LOVE That Transforms!
1 John 3:10-18 | Scott E. Slaughter
What is love? What is Christian love? After all, doesn’t the Bible say that God is love? Shouldn’t love be one of the dominant characteristics of genuine Christians? The answer to each of these questions is YES. But hold on a minute! Does this mean that Christians accept all manner of sin and blasphemy against God in the name of love and if they do not they are then “unloving?” Let’s see what the Bible says about Christian love and how it really transforms us not to be like the fallen culture around us but to be like Christ.
Genuine Love is Foundational to the Christian Faith.
First, it is best to define what the Bible means by “love;” since our culture has completely lost its meaning. The Apostle John gave us great insight into the link between the Christian Faith and how we love. If you love me, you will keep my commandments. Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (John 14:15 & 14:23/ESV)
Biblical scholar Dr. William Hendriksen writes: “When the honor of God’s name, the advancement of His church, and the need of His people demand that we love our brothers, we ought to show our love at all cost - even to the point of risking and losing our lives.” (New Testament Commentary Series, 1 John) What does this say for the reputation that churches these days have? Christian churches are known for gossip, in-fighting, and personal ambition. We must repent of this sinful behavior and follow the commandment of our Lord Jesus to love one another because by doing so we give witness to the gospel. Loving other believers marks true conversion to Christ (1 John 3:10). Scripture tells us that a genuine care for Christian brothers and sisters distinguishes us from those who still belong to the devil (1 John 3:11). “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:12-13/ESV)
Genuine Christians Love the Church.
Consider what John says about biblical love, the Christian, and their relation to the fallen world.
The world hates Christ’s disciples (1 John 3:13).
John 15:18–20: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.  If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.  Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
Christ’s disciples love the church (1 John 3:14-15).
Though believers have differing backgrounds they have been brought together by the Spirit’s power and the preached Word to faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world. Christ’s disciples love beyond their families and circle of friends; they have been awakened to Christ’s love for His church and join Him in it. Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,(Colossians 1:24/ESV) We love Him because He first loved us. We care for our fellow believers because they are His children as well as we are.
Genuine Love Transforms Our Actions.
Now that we’ve considered the doctrine, let’s consider the practice of it. How do we demonstrate our love for fellow believers in the church? What does Christian love look like? First, it is vital that we understand that our love for other believers flows from Christ’s death on our behalf (1 John 3:16).
Not any of the love and care we have for Christ’s disciples comes from our own merits. The love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. This new-found love has been given us through the new birth.
Secondly, this will transform how we express love for other believers/Christ’s Church practically (1 John 3:17-18). Mark in the Scripture below the many ways love changes the way we treat other Christians. If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.  On account of these the wrath of God is coming.  In these you too once walked, when you were living in them.  But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.  Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices  and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.  Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,  bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:1–17/ESV)
Make Dr. Hendriksen’s words the basis of all you relationships within the body of Christ. “When the honor of God’s name, the advancement of His church, and the need of His people demand that we love our brothers, we ought to show our love at all cost - even to the point of risking and losing our lives.”
This, my beloved, is Christian love and nothing else.
Love in Christ,