4 Lessons on Love

With Jim on vacation we have the opportunity to hear some thoughts on the reading plan from a few of our Central Christian staff. Today Andrew Alesso shares on 1 John 5, 2 John, and 3 John.

I think the apostle John would love our mission statement, transforming families to live and love like Jesus, because that’s what he’s all about. Here are a few ways you can love like Jesus.

Love God

Sometimes following God can seem like a chore – something to be endured, rather than something which is enjoyed. In 1 John 5 he writes, “this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome.” If we really loved God then we would obey him. I listen to my wife and respect her opinion because she loves me and I trust her, not because I have to. If I gave her an anniversary card inscribed with, “Here are your yearly flowers, as per your request…” I’d be sleeping on the couch to celebrate! She wants to be served because I passionately adore and respect her, not out of obligation.

It’s the same in our relationship with God. He doesn’t want you to consider his laws a burden, instead he wants you to trust him. He loves you so much that he sent his son Jesus to pay for your sins. Trust that God wants good for you, and extend love to him by joyfully obeying his commandments.

Love sinners

Later on in 1 John 5 he adds, “If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give [that person] life.” John says that when a Christian friend starts to sin that the loving thing to do is to pray for that person to repent. Care deeply for the good of your friend. James adds that “whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death.” According to John, a person who lives in unrepentant sin, refusing to obey the clear commands of scripture, is not actually a Christian. As Christians, we ought to love people enough to care about their eternal well-being. The most important step is to pray, believing that God is still at work in their lives. Don’t give up on them – love them until the end.

Love the truth

2 John repeats the call to love God and love sinners, but warns to reject false teachers. If someone is leading people away from the true gospel, then that is harmful, and the most loving thing to do is to refuse to participate with them. This doesn’t mean we reject Christians or churches with whom we have minor differences of doctrine or practice, but we stand firm on the truth that Jesus is the only way. Are you standing firm in your faith when others talk against it and attempt to discredit Jesus Christ?

Love faithful Christian workers

            Finally, 3 John encourages us to support Christian workers in their journey. If someone who is faithful to the gospel is doing ministry, than we should make every effort to support them in prayer, through relationships, and even by supporting them financially. How can you help someone in your life who is working to spread God’s kingdom?

NT Reading – November 12

1John 5, 2 John & 3 John

Overcoming the World

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is the One who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified concerning His Son. 10 The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son. 11 And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

This Is Written That You May Know

13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.

16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this. 17 All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death.

18 We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. 19 We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. 20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

21 Little children, guard yourselves from idols.

 

2 John

Walk According to His Commandments

The elder to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in truth; and not only I, but also all who know the truth, for the sake of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever: Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth, just as we have received commandment to do from the Father. Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.

For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; 11 for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.

12 Though I have many things to write to you, I do not want to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, so that your joy may be made full.

13 The children of your chosen sister greet you.

 

3 John

You Walk in the Truth

The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.

Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. For I was very glad when brethren came and testified to your truth, that is, how you are walking in truth. I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.

Beloved, you are acting faithfully in whatever you accomplish for the brethren, and especially when they are strangers; and they have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. For they went out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support such men, so that we may be fellow workers with the truth.

I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say. 10 For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church.

11 Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God. 12 Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself; and we add our testimony, and you know that our testimony is true.

13 I had many things to write to you, but I am not willing to write them to you with pen and ink; 14 but I hope to see you shortly, and we will speak face to face.

15 Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends by name.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)