The Bible translation used in this study is the New International Version. Loving in Word and Deed (1 John 3:18) - January 19th 2014

    Love finds its way into various vocabularies expressing a desire to enjoy a variety of experiences. John wrote to encourage his readers to walk their talk. We notice the way the writer presented Jesus as the ultimate example of love.
    This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:16-18

    If Jesus has changed our hearts we should see evidence of His way of loving in the way we relate to one another.

    1. Get involved
    16 We ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
    Getting involved requires more than mouthing words to say "I Love You." If we are going to use the love word, we need to be willing to listen to one another. Loving people make themselves and their resources available to express love in the presence of genuine need. Loving people make the effort to give of themselves to meet the needs of others. Anyone can love in the abstract but loving in the concrete demands effort.
    Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? James 2:15, 16

    Love is an Action Word. Love takes the initiative to help others become what they are meant to be in Christ.
    Love is a Sacrificial Word. Self-sacrifice always costs the person making the sacrifice. However, the sacrificial spirit chooses to sacrifice without calling attention to the price of the sacrifice.

    2. Adjust your attitude
    18 Let us not love with words or speech
    Our attitudes form the breath that carry our words.
    Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:5
    Jesus' attitude was based on God's unconditional love. The life of our Savior reveals a key to loving God's way. God's love rises out of the character of the lover, not the character or actions of the one loved.

    Are you going to allow Jesus to create His loving character in you?

    Jesus gave real life examples for showing God's love in Matthew 5:39-42. Loving people do not return ugliness for ugliness. Loving people share what they have. And loving people do more with a good spirit than is demanded of them. Does your face...does your attitude communicate availability to care?

    One way we can adjust our attitudes will be to allow our minds to filter our conversations with the thought "I love you in Christ" as we listen to others.

    3. Serve love
    Let actions and in truth
    Soren Kierkegaard: I do not know the truth except when it becomes part of me.
    Our actions reveal the depth of the truth of God's love in our lives.
    Hudson Taylor (China Inland Mission): I used to ask God to help me. Then I asked if I might help Him. Finally I ended up asking Him to do His work through me.
    When Jesus Christ laid down his life for us, He gave Himself away to address our real needs.
    Love speaks through the way we use our time, talents, possessions, attitudes and energy.
    How are you laying down your life for others?

    Love is an easy word to say. However, giving up our self-interests and serving one another is demanding. As we accept God's love we accept His invitation to convey His love in word and deed in the real world where He has placed us.

    As you think on this text, take time to invite God to put His love in your flesh.

    This New International Version is the Bible translation used in this Bible study.