Show Actions Of Love


1 John 3:18 (New Living Translation)

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Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.

People I speak to you and tell you let us not just say we love one another; let’s us speak the truth and show the truth in our actions. Let them feel and know the truth out of love.

18 My little children, let us not love in word, aneither in tongue; but in bdeed and in truth. 19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. 20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and aknoweth all things.

How Do We Know What Love Is?

Love your neighbor as yourself. Love your neighbor in the same way we love God. Selflessly.  With everything we have. Giving of our time and money to care for others before ourselves. Do we do that? Do we put others first in our lives?

Greg Grandchamp

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 (1 John 3:16).

I love hot dogs. Ever since I was a little kid, I have loved hot dogs. And I just love my dog — or at least I did before she passed on. I love football! And I loved coaching youth baseball for 10 years of my life. I love my wife for almost 40 years now. In fact, she is the love of my life, and I can’t imagine what my life would have been like without her.

And I love my kids. Well, not so much little kids anymore — all grown, the youngest is already 40. I absolutely love my grandkids and I love my sister, and my nieces and nephews. And let’s not forget about cars and movies, can’t forget movies! The list goes on and on.

Now, I obviously don’t “love” all of these things in nearly the same way. I do not love my kids or grandkids in the same way that I love my wife. And I certainly don’t love hot dogs or sports in the same way I love my family.

It would certainly seem that in today’s world, the word love is overused and undervalued. What is real love? Obviously, not my love of hot dogs. So, what does love look like? How do we know what love is? More importantly —what does God mean by love?

Why Are We Called to Love?

We have all heard it, haven’t we? Almost every wedding we have ever attended includes the verses from 1 Corinthians about love. 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. It is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

These truly are beautiful verses that describe what a marriage ought to be. The thing is, these verses are actually intended for how we are to love everyone. Did you catch that? Everyone! Every other person with whom we come in contact should be treated as stated in those so very important verses.

One thing I have come to know — what God expects of us, he first gives. When we are called to love, we need only look at the example we have in God’s love for us and in his Son.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him (1 John 4:9).

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1).

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth (1 John 3:18).

With actions and in truth. Of this there can be no doubt — Jesus didn’t just talk about his love for us, he showed it. He put it on full display for the entire world throughout history to see.

The Biblical Definition of Love

We might find the kind of love God expects from us in John 21. John relates a story of a discussion between Jesus and Peter after the resurrection. It took place on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.

You might recall, this would have been after Peter had denied Jesus three times — just as Jesus had told Peter that it would happen — and after Peter had gone off and wept. We can be certain that Peter was still feeling the sting of pain over denying his Lord.

In verse 7, as soon as Peter heard John say “It is the Lord” who they saw on the shoreline, Peter jumped into the water — I’m sure he was anxious to make up for his denials. This conversation took place:

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17).

Many scholars see this as Jesus’ message to Peter that all is forgiven. But the question remains, what was Jesus asking of Peter?

Jesus indeed was showing Peter that he was forgiven for denying him three times. Jesus then goes on to describe the manner of death Peter will suffer “by which Peter would glorify God” (v 19) — giving up his life for his Lord, just as Jesus had done for us.

Jesus’ message of forgiveness is apparent. Peter confirmed three times his love for Jesus, as he had denied him three times. The message is also clear, Jesus forgives us, just as He forgave Peter.

But also, beneath the forgiveness — Jesus was confirming Peter’s commitment and willingness to sacrifice for that love. He was confirming that love is not just an emotion. Biblical love requires action. Sacrifice.

Who Is My Neighbor?

Jesus was once asked, “Who is my neighbor?” He answered with the parable of the Good Samaritan, as written in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 10: 25-37). It is about a Jewish traveler who is robbed, beaten, stripped of clothing, and left for dead alongside the road. Passed up and carefully avoided by Jewish passersby, a Samaritan happens upon the traveler and helps the injured man.

Jews and Samaritans during that era despised each other. Yet, although he didn’t know the man, the Samaritan gives selflessly of his time and money to provide care for the man who had been beaten.

Selflessly. The Samaritan thought more about his “neighbor” — his enemy — than he did himself. He gave his time, his care, and his money to see that the man was cared for.

This is love.

At one point during his ministry on earth, Jesus was asked which is the greatest commandment in the Law:

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments (Matthew 22:36-40).

Love God with everything you have. All your heart. All your soul. All your strength. All you’ve got. Do we do that? Are we willing to sacrifice selflessly, giving up our very selves for the Lord?

Love your neighbor as yourself. Love your neighbor in the same way we love God. Selflessly.  With everything we have. Giving of our time and money to care for others before ourselves. Do we do that? Do we put others first in our lives?

With this now in mind, the “wedding verse” strikes a different chord.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. It is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

Love God. Love Others. This is love.

We are called to lay down our lives for others (1 John 3:11-24)

Aug 24, 2020

Jason Cheong



1 John series, bible talk


Hello friends, and welcome to the seventh post of a short blog series on 1 John. Today, we’ll be diving into 1 John 3:11-24 and seeing what else we can learn from the text! As always, be sure to read over the text beforehand or follow along as we go. 

Today’s passage, once again, is full of familiar teachings! Most of it is John continuing to bolster what he’s already been teaching this whole time: loving your brothers and sisters, obeying God, and recognizing how we know that God lives in us and us in him! With that said, let’s get started.

1 John 3:11-24

11 For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.

16 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. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

19 This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

We should love one another

The first verse that shows up today gives a simple message: “We should love one another” (v. 11). It’s a simple yet important message that John repeatedly brings up in this epistle. He even calls it “the message you heard from the beginning” (v.11). It’s nothing new⁠—not to us, and definitely not to the original readers of the letter. What he’ll do in the next couple of verses though (v. 11-18), is go through in depth what exactly that looks like, giving us not only specific instructions on what we are to do in v. 16-18, but also giving us strong instructions on what not to do in v. 12-15. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll go through it in order as provided in the text. 

Don’t be like Cain, a hateful murderer

Going straight into v. 12, John recalls a story that the original readers, and us, are probably very familiar with. He brings up the story of Cain and Abel. If you’re not in fact familiar with Cain and Abel, it’s a story of two brothers⁠⁠ who offer their sacrifices to God. God likes the sacrifices of Abel but not Cain, and Cain’s jealously leads him to murder Abel. This story leads perfectly into the statement that John makes in v. 15, and equates anyone who hates their brother and sister with Cain, a murderer. 

Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. (1 John 3:15)

If we’re familiar with the gospels, this is actually one of Jesus’ teachings on the Sermon on the Mount:

21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” (Matthew 5:21-22).

It’s not enough to simply not murder our brothers and sisters when we’re angry—that’s ridiculous. We need to go as far as to love and reconcile with them, and Jesus actually mentions this in the next set of verses: 

23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23-24)

One person may bring up the question: “Isn’t it much worse to physically murder someone than just being mad at them?” And my answer is: probably. But if our principle is to simply resent others without any sense of reconciliation, is that really what it means to love your neighbor? If you treat someone as if they are dead to you, haven’t you already killed them in your heart? 

Lay down your life for others

The next section (v. 16-18), rather than instructions on what not to do, gives instructions on what we should do instead. V. 16 has a pretty bold command: we’re told to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. At first glance, kind of extreme. Why does God call us to do this? Because that’s what Christ Jesus did (v. 16). Remember the last post where we talked about purifying ourselves in order to be more like Jesus? It’s the same thing here. As we learn to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters, we purify ourselves to be more like Jesus. 

What does that look like? John addresses it in v. 17-18. Although I don’t doubt the importance of a literal laying down of our lives for our brothers and sisters as stated in v. 16, the command is a bit more multi-dimensional than that. It’s not an “in the moment” thing, it’s a lifestyle. 

How do we live a lifestyle of laying down our lives for others? It looks like providing material possessions for brothers and sisters in need (v. 17), and it looks like loving others not only with words and speech but with actions and in truth (v. 18). Are these things easy? No. But our faith is put to the test when these things come up; when a brother or sister wrongs you, what will you do? Will you murder them in your heart? Or will you have faith that God’s way of forgiveness is better? When you see a brother or sister in need, what will you do? Will you ignore them, or will you be sacrificially generous, laying down your own needs for theirs? We are called to provide for other’s needs, and love them not only with words or speech but with actions and truth. 

True confidence before God

Moving on to the final section for the day, John makes a pretty bold promise: that if our hearts do not condemn us, we can have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask (v. 21-22). The big question becomes, “How can we have uncondemned hearts before God?” Well, John gives us a bit of a hint in v. 22: someone who has an uncondemned heart before God keeps his commands and does what pleases him. It’s a person who has such faith that it allows them to obey God. It’s a love that goes beyond words or speech but also affects one’s actions and lifestyle. 

When we live like this, our desires align with God’s. We are free to approach his throne of grace and ask boldly, trusting that he will respond and provide for us.

So once again, we go back to the question: where is your faith kept? It’s one thing to say that our faith lies with God, but what do our actions show? Do we have a trust in God that goes beyond words and speech? Or is that simply all it is? 

What does it look like for me today to love God and others with action and truth? Maybe it looks like forgiving that person who you’ve held a grudge against for a while. Or maybe it’s taking initiative to reach out and take care of a brother or sister in need. Whatever it is, I pray that you’ll be able to do so with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Thanks for reading! And I hope you tune in again next time! 

What Does 1 John 3:18 Mean? ►

Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.

1 John 3:18(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

A godly character that reflects the likeness of Christ, is one that loves others as Christ loved us. The love about which the Bible speaks, is different from every other type of human love, and is uniquely imparted to the child of God from the indwelling Spirit of truth and love.

The Lord Jesus laid down His life for His friends… and for His enemies. He sacrificed His life for us and we are instructed to do the same for others. We are directed to lay down our lives, in sacrificial love for our fellow men.

It is comparatively easy to love in word and tongue. It is reasonably simple to say, ‘I love you’ to other people, but the test of genuine love is expressed in deed and in truth.

It is not simply expressing affection through what we say, but through the giving up of ourselves for the service of others, no matter what the cost in time, money, reputation – and even life itself.

It is a ‘dying to self’ and a ‘living for Christ’ which is manifest in works of righteousness for the benefit of others – and to the greater glory of God. It is dying to our own self-interest and letting the beauty and love of the Lord Jesus be seen in us – so that it flows out to others in our actions and attitude.

Loving in word, is contrasted with loving in deed. It is translating one’s affectionate words into meaningful, practical deeds, through the sufficient grace of God. The former is to talk about caring, while the latter is to express unconditional love, in action.

Loving in tongue is contrasted with loving in spirit and in truth. The former is an insincere and artificial affection, while the latter is a genuine godly love that is manifest in a life that cares for the concerns of others before one’s own needs or wishes.

Make no mistake – to love in deed and in truth is not something that we can do for ourselves, however hard we try! We cannot love in deed and in truth through a training programme, mental exertion, or fleshly effort. To love in deed and in truth is a supernatural love that comes directly from God, Himself, and can only be manifested in the life of a born-again believer who is walking in spirit and truth.

Loving in spirit, in word, in deed, and in truth is evidenced in the life of one who has died to the self-life, abides in Christ, and is able to say with the apostle Paul, “It is not I that live my life, but Christ, Whose life is in me and living through me.”


1 John 3:18 Meaning of Love Is Action Not Words

Oct 29, 2020 by Editor in Chief

1 John 3:18
“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

Explanation and Commentary of 1 John 3:18

After saying that if anyone sees his brother in need and does not help him, he does not have love, John broadens the point to say that love is an action. We cannot just say, “I love you,” without showing it. It is meaningless. That said, we are saved by grace, and not by works. We don’t serve those in need in order to be saved, but rather, because we are saved. “Actions and truth” go hand in hand. What we believe is shown by what we do.

A true test of whether we are abiding in Christ will be our compassion for the poor and for anyone in need. There are nuances to this, of course, because there is a way to help others that is toxic and will cause the harm of enabling and dependency. Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 that if someone won’t work, they should not eat. But the reality is that there are many genuine needs that Christ would have us meet out of love for him. Jesus sees it as serving him when, in Christ, we serve and help others (Mt 25:40).

If you have not been as generous as you think you should have been, or you know that you have missed opportunities to show love with actions and truth, it is never too late to repent and start loving. Ask Jesus to help you, and he will show you where to start.

Breaking Down the Key Parts of 1 John 3:18

#1 “Dear children,”
John’s whole letter has a fatherly tone. His paternal love for the Church is evident.

#2 “let us not love with words or speech…”
It is not that it is wrong to love with words, but words without “actions” or “truth” are empty and make us liars. Use words to bless others, but back up words with actions.

#3 “…but with actions…”
1 John 3:16-17 says, “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 a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?”

#4 “…and in truth.”
Just as the woman at the well was told to worship God in “spirit and in truth,” (Jn 4:23-24) we are called here to love in truth. This is a powerful statement that out of our true belief in the death and resurrection of Jesus for poor sinners like us to be made rich in God, we are called live our lives accordingly, committing to the actions that genuine love dictates.

What does 1 John 3:18 mean?

Following his application in verse 17, John summarizes the need for Christians to act on love, not just think about it. It is important to communicate love through our words, but we must also do so through our actions. Jesus gave a similar warning to the Pharisees in Matthew 15:4–9. Just as truly saving faith will produce good works (James 2:17–19), truly loving another person will produce loving actions. This verse once again uses the Greek root word agape, meaning a selfless, sacrificial love.

Jesus not only spoke about love, He provided powerful actions to match His teachings. John 13 offers a clear example in which Jesus washed the feet of His disciples to teach them to serve one another in humility. His death on the cross offered the most powerful evidence of love “in deed and in truth.” He endured suffering, ridicule, and death from those who should have recognized Him as the Messiah. Yet His actions also included His resurrection, offering love in action that changed the course of history.

Context Summary

First John 3:11–18 describes the contrast between hate and love, and how love ought to be seen in the life of a Christian believer. Evil has a jealous hatred for good. This is why Cain killed Abel, and why hatred is considered the spiritual equivalent to murder. Christians are expected to do more than feel love, they are commanded to act on it, in selfless sacrifice.

Chapter Context

The third chapter of 1 John focuses mostly on the concept of love. Because of His love, God not only calls us His children, He actually makes us His children. John also explains how sin, including hate, is never the result of a proper relationship with God. Christians, in contrast to the world, are supposed to do more than simply ”feel” love; we are to act on it, as well

Author: J. Palmer

Living under the wings of God and the angels around me keeping me going and safe. Sharing the love of Christ.

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