How Will They Know That I'm a Christian [Part 1]
1 John 4:20-21
Hatred is very strong word that has many faces to display itself.
- It can come in the form of the letter
- It can come in the form of an expression
- It can come in the form of a comment
- It can come in the form of an attitude
- It can come in the form of a joke
- It can come in the form of a conversation
- It can come in the form of physical force
What are some examples of hatred? Here is a sad story that I came across, which I think is one of the worst cases of hatred! “In a will written in 1935 by a Mr. Donohoe. It says, “Unto my two daughters, Frances Marie and Denise Victoria, by reason of their unfilial attitude toward a devoted father, … I leave the sum of $1 to each and a father’s curse. May their lives be fraught with misery, unhappiness, and heart-rending sorrow. May their deaths be soon and of a lingering malignant and torturous nature. May their souls rest in hell and suffer the torments of the condemned for eternity.” It is said that a prominent rabbi, when asked why God created so many Gentiles, he replied, "So there might be fuel enough for the fires of hell." As one man said “A man who hates to be slapped on the back packs his coat with TNT and waits for this man who always slaps his back. His idea is when he hits me I will get him, I’ll blow him up. Hate kills both the person who you hate, but also yourself as well. Hating people is like burning down your own house to get rid of a rat.” Sadly we’re seeing this more and more inside the house of God....whether it’s in the local assembly or in our Christian communities. Ann Landers wrote “Hate is like acid. It can damage the vessel in which it is stored as well as destroy the object on which it is poured.” The bible has a lot to say about the word HATE which carries the idea to hate, pursue with hatred, or to detest something or someone. The bible says.........
- Hatred stirs up strife [Prov 10:12]
- Hatred is inconsistent with the knowledge of God [1 John 2 :9-11]
- Hatred is characterized in the unregenerate [Titus 3:3] “once were”
- Hatred is something Christ experienced [John 15:18]
- Hatred is something believers will experience from the unregenerate world [Matt 5:44] Bible says “love and pray for those who hate you”
See hatred is a fundamental characteristic of an unregenerate hater of God! This is why we need to be extremely careful how we walk. Our bitterness towards one another is unhealthy and deceiving, which could or will have eternal implications. “Affliction will slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned [damned]” Ps 34:21 . What does it mean by John’s letter to love your brother [fellow Christian]? How will the world know that we [I Am] different? Well the obvious answer can be found as John stated earlier in [v14] “we know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren” The truth claim of our Christian walk or one aspect is that it produces a genuine love for one other. The depths of your love for God will be displayed in how you love one another. That’s why John writes what he writes here in this chapter. “if some says “I love God,” and hates his brother he is a liar;...” [v20] This is a sobering passage of scripture that speaks directly to the heart. There is no beating around the bush with passage.....there is no maybe John is saying something else. NO! You cannot say with same breath I love God and hate those in the body of Christ. See our vertical relationship will show horizontally, which will ultimately display our true relationship with Christ. Our personal love or our lack thereof of God will show in how we treat one another. The bible is very specific about our love for one another. The bible is very specific to what a Christian looks like. So what is John saying to us?
A GENUINE LOVE FOR GOD WILL ALWAYS BE DEMONSTRATED TO HIS CHILDREN WITH A BROTHERLY LOVE THAT SEEKS NOTHING IN RETURN, INSTEAD IT’S UNCONDITIONAL.
Matt 18:22-35 “Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.” Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.' And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, 'Pay what you owe.' So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you.' He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?' And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."
A GENUINE LOVE FOR GOD WILL ALWAYS BE DEMONSTRATED TO HIS CHILDREN AS WE BEAR ONE ANOTHERS BURDENS.
Gal 6:2 “Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” “bear one another’s burdens,” literally means, “weights.” “load”): “weights” exceed the strength of those under them; “burden” is proportioned to the strength. Albert Barnes said “The sense is that every child of God has special temptations and easily besetting sins, which constitute a heavy burden.” See, we should aid each other in regard to these, and help one another to overcome them. Be there strength when the weight is too heavy to carry. Why? It fulfills the Law of Christ. Jesus said “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34-35. A genuine love for God will be looking out for his fellow brother or sister in Christ.
A GENUINE LOVE FOR GOD WILL ALWAYS BE DEMONSTRATED TO HIS CHILDREN AS WE SACRIFICE TO MEET THE NEEDS OF OTHERS.
Acts 20:35 “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" “In all things I have shown you” What did Paul show these early church Christians? His love for the people by preaching to them the truth of Jesus Christ...the transforming work of the gospel. Paul loved them so much it overflowed with their love towards him because of the grace that has been poured out onto us through Jesus Christ. Paul never did this for fame or fortune! He did it because Christ gave him a love for sinners.....especially saved sinners. It went to say in the text “And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they accompanied him to the ship.” Act 20:36-38. This is what it looks like when a person says I love God and his brethren.
Not someone who says “I love God and hate those who are around them.” A prime example is the story that Jesus told about the Pharisee who went to pray......Luke 18:10- 11 "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. See through Christ! God has given us His love which has been planted into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. This love is to be used for the body to keep it healthy! If you say with one breath “I love God and turn around with the next breath and say I hate that person”......then you’re a cancer to the body. And what do we do with cancer? Remove it before it has a chance to spread. This is the warning that John is giving us! This is the warning John is giving to the church [locally]. A person can pretend all they want but understand this! God knows the heart. Adam and Eve tried to cover up or hide their sin! You might be seating here today able to fool or have the ability to pull the wool over the eyes of those around you about how you truly feel about that person.
But let me warn you as John does here! God knew Adam and Eve sinned, and He knows the truth of your heart and who you truly love. See! I hate divorce, abortion and false teaching to name a few! But I love the sinner and desire that all men would repent and put their faith in Christ. I desire no one to go to Hell or wish anyone to Hell..........no matter how much they have wronged me or mistreated me. How is this possible? It’s only possible because of Christ and His love that was poured out on the cross for our sin.
How will they know my love for God? By the way you treat the church! As Paul Tripp said “Remember, God has ordained that difficult person to be in your life. It is not a sign of God’s inattention but his covenant-keeping care. Humbly embrace the fact that the Wonderful Counselor is working on everybody involved. Humbly acknowledge the ways God is using this person to expose the areas where you need to grow. Embrace the fact that God can transform the heart of that person without neglecting you– and vice versa! Most of all, celebrate! You are experiencing the jealous grace and glory of the Lord. Through you, he is fighting for that person’s heart and through him, he is holding tightly onto yours. He will not let either of you go, and he will not forsake the work he is doing in each of you. Remember, it is impossible to celebrate God’s work of transformation without confessing your need for more. No one is more ready to communicate God’s grace than someone who has faced his own desperate need for it." D. A Carson said this about the family of God “What binds us together is not common education, common race, common income levels, common politics, common nationality, common accents, common jobs, or anything else of that sort. Christians come together because they have all been loved by Jesus himself. They are a band of natural enemies who love one another for Jesus’ sake.”
May we love each other with a deeper love for Christ and one another! Why? This is what God desires for His children. May our love be genuine, that permeates Christ as our greatest joy as we serve one another with the same grace and love Christ showed you me! WHY? Jesus said “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."