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Introduction:

1 John 3:11

1.    Do we really love God?

  • Are we marked by love?
  • Is love the chief characteristic of our lives?
  • Do we love one another?

2.    Love shows us whether or not we love God.

  • God is love; therefore, if we love God, we are bound to love one another. In fact, since God is love, it is absolutely impossible to love God and not to love one another.
  • The greatest proof of all that we love God is the mark of love.

Ø  If we have the mark of love upon our lives, if people can clearly see that we love one another, then we love God.

Ø  But if we have and hold feelings against anyone else, this is clear proof that we do not love God. The great mark of loving God is the mark of loving one another.

I.      The Message You Have Heard From the Beginning

A.       We Should Love One Another (1John 3:11)

1.    Christ’s New Commandment (Jn.13:34)

a)         Love one another as I have loved You (v.34)

(1)        His love for them was:

(a)         A selfless love (Jn.13:1-17) – In love He was willing to serve them.

"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45)

(b)      A sacrificial love.  He was going to lay down His life for them.

 

    "Greater love has no man than this that a man lay down His life for His friends" (John 15:13)

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

(c)      An unconditional love. They will all soon be forsaking Him. The one that He has chosen to be will soon be denying Him with cursing. Yet He loved them.

Then Jesus said to them, "All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: `I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.' (Matthew 26:31)

Peter answered and said to Him, "Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble."   Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times."   Peter said to Him, "Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!" And so said all the disciples. (Matthew 26:33-35 NKJV)

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 NKJV)

 

b)        We so often love because of what we are getting out of the relationship.

(1)        I love you because…?  I will do this for you if you…?

B.       Love For The Brethren (Heb.13:1)

1.    This is a love for fellow Christians, our spiritual brothers

a)         This love is vital to our spiritual life in Christ

(1)        One of the by-products of obeying God’s truth is an increased love for fellow believers

Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, (1 Peter 1:22-23)

(2)        We must exercise & preserve this love that we have from God

But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more (1 Thessalonians 4:9-10)

(3)        When we are preoccupied with ourselves, we stifle brotherly love

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.   Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4)

C.       Three Reason Why Brotherly Love Is So Important

1.    It Reveals To the World That We Belong to Christ (Jn.13:35)

a)         All will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another

(1)        Our discipleship and our knowledge of God can be measured by whether or not we love our brothers and sisters in the Lord.

(2)        This is exactly what John says in 1 John 2:8: “the new commandment...is true in Him [Christ] and in you [true believers].”

Genesis 13:1-13—Abram & Lot

b)        In His life, in His teachings, & in His death, Jesus is the perfect example.

(1)        His Life—Jesus was moved with compassion for others

·         Matthew 9:36 – because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd

·         Matthew 14:14 – after the death of John the Baptist, Jesus had compassion on them & healed their sick

·         Matthew 15:32 – because He did not want to send the multitude away hungry lest they faint

·         Matthew 18:27 – Jesus has compassion on those who humbly come before Him seeking forgiveness

·         Matthew 20:34 – Jesus had compassion on the blind men

·         Mark 1:41 – Jesus had compassion on the leper

·         Mark 5:19 – Jesus cast out demons from a man & tells him to, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.”

·         Luke 7:11-16 – Jesus had compassion on a widow,  who’s Son who was dead

Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; (1 Peter 3:8)

2.    It Reveals Our True Identity (1Jn.3:14)

a)         It gives added assurance to us of our spiritual life in Christ

(1)        A sure poof of salvation is found in our own hearts—Our Love for one another.

·         Do I have a great concern for the welfare of the Christians I know?

·         Do I enjoy their fellowship?

·         Do I show my concern by ministering to their needs?

(2)        If the answer is yes, we have no better evidence that we are a child of God—because we love His other children, our brothers & sisters in Christ.

3.    It Delights God (Ps.133:1)

a)         Parents love to see their children caring for each other.

(1)        God is our Father & when God’s children care for each other, help each other, & live in harmony with each other, God is both delighted and glorified.

(2)        A love that is willing to give his or her life for another exemplifies God’s own Son.

“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (1 John 3:16)

"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. (John 10:11)

"Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.   "No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself " (John 10:17-18)

To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, (Revelation 1:5)

b)        Brotherly Love is Characterized by Practical Commitment – 1John 3:17-19

(1)        Refusing to help fellow believers when we are able to do so proves we do not really love them.

(2)        If we do not really love them, how can the love of God be in our hearts?

D.       The Cause of Lovelessness

1.    The obvious cause is sin (Matt.24:12)

a)         Nothing cools love as fast as sin, especially that of selfish pride

"And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12)

(1)        Apart from humility, so-called love for others is nothing more than using them for selfish ends, & for our own purposes and satisfaction

(2)        Love only grows in the garden of humility

“Be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." (1 Peter 5:5)

b)        Self-Love perverts everything.

(1)        Pride and self-love are fatal to brotherly love.

(2)        It is never satisfied and its appetite is the enemy of everything around it.

(3)        Jesus Christ, God’s own Son:

·         Came not to be ministered to but to minister

·         Came not to do His own will but to His Fathers

·         Who had more reason to be proud than Jesus, the Creator & Lord of the universe?

He said "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29)

The only source of brotherly love is a gentle and humble heart, like the heart of Jesus Christ.

II.               The Preventative for Not Growing a Cold Heart

A.       Do not Neglect to show Hospitality to Strangers (Hebrews 13:2)

1.    Definition of Hospitality

a)         The Practice of Entertaining Strangers Graciously

(1)        Literally means “Love of Strangers” (Rom.12:13)

(a)         A stranger by definition, is someone we do not know personally.

(2)        Hospitality was specifically commanded by God

(a)         Leviticus 19:33-34 – you shall not mistreat a stranger & love him as yourself

(b)        Luke 14:7-14 – when you give a dinner, invite the poor, for they cannot pay you back

(3)        Hospitality is to be the characteristic of all believers even Overseers, or Bishops

Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. (1 Peter 4:9)

A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; (1 Timothy 3:2 NKJV)

For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, (Titus 1:7-8 NKJV)

b)        Old Testament Examples

(1)        David – (2 Samuel 6:12-19)

(2)        The Shunammite Woman – (2 Kings 4:8-17)

(3)        Nehemiah – (Nehemiah 5:14-19)

(4)        Job – (Job 31:16-23)

c)         New Testament Examples

(1)        Mary – (Matt.26:13)

(2)        Martha – (Luke 10:38)

(3)        The Early Christians – (Acts 2:45-46)

(4)        Lydia – (Acts 16:14-15)

(5)        Priscilla & Aquila – (Acts 18:26)  

2.    Strangers, like Brethren (v.1) can refer to unbelievers as well as believers

a)         Our responsibility does not end with our brothers & sisters in Christ

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10)

See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all (1 Thessalonians 5:15)

b)        We Must Love Our Enemies

You have heard that it was said, `You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’   “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you… “For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? (Matthew 5:43-46 NKJV)

3.    For by this some have entertained angels without knowing (Heb.13:2).

a)         Abraham went out of his way to help three men who were passing by his tent – Genesis 18:1-5, 19:1

(1)        He was the host to angels unaware;

·         he invited strangers into his house

·         prepared fresh meat

·         had Sarah bake bread

·         & later accompanied them as they left (Gen.18:1-15)

(2)        In a sense we always minister to the Lord when we a hospitable especially too fellow believers.

“Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me” (Matthew 25:40)

·         To feed the hungry, take in the stranger, clothe the naked, and visit the imprisoned in Jesus’ name is to serve Him.

·         To turn our backs on those in need of such things is to turn our backs on Him

“Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me” (Matthew 25:45)

4.    Showing sympathy towards others is a mark of the Christian

a)         It is easier to help others when we ourselves have needed help

(1)        It is easier to:

·         appreciate hunger when we have been hungry

·         loneliness when we have been lonely

·         persecution when we have been persecuted

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NKJV)

b)        We should do our best to identify with those in need, to try & put ourselves in their shoes.

"Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12)

c)         We can show sympathy in three important ways

(1)        Just simply be there

(a)         Sometimes the mere presence of a friend is the best encouragement and strength.

(2)        Give direct help – Phil.4:14-16

(a)         Paul thanked the Philippians for sharing with him in his affliction by giving him money to carry on his ministry in other places.

(b)        By supporting him financially they encouraged him spiritually.

(3)        Be a prayer warrior – Col.4:18

(a)         Paul’s closing words to the Colossians, “Remember my imprisonment” (Col.4:18), were an appeal for prayer.

(b)        By remembering him in prayer they could support him powerfully.

(4)        Bearing one  another’s burdens – Gal.6:2

(a)         Hebrews 4:12 – How much more should we sympathize with others?

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