Confident Love

1 John 3:11-24 I. The Gospel of Loving One Another (1 John 3:11-14) Some Bible scholars conceive that verse 11 is a “parenthesis passage” between verse 10, “In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother” and verse 12, “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.” With that in mind, William Barclay stated that the Christian must not be like Cain who murdered his brother.

Hence, John goes on to ask why Cain murdered his brother; and his answer is that it was because his works were evil and his brother’s were good. Then he drops the remark: “Do not be surprised, brothers, if the world hates you.”

An evil man will instinctively hate a good man. Righteousness always provokes hostility in the minds of those whose actions are evil. The reason is that the good man is a walking rebuke to the evil man, even if he never speaks a word to him, his life passes a silent judgment. Socrates was the good man par excellence; Alcibiades was brilliant but erratic and often dishonest. He used to say to Socrates: “Socrates, I hate you, because every time I meet you, you have shown me what I am.”

II. Jesus Shows Us How to Love (1 John 3:15-18) Observe the nature of the sin condemned, it is a secret sin of the heart, not an open sin of the life; he that hates his brother, that is, in his heart, is a murderer, though he does not smite him either with his tongue, or with his hand. (Burkitt)

Learn here that sins of the heart are damning, as well as sins of the life; a man may be an adulterer in the sight of God, and yet never touch a woman (Matthew 5:28); an idolator and yet never bow his knee to an image (Ephesians 5:5), a murderer, and yet never hurt his brother; if he hates him in his heart, it is recorded as murder in God’s account

Additionally, the sad and deplorable condition of such as are guilty of this sin, namely, of murdering their brother by hatred in their hearts: “He that hateth his brother, abideth in death, and hath not eternal life abiding in him,” (1 John 3:14-15). That is to say that he or she have no spiritual life, nothing of the life of grace abides in that person, which is the seed and principle, the original and beginning of life.

On the other hand, the life of grace in the heart of a regenerate person, is the beginning and first principle of a life of glory, whereof they cannot but be destitute who hate their brother in their hearts. So much hatred in a man, so much death; and so much want of love, brings so much want of life.

In verse 16, the Apostle John presses brotherly love from another argument, namely, from the example of Jesus Christ, who being God, as well as man, laid down his life, as man, for us. Hereby perceive we the love of God, that is, of Jesus Christ the Redeemer, in that he laid down his life for us. From this we learn that the death of Christ for us is a special manifestation of his singular love unto us.

Observe also the inference with which the apostle draws from Christ’s love in laying down his life for us, namely, that we therefore ought to lay down our lives for the brethren: That is, in a time of persecution, when the glory of God, the edification of the church, and the eternal salvation of our brethren, do require it, and stand in need of it: We must never stick at laying down our lives when God calls us to it, as needful for better ends than our lives. It is not needful that we live, but needful and necessary that we glorify God, both in life and death.

III. The Assurance and Obedience that Come with Love (1 John 3:19-22) “And hereby we know that we are of the truth,” (verse 19) — By believers on the Lord Jesus Christ loving one another in deed and in truth, they know, as the cause is known by the effect, that they are of God, who is the true God, the God of truth, and cannot lie, and is truth itself; that they are the children of God, and are born of him. Friend, as true believers in Christ, our faith works by love, and we are real lovers of Him since we now love not in word only, but in deed and in truth. (Gill)

IV. Command to Believe and Love (1 John 3:23-24) Notable preacher, Gary Hampton commented that when one, through obedient faith, keeps the commandments of the Lord, he becomes a part of Christ, or is placed in the Lord’s body (Galatians 3:26-27). Also, John says Christ will dwell in Him (John 14:23; 15:1-10). The Holy Spirit is given to Christians as the assurance that they are in Christ (Acts 2:38; Ephesians 1:13). It is not clear how the Holy Spirit indwells the Christian any more than one can know how his own spirit dwells in his body. Of course, Christians do know Christ is theirs because of the obedient faith already discussed (1 John 3:24).

Central Text: 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. — 1 John 3:24

Church Supply Pastor and Christian columnist, Dr. Wayne M. Williams, presently resides in Athens with his wife of 39 years, Lita. For additional study notes, see the Facebook page International Sunday School Lessons.

Church Supply Pastor and Christian columnist, Dr. Wayne M. Williams, presently resides in Athens with his wife of 39 years, Lita. For additional study notes, see the Facebook page International Sunday School Lessons.

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