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1 John 3:16-19

HOW TO LOVE THY NEIGHBOR

Intro:  Our world is a harsh place to live.  For the most part, people live a “dog eat dog” existence.  The way of the world is to put self first, love self and provide for self.  Some natural men may display genuine love and concern for their fellow man, but most are genuinely wrapped up in self.  That is the way of the world.

      The Bible is clear that the way of the Christian is to be vastly different from the way of the world.  We are taught in the Bible that genuine love for the brethren is our calling card, John 13:35.  We are also taught that genuine love enables us to fulfill the commandments of the Lord, Matt. 22:37-40.

      The passage before us today reveals the truth that believers are to love the brethren, 3:11.  He goes in to tell us that our love one for another is one of the strongest proofs that we are saved, 3:14-15.  The verses we have read today tell us that if our love is all that it should be, it will display itself in three clear, easily seen ways.  Let me show you from these verses what genuine, God-like love is.  These three characteristics of love teach us all we need to know about How To Love Thy Neighbor.

 

  I.  v. 16          BROTHERLY LOVE IS EXTENSIVE

A.  Cain sets the biblical example of what self love is all about. Gen. 4:8.  Jesus, on the other hand sets the standard for loving others.  He loved us as much as is possible.  He loved us so much that while we were still His enemies, He died for us, John 15:13; Rom. 5:8.

B.  The Bible is trying to tell us that genuine God-like love knows no boundaries and sets no limits.  It draws no lines.  It never says, “This far and no farther!”  True love is love without limits!  If I really love you then no sacrifice is too great.  (Ill. “Darling, I love you. I'd climb the highest mountain for you; I'd swim the deepest stream for you; I'd fight a jungle of lions for you; and if it doesn't rain, I'll be over to see you tonight.” This isn't real love! Genuine love knows no boundaries and no conditions. It is freely given and asks nothing in return. Do you love others like you should?)

C.  Genuine love is clearly described in 1 Cor. 13:1-8.

 

II.  v. 17           BROTHERLY LOVE IS EXPENSIVE

A.  Again, if we want to see what love will do, then look no farther than Calvary.  Look away for see the Lord Jesus giving everything He had to save those He loved.  Jesus showed us the truth that true love freely opens its hands and gives away everything it has to those it loves.  He saw our need; He possessed the necessary resources to meet; and He met that need.

B.  That is what love is all about.  It does not hold anything back, but it meets needs wherever it finds them.  Now, if you do not know about a need and do not have the resources to meet that need, you are not condemned.  But, when you know and you can do something, you are obligated to reach out in the name of Jesus and do all you can to help, James 2:15-17.

C.  We need to remember that has given us everything we have in life so that we might use it for His glory.  It might be money, materials or moments of time.  He can and will use it all, if we make it available to Him.

 

III.  v. 18         BROTHERLY LOVE IS EXPRESSIVE

A.  Genuine love doesn’t just talk, it acts.  Without Calvary, John 3:16 is nothing but empty words!  People who talk and don’t do really do not love.  People who are insincere might talk about helping; but people who truly love like the Lord reach out to help a fellow believer.

B.  Real love might be manifested by meeting a material need.  It might be manifested by lending a helping hand or a listening ear.  There are countless ways in which we can show the reality of our love for the brethren.  The bottom line here is this: Real love does more than simply talk, it acts!  (Ill. A young mother admitted, in a testimony meeting, that she never seemed to find time for her own personal devotions. She had several little children to care for, and the hours melted away.  Imagine her surprise when two of the ladies from the church appeared at her front door.  “We’ve come to take over,” they explained. “You go into the bedroom and get started on your devotions.” After several days of this kind of help, the young mother was able to develop her devotional life so that the daily demands on her time no longer upset her.)

 

Conc:  So, how’s your love life?  As a church family and as individuals, we need to heed the message in these verses.  Can we honestly say that we love others as we should?  Can we honestly say that we are meeting needs, lifting burdens and loving like Jesus?  If we want to be all that He has saved us to be, then we must learn to love like He does, Gal. 6:2.

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