1 JOHN 3:16 - Berean Lamp Memory Verse - (Sep 18-25)

Posted by Nathan Warner on

The Berean Lamp Memory Verse for this week is:

“We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16).

We're continuing our study of how the Church is a societal hedge or foundation for a free and just society. This week, we're looking at the Christian concept of self-sacrifice and how that is an essential service to those around us. This uniquely Christian idea teaches us that we should live our lives for others, not for ourselves. If you live for your own pleasures and your own good, you will exploit and harm those around you in service to your "needs." Self-sacrifice is a service to society - to your spouse, your children, your parents, your neighbors, and your community. It is giving of your energy and time and goodness to them for their good. It is taking responsibility for others - and this is the essential foundation of a free society which offers its citizens unparalleled liberty - because self-sacrifice means giving good to others while denying your own selfish desire to exploit others. All sin is living for your own needs and desires at the expense of others.

But the truth is that what is "good" for you is often harmful to others. What makes you happy often makes someone else unhappy. God wants the most good for everyone, and in this broken world that means that sometimes we have to go through times of unpleasantness and self-sacrifice to benefit others - sometimes we may not even know the good to ourselves or others that our sacrifice or suffering is accomplishing.

So often, God teaches by example, and it is no surprise that God gave us the ultimate example in His Son Jesus Christ who sacrificed His glory to be born into this decrepit, abusive, broken world and suffer in it until becoming the ultimate expression of self-sacrifice in taking responsibility in His death for the horrific sins of most vile in the world. Jesus gave us the pattern to follow. He laid his life down for us. Have we thought what that all encompasses? first, He left His high estate of Kingship and came to serve lowly, broken, fallen humanity. He lived His whole life on Earth in hard service to the needs of others, without pleasures or luxuries - with "nowhere to lay His head” (Luke 9:58). It did not end there. He literally laid down His life for us, dying unjustly in our place of judgement so we wouldn't have to. But more than that, He sacrificed His holiness and purity so that the terrible, horrific sins of the world could be nailed to Him and he owned them before God, taking responsibility for the judgment that they are due.

Jesus' life is an example of laying down your life in service to the needs of others - one that we are commanded to emulate in our lives. Taking up our own crosses of self-sacrifice and self-denial in service to others guards and shields society from the destructive outcomes of the selfish, self-centered lusts of the flesh. God Himself sacrificed Himself for His broken, wayward, self-willed, and polluted creation. And in like manner, we are called to lay our lives down for others - laying down our passions, desires, dreams, and even lives in service to others. This was the culture that made western culture a light to the world - in its imitation of Christ.

Unfortunately, in our modern culture, people are being told that they need to "love themselves" and to "live in the moment" without thought to harmful consequences. The gospel of today teaches our children that the impulses and desires they have "can't be wrong if you are born to want it" ; "self-sacrifice is wasting your life" ; "live your life for yourself" ; "live your dream" ; "live the life you love" ; "you start living the moment you live life for yourself and not for others" ; "Don't make your life someone else's wants and needs" ; "To fall in love with yourself is the first secret to happiness" ; "The most important thing is to enjoy your life" ; "Success is doing what you want to do, when you want, where you want, with whom you want, as much as you want" ; "Do you want to meet the love of your life? Look in the mirror." These are all popular "self-improvement" quotes, which resonate with Lucifer's hymn to his own will - his selfish dreams and passions at the expense of everyone and everything: “But you said in your heart, ‘I WILL ascend to heaven; I WILL raise my throne above the stars of God, And I WILL sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. I WILL ascend above the heights of the clouds; I WILL make myself like the Most High’” (Isaiah 14:13-14 emphasis added).

And we wonder why people do terrible things to others, sacrifice others for their own happiness, and why our society is ripping apart at the seams? Harm is increasing in our culture as the love of many grows cold and lawlessness increases.

May we testify to the light of the Gospel that saves men from the eternal penalty of living a self-willed, self-centered life of harm. May we share the good news of the Gospel that teaches self-sacrifice and self-control for the peace and good of our societies. And may we never cease searching the Scriptures daily and seeking God's wisdom in His purposes on earth, which are for the good of all.


Other verses to consider:

“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

“And whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:27-28)

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it’” (Matthew 16:24-25).

“Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted” (Matthew 23:12).

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).

“Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8).

“But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone” (Hebrews 2:9).

“You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).

“And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will’” (Matthew 26:39).

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2).

“But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all” (Philippians 2:17).

“Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Hebrews 9:26).

“Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Hebrews 13:15-16).

“You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen” (Galatians 1:3-5).

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20).

“And walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma” (Ephesians 5:2).

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word” (Ephesians 5:25-26).

“For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time” (1 Timothy 2:5-6).

“Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:13-14).

“We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16).

“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep” (John 10:11).

“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

“But some days later Felix arrived with Drusilla, his wife who was a Jewess, and sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. But as he was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened and said, ‘Go away for the present, and when I find time I will summon you’” (Acts 24:24-25).

“Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable” (1 Corinthians 9:25).

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:22-24).

“All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “The two shall become one flesh.’ But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:12-20).

“For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:2-4).

“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

“For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict” (Titus 1:7-9).

“Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love” (2 Peter 1:5-7).

“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).

“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city” (Proverbs 16:32).

“Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit” (Proverbs 25:28).

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9).

“For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another” (Galatians 5:13-26).

Tags: love, sin, service, lust, self-control, god's will, selfish, dreams, passions, desires, hopes, self-sacrifice, self-will

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