As an introduction to his instructions for proof of our abiding fellowship with God in Christ, John strongly encouraged believers to avoid sin and be conscious of Satan’s ever-present efforts to tempt and seduce the children of God. John was warning Christians against sin. Satan is constantly waiting for opportunities to tempt and seduce God’s people. Sometimes we blow it and fall victim to his trickery but when we do, a loving and understanding God has made provision through Jesus our advocate, who pleads our cause before the Father and restores the broken fellowship. With that truth established, John then presents two tests that will prove that a person has fellowship with God. The first test is that of obeying God’s commands and the second is that of loving each other.
Scripture Reading: 1 John 2:3–14
1 John 2:3-14 NIV We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining. Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them. I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, dear children, because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
(1 John 2:3, 9 NIV) “We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. . . . Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother or sister is still in the darkness”
As an introduction to his instructions for proof of our abiding fellowship with God in Christ, John strongly encouraged believers to avoid sin and be conscious of Satan’s ever-present efforts to tempt and seduce the children of God. We've talked about that the past couple of weeks.
1 John 1:5-6 NIV This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.
Peter said it this way;
1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
As I said last week, “Satan, in his determination to distort every truth in God’s Word, has caused many to think that God’s grace is cheap permission for a Christian to sin.
Satan tells people, one of two things. He says “You could never meet God’s standards. So why even try?” Or else he says, “God is a loving heavenly Father, and he understands your human weakness. Don’t take sinning so seriously. God will always forgive.”
Realizing that the sinful nature is still present with us even though our souls are redeemed, John reminded us that all is not lost when we sin. God has made provision, through the advocacy of Jesus, our great High Priest, who is seated at God’s right hand in heaven.
1 John 1:9 NIV If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
And as we read last week;
1 John 2:1 NIV My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
John was warning Christians against sin. Satan is constantly waiting for opportunities to tempt and seduce God’s people. Sometimes we blow it and fall victim to his trickery but when we do, a loving and understanding God has made provision through Jesus our advocate, who pleads our cause before the Father and restores the broken fellowship.
With that truth established, John then presents two tests that will prove that a person has fellowship with God.
1. The first test is that of obeying God’s commands
1 John 2:3 NIV We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands.
A. “Know” is a very special word.
It is more than just being acquainted with someone. It describes a continuing relationship that has deepened and become more intimate because of shared experiences.
You and I meet the same person at the same time on the same day. We made his acquaintance, learned his name, and perhaps discovered something about him. A relationship was established. But then I went away and never saw that person again.
You, on the other hand, cultivated the relationship. You saw this individual almost every day. You became fast friends and shared many experiences together. Both of us know this person, but my knowledge of him is only as a passing acquaintance. You really know him because you have experienced life situations together. This is the knowledge John was talking about.
Let's look at;
John 17:1-3 NIV After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
In other words Jesus prayed that His disciples experience true relationship with His Father and with Him
Philippians 3:10 NIV I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
Paul wanted to really experience the kind of power that raised Jesus from the dead. Not only that he wanted to experience the same kind of suffering Jesus felt.
B. How can we be sure that we know Christ?
We can be sure that we know Him if we have a real intense desire to keep his commands. John was not talking about a dutiful act of obedience, as a slave obeys his master, with no feeling. He was talking about obedience based on who Jesus is and who he has become to us as our Savior and Advocate. John was talking about constantly keeping or guarding God’s Word. This requires daily meditation on Scripture.
Psalms 119:11 NIV I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
John 14:23 NIV Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.
James 1:22-25 NIV Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
In verse 5 of 1 John 2 John John says
1 John 2:5 NIV But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him:
John is saying that whenever someone takes God’s message to heart, the love of God has reached its full significance and potential in that person.
Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
Love, in its very essence, is a reciprocal experience. The perfect ideal of love involves two parties. We express love to someone, and that person responds with love. This is what John meant when he said that when we obey God’s Word, we are responding to the love that has caused God to reach out to us in the first place.
John 3:16 NIV 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.
1 John 4:19 NIV We love because he first loved us.
1 John 2:9 NIV Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness.
A. We need to clearly understand the kind of love John was talking about.
As I said before the perfect ideal of love involves two parties, it’s reciprocal. But that is not what happens in a broken world. The world is not yet ideal so the perfect ideal of love doesn’t always happen.
John is talking about the perfect ideal, not about the affection we have for those who we like and with whom we have things in common. Loving those who are lovable requires no effort.
Listen to what Jesus said;
Matthew 5:43-48 NIV “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
John was talking about the kind of love expressed by the word agape. Agape is a self-sacrificing love that does not first consider whether that love will be returned. Its interest is entirely for the person to whom the love is expressed.
It’s the kind of love we talked about in the “Love, The Badge Of The Christian” series, that we had last year. Agape is the kind of love described in 1 Corinthians 13:1-8. Agape is always patient, is always kind, never gives up even when the going is difficult, is always eager to believe the best, believes that no person is a hopeless case, and agape gives us power to endure anything.
B. Let’s face it some people are unloveable so how do we love those people? The ones who are not lovable or those who are hostile or insulting or offensive?
If we allow the Holy Spirit and the fruit of Spirit to operate it happens naturally, and spontaneously, because it comes out of the overflow of love produced in our hearts because of our obedience to God’s Word.
Galatians 5:13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
And then it says beginning at
Galatians 5:16-23 NIV So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
If we obey God’s Word, he will fill us to overflowing with his love—and it is with that love that we will automatically love others.
Jesus not only calls us to love but he also gives us the ability to love through the presence of the Spirit.
John 15:12 NIV My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
The Holy Spirit is given to us so that we can follow the example of Jesus when it comes to love. The Holy Spirit guides us by causing us to remember Jesus and his word. The Spirit is the means by which the love of the Father and Son dwell in us.
John 14:16-17 NIV And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
Living the life of love is not always easy, especially when someone or a group of people are antagonistic or indifferent. Yet the mission of love remains the same. Love them anyway.
Here's something else that Jesus said;
Luke 6:32-36 NIV “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
C. Then John added;
1 John 2:10 NIV Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.
Back 1 John 1:6 he said;
1 John 1:6 NIV If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.
Whenever Scripture says that people walk in “darkness,” or stumble around it refers to sin and sin separates people from God.
In other words, when we show love to others, there are no stumbling blocks in our way to keep us from growing in grace, and from advancing from glory to glory in our Christian lives. We are not walking in darkness.
Two things, inseparably related, assure us of continued fellowship with God: first, a habitual obedience to God through the keeping of his commands; and second, a habitual loving of others, which becomes the natural outflow of our obedience to God.