February 17, 2014
I John 3:16-18
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
There is just one in this section of scripture, one of the many of John’s Nose! Let me correct that, because John would look kind of strange with many noses! There is one know of many of John’s Knows here in I John 3:16 through 18:
By this we know love, because He [Jesus] laid down His life for us. And we
also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s
goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how
does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word
or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
How does John know – and how can we know love? It is because Jesus Christ died on the cross for you and me! Paul writes in Romans 5:8: “…God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” This is agape love! There are three Greek words for love, and the last two listed below are in the New Testament:
• Eros – This is the physical, sensual love between a husband and wife as portrayed in the Song of Solomon in the Old Testament.
• Philos – The use of this word designates friendship to another person, or affection toward someone or something. It is mutual in that such affection must be returned in order to be maintained. Even with an object, there must be some pleasure derived for philos to continue.
• Agape – This is the kind of love that God has toward us. It is freely given and does not depend on being returned to continue. It is sacrificial love – giving even when nothing is given back.
Being sinners by birth and action, we are selfish – focused on pleasing ourselves. Sin is ugly to the perfect and holy God – totally opposite of His character. But He loved us even though we were wallowing in our self-made ugliness. He chose to send His Son to die for us so we could have eternal and abundant life! (John 10:10) This is agape love!
We know such love because we have received it from God through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are then called to love our brothers and sisters the same way – sacrificial agape love – even to giving our lives for them if necessary! And when we are willing to give the ultimate sacrifice of our life, then anything else we are called to give is a lesser sacrifice!
So if one who calls himself a Christian sees a brother or sister in need, and then does nothing to help, “…how does the love of God abide in him? ” James puts it this way in James 2:15 and 16:
If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says
to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them
the things which are needed for the body; what does it profit?
It does not profit! We are to love one another with deeds of agape love and not just with words! As James says in the next verse, verse 17: “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
Do you know what the results of dead faith will be?
• You will be banned from eternal life! You might even say, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” (Matthew 7:22) But here is what Jesus will answer: “I never knew you: depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:23).
• All that you have lived for will be dust and ashes! As it says in II Peter 3:10, “…the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.”
• There will be a negative witness to the world! Jesus said in John 13:34 and 35, “…as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another.” If we don’t love one another, how will the unsaved world be drawn to Jesus?
There are other results of dead faith, but these three will help us see what an important issue this matter of loving one another is.
And one more thing: loving one another is not a matter of feeling. It is a matter of the will! We choose our actions, and feelings will follow actions. So if we act like we love one another, we will begin to feel affection for our Christian brothers and sisters. So get to it! Start treating one another with love – agape love – the same love wherewith the Lord loves us!