An Abiding Love
1 John–Lesson 8
A true believer in Jesus Christ will live a life characterized by righteous attitudes and conduct. J. Dwight Pentecost writes, “…Righteous acts result from the righteousness of God given to us. Righteousness is the product of the [divine] nature imparted to us by a new birth.” In this next passage, John identifies righteousness in terms of love and how love should be expressed for brothers and sisters in the body of Christ.
“Love is denial of self for another’s gain. It is doing
what Jesus himself would do.”1
1. Read 1 John 3:11-24. Now, John writes that believers should love one another. This is not the first time in this letter that we have read about love. Review 1 John 2:9-11. When believers love other believers, what is our condition? If we choose to hate a brother or sister, how are we living?
2. Review 1 John 3:11. What did John’s readers hear from the beginning of their life in Christ?
3. According to 1 John 3:12, what did Cain’s actions reveal when he murdered Abel? Why did Cain hate his brother?
4. When you consider Cain’s reason for murdering Abel, what do you think must greatly anger the devil?
5. Review 1 John 3:13 with John 3: 19-20. Explain why righteousness attracts hatred. Why should believers expect rejection and even persecution?
6. Define hate. Jesus discussed the issue of hatred in John 15:18-19, 25 and John 17:14. Summarize what Jesus wants believers to know about hatred by the world.
(Note: This does not mean believers will always “experience” hatred from the world. Hatred toward righteousness is the general attitude of the world. When believers confront and clash with the world system, it may result in various levels of rejection. Brutality and death may occur.)
7. We should expect hatred from the world, since the world hates righteousness. But hatred among believers is not acceptable. The Apostle Paul also dealt with the problem of hatred among believers. Read 1 Cor. 3:3. What evidence demonstrates that a believer is worldly? What does such worldliness produce within the body of Christ?
8. Reread 1 John 3:14. (Note: In this context, John is not referring to salvation. He is referring to the “realm,” [light or darkness] from which a believer is living. It is all about who we resemble.) How can we evaluate which realm we are living from?
9. Review 1 John 3:15. “John links hatred with murder. In the heart there is no difference; to hate is to despise, to cut off from relationship, and murder is simply the fulfillment of that attitude.”*2Jesus also linked hatred with murder. See Matt. 5:21-22. How does hatred by a believer for another affect their fellowship? Why? How does it affect the body of Christ as a whole?
Both the NASB and the KJV translate the last phrase of 1 John 3:15 as, “And you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” Verse 15 cannot mean that a believer is incapable of murder, because King David murdered Uriah (2 Sam.12:9). The Apostle Peter wrote to believers in 1 Peter 4:15, “Let none of you suffer as a murderer.” The word “abide” (left out in the NIV) leads this author to believe that John is once again writing that a believer who hates and murders another is not abiding in Christ, but is abiding in death–walking in darkness. The phrase “eternal life” may stand for Christ. Consider John 17:3, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary states, “Christ is not at home in his heart so long as the spirit of murder is there.”
10. Read Rom. 5:8 and review 1 John 3:16. How did God demonstrate His love for us? How does John define love? How does God expect us to show our love for fellow believers?
11. The opportunity to die in another’s place is rare, though it has occurred. It is more common to be called upon to die, sometimes daily, to our own desires for the sake of another. Give an example of this kind of death.
12. According to 1 John 3:17, what’s one way we can express love for our brothers and sisters? When “no pity,” is present in a believer’s life, what is our condition before the Lord? When we lovingly act from our compassion, who do we resemble? (Note: The phrase, “has no pity,” or the NASB’s translation, “closes his heart against,” suggests that strong emotions are involved. These phrases both indicate an intentional disregard or lack of compassion.)
13. According to the definition of love at the beginning of this lesson, what may the kind of giving described in verse 17 involve?
14. What problem is John addressing in 1 John 3:18? Why do you think this verse ends with the word “truth”? Read 1 Cor. 13:3 for help with your answer.
15. Read John 13:34-35. What is so remarkable about agape love that causes unbelievers to take notice of our resemblance to Christ? What is promised in verse 35?
Believers who love God are obedient, and they manifest His love through abiding in Him. They love to love, and they can’t love too much. They resemble the Father, because love is their way of life.
16. From 1 John 3:12-15, discuss what John taught about believer’s hatred for a fellow believer.
17. From 1 John 3:1, 16-18, summarize what John wrote about a believer’s agape love for a fellow believer. End your summary with a personal experience of being loved by, or loving, another believer(s) the way Christ loves you.
18. Who do you need to show agape love to this week? What action will you take?
“The command to ‘love one another,’ has it’s origin in the nature of God. The entire goal and aim of the [Message] is to create and strengthen love.”3
Journal your thoughts and insights.
1 The Expositors Bible Commentary, Frank E. Gaebelein, General Editor
3 Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary by Kenneth L. Barker & John R. Kohlenberger III
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