I John 3:17

“But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart (bowels of compassion KJV) from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” 1 John 3:17 (New King James Version)


A.W Tozer writes about this scripture saying, “The apostles rebuked the young churches sharply because a few of their members had forgotten this and had allowed their love to spend itself in personal enjoyment while their brethren were in need.”

The Message writes it this way, “This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear.”

I must say I don’t believe a need is when our fellow believers have enjoyed their life with spending all their money and time on their enjoyment and then stand around wanting someone ( church, parents, family and friends) to help so they can spend their savings on a little more enjoyment. This seems like we now have two without the love of God but plenty love for self?

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7 thoughts on “I John 3:17

  1. It’s interesting to note that the soul whom Marietta Davis had known when he was alive on earth but saw in hell…told her that in this hopeless, pitiful, evil place abode “those who oppressed the poor, robbed the hireling of his wages, the false in religious faith, the hypocrites”…that’s what hell was full of. And the first mentioned, as stated above, was those who oppressed and ignored the poor. They are selfish, greedy and lustful souls who care only about their own personal happiness.
    Her heavenly guide told her that there is not, nor ever will be, a fulfillment happiness in hell.
    To quote Dante’s INFERNO…”Abandon all hope, ye who enter here!”

  2. This reminds me of a scripture from James 2:15 NIV:
    “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?”

    It’s empty words/no love in action.
    I don’t think a brother/sister in need is necessarily poor. Maybe that brother or sister just can’t get to a store to get clothes or food because they are not well or lack transportation or are so busy helping another brother or sister with their needs that they have no time to attend to their own?
    This is where we can show God’s love by using the gifts He gave us to sacrifice personal time, agendas, finances, etc to pitch in and help even when it is not personally convenient.

  3. You are right, Debi. It was personally, terribly inconvenient for The Lord Jesus Christ to leave His heavenly home and come to sickly, rebellious planet Earth and tolerate the perversity He encountered every day of His earthly life. VERY INCONVENIENT, to say the least. But He set an example for all of His followers…US…that “laying down of your life for a friend is the manifestation of true love.” And as Debi points out it could be postponing something in your personal life or giving it up so as to take care of a friend or relative. Or to do a favor for one who has a need at a point in time. Or to give up our agenda for a day or afternoon or morning to help someone out. To change our plans or sacrifice something of our own pleasure because someone asked us to give them hand.
    Thank God that He shows us in His book, The BIBLE, how exactly to respond in love to others.
    Now that is LOVE IN ACTION, like Sara was speaking about.

  4. Love, giving, sharing in action. Our Faith in action sure makes the world go round. Giving in our churches, the family of God when we have a member in need is like being in a glass-gleaming biosphere with all the heavenly blessings in harmony by the movement of the celestial spheres.

    Yes, we become a part of belonging or relating to heaven , the celestial city. The Apostle, John, ask the question, if you don’t give to those in need, how does the love of God live on in the earth. But, just think when we answer John (by the way he did see the celestial city, did he not?) “I don’t know because I do give and give freely, therefore, the celestial crystal sea is flowing in the glass-gleaming biosphere where I live…

  5. I John 3: 1 NCV “The Father has loved us so much that we are called children of God. And we really are his children. The reason the people in the world do not know us is that they have not known him.” Q. Whom are we to help in vs. 17 as outlined in blog based on this verse?
    vs. 17 “…anyone who continues to sin belongs to the devil.” Q. If we help ones that are sinning are we loving God or the devil?

    An older wise man said to me one day, “The reason I am poor is because God knows I would sin if I had great wealth. I would lavish upon myself and family and have not time to help the needy” I didn’t like his theory but I am staring to see his point when I read the words of John.

  6. When my brother went home to be with Jesus, recently, he did not leave very much in worldly goods. But all his Christian life he had given to the poor & homeless, helped feed the poor & homeles, helped clothe the poor & homeless, the disenfranchised… often taking out of his own pocket to give to those in need. Yes, they were sinners, many of them….well, most of them. But several of them did come to Christ thru his ministering to them.
    Some would say…. ‘Well!! they have made their own bed of woe because of their addictions and excesses and foolishness. True! But I keep thinking of the ones who seemed to be completely hopeless and how through the ministry of compassionate charity, they have come to the Lord, gotten deliverance, jobs, married and are workers in the church, or in Christian ministries.
    In theory we don’t want to aid the sinner who is sinning but in reality , if there is an opportunity through ministering to the lost poor to bring them to Christ, then it is worth it. I realize that all are not called to this kind of ministry but it has a place in the Kingdom work, to bring these poor, staggering, disenfranchised souls to the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.
    “I think of the song Amazing Grace that saved a WRETCH like me”

  7. In answer to Sara’s questions:
    Q. Whom are we to help in vs. 17 as outlined in blog based on this verse?
    vs. 17 “…anyone who continues to sin belongs to the devil.” Q. If we help ones that are sinning are we loving God or the devil?

    From my understanding, Vs. 17 says we are to help fellow believers.
    However, for thos beleivers that are sinning we have these instructions from II Thes 3: 6-15 (Message Bible)

    “Our orders—backed up by the Master, Jesus—are to refuse to have anything to do with those among you who are lazy and refuse to work the way we taught you. Don’t permit them to freeload on the rest. We showed you how to pull your weight when we were with you, so get on with it. We didn’t sit around on our hands expecting others to take care of us. In fact, we worked our fingers to the bone, up half the night moonlighting so you wouldn’t be burdened with taking care of us. And it wasn’t because we didn’t have a right to your support; we did. We simply wanted to provide an example of diligence, hoping it would prove contagious.
    Don’t you remember the rule we had when we lived with you? “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.” And now we’re getting reports that a bunch of lazy good-for-nothings are taking advantage of you. This must not be tolerated. We command them to get to work immediately—no excuses, no arguments—and earn their own keep. Friends, don’t slack off in doing your duty.
    If anyone refuses to obey our clear command written in this letter, don’t let him get by with it. Point out such a person and refuse to subsidize his freeloading. Maybe then he’ll think twice. But don’t treat him as an enemy. Sit him down and talk about the problem as someone who cares.”

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