Summary: Love is the distinguishing characteristic of all true believers.
True Values: Love
Text: 1 Jn. 3:11-18
1. Illustration: On December 2001, the “Leaning Tower of Pisa” was finally reopened to the public, after having been closed for almost a dozen years. During that time, engineers completed a 25 million dollar renovation project designed to stabilize the tower. They removed 110 tons of dirt, and reduced its famous lean by about sixteen inches. Why was this necessary? Because the tower has been tilting further and further away from vertical for hundreds of years, to the point that the top of the 185-foot tower was seventeen feet further south than the bottom, and Italian authorities were concerned that if nothing was done, it would soon collapse. What was the problem? Bad design? Poor workmanship? An inferior grade of marble?
No. The problem was what was underneath. The sandy soil on which the city of Pisa was built was just not stable enough to support a monument of this size. The tower had no firm foundation.
2. The foundation of the Christian and the Church is love. Therefore it is one our core values.
a. It is the distinguishes whether we are a child of God
b. It distinguishes if we have been transformed
c. It distinguishes if we are following Christ
3. Read 1 Jn. 3:11-18
Proposition: Love is the distinguishing characteristic of all true believers.
Transition: The first thing that love does is...
I. Love Shows We Are A Child of God (11-13)
A. We Should Love One Another
1. John begins this section by stating "This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another."
a. What does John mean that this is the message we’ve heard from the beginning? The beginning of what?
b. He is talking about the beginning of the Church and our Christian lives.
c. It was the fundamental teaching of Jesus.
d. Matthew 22:37-40 (NLT)
Jesus replied, “‘you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
e. Jn. 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
2. John goes on to show us the opposite of love - hate. He said, "We must not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother.
a. John’s point was not that Cain murdered and became a child of the Devil; rather, because Cain belonged to the evil one, his anger and jealousy drove him to murder.
b. John wanted his readers to understand the terrible results of refusing to love one another.
c. Lack of love can lead to anger, jealousy, hatred—and, finally, even to murder.—Life Application Concise New Testament Commentary
3. John asks the question "And why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was righteous."
a. Cain could not bear the contrast of his brother’s righteous actions with his own actions which were evil, and the first murder became a monument to self-love, as the cross was to become the demonstration of divine love. - New International Bible Commentary, Pradis CD-ROM
b. Hatred is nothing more than selfishness and lack of humility.
c. James 4:1-2 (NLT)
What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.
4. John also tells us "So don’t be surprised, dear brothers and sisters, if the world hates you."
a. Keep in mind that when John talks about the world he is talking about that evil system which is opposed to God all that is good.
b. He is telling us to not be surprised is that evil world system hates us.
c. Cain was the model of the world which still displays the same ugly characteristics that he displayed (Stott, The Letter of John, Tyndale NT Commentaries, 144).
d. He is telling us to be different; to be set apart from the world.
B. The Great Commandment
1. Illustration: We give our different reports of the church in worship service attendance, children’s church attendance, tithes and offerings. Wouldn’t it be something if we had a measurement or a chart that would say this week we were up in abounding love. We have increased by seventy percent in love over last week. What if we could measure love? It would tell us so much, because that is the key.