In this section of (1 Jn. Ch 3) John has been speaking of the
loving hearts of Christians. In (Ch 2) we’re told that loving the
brethren is a matter of light and darkness,
for if we do not love one another we cannot walk in the
light no matter how loud our profession. But here in (Ch 3) we’re told
that loving the brethren is a matter of life and
death for John says, “He that
loveth not his brother abideth in death” (v.14).
One of the marks of the early church was the love that was seen and
shared among believers. The Lord Jesus often spoke of the love that is
to be seen and shared among believers. He said “this
is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you”
(Jn. 15:12). Again He said, “by
this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to
another” (Jn. 13:35).
The Epistles stressed the same truth, “Owe
no man anything, but to love one another, for he that loveth another
hath fulfilled the law” (Rom.13:8). And again to
the believers in Thessalonica he said, “But as
touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you, for ye
yourselves are taught of God to love one another
(4:9). Christian love means that we treat each other
the way God treats us.
does it not cost a great deal for the believer to exercise this kind of
love?” Yes, it does. But the wonderful benefits
that come to you as byproducts of this love more than compensate for any
sacrifice you make. To be sure, you do not love others because you want
to get something in return. The Biblical principle
“give and it shall be given unto you,”
6:38) applies to love as well as to money.
LOVE AFFECTS US
For it brings to our hearts the assurance of salvation.
It makes a world of difference in your life and mine if we know
with assurance, the one in whom we have believed.
Assurance of salvation is a tremendous bonus for the believer.
In (v.21) John says, “Beloved if our heart condemn
us not, then have we confidence toward God” (4:17).
Do you see how this section opens? “hereby we know
we are of the truth” (v.19). How do we know? The
previous verses explain to us that one of the tests is the test of
loving our brothers and sisters in Christ. This speaks here of,
The Lord has various ways of giving us assurance of salvation.
Generally speaking that assurance is founded on
the Word of God, the Work
of Christ, and the Witness of the Spirit. Here, is
added the assurance that comes from translating our affirmations into
They help confirm that our faith is not in vain. Do you see that
word “assure,”? It means to
“persuade, soothe, tranquillise.”
This describes the condition of heart that God intends every
Christian to have. It is not good for believers to go through life never
sure of where they really stand with God, never sure about their
relationship to Him. Do you have an assured heart? Is your heart
pacified, tranquil in the presence of the Lord? Or do you lack
assurance? Is there
antagonism instead of affection?
bitterness instead of
Is there hatred
harmony? God wants to eliminate all nagging doubts
from our hearts and minds! He wants to remove any trace of uncertainty
regarding the reality of our faith in Christ! So he
shows us that
Christian love and Christian assurance are really two sides
of the same coin.
For love gives assurance. But John not only talks about, (a) he
When a believer sins, his heart condemns him, he is bothered by
what he has done. There is that on the inside that says we have done
wrong. The word “condemn,” = to
blame or find fault with. A Christian, who is living close to the Lord
and walking with the Lord, will have a sensitive heart to sin. The Holy
Spirit informs you that you are not right with God or not right with
At this moment you either have a confirming heart or you have a
condemning heart. The problem is that sometimes we
are harder on ourselves than God is.
Fact, Faith, and Feeling were walking along a wall in
that order. Fact was first, Faith was walking behind
Fact, and finally Feeling came along last.
Everything went fine until Faith looked to see where Feeling was. Each
time Faith did this, he fell off the wall. But as long as Faith kept his
eyes on Fact he did fine. The moral of the story is we need to keep our
eyes on Fact and let Feeling take care of itself). Feelings are fickle,
they are not reliable, and they can lead astray. So when our feelings
condemn us, then we need to tell them to sit down and shut up.
Sometimes the most difficult people to be forgiven are
ourselves. More than one Christian has been harder
on himself than necessary, but God will never make a mistake. Do you see
how John puts it?
Do you remember Mary? (Lk
10:38-42). Martha was busy preparing the meal, but Mary
“sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.”
Do you remember Peter? How he wept bitterly after he had denied
his Lord! No doubt he was filled with remorse and repentance for his
sin. But Christ knew that Peter had repented and after His resurrection
the Lord sent a special message to Peter (Mk 16:7). That must have
assured the hot headed fisherman that he was forgiven.
Peter’s heart may have condemned him, but God was greater than
his heart. Jesus, knowing all things, gave Peter just the assurance he
needed. Have you given the devil an opportunity to accuse you; to rob of
LOVE AFFECTS US
When you pray, do you feel like you are talking to a wall? Could
it be because you fail to love biblically? You see, the second benefit
of love is answered prayer! For prayer is related,
Love for the brethren produces confidence toward God, and
confidence toward God gives you boldness in asking what you need. This
does not mean that you earn answers to prayer by loving the brethren.
Rather, it means that your love for the brethren proves that you are
living in the will of God where God can answer prayer.
Therefore when you love the brethren, you are obeying our Lord’s
commandments and He is able to answer your prayers. In light of our
mission, let me ask, are you on praying ground? You say,
you in a right relationship with your brother, sister, wife? You see,
wrong relationships hinder our prayers. Do you recall what Peter says?
“Likewise ye husbands, dwell with them, according to
knowledge, giving honour unto the wife as unto the weaker vessel, and as
being heirs together of the grace of life that your prayers be not
hindered” (1 Pet 4:3:7). Are you praying for your
son, daughter, wife, husband, relative, with little answer? Is your
pride taking precedence over your situation?
What a definition of prayer. Prayer is going to God and asking
for definite things. Do you know the reason why we do not get more
answers from God in prayer? It’s because we are not definite enough in
our prayers! James says “Ye have not, because ye ask
Here is a God who can do anything but fail. Here is a God who
never disappoints us. Here is a God who is able to do immeasurably more
than all we ask or imagine. Here is a God whose resources are
unfathomable. Here is a God whose reservoir is never in danger of drying
up. Here is a God who desperately wants to help us. Here is a God who
passionately longs to intervene on our behalf. Here is a God that loves
to come alongside us and show us the way. Here is a God who finds
endless delight in answering the prayers of His children!
This is the key to answered prayer. Obedience, and what is the
secret of obedience? Love! For Christ said, “If ye
love me, keep my commandments” (Jn. 14:15).
The only way you can have
confidence in your prayer; the only way you can go boldly to the
throne of grace is to be right with God and your brother in Christ. You
see, God has so engineered you, that if you are not right with your
brother, you cannot be right with Him. If you do not love your brother
in Christ, you might as well forget about prayer. For love affects us
LOVE AFFECTS US
This is the third benefit of Biblical love. The abiding presence
and empowering ministry of the Holy Spirit of God. Power! We hardly know
what it these days! Leonard Ravenhill says, “the
tragedy of this late hour is that we have too many dead men in the
pulpit giving out too many dead sermons to too many dead people.”
So little unction in the pulpit and so little
action in the pew. Yet John tells us that one of the blessings of love
is power and productivity! Power, if we,
Adhere To The Lord’s
Faith and love are like Siamese twins. The Greek verb for
“believe,” indicates a definite
action at a specific point in time. It is something that has already
happened. It’s a once in a lifetime experience, when it is done, it is
done. It cannot be repeated. Incidentally, have you believed on the name
of God’s son, Jesus Christ? There’s salvation in that name (Acts 4:12).
However, the word, “love,”
appears in the present continuous tense, and it conveys the idea of
something which is ongoing. It just keeps on flowing from us to others
around us. We become conduits for blessing others! Does that describe
you? Is your life a channel of blessing? You say, “I
need power in my life,” well, (a) and then,
Abide In The Lord’s
The Bible says we abide in Him (2 Cor. 5:17) and He abides in us
(Col 1:27). He comes to live within us. The Lord says,
“Behold I stand at the door and knock, if any man hear my voice,
and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him and he
with me” (Rev 3:20). Do you recall those two
despondent disciples on the road to Emmaus? (Lk 24:15). When it was
about the time for the sun to go down, they came to their home and they
said to the Risen Lord, “Abide with us.”
Do you know what the Bible says? “And He
went in” (Lk 24:29). Something wonderful happened.
The one who was invited to be their guest became
their host. He took the bread, broke it and served
it to them. You see, when you invite Christ into your life, He takes
over and becomes the host. He meets the problems of your heart. How can
we know the Lord is in our heart? “hereby
we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He hath given us”
you receive Christ as your Saviour, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in
your heart and lets you know that you are His.
Do you have that assurance that the Spirit of God is
dwelling within you?
Does Christ feel at home in your heart?
Is your communion with the Lord fruitful or fractured?
Do you realise that you can grieve the Holy Spirit of God? How?
“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and
clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you with all malice. And be
ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as
God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Eph
Have you noticed that as we come to the end of this chapter that
each member of the Triune Godhead is involved in your
“love life?” You see, God the Father
commands us to love one another, God the Son gave His life on the cross,
the supreme example of love, and God the Holy Spirit lives within us to
provide the love we need (Rom 5:5). To abide in love is to abide in God,
and to abide in God is to abide in love. This is the
secret of victorious Christian living!
But is it the secret of your life?