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Because We Love the Brothers

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Because We Love the Brothers

(We Know We Are Saved)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

"We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death." (1 John 3:14, ESV)

1. Sixteen times in this Epistle John used the Greek verb translated "we know." This is in contrast to the false teachers who advocated a mystical, hidden knowledge (Greek, gnosis) of God, John gave us some concrete signs to look for in people who truly know God and those who don’t.

That we know God (2:3, 5; 3:10; 5:19)

Love for the brothers (3:10, 14, 16, 18-19; 5:2)

The presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit (3:24; 4:13)

A lifestyle of saying no to sin (5:18)

Will be like Him some day (3:2)

False Brethren (2:4, 11)

2. John uses this reassuring phrase to remind us that we were at one time dead in trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1-5) until God made us alive together with Christ - until we passed from “death to life.” (John 5:24) The very fact that we were dead reveals that God was the one to save us and not we ourselves. (Eph 2:8-10) We cannot claim that we had any part of our own resurrection from the dead.

3. Note the order this verse is in - John does not say, "Because we love our brothers, therefore we have passed from life to death." He declares the opposite. "Love for our brothers is the evidence, not the basis, for spiritual life."

4. John draws an argument from the sign, and not from the cause. For as no one sincerely loves his brothers, except he is regenerated by the Spirit of God, he rightly concludes that the Spirit of God, who is life, dwells in all who love the brothers.

5. Love for the brothers is really an expression of thankfulness to God for His gift of life. We cannot claim anything other than His grace alone for us being alive in Christ today. Because of this we can truly love the brothers.

6. “Whoever does not love abides in death” - The child of God passes from death to life but the person who belongs to the evil one remains in death.

Some signs that we truly love our brothers are:

7. If your brother sins against you, go tell him his fault in private (Matt 18:15-17)

8. Have mercy on your brothers and forgive them from your heart (Matt 18:21-35)

9. Take care of your brothers (Matt 25:40-46 cf Heb 2:11-12; 1 John 3:17; James 2:15)

10. Don’t cause your brother to stumble, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother (Rom14:13-23; 1 Cor 8:9-13)

11. Deal with false brothers (1 Cor 5:11; Gal 2:4)

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