Don’t Just Talk It, Walk It

1 John 3:11-12 ESV

“For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous.”

I know that we have talked about this subject of love much but it is a subject that can be very confusing and misinterpreted if we don’t understand what this word means. For this is not speaking of human love which is based on human feelings and emotions. This love is action and it is about what we do, about how we treat God and how we treat others.

For to love with this kind of love, which comes from God, is to prefer what God prefers, which is what is holy, righteous, godly, and morally pure. This love will do no deliberate and willful harm to others. So this love will not lie to, cheat on, commit adultery against, mistreat, abuse, use, manipulate, slander, gossip about, and/or steal from others. Instead it will treat others with kindness, care, consideration, faithfulness, honesty and integrity.

When we love God with this love we obey him as a matter of practice. And if we aren’t in the practice of obeying him, then we don’t love him, and we don’t know him, and we don’t have eternal life in him. And if we don’t love God then we don’t have this kind of love and so we can’t love others with this love for this love comes from God for God is love.

Many people profess faith in Jesus Christ but few truly love God and are walking in holiness and righteousness in commitment to the Lord and to his calling upon our lives. So, some who profess faith in Jesus but who are denying him deliberately by how they live, by their conduct, will be jealous or resentful of those who are walking with the Lord. And that jealousy may turn to hate, and they may end up doing evil against the righteous ones.

1 John 3:13-15 ESV

“Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”

Now, this word “hate” is another one that we need to understand its meaning, because its meaning is fairly broad. For remember that Jesus said that if we don’t hate our own relatives that we cannot be his disciples (Lu 14:26)? And yet most of the time he chides us for hating and he tells us we must not hate but that we must love others. So, I looked up the word “hate” and it can mean anything all the way from “loving less” to murdering.

So, when Jesus told us to hate our family members, he obviously meant that we are to love them less than we love him. And when he says that the world will hate us, he doesn’t mean that everyone in the world will murder us or want us dead. But they may accuse falsely, denounce, vilify, discard, hound, harass, oppose strongly, persecute, mistreat, oppress, and/or bully us.

When we love others with this love which comes from God then that is evidence that we have “passed out of death into life,” i.e. that we have been crucified with Christ in death to sin and that we have been resurrected with Christ to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; Lu 9:23-26).

But if we don’t abide in this love which prefers what God prefers then we abide in death, for if we hate our fellow believers in Jesus in the sense of persecuting them, or in the sense of sinning against them in order to deliberately do harm to them, then that is the same as murdering them, and no murderer (one who practices hate) has eternal life abiding in him.

1 John 3:16-18 ESV

“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”

When Jesus laid down his life for us it was to deliver us from our slavery to sin so that we would now be slaves of God and of his righteousness. He died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, and he died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us and for him who was resurrected from the dead.

So, to love others like Jesus loved and loves us, then we need to be willing to put our selfish wills aside in order to see our brothers and sisters in the Lord walk in purity of devotion to the Lord and be genuinely delivered from their slavery to sin and walking in obedience to the Lord. For we may be hated in return, just like Jesus was.

But loving others with Jesus love isn’t just about sharing the gospel with them and pointing them to Jesus and to his will for our lives. It involves caring for their physical needs (not wants), as well. But this calls for wisdom and discernment in our day and age for there are many con artists out there begging for help who are taking advantage of those with compassionate hearts. For they are lying to the people and are not in true need.

So, “seeing” someone in need, I believe, is not talking about people begging on street corners or people coming to you and claiming they have needs when they may be those who are con artists who know how to work people. But it is you physically seeing that they have needs and even verifying, if possible, that they are truly in need and that this is not a scam.

Now, each one of us has to do as we believe God is leading us to do, but this makes it clear that if we have the world’s goods and we are able to help others and there are people we know in our lives, and we know that they have needs, yet we close our hearts to them, then does God’s love truly abide in us? The evidence says “No!” But scam artists are really good at making you feel guilty for not helping them, too, so don’t fall for that.

So, the whole point here is that if we say we love God, we will obey him, and if we don’t obey him, in practice, then we don’t love him. And if we say that we love other humans, especially those belonging to the family of God, and we see that they are in need, and we are able to help, but we choose not to, then it is questionable as to whether or not God’s love abides in us.

And so the conclusion here is that we are not to love in word or talk only but in deed and in truth. We must put action to our words. If we say we love someone but we treat him or her the opposite of love, then that is not love. So, again, love is action. Love is not what we say or what we feel but it is what we do, and it must be done in truth and in sincerity of heart and not with a hidden motive to get something for ourselves.

Angels We Have Heard on High

By Anonymous

Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plains
And the mountains in reply
Echo back their joyous strains

Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
Say what may the tidings be
Which inspire your heavenly song?

Come to Bethlehem and see
Him whose birth the angels sing,
Come, adore on bended knee,
Christ the Lord, the newborn King.

Gloria, in excelsis Deo
Gloria, in excelsis Deo

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