Love: Message from the Beginning
Topic: Love Passage: 1 John 3:11–3:20
Love: The Message from the Beginning
1 John 3:11-20
Pastor David Lovi
Thus far, in our study of first John, the apostle has repeatedly been displaying for us the marks of an authentic Christian. His aim has been to show us what true Christianity looks like so that we can know for certain whether or not we are a part of the family of God.
In our passage today from chapter three verse nineteen, John writes, “by this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him.”
That verse really speaks to me. I don’t know about you, but I need reassurance. I need to be reassured about the character of God. I need reassurance about who I am and what my standing is before God.
John says, if we love in the way He has loved us, then we can reassure ourselves that our hearts can have this assurance, this confidence that I belong to Him and He belongs to me and I live in Christ and Christ lives in me.
In our passage today, 1 John 3:11-20, John is turning a corner for the rest of his epistle. He’s previously focused on Christian living in light of obedience and on not loving the world and the world’s system and on not making a practice of sinning.
But for the rest of the epistle he will be primarily concerned with what may be the clearest mark of an authentic Christian: LOVE.
John is the apostle of love. He talks about love more than anyone else. And so we’re going to be learning a lot about what true love looks like.
It’s different than what culture says love looks like.
The culture says love is just an emotion. As soon as if fades away, well . . . what can you do? The heart wants what it wants. Isn’t that society’s motto? You can’t choose who you love—that’s our culture’s creed. We’re just drawn to people who are nice to us. And that’s that.
But, Jesus says, greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend.
Jesus says, love your neighbor as yourself.
He doesn’t say love your nice neighbors as yourself.
This is really important.
He doesn’t say love your lovely neighbors as yourself. Love the neighbors who give you things and bring sugar to your house.
He says love your neighbor as yourself. It doesn’t matter who your neighbor is. It doesn’t matter how they act.
Later, Jesus says, even love your enemies. Even bless those who persecute you and curse you. That pretty much covers everyone.
It’s easy to love others who love us. That’s natural. Even pagans do that.
Christians are called to something different than that. The kind of love we are called to display is a love which is different than the world’s definition of love.
The kind of love we are called to display is sacrificial love. It’s giving love. It’s even giving love when we don’t want to, when it goes against the grain. When everyone else would say you should repay them evil for evil, you should hurt them.
At that point God says, no, you need to bless them. You need to serve them. You need to love them.
I think that so much lip service is given to love. We talk about love a lot. A lot of people in the church say, yes, I love people but their actions actually display something the opposite of love.
I’m going to talk later about social media. How people hide behind their keyboards and think, "I can say whatever I want. But in front of the person’s face, I would never say those things."
You feel me? You know what I’m talking about?
One thing is evil is . . . .like Facebook and Twitter . . . one thing it does do . . . it’s a window inside the heart. You can see by what people type, what they are feeling, what they are too afraid to say to your face.
Unfortunately, that characterized Christians a lot of times. We need to really not just pay lip service to Christian love. But live it out not just in public but in private too. Not just face-to-face but even in this culture, behind out keyboards as well.
The definition of Christian love is counter cultural. Christianity itself is counter cultural. We are called to be different from the world.
This message today is about the importance and necessity of loving each other.