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Love’s Amen. – 1st John 3:16-18


Love’s Amen!

Text. 1st John 3:16-18 

Our love for others is the outworking in our lives, of his love for us… it is our response, – our practical Amen to what Christ has already done for us. So, let’s get things in the correct order, and see:-

1. Love’s Gracious Rescue. v16a
Isn’t there a remarkable similarity between John 3:16 and 1st John 3:16? Both of them about the love of God, being so great and vast that He sent His Son to, gave him for us, that we might have eternal life. So, let’s just remind ourselves of that love:-

  • Love Known. Hereby perceive we If it wasn’t for Jesus, we wouldn’t know what love is! We would be taken in by the opinions of this world, – the ‘worldview’ of the devil, – where people think that love is a sentiment or a feeling. Love is a physical attraction or a fleshly lust. Or love can be a purer thing than that – brotherly love. Now both these types of love are recognised by the Bible. The Greek language recognises ερωσ love, and φιλεω love. But it is only in Christ that pure love is revealed to us. αγαπη – Paul: Romans 5:6-8 If you want to know what love is, – look at Calvary!
  • Love Proved. the love of God To KNOW SOMETHING requires evidence – proof. What is the evidence of God’s love for us? It is that he laid down his life for us.   It is not a life event , emotion or feeling. People will readily admit to the doctrine of the love of God. It’s nice to think that there is One who is greater than us, who loves us unconditionally. But people today are taught by society to be subjective and self-affirming and narcissistic. If we really want evidence of God’s love, we don’t find it in our ‘perfect’ lives, for we will sooner or later be disappointed by life’s turns.   It is an historical fact. God’s love for you is not demonstrated in the benign gift of blissful enjoyment of your life. God’s love is demonstrated in an event that is historical and outside of you – at Calvary. God has DEMONSTRATED (has proved) HIS LOVE FOR US, IN THAT WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS, CHRIST DIED FOR US. And that is difficult for post-modern thinkers to accept, yet if we reject the Cross, and the forgiveness that is offered there, we reject God’s love.
  • Love Given. he laid down his life Yet that love was a voluntary act – He laid down his life. No-one took it from him. Not the Roman soldiers or the Jewish leaders or Pontius Pilate. He willingly gave up his life for us.
  • Love Undeserved. for us See the objects of his love. It was for us that he died. For our sins, for our atonement, for our redemption, he died for us.

Love’s gracious rescue at the cross – we know, what love is, for we see God’s love proven, fully set out and demonstrated, in Christ’s willing sacrifice for unworthy, rebellious sinners. There’s nothing difficult or profound in this. Just believe in what Christ has done.

2. Love’s Grateful Response.
As Christians, those who already have known God’s saving grace, we will respond to Christ’s love by loving others as he has first loved us. That love is:-

  • Sacrificial. we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. We will respond sacrificially, as He did for us. There is always a cost to discipleship, and sometimes that cost is manifest in the extent that we will go in the service of others! John goes further…
  • Compassionate. 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?. The phrase, ‘This world’s goods’ is interesting. In fact this whole verse is interesting when read in Greek.
    • “This world’s goods” is the Greek phrase, τὸν βίον τοῦ κόσμου. It simply means ‘the means of life’ John is not speaking to people who are well off and see their brother in need and ignore that need. he is in fact speaking to us… to ordinary people, who have just enough to sustain life, enough to do us, and he is telling US that if we see a brother in need, and do not respond to that need, it is doubtful if we have ever really known God’s love in Christ!
    • “Seeth his brother.” is καὶ θεωρῇ τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ – to be aware that there are such brethren, and that they need our help. We simply can’t say, “I didn’t know!” We are to seek out, to be aware, of needs among our brethren, and we are not to ignore them.
    • “Shutteth up his bowels of compassion.” τὰ σπλάγχνα αὐτοῦ There is no mystery here. The Greeks thought that your emotions and your pity didn’t just come from your mind, but from all your internal organs, from deep within your being, from all of you. When we shut up our compassion from such a brother, we really are slamming the door in their face!

Let’s summarise that. If you are a Christian, you will be consciously aware that there are other Christians in need (not necessarily financial need) and you will willingly help them if you can, not slamming your heart’s door upon them. Note that John’s talking all the way through this verse about ‘your brother. This is about Christians loving and serving Christians. You cannot ignore a brother in need, for if you do, if you are able to do that, then have you really known Christ’s love?

  • Practical. 8 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. It is not just enough to talk about love. We must practice it! Now notice how we will practice love:-
    • In DEED. ἔργῳ We will offer practical help as much as we are able. Note that again John is using opposites to draw our attention to this point. Word and talk vs deed and truth!
    • In TRUTH. ἀληθείᾳ Love and truth always go together. And we are no practical help to a bother if we help him at the same time as we are ignoring the truth about his situation!

Jesus demonstrated what love really is at Calvary – we cannot hope to be saved by following his example, – but having been saved by his grace through faith and humble repentance of sin, confession and forgiveness, that will motivate us to serve him by loving and serving others, as he loved us.

listen to this sermon:

© Bob McEvoy

From → 1st John

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