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Walking In Love's Light

1 John 2:7-17

Jim Davis

In the opening of 1 John, John stresses the importance of walking in the light Christ provides. Walking the light is essential to remaining in fellowship with Christ. John understands our inability to perfectly respond to the light Jesus provides. However, he reminds us of Christ's intercession for us when we confess our sins.

We can know that we know God and walk in the light Christ provides when we seek to obey his commands. It matters little how feeble our efforts at obedience may be. What matters is that we are striving to keep God's commands. God is enabled to perfect his love in us as we seek to obey his commands and walk in the light of Christ.

In Chapter two John gives us a new command and reminds us of an old one that will help us walk in the light. Loving our brothers and sisters in Christ is indicative of our willing to keep God's commands. Extending God's love to others is the surest sign of our relationship with God.

Love is Proof of Our New Birth

Our love for each other is the greatest proof of our new birth as children of God.

1 John 2:9-11
Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.
(NIV)

In the Hebrew language of the Old Testament the word for "compassion" comes from the root word, "womb." The picture is of a birthing. Something new is being born. If I apply this in a human experience, it means that my compassionate acts always give the other person another chance. I do not hold past failures against them. I offer a "fresh start." I want this for myself from others. Am I willing to give it to the other person? Such compassion will dramatically change the way we relate to each other.

John reminds his readers of God's love extended to them through forgiveness. It was out of God's compassion that our new birth is possible. Now that same compassion gives others a fresh start as we extend it to others. It dramatically changes the way we relate to others.

Our love for one another is what creates the world's thirst for God. Jesus said, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35 NIV) Jesus spoke these words at the last Passover meal. He had just demonstrated love's willingness to serve by washing their feet.

What was new about the command to love our brothers and sisters was its character. It is a self-giving love patterned after Christ's love for us. It is much different than loving Strawberries and ice cream and making love. It is a love that seeks the other person's highest good.

Jesus said that love is the fulfillment of the Law and the prophets.

Mark 12:28-34
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." "Well said, teacher," the man replied. "You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions. (NIV)

These commands were taken from Moses commands.

Deuteronomy 6:5
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. (NIV)

Leviticus 19:18
"'Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD. (NIV)

Paul sums up the commandments of God.

Romans 13:8-10
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
(NIV)

Sin has a way of making us selfish and even hateful. A child comes into this world very self-centered thinking the whole world revolves around it. As a child grows it must be taught that the world does not revolve around it. The attitude of a child is the typical behavior of the unsaved.

Titus 3:3
At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.
(NIV)

Unregenerate persons display the traits mentioned in the following verses.

Galatians 5:19-26
The acts of the sinful nature 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, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. (NIV)

When we are born again as a child of God we learn to hate what we used to love and we learn to love what we use to hate.

God's Love has Determination

When we become Christians we do try to work up a sentimental emotional love to get along with each other. It is a matter of the will and not of the emotions. You must make up your mind that you will allow God's love to reach others through you. You don't act as if you love them, but you determine to love them as God is determined to love you.

John says, "God is love." (1 John 4:8) Christ was delivered for our sins through the determined will of God. When Christ came he was determined to love sinners. There was never a sinner that Christ hated. His judgement against sin was always undercut with a loving call. Publicans and sinners were drawn to him and even the lowest could weep at his feet. The greatest thing about Christ's love was the way it touched the lives of his enemies. Jesus said, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13) However Jesus laid down his life for his enemies. Of course, he was his enemy's best friend, but his enemies didn't realize it until it was too late.

Love goes beyond sentimental emotions and is willed as we determine to love the person in spite of the person. We must live a life of Christian love so the darkness will pass away. Those who walk in the light practice love; those who walk in darkness practice hatred.

The birth of Christ was indeed the dawning of a new day for all humanity. He spread the light of light before them as he ministered in a world of darkness. Matthew writes, "The people who sat in darkness saw a great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up." (Matthew 4:16)

Love determines proper conduct today.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (NIV)

Love determines the quality of Christian fellowship.

1 John 2:9-11
Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.
(NIV)

Christian fellowship is absolutely essential. Christian fellowship is where we initially experience the love of Christ. It is where love is applied to relationships for the purpose of seeking to live right.

Today we live in a hateful dark world and it is blinding us to the possibilities of love. Paul describes his world and ours in the following verses.

Romans 1:28-32
Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. (NIV)

Love is practical rather than heady. The following biblical statements reveal the practical side of love.

Wash one another's feet. (John 13:14
Prefer one another. (Romans 12:10
Be of the same mind one to another. (Romans 12:16
Do not judge one another. (Romans 14:13)
Receive one another (Romans 15:17)
Admonish one another (Romans 15:14)
Edify one another. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Bear one another's burdens. (Galatians 6:2)
Confess your faults to one another. (James 5:16)
Use hospitality one to another. (1 Peter 4:9)

There are so many living in Christian ranks that think they are spiritual giants. They think they have great understanding, while they are babes with very little spiritual perception. They live in hatred as they despise those who have less knowledge. It is amazing how this kind of perceived spiritual perception is tearing the church apart today.

Love determines our disposition toward others.

Romans 14:15-18
If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. (NIV)

Walking in darkness can only retard the church's growth. It is no accident that John reminds his readers of God's love manifested through his forgiveness of their sins.

1 John 2:12-14
I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, dear children, because you have known the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you have known 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. (NIV)

God's forgiveness was extended to us while we were living in darkness. Should we not extend it to those we believe to be in darkness--especially to our brothers and sisters.

The Love of the World

John contrast God's love with the love of the world.

1 John 2:15-17
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world-- the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does-- comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (NIV)

In contrast, the love of the world focuses us on our own needs to the exclusion of the needs of others. The love of the world excludes the love of God from entering our hearts. Jesus said, "If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1 John 2:15) Love of the world is an attitude, which affects our response to the will of God.

The love of the world leads us to deny Christ. The antichrist are simply those against living the way Christ has called us to live. It is not some dark mystery of someone who will sneak in and take us unaware. You can recognize them as they refuse to be obedient to the truth.

1 John 2:18-23
Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist-- he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
(NIV)

The world appeals to our natural appetites and persuades us to use those appetites as a means of self-fulfillment. In giving way to these appetites we deny Christ call for our lives.

Conclusion:

John admonishes us to remain faithful to what we received from Christ. The only true way to maintain our confidence before God is to retain the love of Christ in our hearts. The only way to retain the love of Christ is through loving our brothers and sisters in Christ.

1 John 2:24-29
See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us-- even eternal life. I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit-- just as it has taught you, remain in him. And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him. (NIV)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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