Love & Obedience

2 John 4-6

4 I rejoiced greatly that I have found some of your children walking in truth, as we received commandment from the Father. 5 And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another. 6 This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it. NKJV

We all have a vague idea of love. Vague because love in its truest sense is seen in the love that the Father in heaven displays toward us. We are called upon to emulate that love. But we find it so difficult because we have divergent forces pulling at us. The world has so much to offer. Some of it not offensive to God but other things that are. But many of the things that are not really offensive, yet still draw us away from God simply because they rob us of our time, time to spend with Him.

But not only love is associated with God but also obedience. As a matter of fact love and obedience for the believer are directly connected. That is you cannot have the one without the other. If we love and do not obey then we do not truly love. If we obey and yet do not have love, then we are not truly obedient.

Now of course we as Christians believe that God has an unchangeable standard and that its authority over the believer is unquestionable. We believe that the standard is found in the Bible. That it is a treasure of perfect instruction on living. That standard is what the Bible calls truth. God's truth, real truth, absolute truth.

John combines the teaching concerning obedience and love in the passage that we have come to look at this morning.

  1. He commends them for, "Walking in truth"
    1. He found them walking in truth which show that this is not only an inward thing but an outward that affects those around us.
      1. A good example of this is found in Mal 2:5-8
      2. 5 "The purpose of my covenant with the Levites was to bring life and peace, and this is what I gave them. This called for reverence from them, and they greatly revered me and stood in awe of my name. 6 They passed on to the people all the truth they received from me. They did not lie or cheat; they walked with me, living good and righteous lives, and they turned many from lives of sin. 7 The priests' lips should guard knowledge, and people should go to them for instruction, for the priests are the messengers of the LORD Almighty. NLT
      3. We are the priests of this world.
      4. In the same way that the tribe of Levi stood for God, we stand for God in our day and age.
      5. Notice that as priests they "they greatly revered me and stood in awe of my name"
        1. Do we stand in awe of God, do we reverence Him before our children, our friends and relatives?
        2. We will never convince others of what we do not display in our own lives.
      6. Notice they "They passed on to the people all the truth they received from me."
        1. In our society of seclusion we often think that Christianity is meant to be a private thing.
        2. But not so. It has always been an evangelical religion.
        3. Jesus said we were to be salt and light, influencing our society.
        4. Just as those priest of old communicated to others the truth that they received from God, so we are to spread a savory influence in this world.
      7. Notice also that we are to live out the things that we have from God, "They did not lie or cheat; they walked with me, living good and righteous lives, and they turned many from lives of sin."
        1. Our faith is of no use unless it changes our lives to conform us to be like Jesus.
        2. So many times Christians have lost their effectiveness because they did not "live good and righteous lives."
    2. To walk in the truth indicates real wisdom. Hos 14:9
      1. 9 Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let him know them. For the ways of the LORD are right; The righteous walk in them, But transgressors stumble in them. NKJV
      2. 9 Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those who are discerning listen carefully. The paths of the LORD are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But sinners stumble and fall along the way. NLT
      3. Sad to say but to many people, Christians live naive stupid lives for not taking advantage of the sinful things of this world.
      4. But the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God.
    3. Walking in truth has always been a mark of true relationship.
      1. 1 John 2:3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. NKJV
      2. Keeping His commandments is not how we come to know Him but is a indication that we do know Him.
      3. We have been given the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4 that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, NKJV) and cannot do anything but follow that new nature.
      4. 1 John 2:4 He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. NKJV
      5. 1 John 2:5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. NKJV

Sunday August 20, 2000


  1. As they walk in truth, John wants to remind them of the commandment to love.
    1. For the Christian, love is obedience and not necessarily emotion.
      1. 2 John 5 And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another.
      2. 1 John 2:6-11 - 7 Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. 8 Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. 9 He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. 10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. NKJV
      3. Next week we will want to discuss this idea of love as a commandment.
    2. Jesus intended our love to be the identifying mark of a believer.
      1. John 13:33-35 - 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." NKJV
      2. God type love is not natural.
      3. God type love is not easy.
      4. But God type love is commanded.
    3. Keeping God's commandments is so vitally connected to Love that you cannot consistently hate God's children and keep His commands.
      1. 1 John 2:9-11 - 9 He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. 10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. NKJV
  2. He cautions them that love does not cancel truth or the commandments of God but is part of the commandments of God.
    1. 6 This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.
      1. We live in a live and let live society.
      2. We often hear about people doing things that do not affect other people.
      3. All sin has a consequence and it affects others around us and it affects society as a whole.
      4. The love of the Christian is not some simple sentimental feeling that just makes us glow with warmth for everyone.
      5. Real Christian love springs from the love of God and reflects the holiness of God.
    2. Real God type love will always lead us to live more holy lives.
      1. Those who would promote love without righteousness are not talking about the God type love.
      2. Sin is a destroyer and a deceiver.
      3. Sin is a cruel master that consumes its victims.
      4. God loves us to much to be complacent about His children living in sin without working to bring them to repentance.
    3. Although we are to love as this is a primary commandment and in it we imitate God yet God still has standards of righteousness. And no matter of reasoning should deceive us concerning this.
      1. Eph 5:1-6 - 1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. 3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. NKJV
      2. Love does not mean we are free to disobey.
      3. God's love does not lead us to sin or approve of sin.
      4. God's love is meant to lead us to righteousness as we imitate Him.
    4. God's opposition to sin is so great that those who claim to know Him and walk in darkness are said to be liars.
      1. 1 John 1:5-7 - 5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. NKJV
      2. Man's greatest problem with God is that God thinks He is God and has the authority to tell us how to run our lives.
      3. Man does not like anyone, even God telling them what is right and wrong.
      4. But when Christians, who are reflecting the character of God, speak out against sin and those who lead others to sin, we are accused of not being loving.
      5. But anyone who has raised children know that love does not mean you let your children do what ever they want, but love means you set boundaries for them where you know they will be safe from harm.
    5. Righteousness and love are two links in the same chain, if you break one or the other you fall.
      1. 1 John 3:10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. NKJV
      2. We must display both.
      3. We must walk in truth.
      4. Not all walk in truth, the truth.
      5. But as we walk in truth, we must also love and Christ loved us.

Do you know the love of God?

Is Jesus the love of your life/

Do you show your love for Him by keeping His commandments?

 

This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com