Last week

            Amazing Love God has for us

            We are his children – beloved

            We should resemble Him take on His characteristics

            That as His kids there is no room for continual sin

            We talked about the contrast between love and hate

            The world hates us

            The example of Cain and Able

            And how we ought to always respond in love

Last week we talked a lot about kinda do’s and don’ts. Comparing and contrasting those who abide and those who don’t; children of God and children of the devil; those who practice righteousness and those who practice lawlessness.

This week, as we finish out chapter 3 :16-24, we will see what love looks like when it is worked out in our lives

In our relationship to others (verses 16-17)

as well as in our relationship to God (18-23)

Practical stuff

1 John 3:16-24

Verses 16-17

God sets the example

We are to follow His example

An example of what that looks like

God is love. What better way for Him to show us what that means than to send His own Son to earth to BE the very definition of love. We see love lived out in every aspect of Jesus life; but the greatest expression of Gods love is found in the willful act of laying down His life for us.

            Romans 5:8

            John 10:11-18

In order for Him to do this, Jesus had to become a part of His own creation

He who was immortal put on mortality

He who was incorruptible – made himself subject to corruption

According to Rev 5:6 Jesus still bears the scars of our redemption.

            “And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures,       and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain

Matt 20:25-28“But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.   And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Jesus love for us was demonstrated in service and sacrifice.

In the same way our love for the brethren – all believers - should manifest itself in service and sacrifice.

Verse 17tells us what this means

Notice in verse 16John uses the term brethren

            Very general

Often times we think that in order to make a difference we need to do something on a grand scale:

            Go to Africa and feed the poor

            Being a part of disaster relief programs

            Give our time and money to organizations that build houses or create clean drinking water in 3rd world countries

These are certainly ways that we can “lay down our lives for the brethren”. But let’s face it not everyone is called to this kind of service and sacrifice. Not all of us have the resources to do these things.

SO John makes a point here in verses 17 to say “brother”

            “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his BROTHER in need…”

We all have something God can use to bless someone else.

            List some off – think of what you have on a daily basis

                        Gas in your car – you can give someone a ride somewhere

                        Clothing, jackets, blankets, and extra pillow

                        Shelter, food, an extra tooth brush

                        Running water

                                    Offer a glass of water to that person doing work on your house.

                                    Offer up the hose to cool off the kids playing in your yard over the summer

                        TIME – I love this one because I think it is what each one of us holds so dear.

Take time and talk to that sister in Christ who is struggling – the chores can wait, homeschooling can wait.

And the exciting thing is, is that we don’t have to go looking for ways to “lay our lives down”.

God presents us with opportunities every day. The question is do we recognize them?

And when we do recognize it, are we willing to use the resources God has given us to meet the need that is before us?

That being said, you can’t open your heart to meet a need if you don’t know the need exists.

Some needs are obvious.

            What are some needs that are pretty easy to identify?

Others not so much.

            The couple with kids, no family in desperate need of a date night

            Single mom

            Family illness

                        Those who have had similar struggles usually have the ability to see these                          needs a little more easily than those of us who haven’t

                       

Sometimes God reveals to us a need without us even realizing it.

            Those random acts of love we do for people just because they pop into our heads.

                        When Ron buys me flowers “just because” there is almost always an                                          emotional need he is meeting without even realizing it.

                        A surprise cup of coffee dropped off at a friends door while you are passing                               by.

But other times needs go unmet because we keep them hidden from the body. When we choose to do this, we can’t complain of being “unloved” because nobody came along side to help. When our pride keeps us from opening up to other believers, we can’t blame them for being unloving.

We need to be women who’s hearts are open and willing to give of ourselves to those who are in need. Women who sacrificially serve and love those whom God has placed in our path on a daily basis.

Verse 18

It is easy to love with our words, isn’t it?

John groups a couple of things together here

Let us not love in word or in TONGUE, but in deed and in TRUTH.

Let’s take a look at the correlation between words and deeds

Saying and doing are two totally different things.

James 2:14-17

I use to ask my Gramma why she didn’t go to the women’s bible study at church. She said because they were just opportunities for women to get together and gossip. When I asked her what she meant, she went on to say that women disguise gossip as prayer. They talk about so and so oh, and how they are going through this and that and “oh, let’s pray for them”. She was put off by the words because there were no actions to back them up.

But there are 2 other words John groups together

Tongue and truth

We all know what truth is right?

Jesus says, “I am the truth” – so if we are unsure whether something is true or not, we turn to Jesus.

So why did he mention the tongue?

James 3:3-16

We can say the right things

We can do the appropriate deeds

But if they lack sincerity, if we are saying or doing with the wrong heart, they profit nothing, and in the long run can do more harm than good, not just to ourselves, but to the body of Christ.

Our words need to be spoken with sincerity and worked out in meekness.

Verse 19

When we love the brethren the way God wants us to, (in word and truth/in sincerity and meekness) it is kind of a confirmation that our heart is right before God – our love for others shouldn’t be a “got to” it should be a “get to” It should be a natural outpouring of God’s love in us.

The more we pour out, the more God pours in, the more we desire to pour out – not so that we will get more but because we have this closeness with the Lord.

Now the great thing is that according to

Verse 20

When our hearts condemn us – when we mess up, when we lack sincerity, when we say we are going to do something and forget, or maybe spoke up boldly without praying and realize later that we can’t follow through…

God is greater! He knows our hearts. He knows our intentions. He is merciful and gracious. He is compassionate and understanding! And even though our own heart condemns us, HE DOES NOT!

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,£ who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1

Verse 21

…even better!

There is nothing as sweet as those times when we are walking in step with the Lord. When we are walking in submission and obedience, dying to self and desiring nothing more than God’s perfect will in our lives.

When we are in this place

Verse 22 tells us…

What commandment?

Verse 23

            Love – love the Lord your God with all your heart soul mind and strength

            Loving our neighbor as ourselves

            This love can only come from a saving faith, an abiding relationship with Jesus

What are those things which are pleasing to Him??

            That outward flow of love

            That outward manifestation of what is in our hearts

            Loving not just in word or tongue, but in deed and truth

Psalm 37:4

            Delight means to be soft a pliable and be happy about it

            We need to willingly allow God to mold us, shape us into what He desires.

            And as He does, His desires become our desires and our prayer life changes.

John 14:12-14

When we believe on Jesus

The Holy Spirit indwells us

When we place our faith in Him,

He abides in us and we abide in Him,

not only will our works reflect Him,

but our prayers will align with His will. And He will do what we ask.

Why?? That the Father would be glorified!!!

Verse 24

Loving sacrificially, loving in sincerity and meekness is impossible to do without an abiding relationship with God. In fact it takes all 3 persons of the Godhead to make it possible:

We talked about at the beginning of the study that

God is love    1 John 4:8

            Jesus is the example of love         Romans 5:8             John 10:11-18

            Here as we finish up the chapter, we see that

            It is the Holy Spirit who enables us TO love

                        He is our comforter

                        He is our helper

                        He is the one who helps us pray when we don’t know what to pray for

                        He is the one who reveals the heart of God to us.

                        Romans 5:5 says, “5Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has                               been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

How amazing – God doesn’t ask us to do anything that He has not fully equipped us to do. Are we able to love like this perfectly all the time?

Of course not,

But because of His great love FOR US…

He gives Mercy!

Eph 2:4-5 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,   5even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),  

Lam 3:23 Through the Lord’S mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

He gives us grace!

James 4:6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.

1 Tim 1:14 the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

God has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3)

            He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to             the power that works in us (eph 3:20)

                        His power, His love in us, poured out onto others for His glory!