Summary: The test of true Love. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email:

Sermon outline:


by sacrifice (vs 16)

by mercy (vs 17)

by actions (vs 18)


assurance (vs 19-20)

answered prayer (vs 21-22)

abiding (vs 23-24)

Sermon text:


• 4 boys in secondary school had a reputation of playing truant;

• One morning they turned up very, very late for their lesson,

• They told the teacher they were late because the car bringing them had a puncture.

• Looking at them they could tell that the teacher was not too impressed.

• Nervously they started to embellish their story by saying;

• “Honest sir, in fact we had to fix it for ourselves so that we could get here”.

• The more that they spoke, the less convincing they sounded

• So the teacher said to them; “Show me your hands”,

• They were spotlessly clean

• And so he decided to get to the real truth.

He ordered each boy to stand in the corner of the room facing inwards:

• He gave them all a small piece of paper and a pen,

• And told them of his simple test to determine the truth!

• “One question I want you to write the answer to it”, said the teacher.

• “Which wheel had the puncture?”

1 John chapter 3 is about simple tests:

• Last week you would have looked at verses 14-15:

• One of the things John the writes in those verses is;

• Love is a test;

• By which it can be determined whether or not a person is saved (“Passed from death to life”).

• Now in our section today another test is before us:

• John moves on from the love test …………to the test of love.

• The question he will answer in verses 16-18 is:

• How can we tell whether a persons love is genuine or fake?

(A). THE DEFINITION OF True LOVE (vs 16-18):

(1). Love is proved by sacrifice (verse 16).

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers”.

The Message:

“This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves.”

The apostle John asks his readers a simple question:

• What is the ultimate proof that Christ loved us?

• He then went on to give his readers and us the answer:

• The proof of his love was not merely what he said, but what he did!

• He gave his life as a sacrifice on the cross.


• A wealthy English family once invited friends to spend some time at their beautiful estate.

• The happy occasion was almost plunged into a terrible tragedy on the first day.

• Because the children went swimming,

• And one of them got into deep water and started drowning.

• Fortunately, the gardener heard the other screaming children;

• And jumped into the pool to rescue the drowning child.

• That youngster was Winston Churchill.

• His parents, deeply grateful to the gardener, asked what they could do to reward him.

• He hesitated & then said, “I wish my son could go to college someday and become a doctor.”

• Churchill’s parents replied “We will pay his way,”

Years later when Sir Winston was prime minister of England:

• He was stricken with pneumonia.

• Greatly concerned, the king summoned his best physician to treat him;

• That doctor who came was Sir Alexander Fleming (the developer of penicillin).

• He was also the son of that gardener who had saved Winston from drowning as a boy!

• Later Churchill said,

• “Rarely has one man owed his life twice to the same person.”

Now each one of us here today can say those exact same words:

• Jesus Christ is the one who created the world and therefore gave us physical life.

• And by his sacrifice on the cross, he is the one who gives us spiritual life!

• So the apostle John makes it very clear that if you want to pass the test of true love:

• It will cost you, because true love is sacrificial.

Quote Warren Wiersbe:

“Self-preservation is the first law of physical life,

but self-sacrifice is the first law of spiritual life”

(2). Love is proved by mercy (verse 17).

“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?”

I guess we all have our own understanding of what being in need is:


• In Hollywood there is a very expensive exclusive school;

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