1 John 3:11-24 | Abide in Me - Abide in Brotherhood
Topic: New Testament Passage: 1 John 3:11–3:24
Christopher Rich – July 30, 2017
1 John | ABIDE in ME
Wk 7: Abide in Brotherhood | 1 John 3:11-24
Introduction | ABIDE in ME
Good Morning! Welcome to Damascus Road Church where we are Saved by Jesus Work. Changed by Jesus Grace. Living on Jesus Mission. Today we continue our series in 1 John, ABIDE in ME. Are you a Christian? Am I a Christian? How do you know? As Christians, we are to be rooted and grounded in the person and work of Jesus in our place. This is the Gospel Truth of Jesus God/man entering human history for the purpose of restoring relationship between the God the Father, Creator of the Universe and His fallen creation, living the perfect sinless life no one has lived because of sin, dying the death all who have sin deserve and rising again so His people can live new life now and forever. The purpose of this mission is complete joy and satisfaction for the people who place their faith and trust in Jesus alone. We now live a new life as disciples of (followers of) Jesus. Our life is described by Jesus as Abiding in Him. ABIDE means: To not depart, to be held and kept continually, to endure, to not perish, to remain as one, to survive, to live.
We saw last week those who Abide in Jesus, are God’ children. This becomes evident in our lives that we are Children of God by walking in obedience in purity and righteousness and in no longer walking in sin. Those who continue to walk in sin with no concern or repentance we saw are called unbelievers who hate the God of the bible, and imitate who is their father the devil. Lines were clear and sobering. Hope is given that God adopts people into His family. We should all be convicted of our sin and need for God’s love, and be comforted knowing there is therefore NO commendation for those who are in (ABIDE) Christ Jesus. How does who we claim our Father to be impact how we engage with those who then would be our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are called to Abide in Brotherhood.
PART I | ABIDE as BROTHERS | v11-15
1 John 3:1-3 | 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.
We from the beginning have been told to love God and love people. That the people who have known, seen, experienced, and abide in God’s love shown in Jesus should be people who then love one another. So why the reminder? Because we forget, are quick to NOT love one another, and we too easily love ourselves. So loving our brothers and sisters is something that requires some bit of instruction because it something that you’re not yet perfect at. So how do we love one another? What does it look like?
#1 You cannot love your brother when you hate them. Don’t be Cain. Who is Cain? We meet Cain and Abel in Genesis 4. They are sons of Adam and Eve born after humanity’s fall into sin and rejection of God.
One generation of sin has gone from rejecting God’s law of refraining from eating of the fruit of the tree of Good and Evil to the next generation sinning by hatred and killing. Both of these brothers worked, Cain was a farmer, Abel was a shepherd. Both were outwardly religious. Both were giving and sacrificing to God out of the abundance of how God had blessed them through their work. But yet there was something different about the heart of each one. Abel we know little about, but we know about His sacrifice was from a heart that was orientated towards God. God does not desire sacrifice for sacrifice sake, but for what is should display from your hearts affections. So God "regarded Abel’s" sacrifice. But for Cain’s offering it says God had "no regard." God is good so the problem isn’t with God judging wrongly. God knows outward actions and the inward heart. Cain has a heart that was orientated towards himself and his act of offering was really about pleasing his idol of self. He is angry not that his heart isn’t in the right place but that his outward actions couldn’t cover his inward orientation.
Genesis 4:6-7 | The Lord said to Cain, "Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it."
God even warns Cain about what the path he is about to take will lead. Here we don’t have serpent whispering in Cain’s ear leading him to sin we have God shouting at Cain DON’T DO THIS!! And we see Cain’s response is sin from his heart leading to hatred of His brother verse 7 shows His response to God’s warning and leading is the exact opposite of repentance and obedience but rage and violence.
Genesis 4:8 |Cain spoke to Abel his brother. [Let us go out to the field] And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.
Premeditated, cold blooded murder. Cain’s reaction to God’s favor to Abel’s righteous acts is jealousy, hatred, and murder. When you’re angry with God you know you can’t overcome Him so instead you’ll act out of anger and hatred towards His people. Cain represents those in the world that are opposed to God and His people. John makes a multi millennia leap from Cain to the world today. He’s gone from we should not love the world opposed to God, to the world will not know or understand us and we should at times be uncomfortable in this world to not being surprised with the world see us and responds to those In Christ the same way Cain responded to the faith and heart of His brother Abel. If you hate other Christians… you’re not one. Because those who have passed out of spiritual death into life can know they have because they love the brothers. We will be known by our love for one another. The converse is true if you hate your brothers and sisters John says you’re a murder and there is no eternal life abiding in you. That seems a little intense John, surely "sweet Jesus" would understand if I hated a few of the sinners around me.
Matthew 5:21-22 | 21 "You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment
Jesus judges our heart and knows our action are an outflowing of our hearts. He knows physical violence is a response to anger, malice, envy, bitterness, and hatred in our hearts and He judges them similarly. Hate equals murder equal no life abiding. Not loving actively abides in death. Irony of language you’re trying to endure, to survive, to live by not actively loving you’re actually dwelling in lifelessness. This is where we begin to see that Loving your brother is more than just not hating them but is certainly isn’t less. Loves is active.
Part II | ABIDE in ACTION| v16-18
1 John 3:16-18 | 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.
We see this contrast now between the work of Cain and the work of Jesus and how we are called to respond. Cain saw his brother’s righteousness, it led him to jealousy and hatred, which led to active murder.
Jesus our unrighteousness, it led Him to compassion and concern, which led to active self-sacrifice. We are not merely to marvel at what Jesus did on the cross and thing good thoughts about it and admire it for what it was. (though we should) for us but we are also to imitate. We say we follow Jesus then we are to imitate Jesus in the ways we’ve been called to. This includes loving in more that attitude, but in action.
#2 Love is not defined by us it is defined by God and God shows us what love looks like in the person and work of Jesus. Love in not an inactive emotion it is an attitude that leads to action. Love is not inactive. Love is tangible. I can be felt, but it has to be expressed in tangible ways beyond feelings. We define love not by what we feel about things but we see love in the life and sacrifice of Jesus. We have to see this as the definition of what love is as a something active pursuing rather than something passive. Part of our problem is we confuse what love is. We think "love" is "like." The natural feelings we have when we behold something we find attractive. Liking is incredibly easy. Liking is natural. No one has to tell you like something, you just do! Liking something attracts you to it. Loving someone leads you to pursue them.
So we when we say something like "God is Love" what we really mean is "Love is God" and we’ve defined love as like so we’re really saying. "What I like or find likable is God or God likes me or them because we’re great and very like/loveable. God is love not love is God when we define love as what we like.
#3 Love is specific not general. It’s easy to love people in the abstract it hard to love specific people. Who is the person in the church you struggle with loving the most? How have you pursued them? Loving someone is treating them as if you like them even when they are not likeable. We’re not called to like everyone or like everything about everyone. Do you like people? No, that’s ok. You aren’t called to like everyone but you are commanded to love them. This means you might find yourself investing in and spending time with people you don’t naturally enjoy but by God’s divine providence He has brought them into your life and your church. Now don’t be a masochist and only hang out with people you don’t like and spurn those you do, but actively pursue relationships with different people. We can say Jesus loved us because he acted on our behalf even when we didn’t deserve it. We can say this is love and not like because, while we were yet sinners (unlikable and unloveable) Christ died for us. He loved in that treated us as if he liked us.
#4 Love starts with your relationship with the church. Who are the brothers and sisters John is talking about? He is talking about the church, the people of God, the adopted sons and daughters of the King who because we are sons and daughters we are now family. You don’t get to pick who your brothers and sisters are, God the Father does that. So when you’re hating your brothers and sisters you are saying God got it wrong by adopting others into your family. We are also called as Christians to do things like Love (treat them as if we like them) our enemies. These are people who actively don’t like you because you claim Jesus. How are we supposed to love our enemies if we’re not even loving our brothers? If John is talking about love our brothers and sister and our brothers and sisters are Christians, and Christians are in the church, How has your professed love for God led to the active love of Gods people in the chruch?
#5 Love is lived out more than a onetime event but a life time of selflessness. Jesus has laid down his life for our Brothers and sisters! He has given the most, nearly all of us will not be called to give our lives as a sacrifice for others. (I’d bleed for our church, or my family, or my kids, and bride) Most all of us will NOT be called, asked, or given the opportunity to give our lives self-sacrificially in a one-time act of heroism. Like I hope if you’re facing a ISIS death squad that you’d say take me over your bride, kids, etc. But yet John still says "BECAUSE Jesus has laid down His life for US, we ought (should be compelled) to lay down our lives for the brothers". We can lay down our lives, not in a onetime act but in a life disposition of setting aside our life our desires, for the good of other brothers. This is harder because the one time "to live is Christ but to die is gain" is easier to wrap our head around and believe we would rally up for that big moment. But all the little moments of our lives of selfishness betray what is really true about us. We love ourselves more than we love others and we love to live for what we like rather than the brothers and sisters we’re called to love. This is why Jesus didn’t say pick up your cross one time when the ultimate sacrifice is called upon but to pick up your cross how often? Daily. What does it mean to pick up your cross?
#6 Love is costly and will really cost. Talk is cheap so be generous with your actions. These starts to get really clear in verse 17 how love for the brothers is to clearly be expressed in HOW you direct your goods/possessions/money towards others. So love cannot be merely defined by how you talk about or to others (but again talk to everyone in the body as if you like them) What you say can reveal part of your heart, but your actions always tell the truth about your life and how you love others. Verse 18 says don’t talk about loving people and the church, but in action what is true is revealed. Does how you spend your money reflect how you love others in your family and church family? Does how you spend your time show any concern for others in forming and investing in relationships and service? Are you generous to others?
Generosity begins with the church. The church has needs etc. This absolutely applies to Giving. Cheerfully (not like Cain), regularly/intentionally God’s love for us is intentional and His mercies are new every morning, sacrificially does your giving cost you something? Do you have something you’re giving up in order to give generously? If you’re not a Christian don’t give. Don’t be Cain who thinks he can just give his way to God’s favor. If you are a Christian and are part of the family then all you have been given in worldly possessions has been given to you to steward for God’s purposes. Sometimes that is to help a brother, but first it is to help the brothers and sisters. The new testament teaching on giving generously is in the context of local churches. Individuals giving to the church and churches giving to other churches. Christians have a mission to preach the Gospel and call people into the family of God, the mission has a cost so for Christians and the church…"Money isn't just money, its mission ammunition!" - Ross Lester Act 29 South Africa. When you are a Christians and don’t give cheerfully, regularly, sacrificially, to your local church what you’re saying to other brothers and sisters is "I know the church has needs I know we need to be generous but I would like you to pay the tab for the mission alone so I can keep walking in disobedience. I know God has given me everything for His glory and my joy, but I Think God would me most glorified in me enjoying more of His money. If you’re not someone who is generous to the church and others you have misunderstood how and how much you’ve been loved and given by God.
#7 Love proactively sees ways to love because it is present with others. It is easy to claim ignorance about the needs of the church or other individual brothers and sisters by simply not being around them. We close our hearts by not engaging in gathering, by not actively engaging with community to not see what needs to be done to not hear the pain or trials or needs of others. We are called as Christians to love one another you cannot do that if you’re not around others. Have you seen and been made aware of needs of the body in the church, had the means to supply them but willingly held back? Do you see the needs of others? This requires you to be someone who is spending enough time around brothers and sister in Christ to know their needs in the first place. You haven’t experienced and have the love of God abiding in you if you hate your Brother, but you also don’t if you are not actively loving your brothers in your deeds, time, talent, and treasure. Let us be a people who are characterized by our active love for one another!!
PART III | ABIDE in Assurance | 19-24
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.
So let’s wrestle with this. Work out your faith with fear and trembling visit this tension but do not live in this tension. Search your heart. When is your heart before him? You’re always before God but you are in prayer…
God knows us…. He knows everything. He knows our hearts better than we do and He is more merciful to us that we can at times be to ourselves. Actually pray, ask the Holy Spirit to give you conviction or comfort. Where you, me, we have acted as we we’ve been called to out of a response to the Gospel be encouraged. If you can see evidences of you actively living out of love for your brother and the church not just attitudes you’ve held be encouraged. If through legitimate pray and reflection have great confidence. Let that confidence lead us to greater boldness to ask God for greater blessing fruitfulness effectiveness and obedience. We have confidence before God when we’ve actively kept His commandment because we know obedience and repentance are gifts of God. Our response of obedience actually does please God.
It come to this crescendo have what we believe to be true, what our identity is in Christ, our walking away from sin and towards what is good and right lead us to this place where we see for the first time God abides in us as we are abiding in His commands. Commands are to believe in the name of Jesus, Obedience in loving others begins by believing in the person and work of Jesus. AND our confession and belief causes us to love His people. And live in righteousness. We have this assurance through the Holy Spirit. Then we can have great confidence that we … Trust Jesus.