Love in Bloom
(I John 3:11-18)
1. In the world, a lot of people do things for spite. Here are a few real life examples from some blogs:
Today, my boss got mad at me because I told her that I wouldn't be able to work two days out of the week, due to college classes. She then cut back my hours so much that I now only work one day a week. I got the job in the first place to pay for my college classes.
Today, I started talking to a friend about how he needs to stop overreacting and getting angry very easily. He kicked sand up in the air, and it came back into his eyes. He started getting angry, and when I told him this is what I was talking about, he hit me in the nose
2. Getting even, spite, gloating, losing are temper– these are very human and very natural responses. Yet God calls His people to a different way of living life, the way of love.
3. Although we are called to love all people, the Bible asserts that we should focus our love upon fellow believers, the context of I John.
Main Idea: Genuine believers put in great effort toward loving fellow believers, and yet are willing to be hated for doing right.
I. Loving Fellow Believers is A Sure FRUIT of Salvation (11, 14).
A. This is a PRIMER teaching for even new converts (11).
1. Loving fellow born-again believers is not Christianity 101, it is Christianity kindergarten.
2. I was brought up with “mind your own business.” “Don’t get involved.”
3. Difference between loving others and gullibility or being manipulated. A savvy love. Loving others is not the same as pleasing others
4. Is this self-generated love? No. Romans 5:5 says, “God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
B. WHO is the “one another” mentioned here?
1. “In a sense, this is a sort of lifeboat ethic for a small community under pressure or persecution.” Ben Witherington III
2. We love God’s people precisely because they are God’s people & our spiritual family; we share much in common. We are part of a spiritual society and a spiritual family that overlaps with secular society or sometimes our biological family.
C. Our love for godly fellow believers is an important part of our ASSURANCE of salvation.
Note that the text says, “we know.” This is one of the ways we know that we have eternal life. Not conjecture. Not, “we hypothesize.” There is certain fact.
1. We know we have passed from death to life (opposite of nature).
2. We know we have life because we have love.
3. Life begins immediately with conversion, but maturity takes time.
4. “What’s My Line? “ A man was an egg inspector. The panel had figured out that he dealt with a product, and someone asked the question, “Was that product ever alive?”
They had to ponder that and said “no.” But that is a difficult question to answer. Most eggs you buy at the store are not fertilized, so they were never alive. Some from a farm, however, might be fertilized and were alive.
5 We look just like other people, but some of us are alive within, and some of us are not. We call being brought to life “regeneration” or “the new birth.”
II. Wrong Doers Frequently HATE or Dislike Those Who Do Right (12-13, 15).
A. The account of CAIN and Abel illustrates the point (12).
Genesis 4:2b-10 (read it)
B. In our culture, we may be viewed like ABEL (13).
John 15:18, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.”
I Peter 4:4 in the Living Bible puts it this way, “Of course, your former friends will be very surprised when you don’t eagerly join them anymore in the wicked things they do, and they will laugh at you in contempt and scorn.”
C. [If we have] Hatred for godly believers is a sign that we are not really SAVED (15).
III. Jesus’ Example Teaches Us That Love Requires SACRIFICE (16-18).
A. It cost Jesus His LIFE, and can cost us our lives (16)!
1. John 3:16 tells us what God did for us, I John 3:16 reminds us of what God did for us and challenges us to be willing to sacrifice for others.
2. Jesus dying for us is the rubric, the prime example of love.
B. It requires careful GENEROSITY (17).
1. Careful: Toxic charity. Don’t’ want to create dependency or reward irrespon.
2. It is always better to help people who are responsible than it is to give to people not knowing where the money will go.
3. Probably a midrash on Jesus’ teachings, a midrash on Deuteronomy 15:7-9,, “But if, when you arrive in the land the Lord will give you, there are any among you who are poor, you must not shut your heart or hand against them; you must lend them as much as they need. Beware! Don’t refuse a loan because the year of debt cancellation is close at hand! If you refuse to make the loan and the needy man cries out to the Lord, it will be counted against you as a sin.”
C. It may mean expending TIME and ENERGY (18).
1. Many of you excel at this. You serve others and show love in secret, but God will one day reward you openly!
2. This is so true that we can assume loving acts and concerns are frequent events for all of us; it is now our nature to be loving, even if we sometimes fail or are lop-sided as to how we show love.
• Love languages: receiving gifts.
• quality time.
• words of affirmation.
• acts of service (devotion)
• physical touch.