Love One Another, Pt. 2
1 John 3:15-18
February 2, 2014
The story, an open secret in the crowded nylon city of Mount Everest base camp, trickled out from the high Himalayas: A British mountaineer desperate for oxygen had collapsed along a well-traveled route to the summit.
Dozens of people walked right past him, unwilling to risk their own ascents. Within hours, David Sharp, 34, was dead.…
The tale was shocking, an apparent display of preening callousness. Sir Edmund Hillary, who was on the team that first summitted Everest in 1953, called it “horrifying” that climbers would leave a dying man.
But in the small world of modern high-altitude mountaineers, there was barely any surprise at all.…
“We’ve been seeing things like this for a very long time,” said Thomas Sjogren, a Swedish mountaineer who helps run ExplorersWeb, a Web site widely read by climbers. “The real high-altitude mountaineers, the top people in the world who are doing new peaks and going to mountains you don’t know much about, most of these people have become completely disgusted by Everest.”
The top mountaineers “often help each other,” said Sjogren, who has made many Himalayan climbs. “If you know him or you don’t know him, it doesn’t matter: you try to help him until he’s confirmed dead.”
But many of today’s Everest climbers are on commercial expeditions, some paying tens of thousands of dollars to guides who are under fierce pressure to get their clients to the summit.…
“The sheer pressure of numbers and accessibility to these mountains [have] changed the kind of people who go,” said Lydia Bradey, a 44-year-old New Zealander who in 1988 became the first woman to summit Everest without supplemental oxygen.
As a result, Bradey said in a telephone interview, Everest climbers may be forced to decide whether to jeopardize their once-in-a-lifetime investment to help a dying person.
“If you’re going to go to Everest … I think you have to accept responsibility that you may end up doing something that’s not very ethically nice,” she said. “You have to realize that you’re in a different world.” [ESPN, “As others pass, climber dies alone on Mount Everest.”]
I’ve read enough accounts about high-altitude climbing to realize that what has been happening on Everest is not unusual. And I’ve lived long enough to realize that this isn’t an Everest or high altitude climbing problem. It’s a human condition problem. People love. But the flesh and the unregenerate man love self first of all and most of all. And that results in many kinds of circumstances where people do “something that’s not very ethically nice,” and make a variety of excuses for it that make it seem more palatable or reasonable.
Jesus came to change that in us.
Jesus came to change us from lovers of self to lovers of Him and lovers of others.
When you take the entire Old Testament, it can be synthesized into two commands, Jesus said — “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength…and love your neighbor as yourself.” Love God and love others.
But evidently such love doesn’t come particularly easily. Because the theme of love is repeated over and over and over again — as if we cannot understand and as if we do not obey and we need to be reminded and convinced over and over. Of the 57 “one another” commands in the Epistles, almost 1/3 are “love one another.” And theme of love dominates the book of 1 John. The verb, noun, and adjective forms of the word “love” appear 52x in the book. John is compelled to urge his readers to grow in love — particularly in love for each other.
And John addresses it particularly in chapter 3, devoting more than half the chapter to the topic. His point is that —
An essential evidence of our life in Christ is our love for one another.
What does this kind of love look like and do? John makes six assertions about love in the body of Christ in verses 11-15 — this is what believers can expect to do, what they can expect not to do, and how they can expect to be received by the world. And then he follows that with an example of Biblical love and an application for how to love biblically. And then next week we’ll see how he ties all this to assurance of the believer’s salvation.
What can we say about loving each other in the body of Christ? We can say —
1. Six Assertions About Biblical Love (vv. 11-15)
- An Old Command for All Christians (vv. 10b-11)
- What a Loving Christian Is Not (v. 12)
- What the World Thinks of Loving Christians (v. 13)
- What a Loving Christian Is (v. 14a)
- What a Loving Christian Does (v. 14b)
- What a Loving Christian Does Not Do (v. 15)
2. Christ: The Pre-Eminent Example of Biblical Love (v. 16)
3. Giving: One Simple Application of Biblical Love (vv. 17-18)