Living in the Light: Part Five: 1 John 3:11-4:6
I. Hatred has No Place in the Jesus-Way
- Search our own hearts for any form of hatred (Matt 5:21-26)
- Live the Jesus-way in full view of the watching world (Matt 5:14-16)
- Push each other toward love and good deeds (Prov 27:17; Heb 10:24-25)
II. Love Is Practical, Active, Self-Giving for Others
- Jesus’ actions on the cross is the story that defines real love (v. 16a)
- Jesus’ pattern of costly, self-sacrifice for us is our model for life together (v. 16b).
“From the highest to the lowest, self exists to be abdicated [given up]…This is not a…law which we can escape…What is outside the system of self-giving is… simply and solely Hell… that fierce imprisonment in the self… Self-giving is absolute reality.”
– C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
“We were made to serve and live for God’s glory, not our own. We were made to serve God and others. That means paradoxically that if we try to put our own happiness ahead of obedience to God, we violate our own nature and become, ultimately, miserable.”
– Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage
III. Confidence Through Christ and the Holy Spirit
- We can know that we belong to “the truth”
- Our Confidence Comes from Trusting – Believing – In Christ and Responding With Real Love
“My faith rests not in what I am, or shall be, or feel, or know, but in what Christ is, in what he has done, and in what he is now doing for me.” – Charles Spurgeon
- The Holy Spirit Resides In Us
“The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him and he in them. And this is how we know he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.” (v.24).
If John had named some sort of experience “it would have been tempting for us to regard the experience as the important thing and even make one particular type of experience the sine qua non for testing the faith of ourselves or others. We shall be wise not to insist on some particular evidence of the Spirit’s presence as being indispensable” – I.H. Marshall
IV. Naming Jesus’ Identity and Nature is the Measure of the Spirit of God
John is clear: there is a very specific spiritual reality that we can’t mess with. Jesus is God’s Saving, Rescuing King – and he came in a real body to redeem and restore us. Anyone who denies this view is – by John’s measuring stick – opposed to God.
Life Group or Personal Reflection Questions:
Open Up: Describe a time when you were treated with genuine, love in action? What did it feel like? How did that act benefit you (physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually)?
Read 1 John 3:11-17
John is essentially restating what Jesus taught in Matthew 5:21-26. Read that section together. Our attitudes and thoughts reveal our spiritual condition – that hatred has no place in the life of a Christ-follower or Christian community.
What motivation do Christian people have for not hating their brothers and sisters in Christ? How does Jesus instruct us to act when there has been a break in relationship?
John is specifically writing about how the believers in this community are to treat each other – he is not addressing how believers are to act toward those who are not part of the church. Jesus, however, does teach on that topic. Read Matthew 5:43-48. How does this section challenge you personally?
How does John define love in 15-17? How does that differ or connect with how love is typically viewed in our culture? How does that differ or connect with your own view?
Consider how God may be calling you to meet some specific needs in our community this week. Write them down below, and make a plan to put them in action.
John puts belief and behavior side by side throughout this sermon. Orthodox belief in Jesus’ true identity, and deep trust in him must be paired with orthopraxy – with the fitting behavior of practical love. Why do both matter?
Pray: Thank God for the gift of life through his Son Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit in us. which assures us of new life, and empowers us to love with bold love. Pray for the needs of those in your group and for our city.