June 18, 2020
1 John 3:11-13 (NKJV) — 11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, 12 not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.
Verse 11 reminds us of the love that is encouraged and commanded by God throughout this epistle of 1st John and the Gospel of John. Then in verses 12-13, John uses the story of Cain and Abel to illustrate the contrast of the love of God and the hate of the world. Pastor Weston pointed out that while Abel’s sacrifice was accepted by God as righteous, Cain’s sacrifice was rejected by God as unrighteous due to his unfaithfulness and disobedience. We can then follow Cain’s digression from unrighteousness, to jealousy, to anger, to hatred, and finally to murder.
If Cain represents the world and Abel represents Jesus (and by extension, Christians), how do we see Cain and Able’s motivations play out in the world and the Church today?
What protects us from falling into Cain’s digression and how can we recognize when we start down that path? (see verses 14-16)
1 John 3:16-18 (NKJV) — 16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
In this passage (and many others), John describes the most complete expression of true love as sacrifice in contrast to the world’s different understandings of love. True love isn’t just a feeling, it is expressed in action. Pastor Weston went on to contextualize how we utilize and sacrifice our physical resources as a physical representation of where our love lies.
How has God expressed His love for you through His action and sacrifice on your behalf?
Using how you utilize and sacrifice your physical resources as a guide, what actions can you take to express this true love to others more in the future? (see James 1:22, 2:14-16)