Reading the Word
1 John 3:11–24 (ESV)
11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.
Understanding the Word
In this passage John focuses on our love for others. He specifically focuses on our love for fellow believers. This is the second time he has touched on this issue in this short letter, which tells us just how important our love is.
Applying the Word
Why is it so important for us to love our brothers and sisters in Christ? John tells us it is a sure sign that we have passed out of death and into life. It tells us that we are of the truth and that we have the life-giving Spirit residing within us.
Christianity is not a self-focused religion. When we come into a relationship with Jesus Christ, he calls us to lay down our lives in service to others. This is such a contrast to the natural ways of the world where others are seen as a source for our personal happiness. The world tells us that if others do not make us happy or if we do not like them to write them out of our lives. Christ tells us to love them by serving them. That is what Christ has done for us and that is what the Spirit living within the believer directs us to do.
Most of us have memorized John 3:16 at one time or another. Why not memorize another 3:16 verse from the Apostle John: 1 John 3:16?
1 John 3:16 (ESV)
16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
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