1 John 3:11-19

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

March 4, 1998

Happy Birthday Deb!


John, the aging apostle has written a letter to the church at large.

Some of the themes we’ve seen so far are: The importance of our actions, the importance of not living continuous lives of sin. The importance of loving others.

:11-13 Love and hate

:11 ... that we should love one another.

This is what his readers have heard from the very beginning of being a Christian, that they should love one another.

This was the central core of Jesus’ teaching. It was the last command He gave to them before His death –

(John 13:34-35 KJV) A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. {35} By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Without having this love, anything we do is worthless.

(1 Cor 13:1-3 NASB) If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. {2} And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. {3} And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

You can excel in spiritual gifts, but without love, it’s nothing. You can be the most faith-filled person on the earth, but without love, it’s nothing. I can be a person doing the greatest works that have ever been done, but without love, it’s worthless.

We need to make sure we have the proper concept of this "agape" love –

(1 Cor 13:4-8 NASB) Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, {5} does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, {6} does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; {7} bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. {8} Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.

Love is patient towards people who irk you. Love does kind things towards others. Love doesn’t get jealous when another person is promoted and you’re not. Love does puff itself above others. Love isn’t rude or selfish. Love doesn’t hold grudges. Love covers the faults of others and gives them a chance to change. Love keeps believing and hoping. Love sticks it out to the end.

:12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother.

Cain and Abel – John is talking about hearing about loving your brother from the beginning, now he goes back to the world’s first brothers, one who didn’t love the other.

(Gen 4:3-8 KJV) And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. {4} And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: {5} But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. {6} And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? {7} If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. {8} And 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 slew him.

Hebrews 11:4 tells us that Abel’s sacrifice was accepted because he had faith, he was trusting in God and looking to Him, while Cain wasn’t.

Cain appears to be jealous over his brother’s offering being better than his own. This isn’t love (1Cor.13:4).

Cain wasn’t rejoicing in righteousness, in his brother’s sacrifice being accepted, but was instead being provoked to anger.

God warned him where his lack of love was leading, but he didn’t pay attention.


Pay attention to the warnings, deal with the anger.

Cain was warned about his anger, yet he refused to listen to God’s warnings.

Some people justify their anger as "righteous indignation", but I think that’s a very difficult thing to be sure about. Some people say they’re just angry at sin, but not the sinner, but if there’s never a bit of love expressed toward the sinner, how can you be sure?

Anger doesn’t get you anywhere but trouble.

Jas 1:20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God

If you are an angry person, you need to learn to deal with your frustrations in a different way. Not by bottling it up and hiding it, because that’s just going to make you depressed. But by learning to let go of the things that frustrate you, and being able to put the frustrations in God’s hands, and letting Him deal with them.

(Rom 12:19-21 KJV) Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. {20} Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. {21} Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

:12 And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.

It wasn’t just his sacrifice that was unacceptable, it was his whole nature, all of his life, the fruit of his life, was evil.

:13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.

Why does the world hate you?

Because your deeds are good, and they kind of shine a light (Matt. 5:14) on the darkness around you. Your presence brings conviction.

(John 3:19-21 KJV) And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. {20} For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. {21} But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

:14-19 The proof of love

:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.

passed frommetabaino – to pass over from one place to another, to remove, depart


Assurance of salvation looks a lot like loving others.

Proof of the fact that you have the God of the universe living inside of your heart, that you have the Lover of the Universe living inside of your heart, is the fact that you love others people.

It proves that God has saved you, delivering you from hell, and putting His life in you.

:15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer

This is what Jesus Himself had taught His disciples –

(Mat 5:21-24 KJV) Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: {22} But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. {23} Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; {24} Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

"Raca" – empty, or worthless, maybe the idea of "empty-headed"

:15 and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

knoweido – to know by understanding.

We are going to see this in eternity, that there will be no murderers present, at least no murderers who have not had their sins paid for –

(Rev 22:14-15 NASB) Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. {15} Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.

:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us

perceiveginosko – ("know") to learn to know, knowledge by experience (as opposed to eido, knowing by understanding)

The phrase "of God" is not in the Greek text. It’s more literally, "By this we have known love, because He laid down His life for us".


You haven’t known love until you’ve known His love.

You can’t begin to know the depths of what real, true love is, until you begin to plow the depths of His giving His life for you.

We can get all caught up in the world’s concepts of fluffy love, thinking that if I just find the right person, then I can really know what love is all about.

You will never understand the highest, greatest, deepest love, until you come to receive His love for you.

That’s why Paul prayed,

(Eph 3:17-19 KJV) That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, {18} May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; {19} And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

:17 and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.


Love is laying it all down for another.

We can get this romantic idea of jumping in front of a truck to push a loved one out of harm’s way, while we are run over by the truck. Or perhaps having a burglar point a gun at your wife, and you jump in front of her to take the bullet.

But will you give up what you want to do on Saturday, and do what she wants to do?

Will you stop demanding your rights, and seek to meet someone else’s needs?

:17 But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need

goodbios – life; that by which life is sustained, resources, wealth, goods

:17 and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him

The "of compassion" is just added to our translations to give us the sense of it, it’s not in the Greek.

bowelssplagchnon –bowels, intestines; the bowels were regarded by the ancients as the seat of passions; by the Hebrews as the seat of the more tender affections, esp. kindness, benevolence, compassion; hence our heart (tender mercies, affections, etc.)

This is the word used to describe how Jesus felt for people –

(Mat 9:35-38 KJV) And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. {36} But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. {37} Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; {38} Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

The picture is that when Jesus saw the people and their needs, something deep inside of Him was moved, kind of a "gut wrenching" experience.


It’s not hard to begin to close your heart towards people.

Especially when you’ve been taken advantage of.

I’ve seen it in my own life, when people I’ve helped have only been taking advantage of me, and it makes me want to stop helping everybody altogether.


There’s room for discerning in our giving.

Paul gave reasons when we shouldn’t help others.

If there’s someone else in their family who can help –

(1 Tim 5:3-4 NLT) The church should care for any widow who has no one else to care for her. {4} But if she has children or grandchildren, their first responsibility is to show godliness at home and repay their parents by taking care of them. This is something that pleases God very much.

If they are not working to provide for their needs –

(2 Th 3:6-10 NLT) And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command with the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from any Christian who lives in idleness and doesn't follow the tradition of hard work we gave you. {7} For you know that you ought to follow our example. We were never lazy when we were with you. {8} We never accepted food from anyone without paying for it. We worked hard day and night so that we would not be a burden to any of you. {9} It wasn't that we didn't have the right to ask you to feed us, but we wanted to give you an example to follow. {10} Even while we were with you, we gave you this rule: "Whoever does not work should not eat."


Risk loving others.

We need to be careful when we’ve been hurt by others, that we don’t fall into the trap of not loving anybody.

We need to follow Jesus’ example of loving the entire world, even when the world turned around turned around, rejected Him, and crucified Him.

(Col 3:12-13 KJV) Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; {13} Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

:17 how dwelleth the love of God in him?

There’s a relationship between faith and love.

We see the same example used by James regarding a real faith –

(James 2:14-18 NLT) Dear brothers and sisters, what's the use of saying you have faith if you don't prove it by your actions? That kind of faith can't save anyone. {15} Suppose you see a brother or sister who needs food or clothing, {16} and you say, "Well, good-bye and God bless you; stay warm and eat well"--but then you don't give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? {17} So you see, it isn't enough just to have faith. Faith that doesn't show itself by good deeds is no faith at all--it is dead and useless. {18} Now someone may argue, "Some people have faith; others have good deeds." I say, "I can't see your faith if you don't have good deeds, but I will show you my faith through my good deeds."

If we have a real faith in the Lord, if we have a real relationship with the Lord, then we’re going to be treating people like He treated people. Why? Because He’s living in us, and He’s put His love in us.

:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue

This doesn’t mean that we don’t ever tell people that we love them.

I’ve heard people express that they might not tell people they love them, but they express it by their actions.

The problem is that loving words and loving actions aren’t mutually exclusive. We need both.


Loving words are important.

A major component of loving others depends on the words that come out of your mouth.

Even the greatest lover of them all, Jesus, loves with the words that come out of His mouth –

(Eph 5:25-28 KJV) Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; {26} That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, {27} That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. {28} So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself

Jesus’ love for the church is not only by His laying down His life for our sakes, but also by washing us in the water of His words.

Paul gives us an idea of what our relationships should be like with each other –

(Eph 4:29-32 NASB) Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear. {30} And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. {31} Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. {32} And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

But what John’s concern here is that our love for each other go beyond words, into action.

:18 but in deed and in truth.

When a person says they love you, but their actions don’t match their words, then it’s a cheap love, a false love.


His name is Bill. He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans and no shoes. This was literally his wardrobe for his entire four years of college. He is brilliant. Kind of esoteric and very, very bright. He became a Christian while attending college.

Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed, very conservative church. They want to develop a ministry to the students, but are not sure how to go about it. One day Bill decides to go there. He walks in with no shoes, jeans, his T-shirt, and wild hair. The service has already started and so Bill starts down the aisle looking for a seat. The church is completely packed and he can't find a seat. By now people are looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one says anything. Bill gets closer and closer and closer to the pulpit and when he realizes there are no seats, he just squats down right on the carpet. (Although perfectly acceptable behavior at a college fellowship, trust me, this had never happened in this church before!) By now the people are really uptight, and the tension in the air is thick.

About this time, the minister realizes that from way at the back of the church, a deacon is slowly making his way toward Bill. Now the deacon is in his eighties, has silver-gray hair, a three-piece suit, and a pocket watch. A godly man, very elegant, very dignified, very courtly. He walks with a cane and as he starts walking toward this boy, everyone is saying to themselves, "You can't blame him for what he's going to do. How can you expect a man of his age and of his background to understand some college kid on the floor?"

It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy. The church is utterly silent except for the clicking of the man's cane. All eyes are focused on him. You can't even hear anyone breathing. The people are thinking, "The minister can't even preach the sermon until the deacon does what he has to do." And now they see this elderly man drop his cane on the floor. With great difficulty he lowers himself and sits down next to Bill and worships with him so he won't be alone. Everyone chokes up with emotion. When the minister gains control he says, "What I'm about to preach, you will never remember. What you have just seen, you will never forget."

-- Author unknown

:19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth …


Love is proof we’re on track.

How do I know I’m following the truth?

Is it because I’m going to the "right church"? No, it’s because we love one another.

The back cover of our bulletin has these statements –

… We believe that the only true basis of Christian fellowship is His (Agape) love, which is greater than any differences we possess and without which we have no right to claim ourselves Christians. We believe worship of God should be Spiritual. Therefore we remain flexible and yielded to the leading of the Holy Spirit to direct our worship. We believe worship of God should be Inspirational. Therefore we give a great place to music in our worship. We believe worship of God should be Intelligent. Therefore our services are designed with great emphasis upon teaching the Word of God that He might instruct us how He should be worshipped. We believe worship of God is Fruitful. Therefore we look for His love in our lives as the supreme manifestation that we have truly been worshipping Him.