Love in Action: 1 John 3

October 21, 2018 Download: Audio Notes

Teaching note: The Matthew 6 admonition to not draw attention to our giving is directed at religious people- in our case, Christians- who make a show of public prayers and good works. I apologize for using a translation that did not clarify this, where the reference to church as a synagogue could be misconstrued as anti-Jewish. Jesus’ critique applies to all of us when we perform religious actions for public approval, not particularly to any specific religion, including his own observance of Judaism. The Message translation makes this more clear:

“Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.

2-4 “When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure—‘playactors’ I call them—treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that’s all they get. When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out. Matt. 6:1-4

Teaching Text: Love in Action


Creator God,
you call us to love and serve you
with body, mind, and spirit
through loving your creation
and our sisters and brothers.
Enlighten us with true faith
and humble obedience
that seeks to serve others
in your name. Amen.