John 3:16-19 (NKJV)
16 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. 17 But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. 19 And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.”
Intro: Everything about that title you should hate! Is there anyone you hate? I remember saying that to my brothers & sisters and even my parents when I was growing up. Never really meaning it but out of anger and feelings being hurt I said it. A. Plummer. "The Pulpit Commentary," Vol.22, p.74:"Christ died for those who hated Him; and the Christian must confront...the world with a love that is ready even to die for the haters."
Our world is a harsh place to live. For the most part, people live a “dog eat dog” existence. The way of the world is to put self-first, love self and provide for self. Some natural men may display genuine love and concern for their fellow man, but most are genuinely wrapped up in self. That is the way of the world. The Bible is clear that the way of the Christian is to be vastly different from the way of the world. We are taught in the Bible that genuine love for the brethren is our calling card, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:35
We are also taught that genuine love enables us to fulfill the commandments of the Lord, Jesus said to him, "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." Matthew 22:37-40
“For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.” “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. 15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” 1 John 3:11-15
Believers are to love one another, and when they cannot produce that kind of love this title I have for my sermon today “I Hate You!” is closer to a reality than you might think! Our love one for another is one of the strongest proofs that we are saved.
1. Brotherly Love Is Extensive: vs. 16
“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.”
Cain sets the biblical example of what self-love is all about. “Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.” Genesis 4:8 You might say there was some hate there! Jesus, on the other hand sets the standard for loving others. He loved us as much as is possible. He loved us so much that while we were still His enemies, He died for us.
Extensive means far-reaching, the Bible is trying to tell us that genuine God-like love knows no boundaries and sets no limits. It draws no lines. It never says, “This far and no farther!” True love is love without limits! If I really love you then no sacrifice is too great. “Darling, I love you. I'd climb the highest mountain for you; I'd swim the deepest stream for you; I'd fight a jungle of lions for you; and if it doesn't rain, I'll be over to see you tonight.” This isn't real love! Genuine love knows no boundaries and no conditions. It is freely given and asks nothing in return. Do you love others like you should? There is a song that I love to hear that helps me to appreciate an example of genuine love: The words that often come to mind for me come from a song entitled Longer: Longer than there been fish’s in the ocean, Higher than any bird ever flew, Longer than there been stars up in the heaven, I been in love with you. This is some of the words I heard during my wedding ceremony 33 years ago. It doesn’t matter what I am doing or where I am at, when I hear that song Karol my wife comes to light. Everything comes to a screeching halt and I instantly remember one of the greatest days of my life. I remember her walking the else of a Presbyterian church in Jackson Michigan to become my wife…. God wants us to always remember why we should love Him and our neighbor.
"As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.” John 15:9 Last week I spent a whole sermon sharing characteristics of what a real love expects and does (1 Corinthians 13). A brotherly love is supposed to be extensive.
- 1. Brotherly Love Is Extensive,
2. Brotherly Love Is Expensive: vs. 17
“But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?”
If we want to see what love will do, then look no farther than Calvary. Jesus gave everything He had to save those He loved. Jesus showed us the truth that true love freely opens its hands and gives away everything it has to those it loves. He saw our need; He possessed the necessary resources to meet; and He met that need. That is what love is all about. It does not hold anything back, but it meets needs wherever it finds them. Now, if you do not know about a need and do not have the resources to meet that need, you are not condemned. But, when you know and you can do something, you are obligated to reach out in the name of Jesus and do all you can to help: “If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” James 2:15-17
If we have the bare necessities of life and see a person in need, how can we close our heart against them? How can we shut off feelings for that person? How can we keep from helping them and sharing what we have? If a person does this - if we do this - how can the love of God dwell within us? The answer is clear: the love of God does not exist within a person who does not help those whom he sees in need. No matter what we profess, think, or argue, if we are not actively helping and giving - sacrificially giving - to meet the needs of the desperate and needy of our communities and of the world, we do not love God. God loved us: He gave all that He was and had to save us. We need to remember that He has given us everything we have in life so that we might use it for His glory. It might be money, materials or moments of time. He can and will use it all, if we make it available to Him.
- 1. Brotherly Love Is Extensive, 2. Brotherly Love Is Expensive,
3. Brotherly Love Is Expressive: vs. 18
“My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth."
Genuine love doesn't just talk, it acts. Without Calvary, John 3:16 is nothing but empty words! People who talk and don't do really do not love. People who are insincere might talk about helping; but people who truly love like the Lord reach out to help a fellow believer. Real love might be manifested by meeting a material need. It might be manifested by lending a helping hand or a listening ear. There are countless ways in which we can show the reality of our love for the brethren. The bottom line here is this: Real love does more than simply talk, it acts!
The love that we are to have is not only the love for friends, but it is the love for one's enemies, the love that loves those who oppose us and do things against us. This is what this exhortation is talking about. “And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.” Hebrews 13:16 (NLT)
So, how's your love life? Remember me asking you that last week? As a church family and as individuals, we need to heed the message in these verses. Can we honestly say that we love others as we should? Can we honestly say that we are meeting needs, lifting burdens and loving like Jesus? If we want to be all that He has saved us to be, then we must learn to love like He does: “Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
"If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. 25 But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, 'They hated Me without a cause.' John 15:18-19, 23-25 (NKJV)
This is harsh stuff, but in reality this world is not our own and because we are not of this world we cannot afford to act like it!
Love does not hate. This should be clearly understood, but it is not. Many people feel that they are acceptable to God and that God will never reject them, yet they have all kinds of negative feelings against others. They have feelings of dislike, anger, bitterness, envy, jealousy, disfavor, sourness, resentment and irritability. The person who hates his brother is a murderer. Hate is equal to murder; hate is the very same thing as murder. Anger, bitterness, and contempt are just as serious in God's eyes as murder. Why? Because the person who hates has the very same feelings and spirit that the murderer does - a spirit of anger, bitterness, and contempt. The murderer reacts differently, more violently, but the heart of both the hater and murderer is the same. And God looks and judges by the heart. Some persons can camouflage what is in their heart, but not from God. God knows the heart.
No murderer has eternal life. The implication is that neither does any person who hates his brother. A person who does not love his brother, who has negative feelings swirling within his heart, who has allowed his heart to become hardened against his brother—that person does not have eternal life dwelling within him. He has death, separation, alienation, division. He has cut off fellowship with a brother; he has put to death the relationship that exists between him and his brother. Therefore, he will be cut off from God; his relationship with God is put to death.
“Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses.” Proverbs 10:12 (NLT)
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