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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

THE MESSAGE FROM THE BEGINNING

1 John 3:11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

The verse preceding the lesson text makes a clear distinction between the children of God, ...and the children of the devil. God's faithful children have lives that are filled with righteous works, demonstrating love for all fellow human beings. Satan's children are just the opposite. They are filled with worldliness and an unrighteous, covetous life, which results from it. They have little, or no, regard for the physical or spiritual lives of their fellow-man. In this verse alone we find God's test for all mankind. To be found worthy of coming into His presence, and abiding with Him in heaven throughout eternity, God requires righteousness and brotherly love. One cannot be a child of God without true love and honor for our Heavenly Father, or demonstrating a compassionate, and sincere love for the physical and spiritual well-being of all other men and women, who we come in contact with each day of our lives.

With this thought, the apostle John writes, For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. From the beginning of time, God's commandment has always been that we human beings demonstrate a true, caring love for each other. This is the meaning of John's previous teaching to fellow Christians. He said, Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment, which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word, which ye have heard from the beginning (1 John 2:7). The commandment referred to here is brotherly love, which he fully explained in the following verses 9 through 11. To be a true follower of Jesus Christ it is necessary to emulate Him by conducting ourselves true to His example. The Son of God was filled with love and compassion for all people of the earth. To walk in His light, that is, to follow His example, we must also demonstrate the same love Jesus had for all mankind. John tells us the message commanded of God is that we should love one another.

Following the lesson text, John gives us an example of hate - just the opposite of what our love is to be toward others. Christians are not to be as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother (Vs. 12). Allowed to be influenced by the devil, the love that Cain should have shown, was made void by the sins of jealousy, covetousness, and self-will, which culminated in the murder of his brother. The world if filled with contentions between people, that result from the hate that is brought on by the sins of pride, lust, covetousness, inordinate desire, etc., which, at times, result in injuries and murder of fellow human beings. Only occasionally do we hear newscasts that do not include the sinful results of hate crimes committed by those that heed the call of that wicked one, and ignore God's commandment that we should love one another.

Notice the teaching of additional verses following the lesson text. Similar to the hate that Cain had for his brother Abel, the children of God can expect the same hate toward them (Vs. 13). Godly people, that is, those that truly love their fellow human beings, are not to think it unusual to be hated by people of the world. To all His followers, Jesus said, These things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you (John 15:17-18). Verse 14 assures us that spiritual death, the loss of the hope of eternal salvation, is the result of hate, that is allowed to exit between fellow human beings.

Verse 15 tells us the reason for spiritual death. By inspiration John wrote that Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Just as hate existed in the heart of Cain that resulted in the murder of Abel, so hate, in the heart for others, can, and often does, lead to murder. Hate-crimes are prevalent in today's society. Hate is the seed sown by Satan that, when allowed to grow in the heart and mind of a human being, will produce the spiritual equivalent of murder. It is not possible for a man or woman to harbor hate for others in their heart, and still possess the hope of eternal life. God will not intercede and bestow spiritual blessings where Satan is allowed to rule.

Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren (1John 3:16). God's love was manifested in the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. He died on the cross of Calvary so that mankind could have their sins remitted and be reconciled to God. If God so loved the world, then all men and women of the world must demonstrate the same love for others, as did our Savior. Without any doubt, this is the message that ye have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.