More about Brotherly Love
1 Jn. 4:7-15
Once more John the beloved apostle talks about love. Nowadays the word love has become so
common that people misuse it to describe even for immoral and sinful acts. The word love is
mentioned in this short epistle 33 times in 23 verses. We can see here John wants to emphasize the
importance of love. Paul wrote a very good description of love in 1 Cor. 13, that people thinks he is
the “Apostle of love”. However, due to this epistle, I honestly think that Paul and John can be both
called the “Apostle of love”. Again, here John calls his readers “beloved”. He loved them regardless
of their spiritual condition or who they are. Let us take a look on how John writes about love again.
Illustration 1: A Great Motivator
Love reaches for the hurt and takes bold steps without self-interest. It can accomplish unbelievable
things merely because it is so void of self-interest.
Some time ago, a teenager, Arthur Hinkley, lifted a 3,000-pound tractor with bare hands. He wasn’t
a weight lifter, but his friend, Lloyd Bachelder, 18, was pinned under a tractor on a farm near Rome,
Maine. Hearing Lloyd scream, Arthur somehow lifted the tractor enough for Lloyd to wriggle out.
Love was the real motivation.
Calvin Miller, “Rethinking Suburban Evangelism,” Leadership, 1988, p. 68
I. The Command to Love (1 Jn. 4:7-8)
A. Love one another
1. God commands, expects, and exhorts those He love to love others.
2. If people understand the Biblical love, they would have an enjoyable and
3. The term “love one another” were mentioned by John five times in this epistle.
(1 Jn. 3:11, 23, 4:7, 11, 12). Repetition means emphasis.
4. I honestly think that this command is strictly for believers only, why? because
they can love you back. They have the love of God in them and find that same
love in real believers. Our brothers in Christ can love us back. Praise God.
5. However, this command has been misused by false teachers. They use this term
to spread broadmindedness and non-judgmental acceptance of any one who
claims to know the Lord Jesus Christ, to the extent that they will overlook the
sins and erroneous teachings of others.
6. We are to love one another but, it’s still our duty to expose the errors of
Pentecostals, Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Islam, etc., and other
religious groups. We love them and we want to share the Word of God to them
but we must tell our fellow believers about their errors to protect them so that
they will not be led astray by their errors.
B. God is love (1 Jn. 4:8)
1. “God is love” is another term used by cults, even by some evangelicals making
God synonymous with love. This is wrong for it denies the other attributes of
God. As it is written in lots of verses, He is a loving God. But it is also written that
“our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:29). They also overlook the truth that
“God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all (1 Jn. 1:5).
Illustration 2: Love is Not a Feeling
Sacrificial love has transforming power. Genuine love is volitional rather than emotional. The person
who truly loves does so because of a decision to love. This person has made a commitment to be
loving whether or not the loving feeling is present. It is, so much the better; but if it isn’t, the
commitment to love, the will to love, still stands and is still exercised.
Conversely, it is not only possible but necessary for a loving person to avoid acting on feelings of
love. I may meet a woman who strongly attracts me, whom I feel like loving, but because it would be
destructive to my marriage to have an affair, I will say vocally or in the silence of my heart, “I feel like
loving you, but I am not going to.” My feelings of love may be unbounded, but my capacity to be
loving is limited. I therefore must choose the person on whom to focus my capacity to love, toward
whom to direct my will to love. True love is not a feeling by which we are overwhelmed. It is a
committed, thoughtful decision. Rd. M. Scott Peck.
C. Love is the evidence of Sonship
1. Biblical love or Christian love shows us that they are “born of God” and “know
God”. As we have seen earlier, brotherly love is a mark of true conversion and
2. Those that do not love as God does, does not know God.
3. Islamist killing of people who does not agree with them is a solid proof that they
do not really know the real God. The same is true to other religious groups that
persecutes Bible believing Christians. Their lack of love and hatred proves that
they are children of the devil.
4. As sons of God we must know the real love is as written in the Bible:
a. “Jesus answered and said unto him, if a man love me, he will keep my
words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make
our abode with him” (Jn. 14:23).
b. “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in
knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are
excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ”
c. “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and his
commandments are not grievous” (1Jo 5:3).
d. And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will
do the things which we command you. And the Lord direct your hearts into
the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ. Now we command
you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw
yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the
tradition which he received of us (2 Thess. 3:4-6).
5. It’s our duty as sons of God to be obedient to God and His Word first. We must
not overlook the false doctrines of others.
6. In fact, we must separate ourselves to them that holds erroneous teachings. We
have to do this to protect the real sheep from wolves in sheep’s clothing.
7. Love is not an emotion. It is not broadmindedness. It is not non- judgmentalism.
It is not non-critical acceptance. Biblical love is careful. It is based on knowledge
and judgment from God’s Word. It proves all things, and it approves only those
things that are the will of God.
8. Christian, you are God’s son, how will you show your love to your real brother in
Christ? How would you deal now with people who have erroneous doctrine?
II. God shows us His love (1 Jn. 4:9-11)
A. He sent His only begotten son to die on the cross to save us. (1 Jn. 4:9, Jn 1:14,18;
B. His purpose:
1. That we may have eternal life through Him
2. That He might be the propitiation (satisfaction; covering; the fulfilment of a
demand) for our sins (1 Jn. 4:10).
3. Jesus died to provide forgiveness to us sinners, but also to give new life.
C. True love explained
1. Negatively – we are not the source. Love is lacking in the sinner. We are enemies
and rebels marked by hatred (Jn. 15:25)
2. Positively – God is the blessed source. He loved us freely (Hos. 14:4). He freely
sent His son as the sacrifice to take away our sins and give us forgiveness.
D. Because or this truth, we have an important duty and a heavy debt to pay. We must
show that love to others. We should let God’s love flow through us by becoming or
being a blessing to others.
E. Someone has said that “It is natural to love them that love us, but it is supernatural
to love them that hate us.”
Illustration 3: Miracle on The River Kwai
The Scottish soldiers, forced by their Japanese captors to labor on a jungle railroad, had degenerated
to barbarous behavior, but one afternoon something happened.
A shovel was missing. The officer in charge became enraged. He demanded that the missing shovel
be produced, or else. When nobody in the squadron budged, the officer got his gun and threatened
to kill them all on the spot . . . It was obvious the officer meant what he had said. Then, finally, one
man stepped forward. The officer put away his gun, picked up a shovel, and beat the man to death.
When it was over, the survivors picked up the bloody corpse and carried it with them to the second
tool check. This time, no shovel was missing. Indeed, there had been a miscount at the first check
The word spread like wildfire through the whole camp. An innocent man had been willing to die to
save the others! . . . The incident had a profound effect. . . The men began to treat each other like
When the victorious Allies swept in, the survivors, human skeletons, lined up in front of their captors
(and instead of attacking their captors) insisted: ‘No more hatred. No more killing. Now what we
need is forgiveness.’
III. Brotherly love teaches us that we have fellowship with God (1 Jn. 4: 12-15)
A. No one has seen God at any time (1 Jn. 4:12. Jn 1:18). We cannot see God face to
face. However, who really God is were revealed by His Son Jesus Christ.
B. By following and obeying His command to love one another, God will abide in us,
and His love will be perfected in us! (1 Jn. 12b; 1 Jn 3:24a).
C. Christ abiding in us and we abiding on Him is a clear picture of our fellowship with
D. The closest thing the unbelieving world can see in us is the love we have for one
another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to
another. (John 13:35)
E. To unbelievers our love for the brethren is the strongest argument for Christianity.
F. We dwell in Him and He dwells in us because of the Holy Spirit which was given to
us. (1 Jn. 4:13; 1 Jn 3:24b). Because of salvation, the Holy Spirit indwells the
believer. (1 Cor. 6:19-20)
G. John and the other Apostles can testify to the world that the Father sent His son
Jesus Christ to be the Saviour of the world. They were all eye witness to this truth
and they have sacrificed their life to prove it was true.
H. Confession of Jesus Christ in word and life is a clear proof of the indwelling Spirit.
Confession in this verse consist of two things:
1. That the Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God
2. It tells our faith in Him.
Christ commanded us to love one another for God is love. With this command comes the
duty to protect the flock of God from overlooking the errors and false teachings of
others. Brotherly love is an indication of sonship and fellowship with God. Do you really
love your brother in Christ? Why don’t you start now?