Summary: The greatest proof of all that we love God is the mark of love. Since God is love, it’s impossible to love God and not to love one another.

Do you really love God? Tonight we look at a third test that proves if you really love God. Are you marked by love? Do we love one another? The greatest proof of all that we love God is the mark of love. Since God is love, it’s impossible to love God and not to love one another.

If we hold feelings against anyone else, it’s clear proof that we don’t love God. And this is extremely important in our churches today. There are too many churches in which there are people who say they are Christian, yet they don’t love one another, they don’t love their pastor, some of them don’t even love themselves.

We will be looking at 1 John 3: 10-17. The great mark of loving God is the mark of loving one another. Verse 10 tells us that love reveals your true nature. Love shows that you are either a child of God or of the devil. READ v. 10. Note who it is who is not of God. The person who doesn’t live righteously is not of God. And the person who doesn’t love his brother is not of God.

If a person’s nature is not of God, whose nature is it? It is the devil’s nature. This isn’t a very pleasant thought. But note that there is no in-between. You are either a child of God or of the devil. We can look at our nature and tell whose child we are. There are too many so-called Christians who have too much hate toward their brother to be called a child of God. The sad fact is that these very same so-called Christians are sitting in churches around the world right now.

I want you to note a significant fact in this passage that we are looking at. John defines righteousness as love. That’s what he’s really saying. Righteousness is love and unrighteousness is failing to love. Scanning the verses we see:

• In verse 12: Cain didn’t love his brother so he murdered him and did an unrighteous deed.

• Verse 14: the proof that we have passed from death to life is our love, our righteous behavior toward our brother.

• Verse 15: love is not unrighteous acts, hate, or murder.

• Verse 16: love is the righteous act of God in giving His Son to die for us. Love is laying down our lives for our brother.

• Verse 17: love is compassion and giving to meet the needs of our brother.

The point is that love is action—righteous deeds in action. How do we know if we really love God? We can look at love and tell. Do we love our brothers? Do we hold things within us toward others? Do we think evil thoughts about them? Do we talk about them? Criticize, gossip, backbiting? Do we do evil against them?

That’s the nature of the devil—to tear down and destroy. If we do these kinds of things, we are revealing that we don’t really love God, we don’t really know God, and that, in reality, we are children of the devil. Love reveals whose child we are. Are you marked by love?

Jesus said the peacemakers will be called the sons of God. (Mat 5:9)

Jesus commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mat. 22:37-39) and to love one another. (Jn. 13: 34-35) READ verse 11.

We have already covered this point in detail when we discussed 1 Jn. 2: 7-8. Jesus showed us what love should be like. He said to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute.

Former Boston Red Sox third baseman Wade Boggs used to hate going to Yankee Stadium. Not because of the Yankees, but because of a fan. The guy had a seat close to the field and when the Red Sox were in town he would torment Boggs by shouting obscenities and insults.

One day Boggs decided he’d had enough. He walked over to the man and said, “Hey, fella, are you the guy who’s always yelling at me?” The man said, “Yeah, it’s me. What are you going to do about it?”

Wade took a new baseball out of his pocket, autographed it, tossed it to the man, and went back to the field to continue his pre-game routine. The man never yelled at Boggs again. In fact, he became one of Wade’s biggest fans at Yankee Stadium. So we have heard from the beginning about loving one another. READ verses 12-13.

Love doesn’t persecute the righteous. The most extreme case of persecution is murder. And pastors around the world are being murdered. I’m not talking about physical murder. Many pastors are so persecuted for trying to carry out God’s plans that it kills their spirit. There are a lot of dead pastors (again not physically dead) because their own flocks have murdered them. They have killed the pastor’s spirit to even want to continue.

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