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How we are to love one another

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1 John 3.11-18

How to Love One Another

  1. Love is not characterized by hate (v.11-15)
    • We must love one another
      • God is love and love is from God
      • God's Spirit dwells in us and we are God's children
      • Therefore, we must and can love one another
    • We must love our family (v.12)
      • Cain did not love his brother
    • Those outside our family will hate us (v.13)
      • It should not be a surprise * Jesus, Apostles, Fox's Book of Martyr's, India, China
    • There is love and life for all those who are in our family  (v.14) #. Love by self-sacrifice (v. 16-18)
    • Love is known by giving up our life (v.16)
      • The Moravian Mission Cry
    • Love is known in action (v.17-18)
      • Loving requires giving of possession to those in need (v.17) * Love is an action (v. 18)


  • Mainly for the community of faith
  • Present tense - we should continually love


  • Cain is of the evil one, notice the relationship here with Gen 4 and sin constantly crouching up to Cain
    • John's word for murder is violent and brutal
    • Cain murdered Abel because evil people hate righteousness
      • Because Abel offered his sacrifice by faith, Cain had no faith was sinful


  • We should not be surprised when the world hates us
  • The hatred of the world is a present reality
  • He shows here that love does not transfer us from one side to the other but that it is the result of our transference


  • The movement from death to life, is something believers know and the world does not, it is a permanent transfer of residency
  • Those who do not love have been transferred


  • Probably referencing the Sermon on the Mount Matt 5.21ff
    • Where the inner attitude of the heart is the same as action
    • Anyone can be transferred even murderers
    • This is a statement about present realities


  • Jesus laying down his life for us is the ultimate example
    • "Laid down" is a deliberate act to show his love for us
    • John 15.12-14
      • Pier story in NICNT, The Epistles of John, p 193
    • The closest we can do is martyrdom * We know we have been transferred into eternal life so what is the loss in giving up our physical life for someone else to gain eternal life? 

Two young Moravians heard of an island in the West Indies where an atheist British owner had 2000 to 3000 slaves. And the owner had said, "No preacher, no clergyman, will ever stay on this island. If he's ship wrecked we'll keep him in a separate house until he has to leave, but he's never going to talk to any of us about God, I'm through with all that nonsense." Three thousand slaves from the jungles of Africa brought to an island in the Atlantic and there to live and die without hearing of Christ.

Two young Moravians heard about it. They sold themselves to the British planter and used the money they received from their sale, for he paid no more than he would for any slave, to pay their passage out to his island for he wouldn't even transport them. As the ship left its' pier in the river at Hamburg and was going out into the North Sea carried with the tide, the Moravians had come from Herrenhut to see these two lads off, in their early twenties. Never to return again, for this wasn't a four year term, they sold themselves into life time slavery. Simply that as slaves, they could be as Christians where these others were. The families were there weeping, for they knew they would never see them again. And they wondered why they were going and questioned the wisdom of it. As the gap widened and the housings had been cast off and were being curled up there on the pier, and the young boys saw the widening gap, one lad with his arm linked through the arm of his fellow, raised his hand and shouted across the gap the last words that were heard from them, they were these, "MAY THE LAMB THAT WAS SLAIN RECEIVE THE REWARD OF HIS SUFFERING!"

This became the call of Moravian missions. And this is the only reason for being, That the Lamb that was slain may receive the reward of His suffering!


  • The opportunity to lay down your life for someone will be rare so John makes it more practical
    • After the compelling story of the Moravian Missionaries and the call of Christ to lay down our life for our friends, we get pumped up and excited ready to be martyred for Christ.  John takes us from the abstract, loving people and tells us to love people
    • The challenge for everyone is to  apply the command to love one another in everyday life
    • The person as the goods, sees the need and does not give is not a believer
    • Do not get caught, loving people in general instead focus on loving persons
    • Heart here is emotions, "bowels" in other words don't slam the door of your heart to someone in need
      • We are not to just write a check but to have compassion and emotion


  • Love only in word and tongue is like a clanging gong 1 Cor 13.1
  • We are to love in action.  We are to love with a love that originates itself in God, can cost us our life and is evidence of our eternal life. 
  • We Serve
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