The Test of Love

September 28, 2018 Series: Letters of John - Knowing, Walking & Living the Truth

Topic: Foundations Scripture: 1 John 2:7–11

Sermon Date: 28  September 2018

Text: 1 John 2:7-11

Opening Discussion: The story is told of man proposing to his girlfriend. Man: "Honey, on this Valentine's Day, I want to tell you something... I'm not rich like Peter. I don't have a mansion like Russell. I don't have a Porsche like Martin. But I do love you and I want to marry you." Woman: "Oh, dear, I love you too! What was that you said about Martin?"

When was the first time that you thought you were in love? Share your story…


Observation - What does God’s word say?

The word love is used so loosely these days that it’s lost its true meaning. John wants us to understand that those who have eternal life abiding in them are those who are characterized by a Christ-like love toward others. If Jesus’ life and especially His death epitomized love, then those who claim to follow Him are obligated to live in love.

What are your observations?


  • John 13:14-15
  • John 13:34-35
  • 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13
  • 1 John 2:7-11


Meaning - What does God’s word mean?

While addressing believers, the apostle John had the heretical false teachers in mind, who claimed to be spiritual, and yet, they were arrogant and self-centered. They did not love others in a sacrificial way. They were using people to build a following for themselves, rather than building people to follow Christ. So John gets out his black and white paint again, and without mixing them into shades of gray, he shows that these false teachers were not true believers. They do not love; they hate.

Loving one another is an essential mark of a true Christian.

Besides reminding us of the old commandment to love one another, John also wants to point us to the perfect personification of love exemplified for us in Jesus Christ. Love like Jesus loved, because the light has come. John is saying, “Whenever you think about love and what love means, and when you want to define what love looks like, and you want a template for what love might look like in the body of Christ, look to Jesus!” John is saying. “Think of Him who thought it not robbery to be equal with God but made Himself of no reputation and humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even a death on the cross.” Love like that: a self-denying love.

Read:  Titus 3:1-3; Philippians 2:4-11; 1 John 3:12-16

What are your observations from these verses?


Application - How must I change?

  • Is there a Truth to be believed?

What is the relationship between loving someone and liking them? Are we obligated to like others?

  • Is there an Attitude to be fostered?

How can a person who grew up in an abusive home learn to love others?

  • Is there a Behavior to be changed?

How would you counsel a couple who claimed that they no longer loved each other? Where do they begin?



Jesus told His disciples the night before His crucifixion, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34). The Greek word for love is agapao which has self-sacrifice as its primary characteristic. This is not a love of brotherly affection or emotional connection, as is often thought. Rather, agapao (agape love) seeks the best for its object. Sacrificial love is not based on a feeling, but a determined act of the will, a joyful resolve to put the welfare of others above our own. Clearly, this type of love is impossible in our own strength. It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that we are able to obey God’s commands, including the commandment to love. Biblical love is a self-sacrificing, caring commitment that shows itself in seeking the highest good of the one loved. You can obey the commandment to love others!

None of us loves perfectly. When we fail, we need to repent and ask forgiveness of the one we wronged. It is a lifelong process of being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. But those who have met Him at the cross will be growing in love for one another.


Closing Prayer from 1 Corinthians 13:

Thank you Lord, that you are a loving, gracious God. Thank you that you’ve offered us forgiveness and the gift of new life in you. Thank you that your love is perfect, it never fails, and that nothing can separate us from your love.

We pray that our lives would be filled and overflowing with the power of your love so we can make a difference in this world and bring honor to you. We ask for your help in reminding us that the most important things are not what we do outwardly, it’s not based on any talent or gift, but the most significant thing we can do in this life is simply to love you and to choose to love others.

Lord thank you that your love is patient. Help us show patience with those around us. Lord thank you that your love is kind. Help us to extend kindness to others. Lord thank you that true love is not jealous. Help us cast aside feelings of jealousy or hatred towards others. Lord thank you that your love does not brag and is not arrogant. Help us not to live with pride or arrogance, but to choose to walk with humility and grace.

Lord thank you that true love does not act unbecomingly.  Lord help us to extend kindness instead of rudeness towards others. Help us to lay aside the critical tone and tearing down with our words, so that we can truly walk in peace. Lord thank you that true love does not seek its own. Lord help us not to live selfishly, looking only to our own interests. Lord thank you that true love is not provoked. Lord help us not to become easily angered. Help us not to be so quickly reactive, but instead slow to speak and slow to become angry.

Lord thank you that your love does not take into account a wrong suffered. Lord help us not to hold grudges, but to choose to forgive, even when it’s difficult. Lord thank you that your love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. Lord help us to love your words of truth, may we walk in your freedom and wisdom. Let it be what drives our lives and choices every day. Lord thank you that your love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, thank you that your love never fails.

Help us to love as you love. Fill us with your Spirit so that we can choose what is best. We are weak Lord, but we know also, that even when we are weak, you are strong within us. Thank you that it’s not all up to us. Thank you that you equip us to face each day with the power of your love, your forgiveness, and your grace.

We love you Lord, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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