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Love And A Clear Conscience


1 John 3:18-24

 Several years ago the number one song in America was “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” and you could say, that is exactly the way the Gnostics, those who thought they were enlightened, or the antichrist mentioned in chapter 2 thought, “What’s love got to do with it?”

Here in chapter 3, John says that love has everything to do with it!

 Regardless of what the Gnostics say, those who claim to have a special knowledge, John says, “If you want to be right with God; if you want to be in fellowship with God; if you want the assurance of eternal life; love has everything to do with it!”

But John doesn’t leave it up to the Gnostics or anyone else to define what love is. Look at vs. 16. John says: “We know love by this, that He (Jesus) laid down His life for us;”

And look at what our response should be to His love; vs. 16:    …and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

And most of us will, more than likely, never find ourselves literally laying down our lives for our brethren. .

But whoever has the world’s goods (means of livelihood – you are capable of helping), and beholds his brother in need (food, clothing, shelter, medicine) and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?

Now, vs. 18: Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.

So, that is the standard; vs. 16-18 is our assignment: 1) Be willing to lay down your life for your brethren; 2) give of your livelihood to help your brother and sister in Christ who are in need; and  3) manifest a sincere love by your actions, and not just by word.

But how many of us can fully live up to this standard? How many of us can fully love like Christ?

We shall know by this (by our actions of love) that we are of the truth (we are not pretending to love), and shall assure our heart before Him, 20 in whatever our heart condemns us;

 Because we feel like we have failed to live up to the standard.

And later we fill bad thinking perhaps that we “Didn’t do enough”; we “wish we could have done more.”

But John says here that our sincere actions of love show that we are “of the truth and we can stand with assured hearts before God.”

And look at the end of verse 20: …for God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.

 And notice that little phrase at the end of vs. 20: …for God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.

 Look at vs. 21   Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.

 Vs. 19-22 tells us that a Christian can live without guilt complexes even in the midst of failure.

Vs. 23:  And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.

Vs.24 And the one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And we know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

So, “What’s love got to do with it?”

And we will probably never have to literally “lay down our lives” to help a brother or sister; but we may be compelled to “lay down our lives” in other ways.