Christian Love – 1 John 3:11-24

By John Bellingham on January 18, 2015
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Christian Love

1 John 3:11-24


– This is the second time that John addresses the issue of Christian love here in his Epistle which should alert us to its importance (cf. 2:9-11).

In these verses we are reminded once again that our love for one another is evidence of genuine faith in our hearts.

I. The Message of Love (v. 11)

  1. A message heard ‘from the beginning’
    1. Rooted in Old Testament Scripture (Leviticus 19:17-18)
    2. Reinforced by the teaching of Jesus (John 13:34, 15:12-17)
  2. Christian love is not a suggestion – it is an authoritative command! (cf. 1 John 2:7-8)

II. The Model of Love (vv. 12-16)

  1. Negative Model – Cain (cf. Genesis 4:1-16)
    1. Hatred motivated by envy
      1. Righteous men are a living rebuke to wicked men, and therefore naturally inspire their hatred and contempt
      2. “Socrates, I hate you because every time I meet you, you show me what I am.” – Alcibiades
    2. Cain’s hatred for Abel led to murder
    3. Jesus emphasized the close connection between hatred and murder (Matthew 5:21-22)
  2. Positive Model – Christ (cf. Romans 5:6-11)
    1. Love demonstrated through self-sacrifice
    2. Hatred -> murder (taking someone’s life)
    3. Love -> self-sacrifice (giving of our lives)


– Those who show contempt toward their brothers and sisters belong to the lineage of  ‘Cain’ rather than the lineage of ‘Christ’ (vv. 14-15)

III. The Manifestation of Love (vv. 16-24)

  1. Self-sacrifice (vv. 16-18)
    1. Willingness to give our lives for one another if necessary
    2. Willingness to share our wealth and possessions with Christians in need (cf. James 2:15-17)
  2. Assurance of Faith (vv. 19-21)
    1. Love in our hearts for other Christians helps us to grow in assurance
    2. God can overrule a guilty conscence
      • Our consciences sometimes malfunction and produce false guilt
      • We need gospel truth to continually cleanse our consciences from both true and false guilt (Heb 9:14, 10:22)
  3. Intercessory Prayer (v. 22)
    1. Instruction on prayer is found within the larger discussion of Christian love
    2. God only answers prayer that’s offered ‘according to his will’ (5:14-15)
    3. Confidence in prayer comes through an obedient life that is submitted to God


– Is love for the brethren a defining mark of your life that is shown in both word and deed? How could you express Christian love to a brother or sister this week?

– Is a lack of love in your heart hindering your confidence before God?

Apply 1 John 1:9 today!

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