Lessons in Love
I Jn 2:7-11
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. (NKJ)
Preached at FBC Toulon, IL on September 23, 2001 by Albert Harmon; see it at toulonbaptist.com
Back in chapter 1 verse 6 we learn that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. In verse 7 John said that if we walk in the light as He is in the light . . .
John is still talking about fellowship with God and how we can know that we have it. Here where he says in verse 10 that he who loves his brother abides in the light it is similar to saying that he walks with Jesus or is in fellowship with God.
But the focus of this passage is love. Have you wondered why John can't get away from this topic.
Have you wondered why he is constantly revisiting it throughout this entire book. Over and over again John hits this same subject. It is kind of like when Jesus asked Peter if he love Him. But Jesus did not just ask the question once. He kept asking the question till Peter had answered it three times.
I think that this is such an important subject that John wants to cover it throughly. He wants his readers to understand just how important it is.
The world will not come to the church until they can see the love of Jesus in our relationships with one another. I have heard this over and over again over the years. And I am more convicted of this every day. We wonder why we have not made an impact on our nation, on our community. It is simple. Jesus said they will know that you are My disciples because of your love for one another.
The NLT puts it this way. John 13:35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples." (NLT)
John 13:35 If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples." (TEV)
Let us consider this passage in the light of John 13:35
- Something Old, Something New
- Notice that John says that what he writes is not new but something old which they had had from the beginning. But it was also something new.
- An Old Commandment; "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."
- The idea of love was invented in the New Testament.
- God's love, from which all love proceeds is seen from the very creation.
- His love is an everlasting love. Jer 31:3 The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: "Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you. (NKJ)
- So the command to love is a part of the law.
- Lev 19:18 'You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD. (NKJ)
- But our problem is not if it is old or new but the idea that we are commanded to love.
- Titus 2:4 These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, (NLT)
- As Gary Chapman said to us yesterday, this if you are commanded to love and you can to taught to love and you can learn to love, then it is applicable for all of us.
- The problem is we do not want to love.
- This is an old commandment because you find in throughout the Old Testament, but it was old for the Christian community for it was one of the basic teachings of Jesus.
- John 13:34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. (NKJ)
- Neither would Jesus allow us to define who would we would love.
- That was the whole purpose of the parable of the Good Samaritan.
- A New Commandment; "Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him"
- It is new because without grace and the spirit of God working in us we never could love.
- Through Jesus Christ living in us we are enabled to love even the unlovely.
- Titus 3:3. For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. 4. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5. not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6. whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7. that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. NKJV
- It is true in Him (Jesus Christ) because it is only through Him that we can change for hate to love.
- "John is here reminding them that hey are left without excuse; it is possible now for Christians, as the result of receiving new life from Christ, as the result of the power of the Holy Spirit, to love their fellow men and women, to love their brethren in the way that God originally intended. As we , as Christians consider this commandment, there is a sense in which it is absolutely new.
- Matt 5:44-48 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and on the unjust, too. If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. (NLT)
- Light and Darkness; "because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining."
- Light and darkness to John are opposite spectrums.
- Darkness is opposed to light.
- We once were in darkness but now are in the light.
- Those who do not love are in darkness. "He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now."
- The idea of darkness is the idea of being unregenerate.
- They are still children of darkness.
- Col 1:13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, (NKJ)
- They are not only in darkness but are blind and cannot tell where they are going.
- 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. V-11
- 2 Cor 4:3-4 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. (NKJ)
- They are also a stumbling block; He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him
- The idea is that those who say they love and do not are not only blind and in darkness and do not know where they are going but they also are a cause of stumbling to others.
- I wish I could reverse the damage done by such people who have caused others to stumble because of their own selfish unloving behavior.
- I wish I could reverse the words spoken out of hatred that have run off more people that the pastor could ever hope to get it.
- But I cannot.
Why is this so important to you and me.? It is because we all have a tendency to slip back into those days darkness.
It is always easier to hate than to love. We feel justified. It is much easier to destroy that to build.
The pastor and members of the church can work for years to bring people into the church and share with them the love of God. We can visit in their homes and try to win them to Jesus, to share His love with them.
But it only takes one person to fly the 767 of hate into the twin towers of all that work to destroy all that was done.
Each of us is either an agent of love or an agent of hate.
Love is not so much a feeling as it is a decision. Decisions leads to actions and actions lead to feelings.
Jesus did not say feel good about and toward people. He said that we must love them. It is a commandment. The second most important in all the Bible.
Are you in light or darkness this morning, in love or hate.
This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com