We Love With Actions
1 John 3:11 This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother's were righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19 This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20 whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us. (NIV)
How can we have confidence before God? Obey Him.
What are His commands? Believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ and Love one another.
What Spirit did He give us? The Holy Spirit.
Love is what we do, not JUST what we say. You still need to tell you spouse you love them, frequently. Do not just tell them with words. You need to love them with deeds that say I love you. How did Jesus love us? He laid down His life for us. We need to give up what we want and live for the good of others.
Your feelings will change as you begin doing things for the one you have chosen to love. (repeat)
Love is the choices we make. Love is making choices that benefit the person we choose to love. Love is telling others how much God loves them and proving it by the loving actions we do for them.
19 This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20 whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. (NIV)
WHEN our hearts condemn us, we know we belong to the truth when we love with deeds, not just words. We set our hearts at rest before God when we love others with deeds. When we obey the Spirit that He has put within us, who leads us to love others by meeting their needs, we overcome the condemnation we feel in our hearts.
The enemy will tell you that you are no good and a failure. God will lead you to seek the good of others. He will lead you to praise Him and honor Him doing good for others. Discipleship is about learning the difference between what the flesh, the world and the devil tells you and what God tells us in His word and by His Spirit who lives within us.
Walking in the Spirit is what Paul called it. We are disciples of Christ, the Spirit of Christ lives in us and when we obey Him we are living as His disciples, we are putting off the flesh and putting on the Spirit.
11 “This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.” and
16 “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” (NIV)
When we become Christians we are to change our focus in life. Life is no longer about “ME”. We lay our lives at the feet of our Lord, Jesus Christ. We begin living to bring honor and glory to Him. We begin to become martyrs for the one who gave His life for us.
“Martyrs”? Pastor Tom, why would you use that word. The English world martyr comes from the Greek. In the Greek it meant witnesses. In the English, it means one who gives his life for a cause. We are to be witnesses to the love of God. We are to give our lives for the cause of Christ. We are to be so committed to this cause that we will lay down our lives, go to prison or take the abuse of those around us because we follow Christ in laying down our lives for the truth.
We have been spoiled in our society. Christianity has been accepted and we have become complacent. We must stop living for the things the world tells us are important and begin living, and if necessary dying, for the cause of Christ.
The world, that is, people around us, need to know that God loves them and they need Him. As long as we are living for the comfort of our bodies and to fill our bellies, we are saying to the world that we are no different than they are. We have no message, we do not witness to the truth of Christ.
We must be giving our lives for the message of God’s love and His Lordship. We must be examples to the world of what it means to lay down our lives for the gospel. This is not just for missionaries.
God wants to use you for His glory and for the salvation of souls where you are. Your neighbors need Him. Your families need Him.
As long as our comfort is more important to us than the message of the Good News of Jesus Christ, the world will continue on its way down the path they are traveling. Things will continue to get worse. Selfishness will outpace Selflessness and the church will languish and fade away.
Why are we here? What is our purpose?
18 “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”
19 This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20 whenever our hearts condemn us.” (NIV)
Do you feel like God is against you? Do you feel condemned? Do you need peace with God?
Peace with God comes when we surrender our will to His. Peace comes as we begin living for God’s purposes instead of our own.
How do you love God? You spend time with Him. How do you love people? You spend time with them.
How do you love God? Read His word. Look for what is important to Him. Commit yourself to seeking what He wants instead of what you want.
How do you love your spouse? Look for what is important to her. Listen when she talks. Sometimes it may seem like she is just rattling on. Maybe that is because you are not listening and asking yourself what is important to her.
Are you married to a quiet man who talks very little? The answer may not be in insisting that he talk to you. Look for what is important to him. It may be more simple than you think.
Laying down our lives for one another may not always involve literally, physically dying. More often it is in taking the time to listen to one another. Perhaps that listening comes as we take the time to still our own thoughts and listen.
There is a verse that says, “Be still and know that I am God.” (NIV)
Psalm 46:10 "Cease striving and know that I am God; (NASB)
Be still. Get quiet. Stop running. Just listen. Turn off the TV and the computer and the phone and listen to God. Listen to one another.
The enemy within will lead you to believe that God and others are against you. Do not listen.
Stop. Be Still. Cease striving.
Forgive those who you feel have wronged you. Reach out to them and give them what they need. Give them of yourself. Give the time. Listen to one another. Speak words of kindness and blessing. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who you feel have despitefully used you.
Forgive others as you would want to be forgiven. Cease striving with yourself. Cease Striving with God. Cease striving with one another.
God loves you and that will not change. Allow Him to tell you. Stop and listen.
We love with actions. Not just words. Saying I love you is not enough. We must get involved with people and listen to what they are thinking. We need to spend time with people. We need to cease striving and know God. We need to cease striving and get to know others.
Love people not just by doing for them.
Sometimes in the church we develop programs to meet needs and accomplish our purpose. I read something not long ago that said something like this:
Do not use people to develop programs. Use programs to develop people.
Do you get the idea there? Programs and services are opportunities for us to spend time with people. I fail in this too often. I need to do more with people. Take people with me when I visit. It is in the time we spend together that we help one another to grow in our faith and in our commitment to the Lord. This is how we make disciples.
People must be more important than programs. We must learn to love in actions, not just words.
Let us love God and love people. Let that love be active. What are we doing to fulfill the two greatest commandments? Let us love with actions.