Summary: If it was required of us to draw a picture of love, before we could really identify love, I wonder what love would look like?

Loving the Brethren February 6, 2000


If it was required of us to draw a picture of love, before we could really identify love, I wonder what love would look like? Would we put a face on it and give it a personality; Or would we attempt to draw our perception of God, since “God is love?” Better yet, what if we placed children in one room, and adults in another, and asked both groups to draw such a picture. Which side would be more accurate, and better yet, how would we know?

It’s interesting, I think, how we can talk so much about a word, use it to describe our favorite food, clothing style, car, movie, song or person, and yet when it comes right down to it, we can’t give it a picture. You know why? Because love is a verb; and without action behind our words and beliefs, love can’t be seen. So today, let’s see if we can find some features to help us put a face on love.

John was the elder statesman of the disciples, in that he lived the longest.

✓ He was boiled in oil, but that couldn’t kill him.

✓ They exiled him to Patmos to die quietly, but all he did was quietly love every guard they ever sent to look over him, into a personal relationship with Jesus.

✓ His letters to the churches, were short and to the point. In this letter he addresses the issue of Loving the brethren.

Read - 1 John 3:10-16

I. Feature #1: DEVOTION - 1 John 3:10-11

{10} By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. {11} For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another;

A. John says Devotion is defined as righteousness.

1. Righteousness means “rightness-with-God.”

2. John is saying if we don’t love each other, we’re not right with God.

a. Every pursuit we make in the church is measured by how we behave toward each other. Or by relationship.

b. We don’t do relationship very well.

c. We’re real good a small talk and passing waves, but we aren’t very good at opening up our lives to each other.

Example: P.I.E.R. Groups are a great place to pursue righteousness, or relationships. The purpose of P.I.E.R. Groups is People in Encouraging Relationships.

B. There are dangers in true righteousness:

1. We can develop relationship with someone, trust them, confide in them, and there is the risk of them betraying your commitment.

2. It’s messy. We can’t have an attitude that says, “We’re an Urgent Care Center, but don’t come in here bleeding. How dare you mess-up our clean operation.”

a. But no matter how messy it becomes, we can’t avoid it, because it’s a biblical requirement for the followers of Christ.

In verse 10 John says if we’re not doing this, we’re of the Devil!

II. Feature #2: DEMONSTRATION - 1 John 3:12-14

{12} not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous. {13} Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you. {14} We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.

A. vs. 12 - John made it plain that this was for Christians. This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another. But before telling his audience precisely what love is, he first told them what it is not.

1. It is not the kind of action Cain exhibited toward his brother Abel.

a. Cain murdered his brother and in that action he was of the evil one

1. Cain’s was jealous of his brother’s superior righteousness.

2. Resentment toward another Christian is often birthed by comparing one’s own life with that person’s.

3. John bluntly affirmed that such reactions are satanic.

B. vs. 13 - Hatred and murder are worldly, since the world hates Christians.

1. John’s tone is that this shouldn’t surprise us. What else is expected of the world

2. It is hatred among believers that is so abnormal. This was John’s warning!

C. vs. 14 - In contrast with the world, however, John stated, We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers.

1. Love for one’s brothers is evidence that he has entered God’s kingdom.

D. The main thing people come to church for is love.

1. They want to see it, feel it, taste it, know it inside out.

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