[1 John 3: 13- 14]
“Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you.  We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.”
Continuing from the last session, let’s look into 1 John 3:13.
It says, “Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you.”
As recorded, even if the believers are suffering without a proper reason in their homes or workplaces, they don’t have to feel undue hardship or be stressed in wondering why it is happening to them.
When faced with persecutions for the name of the Lord, they can receive the comfort and rewards given by God and give glory to Him if they rejoice and give thanks.
If they keep acting in the truth like Daniel acted, God will work on their behalf.
They can keep their faith in any trial if they trust the great power and love of God.
In many cases they are not able to realize the will of God during the trials, but if they realize the will of God after the trials are over, they will give thanks with tears for His love.
Now, imagine that you were in the place of Daniel.
If you could just pass the test just by pleasing God, it would be really great.
But what if you had a sense of resentment or had spoken words of resentment and had not given thanks?
Then, after God saved you from the lion’s den and lifted you up to a higher and more honorable position, you would have been so sorry before God remembering what you had said.
You would most certainly have regretted it and think, “How could I have said such a thing before God of love who prepared such good things for me? Why could I not have trusted Him completely?”
When Stephen was being martyred, the Lord in Heaven could not remain seated on His throne and He stood up as He looked on.
God the Father knew Stephen would be martyred in faith, but He was still very anxious when His beloved child was being martyred.
God loves us more than we love ourselves. But, He sometimes allows trials for us or undue sufferings to give us greater blessings.
If you remember this heart of the Father and the Lord, you will be on the alert even in fiery trials.
You will make up your mind to pass those trials well so that you are able to please the heart of the Father God who is watching you with expectations.
When I was a new believer I once spoke words that broke God’s heart.
I was healed of so many diseases, and for the grace of salvation, my family was filled with thanks.
I had to work on construction sites moving from one rented house to another, but still each moment felt as happy as being in Heaven.
Once, the house we were living in was to be taken down, and we had to leave without receiving the down payment back.
We borrowed 50,000 won which is about 50 dollars to rent a one bedroom house that did not have any sunlight, but that house had to be taken down, too.
We had to vacate it within a month.
However we received the 50,000 won deposit back this time, but it was not easy to get another house with that small amount of money.
One day, we went to a far distant place looking for a house, and we had skipped both lunch and dinner by the time we came back home.
I was so tired and without really realizing it, I lamented.
“God, how come You did not hear my prayer? How come You did not prepare just one house?”
But right after that, we just went to a nearby realtor’s office hoping for some kind of opportunity, and he just had a house nearby, and we could get in there right away.
Furthermore, the bedroom was much better than the current house, and it also had a room so we could even have a shop. For all this I just had to pay 50,000 won!
I cried so much that day.
I repented thoroughly saying, “I must be so thankful just for healing me, and it is not God who made me poor, and how could I complain against God?” and fasted for three days.
Since then, I have never said anything that could disappoint God.
I would rather die than once again breaking the heart of God the Father who gave me only good things.
God’s thoughts are different from men’s thoughts, and God’s wisdom is different from men’s wisdom.
If we asked in prayer with faith, God is preparing something great even though it might not be seen by our eyes.
blessings at a better point in time, which might be different from what we hope for.
I hope you will remember the love of God in any situation.
I urge you never to forget that He has already given you the blessing of salvation and the heavenly kingdom that cannot be exchanged with anything of this world.
I urge you to please God all the time by making professions of faith and thanksgiving, believing in the love of God who is always giving us the best things.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, along with this, there is something you should remember.
If you are persecuted because you are in fact seeking your own while giving excuses about the church activities or because you are not wise enough, it is not a persecution received for the name of the Lord and thus it cannot be your reward.
Suppose a student does not study hard but only comes to church to hang around with his friends in the church. Or, a housewife just attends church meetings without doing her work in the home.
If their family members say something about it and tell then not to go to church for this reason, then, it is not a persecution received for the name of the Lord.
It is rather that the church is degraded because they were not wise, their rewards might also be reduced.
1 Peter 2:19-20 says, “For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.”
Believers must be brave and not compromise with unrighteousness, and they have to be faithful and honest.
They have to serve others with love and self-sacrifice. They have to be more diligent and humble than others.
Only then can they drive away the works of Satan and receive the help of God.
Also, even though they do not commit sins, they sometimes hurt the feelings of others with some words that are not wise while they preach to others.
Sometimes, they force a new-believer to follow the word of God that he cannot really obey with his measure of faith, or they talk about deep spiritual things that a new-believer cannot understand.
In this case, the new-believer will not be blessed but he will have misunderstandings and close his heart.
In a serious case, he might even feel he’s been hurt and react in evil actions.
I hope you will discern between whether you are actually being persecuted for the name of the Lord or you have caused persecutions upon yourself due to your shortcomings, and you will act wisely and in an edifying fashion.
When you are persecuted for the name of the Lord, or in any other trial, do not be discouraged or become saddened but rejoice and give thanks with your heart.
In doing so, I pray in the name of the Lord that, you will abundantly receive all the blessings that God has prepared.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the apostle John repeatedly tells the believers to love one another in the book of 1 John.
In the following verse 1 John 3:14, he said, “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.”
We have passed out of death into life because of the faith in Jesus Christ.
Originally, all men were destined to receive the punishment of death, namely the eternal fire of Hell, but Jesus took the punishment on behalf of us.
If we believe in this fact and accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are saved.
Namely, we have passed out of death into life through the faith in the Lord.
In John 5:24 Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”
And in 1 John 3:14, it says, “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren.” Namely, when we love our brethren, it is the evidence that we have passed out of death into life.
It also says, “He who does not love abides in death.” It is warning us that those people cannot even receive salvation.
Why is it that we cannot even receive salvation if we do not love our brethren?
You can understand this if you remember when you first received the Holy Spirit.
When you have the first love with the Lord, you are filled with love in your heart.
You respect your parents, love your brothers, and even those whom you used to hate look lovely. You can smile at others.
You have joy in heart, so your face brightens, and the rigid countenance becomes mild as that of angels.
Of course, it does not mean you have perfect love from the moment you accept the Lord.
To the extent that you are filled with the Spirit and grace, you are given the strength to love others.
But as long as you stay in the first or the second level of faith, you might hate others again when the fullness of Spirit or your grace cools down.
You dislike and you want to stay away from those who do things that you can’t understand and those who give you a hard time.
If you don’t like something, you are frustrated.
When other brothers are better off than you, you feel uncomfortable or discouraged.
It is because you have not cultivated perfect love yet.
Nevertheless, those who receive the works of the Holy Spirit will change little by little with the effort to cultivate perfect love in them.
They try and pray to love the brothers thinking, “God gave His only begotten Son to save such a person as me, and Jesus gave His life to save a sinner like me, and how can I have an evil mind towards others?”
As they keep trying to change themselves, they can cultivate perfect love.
They do not get angry just because another person is not acting in a way that will benefit them or because he does something they don’t like.
Even if another person has some shortcomings, they encourage him and bear with him until he does well.
They earnestly hope and believe that the other person will change and do well.
Even if it means they have to sacrifice themselves until then, they can still be patient.
They do not boast of what they have and they are not jealous because of the things others have.
They are not arrogant or impolite, and they do not think of what is unrighteous or evil.
Even if another person acts in evil towards them, they understand him thinking of why he had to act that way in his viewpoint.
Furthermore, they can have true compassion on the person who acts in evil.
Ultimately, they can cultivate the love with which they can give their lives for their enemies just like Jesus gave His life for us.
Once we cultivate such love, we can say that the Lord who is the truth itself is dwelling in us completely.
Saying, “the Lord in me, and I in the Lord” is accomplished.
One more thing we have to remember is that if we really love our brethren and the souls, we have to try to save more souls.
We must pray for those souls who are not saved and we must preach the gospel.
Also, for those brethren who have weak faith, we will visit them and pray for them so that they will not stumble and their faith will increase quickly.
Those who do not believe in God sometimes complain about Christianity.
They say, “Why do you have to force others to believe your religion? Because you say we have to believe only in Jesus Christ, those who have other religions are offended.”
If there is any other way of salvation than Jesus Christ, we can surely tell them to keep their good faith in that religion.
We wouldn’t have to spend our money and time to spread the gospel. Sometimes, we don’t have to keep our faith despite persecutions, so it will be comfortable and easy for the believers, too.
But if we do have faith and know the truth, we cannot help ourselves from spreading the truth.
We know that there certainly is Heaven and Hell, and there is only one way of salvation, which is the way of cross of Jesus Christ.
If one of our brothers did not hear the gospel and did not believe, he cannot go to Heaven, but instead he will fall into the lake of fire, and how can we not preach?
If you really love somebody, you would want to give him good food and share good things with him.
In fact, even if you don’t love that person so much, if you know that there is a fire in the house where he is sleeping, you would naturally try to wake him up.
Even if he is not related with you at all, you might even go into the house to save him in that kind of emergency.
And, if you know that one of your beloved ones is going to receive the punishment of eternal fire of Hell, how can you just keep quiet about it?
Also, if we see those believers with weak faith, we would help them reach a better dwelling place in Heaven and keep the enemy devil and Satan from tempting them.
If we see them suffer from any spiritual or material problems, we would intercede for them more earnestly than when we pray for our own problems.
On the other hand, some people diligently lead a life in faith having positions in church and longing for heavenly kingdom, but they are not as interested in saving more souls as they should be.
They do not evangelize even one person a year, and they do not long to have duties to take care of souls.
They feel it is burdensome if they are told to become cell group leaders and counsel the members.
The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:16, “For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.”
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will be filled with spiritual love, and you will arrive at the kingdom of God with many more beloved souls.