John 3:16 describes the love of God in giving us Jesus. 1 John 3:16 elevates the LOVE and the sacrifice of the Lord in that it challenges all who would read it to emulate the Lord’s great example in sacrificial LOVE.
– We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
Consider 3 points from this powerful passage.
1. KNOWING LOVE- “We know love by this”
Remember that John deals a good bit with the idea “knowing” inside this great little book. He uses the word “know” some 30x. The author, Rick Riordan, once said, “Suspecting and KNOWING are not the same thing.” John, inspired by the Holy Spirit, would agree. He shows us so many things that we need not merely suspect, but that we can surely KNOW. That word means “to KNOW by experience.” When you stop and think about it, there is a fairly large difference in knowing about something and knowing something because you have experienced it. I know a good bit about childbirth. I have taken all the high school health classes that most young folks did. I have even had some training on it as an EMT. I know a good bit about it…. but I have never experienced it myself, personally. Every woman who has given birth to a child in the room would have to chuckle to herself if a man said, “I know exactly how you felt in that experience.”
2. SHOWING LOVE- “That He laid down His life for us”
Consider 3 reasons why Jesus ’death is the supreme SHOWING of Love for us. It Involved the Greatest Possible Sacrifice. Christ gave up his very life for us. What more can someone give? It Met Our Deepest Need. Christ’s death on the cross is the supreme example of SHOWING love in that it meets our needs in a way that nothing else ever could. He voluntarily laid down His life for our sin. It Had the Greatest Possible Motive. John 12:28 and Hebrews 12:2 link the glory of God and joy in what the Cross would accomplish in saving us as Christ’s motivation in laying down His life.
3. GROWING LOVE- “and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
John points to the pinnacle of LOVE, love in the highest SHOWING, and then he says “you, go and do likewise.” Christian, are you GROWING your love to a higher level?
John uses the same wording and shows the same idea in 1 John 4:11 – Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. The words “we ought” as seen in the text are but a single word in the Greek language. It is the word “ophielo.” It means “a moral obligation.” The present tense signifies that we ought to be laying down our lives daily/continually for our brethren! Someone once said, “Surrendering ourselves for others is a regular Christian obligation, and should be regarded as an ordinary duty rather than a lofty deed of virtue.” Cain’s love of self led him to SLAY his brother, the Christian’s selfless love compels him to SACRIFICE for his brother!