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LOVE ONE ANOTHER
(GOD’s love has to show in our actions)
(1 John 3:11-24)
The first epistle of John is perhaps the most difficult book in the New Testament to outline. In fact, many scholars argue that there is no outline at all, and that John had no logical plan in mind while writing it. Here in this letter, he was most likely writing down his personal, yet divinely inspired thoughts, on various themes as they were put on his mind by GOD.
In 1 John chapter 3, verses 11-24, John continues these divinely inspired ramblings by jumping back to the subject of “love one another”. However, here in this segment, he raises his plea to another level, as he urges his readers to transform their “words of love” into “GODly actions of love”. What does it profit a man to boast of his love and faith, if that love and faith does not compel him into action? (v.18)
The fact that we cast everything over to GOD does not give us a right to sit back and do nothing, for the true Christian, can never be just a spectator. Love is not just having knowledge of GOD’s existence, but rather, true love comes from knowing GOD on a personal level through prayer, and a close, careful, and sober study of HIS Word.
GOD’s love, is, quite literally, a reflection of HIS OWN heart flowing to us through CHRIST JESUS, and, the infusion of the HOLY SPIRIT in us. When we love our Christian brothers and sisters as CHRIST commands us, it serves as proof that we have passed from death (permanent separation from GOD), into eternal life (new life in CHRIST). A person, that has no love for his fellowman, has not passed into the light, but rather, continues to linger on, in darkness.
In verses 18-19 the apostle urges us to stop just saying that we love each other and start putting it into action. It is by our actions that we know when we are living in the truth, and knowing that, we can be confident whenever we stand before the LORD, even in those times when our hearts condemn us, as Peter’s did in John 21.
In reality, the only way we can prove our love for JESUS is by loving others, and the best way to show our love for each other is in our actions towards one another. Love is the greatest privilege the world has ever known, and it is also the world’s greatest enduring thing, however, inevitably, love brings with it, the world’s greatest responsibility. From the beginning, GOD made “responsibility” to be the obverse “privilege”, and then, he made “love” to be inseparable from the two.
In chapter 15 of the Gospel of John, verses 12-13, JESUS commands us to love one another as HE loves us, and there HE also tells us how to measure that love to see if it is sufficient enough to meet HIS demand. There JESUS states that, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (KJV).
JESUS goes on to state that we are HIS friends if we obey HIM, and if we obey HIM, HE will no longer refer to us as “servants”, but rather, we will become members of HIS holy family and household of GOD (v.14). Looking back, we now know that for Peter and all the other disciples, love brought a cross that they all had the privilege and responsibility of bearing in their own way. Love always involves responsibility, and it always involves a sacrifice. We don’t really love JESUS unless we are willing to take on HIS task, and take up our own cross.
We may never be able to write or think like the Apostle John, or be able to travel to the ends of the earth, and preach like the Apostle Paul. However, it is a certainty that we can all follow in the footsteps of Peter, by obeying the instructions of JESUS that were laid down to HIS disciples just prior to HIS ascension back into Heaven (John 21:15-17).
If we love JESUS, let each of us help someone else guard against going astray, and if we love JESUS, let each of us love one another all of the time, and if we love JESUS, let each us, as Christians, begin to feed JESUS’ sheep, with the nourishing spiritual food, of the Word of GOD.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website