Summary: The love that Christians hold for one another and their self-sacrifice is evidence that they have been transformed from life that ends in death to eternal life with the Father.


There are some powerful and surprising statements in I John 3

". . . we know we have passed from death to life because we love the brothers. The man who does not love is among the living dead."

Christians gather in churches for many reasons, but chief among them is the sense that in this assembly of Christians we find out what is ultimately real. Here we sense in our prayers and communion together we contact the Ultimate Reality. The Ultimate Truth we meet is the person of Jesus. We use many symbols to describe this contact with the Ultimate Reality. Jesus spoke of Living Bread and Water of Life.

One of the early Spanish explorers coming to this country scoured Florida in search of the Fountain of Youth. They looked for life in all the wrong places.

Jesus describes His life, that is life shared with Him, as the Water of Life. John the writer of the Gospel and of today’s epistles says that the person who believes and follows Jesus will have this fountain of life bubbling up inside him.

Jesus describes Himself as the Living Bread or the Bread of Life.

He who wants to know truth should come to Him who is the "Life, the Truth, and the Way" and he will have found God the Father and the Ultimate Truth about this life. One of Jesus’ disciples, Philip said,

"Show us the Father. . . ." Jesus in effect answered, "Look at me. If you have seen me. . .you have seen the Father."

God the Father, God the Creator has shared the secret of life with the Son who offers it freely to all who will accept. In His last words to us recorded in Revelation, Jesus says "Let all who desire it accept the gift of life-giving water."

Let’s go back to I JOHN 3:14

". . . we know we have passed from death to life because we love the brothers. The man who does not love is among the living dead."

John is giving us a reality check here. Do we really know that we have already passed from death to life? Do we know we have eaten the living bread, drunk the living water, and have already bypassed death?

The proof that we are living in life, that we have passed from death to life is that we live in love. "The man who does not love is among the

living dead." John is saying they are Zombies.

The movie "Dead Man Walking" shows us what life is like for the death row inmates as they hear the jailer say "Dead Man Walking" and they watch the condemned man take his last walk. Certain primitive cultures believed that Zombies, the dead, could come back to walk among us, but that they had no spirit, no real life. There is no light of love in their dead, unseeing eyes.

John is saying that people who live without compassion, without love are already dead, they are like Zombies.

The reality check is to measure our life alongside our Lord Jesus’ life.

I JOHN 3:16

"The way we came to understand love was that he laid down his life for us; we too must lay down our lives for our brothers. I ask you, how can God’s love survive in a man who has enough of this world’s goods yet closes his heart to his brother when he sees him in need? Little children, let us love in deed and in truth and not merely talk about it."

So John moves beyond our emotions, to the reality of the way we live. Do we love enough to live sacrificially and redemptively?

Isaiah 53 describes the suffering servant; which originally was Israel, then became the man Jesus, and is now Christ’s Body the Church. "Surely he hath born our griefs and carried our sorrows . . . .with His stripes, we are healed. . . ."

Have you born anyone else’s griefs. . .carried anyone else’s sorrows? . . .taken the lash, the scorn, the ridicule for anyone else? Have you absorbed verbal blows due to someone else with a redemptive purpose in mind? Have you born someone else’s physical burdens?

The Apostle Peter says that we are to follow in Jesus steps I Peter 1:21

Peter says a person in a position of service, or even slavery, if he does the right things and yet is beaten and treated harshly, and can suffer this injustice through his awareness of God’s presence. This IS THE WORK OF GRACE IN HIM. Peter says if you can put up with suffering while doing the right thing this is acceptable to God.

I Peter 1:21 "It was for this you were called, since Christ suffered for you IN JUST THIS WAY AND LEFT YOU AN EXAMPLE, TO HAVE YOU FOLLOW IN HIS FOOTSTEPS." Peter says that when you are accused, insulted, slighted or otherwise hurt when trying to do a good thing, you are suffering in the same way as Christ suffered, and following His example. That is redemptive, it is converting, it is the sign of God’s continued life in this world; a sign of his continued redemptive efforts to save other people in this life.

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