7474 - Love One Another - 1 John 3:11


Audio transcript

Today let’s dig into a portion of God’s Word together.

Our study today will center on 1 John 3:11. Listen:

”This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.”

Check it out and you will see that chapter 2, verses 7-11 also convey this message in similar words. This is just one example of the Apostle John circling back to a subject which he has introduced in a previous passage. He may add to what he said previously, or draw a new conclusion to emphasize to the church. John is so intent on getting these points across in ways the people will understand, remember, and then fulfill in their lives.

Now let’s focus in on these words “love one another.” Are you aware that this verse is just one of ten verses (John 13:34,35; Rom. 13:8; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:11, 23; 4:7, 11, 12; 2 John 5) in the New Testament which contains this admonition? Of these ten occurrences, John wrote 8 of them and five of them are in this book of 1 John.

Peter and Paul each passed on this command one time in their writings.

As I dig into the Word of God in studying about love, I am impressed with the many different commands that are given to believers to love. This issue must be important to God for His people.

If we check out the phrase “love your neighbor as yourself” we find it is called the “royal law” in the book of James. This particular phrase is emphasized by God as He inspired the writers of the New Testament to write it down nine times. (Mt.5:43; 19:19; 22:39; Mk. 12:31, 33; Lk 10:27; Rom. 13:9; Gal. 5:14; James 2:8) And we find that children of God are even commanded to love their enemies three times in the gospels (Mt.5:44; Lk.6:27,35).

John is addressing these people with a reminder that the command “to love” reaches back to the early Scriptures passed to God’s people by the miracle of inspiration.

The Mosaic Law carried the command (Deut 6:5) that every person was to, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”; as well as (Lev.19:18), “Love your neighbor as yourself.”; John says that there is a new dimension to this truth of such impact that it becomes a new commandment.

This is a reference to the gospel-revelation which came into the reality of the earthly realm through the life and death of Jesus Christ. The implication here is that when Jesus the eternal Good-News came to earth in order to serve as the atoning sacrifice He added a new dimension to the command “to love.” It’s almost as though John is saying that Jesus was a living demonstration of a new level of truth to this command, and of course that’s true.

Jesus even told us that truth when He taught here on earth. In John 13:34 Jesus says, “A new commandment I give you: Love one another...” Jesus continues the sentence by adding “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” Now that’s new! We are to love one another as Jesus loves us.

But Jesus did not drop this subject by that one statement. In John 15:12 He again says: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

Listen, Jesus did not leave the interpretation up to those listening. He added these words to His last sentence, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lays down his life for his friends.” Jesus had in His mind the very fact that He was going to give the supreme demonstration of sacrificial, unselfish love when in a few months He would yield Himself to be cruelly nailed to a cross in order to become the sacrifice to pay for the sins of humanity –– that’s all humanity reaching from Adam to the last person born on earth. That act of love became the definition of true love. So whenever a person seeks to understand true love he only needs to look to Jesus.

But friend, the truth of this command is to be seen in you and me. That’s every Church Age believer. Perhaps John comprehended that Jesus would send the Holy Spirit to permanently indwell each believer ( Jn.14:16), and that God the Father would, through the Holy Spirit, inject His love into each believer. So Christians in the Church Age have been empowered by God to love sacrificially; thus the truth of this passage is to be seen in you and me. May we love one another!