Summary: 11th in First John Series


1 John 3:11-18

INTRO: Love is the identifying mark of the children of God. The Lord Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.” One of the early church fathers said about the early believers, “Behold, how they love one another.” It is not that we have that love inherent in ourselves but the love of God is poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit and He teaches us how to love people the way we ought to. In these verses he shares with us some places where love cannot be.


Murder is the most extreme form of hate and it is the exact opposite of love. In v. 12, he brings into our thinking a character from the O.T., Cain. There are three questions I want to answer about Cain from these verses.

1. Where Did Cain Come From? What was his origin and how did he get the kind of personality and the kind of nature that he had?

Well, of course, we know from a physical point of view he came from the same mother and father that Abel did, but all of you who have more than one child know that children born in the same family, brought up in the same atmosphere, given the same kind of background, will be very, very different. So Cain and his brother Abel had the same mother, the same father, and yet they were altogether different.

Not only are people in a physical family but people also are in a spiritual family. Look at what it says in v. 12. “Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one,” talking about the devil. People are not born into the world as a child of God.

Look back at v. 10 for a moment. There are two distinct spiritual families, the children of God and the children of the devil. So Cain was of that wicked one, he had the attitude of the devil. The Bible tells us in John chapter 8:44, that the devil was a murderer from the beginning. The devil’s desire is to murder, the devil comes to steal and to destroy.

2. What Did Cain Do? V. 12 tells us that he slew his brother. The word that is used there is a very graphic word in the original language. It is a word that means to slay by violent means. It means to cut the throat, it means a slaughter, it means to be butchered. So when Cain killed his brother Abel it was a brutal, violent murder.

3. Why Did Cain Murder His Brother? V. 12 answers it again. Because his own works were evil and his brother’s righteous. Cain and Abel had a disagreement over religion, they differed about what religion is really all about. Cain was not willing to go God’s way. Cain was not willing to follow the directions of the Lord. Love cannot be where murder is.


Do you get the connection here? You would all agree with me that love cannot be where there is murder but now the Scripture indicates that love cannot be where there is malice.

The Presence of Hate (v. 13). — John is setting before us here the presence of hatred in the world. We’re living in a world of hate. There is hatred between nations. There is hatred in the business world, there is competition and some of it is hate-filled. That is the nature of the world. Jesus put it this way. He said “they hated me, they’ll hate you.” This world doesn’t love you if you’re a Christian. Cain hated his brother Abel and he had an argument against God. He ultimately hated God.

But notice the difference that is to be present in the life of believers. Look at v. 14. You have been transposed out of death and unto life and in so doing you have been taken out of a world where your heart was filled with hate and you are now in an atmosphere of life where there is love in your heart.

Only the Lord Jesus can do that to a human being. We have all known people filled with hatred that Jesus Christ has made into new creatures and replaced hate with love. Some of you sitting here have real malice and hate in your heart for another person. But you don’t have to live in that hate any more. Jesus can teach you to love people. Why is it so important that we deal with malice in our hearts?

The Peril of Hate (v. 15). — Did you know the only difference between actual murder and hate in the heart is the outward deed? The inward intention is the same. And given the right circumstances and under the proper pressures, if you’ve got hate in your heart you could be guilty of murder.

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