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"Passing the Love Tests "
1 John 3:10-18
Wednesday AM Bible Study
November 16, 2005
The story that stands behind this passage - a story, in fact, that helps to
explain why so many things in this world are as they are - is found in Genesis
3-4. Genesis 3 tells of the fall of man, and of the promised Seed of the
woman. Genesis 4 tells of the story of Cain's murder of his brother;
showing that he was of a different seed. Two radically different states of
being before God were thus introduced into the picture - that of Cain, and
that of Abel. Hebrews 11:4 tells us that, by faith, Abel offered a better
sacrifice than Cain; and thus obtained witness that he was righteous.
Hebrews 12:24 lets us know that this sacrifice of Abel pointed ultimately to
Jesus - "The Mediator of the new covenant", whose blood "speaks better things
than that of Abel".
The picture of Cain, the murderer of his brother, is what stands behind
John's words in this morning's passage. His words force us to ask who we
are of: of Cain, who murdered his brother; or of God, who calls us to love
our brother. John gives us three tests in this passage to determine who we
TEST #1: DO YOU KEEP JESUS' COMMAND TO LOVE (vv. 10-11)?
A. There are ultimately only two kinds of people: those who are children of
God and those who are children of the devil. Our obedience to Jesus'
primary command to love (John 13:34; 15:12; 1 John 2:7, 11) "manifests" whose child we are. (Compare this also with1 John 3:7-9; 4:7; 5:1).
B. John joins "righteousness" and "love" together in verse 10, because they
truly are inseparable (Matthew 22:37-40).. One flows from the other. You
cannot truly keep Jesus' commandment to love apart from righteousness; and
you cannot fulfill the requirements of righteousness without love.
TEST #2: DO YOU AVOID CAIN'S PASSION FOR MURDER (vv. 12-15)?
A. Those who hate, like Cain hated his brother Abel, are positioning
themselves against God and are aligning themselves with the devil. The
devil is characterized by his hatred for God's people (vv. 12-13; see also
John 15:18- 25).
B. Those are in Christ are in life (John 5:24). But those who hate like
Cain are also aligning themselves with those who are spiritually dead (1
C. Those who hate like Cain are "murderers" like Cain (v. 15); because to "hate" is to commit murder (Matthew 5:21-22).
TEST #3: DO YOU PRACTICE JESUS' PATTERN OF SELFLESS SACRIFICE (vv. 16-18)?
A. Love looks like what Jesus did (John 13:34; 15:13; Romans 5:6-8;
Ephesians 5:25-27). And so, it's by Jesus that we "know" what love looks
like (v. 16).
B. Jesus' love obliges us to love one another - even to the point of laying
down our own lives for one another (v. 16; John 13:15-16).
C. Love is thus defined in practical terms of self-sacrifice (v. 17; see
also James 2:14-17).
D. This results in a call to put Jesus' pattern of selflessly sacrificial
love into action (v. 18).