This is PART 3 of the 3 PART Series titled “Loving One Another”.
Loving One Another (I John 3:11-20) – Part 3
3. Comprehending Love (I John 3:16-20)
I John 3:16-20, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.”
The manifestation of Biblical love in our life is the evidence that we truly belong to Christ. One visible evidence of love is the sacrifice it is willing to make for the object loved. There was no doubt in John’s mind about the love Jesus had. But he also said that fellow Christians should feel a sense of obligation to make sacrifices for one another. The love of Christ should be continuously active in the followers of Christ.
If a brother is in need, whether it is the need of food, clothes, shelter, or service, and if one has the ability to help, but will not do so, how dwelleth the love of God in him? The point is that if we have no concern for the welfare of God's people, the love of God is missing in us. One who can see a need and shut his heart to it does not have the love of Christ. The person who lives a selfish life has missed the whole point of Christ's sacrifice.
The test of true Biblical love is identified as a willingness to sacrifice one's own life for his brother. This is in contrast to Cain who hated and slew his brother. As Christians, we give ourselves for others. Why? Because he laid down his life for us. One can talk about what one believes, however, if what one believes is not real enough to motivate that person to good works, that persons faith is dead (James 2:14-17)!
Genuine love doesn’t just talk, it acts. People who are insincere might talk about helping, but people who truly love like the Lord reach out to help a fellow believer. This degree of love might be called to demonstrate 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.
A young mother admitted in a prayer meeting that she never seemed to find time for her own personal devotions. She had little children to care for and the hours vanished away. Two of the ladies from the church responded by assisting her in her home. “We’ve come to help you,” they explained. “You go into the bedroom and get started on your devotions.” After several days of this help, the young mother was able to develop her devotional life so that the daily demands on her time no longer upset her. It is to be more than lip love. Our actions speak louder than our words could ever speak. When we love one another, we know that we are living the truth. May the love of Christ saturate our relationships.
PRAYER: Lord, help me to grow in my love for You and for others You have given me. In Jesus' name. Amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.