1 John 3.18-24. Love, not hate

Michael Flynn

In a world of moral ambiguity it is hard to decide who are the good, the bad or the good-bad or even the bad-good guys. It all leaves us unsure, especially about ourselves! John writes to a church that is uncertain in what it believes, how to live and the meaning of love. He points out that the pattern of abusing relationships is an ancient one. Cain was a brilliant man who took life in the service of himself. Jesus’ gave up his life in the service of others. John asks an uncertain church to calm their hearts by gathering up the evidence of God’s practical love at work in their lives, the evidence of answered prayer and the experience of the Holy Spirit to put to rest the accusations around and within them.

Michael Flynn


1 John 3.11-24

1 John 3.11-24 | Love

Black, White and Grey hats

Love one another (11-18)

– don’t be like Cain (11-15)

– but do what love is (16-18)

For this is how we set our hearts at rest (18-20)

And so we have confidence before God… (21-24)

For further thought

Q: What are the two attitudes that enable us to distinguish between the children of God and the children of the devil in verses 11-15?

Q: Why does the world hate those who love sacrificially as God did in Jesus?

Q: The story of Cain is told from Genesis chapter 4. We learn that he is a clever, sensitive and tormented man – there is a great deal in which we might sympathise with him yet what is the difference between Cain and Jesus that ultimately John sees as condemning Cain?

Q: How does Jesus example motivate us to love in action and truth?

Q: Why do we sometimes doubt that we have gotten anywhere in the Christian life? According to verses 19-22 how can we have confidence before God?

Q: What are the external evidence and internal experience that we can use to give our hearts confidence before God in verses 19-24?