but then do everything they can to cling to the problem, repeating the same mistake over and over, taking the role of the victim. There will be brothers or sisters in Christ always needing help, always taking, never giving, wanting the handout instead of the hand up. There will be brothers and sisters that slander, gossip, exclude, there will be those that are rude, impolite, often at odds with others in the congregation, trying to garner support for their side, and to top it off, they are the one’s easily offended. These types of brothers and sisters require extra grace to deal with. So prevalent unlikeable brothers and sisters in the Church that there is a label for them: EGR’s, --extra grace required. It may be impossible to like an EGR, but adults in the faith are called to love on them. When you do, disciple of Jesus, that is a sacrifice.
“True love works, it expresses itself in action” (Mark 13:34) [Rick Williamson, 1,2, & 3 John New Beacon Bible Commentary, p.126] John tells us, words are not enough, warm compassionate feelings are not enough, What you do expresses love. In the light, you are empowered to love. Walking in the light you utilize that empowerment by doing tangible things, sure you should pray, and then put feet on those prayers, put hands on those prayers. That’s the way you shine. I want you in the light and I want you to shine.