Should Christians seem different from the rest of the world? If so, how are Christians to be set apart? In this video, Pastor David Platt identifies love as the characteristic mark of the Christian because it reflects the love of God in a world of hate. Pastor Platt makes a biblical case that hate originates with the Devil, and that anyone who hates is reflecting the Devil’s hate. The Bible provides numerous examples of hate where people selfishly seek the harm of others. When we exhibit love, however, we are displaying the love of God to a divided world.
- Captivated by Love
- Loving Others
- Hate vs. Love
- Being a Christian
Watch full message of “Captivated and Compelled by Love“
God’s Love for Us and How We Should Love Others
This is what we want to be as a church, captivated by God’s love for us and compelled by God’s love for others. So we heard 1 John 3, 1 through 10 last week. Talked about how we’re children of God captivated by the love of God. So now let’s read verses 11 through 24 right after that, and I want you to see this theme of love for others. So start with me in 1 John Chapter 3, Verse 11.
“For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who is of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life because we love the brothers.
“Whoever 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. By this, we know love that he laid down his life for us and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk, but in deed and in truth. By this, we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him, for whenever our heart condemns us God is greater than our heart and he knows everything. 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 what pleases him.
“And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his son Jesus Christ and love one another just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God and God in him. And by this, we know that he abides in us by the Spirit whom he has given us.”
Did you hear it? All throughout this passage, love in the family, love for one another is intended to reflect the love of the Father. And when you think about it, that has been the emphasis from the beginning of Jesus’ life and ministry. When asked about what is the greatest commandment, what did Jesus just say? “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. And the second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39.
He tells his disciples in John 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you that you love one another just as I have loved you so you also are to love one another. By this, we’ll all know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.”
Children of God are Called to Love Others
Did you hear that? And this is how people will know that you are a disciple or a follower of Jesus, not because you say you are. No. This is how people will know that you’re a child of God by your love for other people, which is why John… So the same John who recorded Jesus saying that, John is now saying in this letter to the church, “If you don’t have love for one another like this there’s reason to question whether or not you’re actually a child of God. Because love in the family will reflect the love of the Father.” So as the church, specifically as McLean Bible Church, God has designed us, brothers and sisters, to be known by our love for others.
That is how people will know that we are followers of Jesus and children of God the Father, when we are laying down our lives in love for one another. This is God speaking this to us right now as his children. This is how he’s designed us to live with love for one another. So how do we love like this?
The Difference Between Love and Hate
And what John does is he points us to a contrast we need to see in the first part of what we read between hate and love. So starting in Verse 12 and all the way to Verse 18, we see this contrast. So here’s how the Bible describes hate. So follow this with me. Hate originates with the devil.
John goes all the way back to Genesis Chapter 4, the beginning of the Bible when Cain murdered his brother Abel. And the Bible says Cain was of the evil one. That’s a reference to the devil who was the author of sin in Genesis 3. And remember, 1 John 3 said last week in Verse 8 that the devil has been sending from the beginning. Jesus said of the devil in John 8:44, he was a murderer from the beginning. So the devil is the origin of hate, which the Bible basically defines as selfishly seeking another’s harm. Hate selfishly seeks another’s harm.
Why did Cain murder his brother? Verse 12 asks. Because he was evil. His brother was righteous and his self-centered jealousy led him to harm his brother. And the ultimate example of hatred, the ultimate example of a desire to harm someone else is Cain taking the life of another. That’s the ultimate example of hatred. Taking someone’s life. A person’s life is his most precious possession so to take it from him is the greatest sin we could commit against him.
But this is where we remember what Jesus taught back in Matthew Chapter 5, Verse 21. Remember when Jesus said, “You’ve heard that it was said, you shall not murder and whoever murders will be liable to judgment. But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.” So hatred is not just an outward action like murder. It’s an inward attitude of anger toward another person.
The Bible beckons every single one of us, including myself, to examine our hearts and ask, is there evidence in me of anger toward others that is the opposite of love for others? The Bible beckons us to repent of that, turn from that, and don’t miss the everyday effect of hatred here.
We Should be Marked by Love
So you go down to Verse 17 where John says, “If anyone has the world’s goods, sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” So don’t miss this. The everyday effect of hate is indifferent that leads to… an indifference that leads to inaction. So this is where we’re seeing a hatred, not just in murder, but in anger, and now in indifference that leads to inaction. So we may not murder someone, we may not even be angry towards someone, but if we see a brother, sister in need and we’re able to meet that need, yet we don’t, we choose to close our heart against them, that is not the effect of God’s love. That’s the effect of hate. Not just seeking another’s harm but content to do nothing about another’s harm.
The Bible says this is not from God the Father. This is actually evidence of spiritual death. It’s evidence of a lack of God’s love in the heart, which is why John says what he does in Verse 13. He says, “Don’t be surprised that the world hates you,” and remember the world that word in John’s usage here is a picture of a system set up against God and his word and his ways. He says in Verse 14, “We know that we passed out of death into life because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love like this abides in death.”