Love – it really does matter. It isn’t an option. It is orthodox. It hasn’t changed. It won’t.
“For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.” (1 John 3 v 11) It isn’t about you and Jesus. It is about you, Jesus and others.
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 and sisters, if the world hates you.
14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death.
15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. (1 John 3 v 11-15)
Here are 4 definitions of what love is not from these verses:
- Love is not like ‘Cain’ v12. They knew the story of Genesis 4 very well. What consumes you will plot your course. The jealousy of Cain is the desire to be the top gun. Those narcissistic leaders who have abused those they were meant to shepherd no nothing of love. Their sin will get the better of them and will destroy them.
- Love is not all around us v13. So the song goes. But love is not everywhere I go. John sees the ‘world’ as the AntiChrists he has spoken of, they used to be part of the Church but they have abandoned the orthodox teaching of Jesus and love for His people. And now? They hate who they used to fellowship with. Just accept it. People you once fellowshipped with will hate you and it will be centred around who Jesus is and/or the orthodox teaching we have known from the beginning.
- Love is not death v 14. To remain in death is to not have moved from condemnation. There is a death kind of life which condemns and remains in condemnation. Though they may say they know God, it is impossible to do so whilst remaining in death.
- Love is not anger v 15. You cannot love and stay in anger towards those who follow Jesus. The longer you stay in anger the longer you look less like God who poured out his righteous anger onto Himself on the cross. Jesus challenged the hypocrisy of feeling proud that you haven’t committed physical murder but you have ruined the reputation of someone by stabbing them in their back. His teaching in the gospels is that anger leads to judgment for murder.