LoveBro. David Chancellor
12/4/2005 6:00 PM
Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
John tells us that every believer is born of God. If you love Jesus, you will love him not only as the baby in the manger, or the Savior on the cross, but also in his people. When we have him in us, there is something in us that those who love him like.
“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.” How is this so? How do we love others when we’re keeping his commandments? Every religion has a code of conduct, establishing what behaviors are acceptable and what are not, and all adherents to the religion are expected to abide by it. Christianity is more than a code of conduct; it’s a way of life. This way of life is to love the children of God, and others.
Muslims are allowed to lie to an “infidel” if it suits their purpose. An “infidel” can never know if a Muslim is telling him the truth. As Christians, our lives should be consistent. “…his commandments are not grievous…”
He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
In 1 John, John was just expressing what Jesus had told his disciples. Keeping the commandments expresses our love to God and shows us his love for us.
As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
The commandment is, “Love one another.” This is why you know you love the brethren when you keep the commandment. If we keep the commandment, we’ll love one another. Living by a code of conduct isn’t an expression of love. You could do this, and not have love in your heart. You could do many things and it not be out of love. Some people are so stirred by their code of conduct that they hate; 9/11 is one example of this. The commandment we are to keep is, “Love one another.” You can’t keep this commandment and not love the children of God. All we find in the gospel teaches how to love and the conduct that goes with love. Love is about caring and concern, bearing tough things for others and going through things for them. The gospels teach us how to give of ourselves for one another. Love doesn’t run to the head of the line, or push for its own way. Love puts others ahead of self. It lays its life down for others, those it cares about.
“…his commandments are not grievous…” “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” There isn’t much joy in adhering to a code of conduct. There is joy in love. Love brings a good life to people because they care about and help each other. This commandment is to be joyful and enjoy life, to find joy in helping each other through the hard places.
1 John 3:16-21
Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.
“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us:” This is how we know that God loves us. We can find God’s love in us when we give of ourselves and sacrifice for others. If you’re not willing to sacrifice, then it is a love that is only in word. Are you willing to put yourself out for the brethren? You’d have a tough time laying down your life for someone that you’re unwilling to sacrifice for.
“But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” You have to be able to meet the need. Can you look on the need of others, feel no compassion, and still have love? Do you have the attitude, “Don’t bother me?” If the love of God is in you, you will have compassion. Time and time again, Jesus saw the needs of the people and had compassion. Jesus came and suffered for us in the mess we’d made of our lives. Can we be touched by the needs of those about us?
“And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.” This is true because of the love of God we have within. The love of God is in us towards God’s people and others. It takes the love of God within to have the truth, not doctrine in the head. You don’t have the truth if the love has gone out. If you have something inside that isn’t love, you need to take a look at that. You could appear to be pretty good outwardly, but your conscience deals with what is on the inside. If there is malice or ill-will within, you could hide it from your fellowman, but not from God. If things are as they should be, we have no fear of God. If you have hate within, love isn’t there, and you’re not one of God’s children. Hate leaves when we are filled with the love of God because there is no room for it. Love gets to the heart of what a Christian is, and is the motive for life. Love does as Jesus and the saints have done. It causes us to give of ourselves and bear for others. It causes us to love even those we don’t agree with. Live out the gospel through love.