Monday, February 27, 2017, 11:18 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Seek the Lord.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 John 3:11-24 (NASB).
Everyone who Hates (vv. 11-17)
For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous.
Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?
Evil opposes righteousness, thus, those who are of the evil one will hate and resent those who are of the Righteous One, Jesus Christ. When someone is doing what he knows is wrong, he is not generally comfortable being around those who do what is right. So, he may try to bring the righteous person down with him, or else he may surround himself with others of like mind who will commiserate with him in his sin of hate. He may even lie about the righteous person so that others will hate that individual, too.
That is how they treated Jesus Christ, and that is how they will treat us, too, if we give our lives over to Christ to follow him in his ways, and in his truth. Yet, who was it that treated Jesus with such disdain? It was the religious leaders within the temple of God who hated him, resented him, and who were jealous of him, too, and so wanted him dead. It was the hypocritical religious who performed for an audience, who appeared righteous on the outside, but inside were full of wickedness, who were Jesus’ greatest opponents. Jesus told his brothers, “The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil” (Jn. 7:7). “The world,” in this case, most especially included the religious leaders in God’s temple.
So, being religious, particularly outwardly to impress others, is not the pathway to God or to heaven. Also, praying a prayer after someone else, or merely acknowledging that Jesus died to take our punishment for us, so that we could be free from condemnation, so that we could have the hope of eternal life with God, is also not what guarantees us eternal life with God.
If we truly believe in Jesus Christ with God-given faith, and we have, thus, been transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, in new birth unto a living hope, we now have God living within us. And, if God is in us, his love is in us, and it should be lived out through us. We should love because God loved us, and because his love abides within us. Yet, if we persist in hating others, as Cain hated and killed his brother, how can God’s love be within us? It can’t! In fact, this teaches us that if we actively and presently hate others, we are the same as a murderer, and that no murderer has eternal life with God. If we do not love, not only are we acting contrary to God and his Word, but we still remain in death without the hope of heaven when we die. God is love. Satan is hate. We who believe in Jesus should love.
So, how do we love others? Jesus set the right example for us. He laid his life down for us so that we could be free from sin, and so we could walk in his righteousness. He gave his life up for us, in other words, to meet within us a legitimate need, i.e. the need of salvation from sin. He did this by giving up his own reputation, being willing to have others think badly and wrongly of him, and even to falsely accuse him and put him to death. And, this is how we need to love, too. We need to be willing to be hated, rejected, falsely accused, gossiped about, slandered, mocked, etc. in order to show the love of Jesus to people. We need to do what is right, even if everyone else is doing what is wrong, and even if we are hated for it in return.
Love in Truth (vv. 18-24)
Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.
This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
Words are cheap, or they can be if they are not backed up with action. For instance, if a person tells his or her spouse, “I love you,” and then continually commits adultery against the spouse (including viewing pornography), then the words are just words, for there is not action behind them to show them to be genuine. In fact, the action being shown speaks the exact opposite of love, and thus the words “I love you” can actually be an offense to the one receiving them, like a slap in the face.
God feels that way when we merely verbalize that we love him, i.e. when his praise is on our lips but our hearts are far from him, which is evidenced by our actions and by our inactions. He doesn’t want to just hear us TELL him that we love him, but he wants us to SHOW that we love him by obeying his (Christ’s) instructions (Christ’s commandments). And, he commands that we love one another with his love, and that we not practice hate.
If we keep (obey) Christ’s commandments as a matter of lifestyle, walking (conducting our lives) according to the Spirit, and no longer according to the flesh, we remain in Christ and he in us. He commands us that we believe in him, not as a one-time spiritual experience, but continually. And, this belief is God-given, thus it is of the Spirit, and not generated out of our human flesh. The way in which God gives us faith is that he persuades (convinces) us of his will for our lives. Persuaded of God, thus, to live for God according to his will and purpose for our lives, we turn from sin, and we turn to follow our Lord in obedience – all in the power and working of God’s Spirit within us, as we cooperate fully with that work and yield our lives over to God.
If we keep Christ’s commandments, in the power and strength of God’s Spirit now living within us, and we do what pleases him, we have confidence before God, and we receive whatever we ask of him. Now, this is because, if we are truly living this way, we are not going to ask God for what will displease him, or for what will be contrary to his will. We will be in tune with the Spirit, walking in obedience to the Word, and we will want what God wants, and we won’t crave after the sinful desires of our flesh. And, this is God’s goal for us, that we live holy lives pleasing to him, for that is why he saved us, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He called us to be holy, so we should be holy in all that we do. And, we should love and not walk in hate, because God is love, and in him is no darkness at all.
Seek the Lord / An Original Work / July 20, 2012
Based off Isaiah 55
“Come to Me all you who thirst; come to waters.
Listen to Me, and eat what’s good today,
And your soul will delight in richest of fare.
Give ear to Me, and you will live.
I have made an eternal covenant with you.
Wash in the blood of the Lamb.”
Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him.
Let the wicked forsake his way, in truth.
Let him turn to the Lord, and he will receive mercy.
Freely, God pardons him.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,”
declares the Lord, our God.
“My word that goes out of My mouth is truthful.
It will not return to Me unfulfilled.
My word will accomplish all that I desire,
And achieve the goal I intend.
You will go in joy, and be led forth in peace.
The mountains will burst into song… before you,
And all of the trees clap their hands.”