Summary: We know the love of God, because of what Jesus did for us. We obey his leading on our lives and we are confident before God. We are able through our lives to lead others to salvation to show them the example of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives!
We know - we obey - we have confidence! 1 John 3:16-24
There’s this thing about love that is a feeling thing and I know I’ve discussed all sorts of love songs and their meanings before and the thoughts of love that people have for love another. I was somewhere recently where there was a conversation that came up that was about love, but it occurred to me how it quickly became a conversation about the physical, the kind if what I can get out of it side of things.
Did you know that there are some people whose perception of love is wrapped up in just the physical, that there is no understanding of love as anything other than an act of getting by giving? They believe that love is to do with a two way transaction…there is this thinking, that if I am to receive love, I am to give it and for someone to receive my love they must first agree to love me back.
The scriptures however point out that this kind of love is not the genuine article. Real love, the real deal, the love that is patient and kind that does not envy, that does not boast, that is not proud, or rude or self-seeking or easily angered, that holds no record of wrongs and all that 1 Corinthians 13 stuff about love.
John the Apostle in his letters says something that explains how we know what love is. John was possibly the only surviving apostle at the time he wrote this about love in 1 John 3:16-24, he had seen love displayed by the other Apostles as they gave their lives over to God, as they were martyred for Christ. A little bit of background on John was he was the only apostle not to be martyred and it’s quite likely he was Jesus first cousin. This whole cousin thing apparently puts a bit of a spin on the Judas kissing Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane as it is thought by some scholars that the two looked very much alike. But I’ve wandered from my point, what is love, ‘love is a many splendid thing’-but what is the real deal about love?
1) “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.”(vs 16)
Yip he did but what does that mean. Well for a start Jesus was not a martyr! He was more than that. In laying down his life he defeated sin and death because of his being truly and properly God and truly and properly man. This from the New Living Translation of the Bible. 1 Corinthians 15:55-57.
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?
For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
So we know what love is because Jesus laid down his life for us, this is a one way act of giving. It’s giving to the undeserving. It’s that kind of thing where we see someone in need, we give to them without the expectation of receiving anything in return. Now days it is seen in small ways in things such as a random act of kindness such as paying someone’s parking meter money or dropping some money through a needy persons letter box. It’s that kind of thing like, we have something and we know someone has a genuine need for it and we give it to them without expecting a return. This is an act of true love. So John this great man of God challenges his readers to see need and meet it. For this is what Jesus did, he saw the need of humanity to be free from sin and death and laid down his life so that the whole huckery bunch of us could be free.
2) Why did the Apostle John issue the challenge to the readers of his letter to respond to those in need? Because believe it or not; there were some people back in the day who gave lip serve to loving others, these people even went to Church and made all the right noises, they blessed and welcomed one another at the door, they sang all the hymns and songs of praise… but they ignored the injustice and needs of others around them. I’m so pleased that the church has moved on since then.
Their words spoken of love tended to drift off some cold and frosty breeze leaving behind the empty chill of sockless shoes, or the aching stomach of the person who had a need for a feed. These people praised God but ignored the need for warmth and a belly full of nutrition that their neighbours required.