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Love Our Brothers and Sisters

1 John Walking in the Light  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction

We have been studying the book of 1 John, and today we are going to begin looking at chapter 2. Last week we ended our time together with verses 1 and 2 of chapter two.
1 John 2:1–2 NIV84
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
I talk to a lot of people who tell me they are “Christians,” but when I begin talking to them about how they live there isn’t much that would be described as “Following Jesus.” Often our conversation turns to what it means to be a follower of Jesus or a Christian. In our passage today, John tells us what is expected of every person who names the name of Jesus.
If you have your Bibles, I want to encourage you to turn with me to 1 John chapter 2 and we’ll begin reading with verse 3.
1 John 2:3–6 NIV84
We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

Walk as Jesus Walked!

Look at how John begins this section! They way we know that we know Jesus is when He makes a difference/change in our life. John tells us that obedience to God’s Word is our proof of salvation!
Question: Does your life show your salvation? Or to put is another way, Do do what the Bible says to do?
You see, John wants to make sure we understand this point. He states it in verse 3, “We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.” but then in verse 4 and 5 he compares obedience to non-obedience.
Look at verse 4. “The man who says, ‘I know him [Jesus],” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” That seems pretty harsh, and it may be, but it is simple! Obedience—relationship with Jesus. No obedience—no relationship with Jesus.
To make sure we get the point, John goes on. Look at verse 5. “But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are living in him:”
Finally, to drive his point home, John, in verse 6 says, “Whoever claims to live in him [Jesus] must walk as Jesus did.” I want you to notice one word, “MUST.” The Greek word means is obligated to. If we claim to be a follower of Jesus then we are obligated to live like He lived!
The problem that most people run into is that they don’t know the commands of Jesus. They seem to ask, “What am I supposed to do?” Well, John is going to focus on one command.

The Command

1 John 2:7 NIV84
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.

1. This is NOT a new command!

This command is one that has been taught for ages. It’s an old command that everyone has heard!
1 John 2:8 NIV84
Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.

2. But it is a New command!

While it is an old command that we all have heard forever! It is (at the same time) a new command. Or should we say, it is applied in a different way!
This command shines the light of Jesus into lives! John is going to say, obedience brings us into the light of Jesus while disobedience throws us into darkness. Look at verse 9.
1 John 2:9–11 NIV84
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.

Love (Light) verses Hate (Darkness)

Many people claim to be walking in the light, but John says if they are filled with hatred for their brother or sister, they are still walking in darkness!
Question: By John’s definition, are you walking in light or in darkness?
I can’t help but think that as John is writing this, he’s thinking back to the words of Jesus in John 13:34-35.
John 13:34–35 NIV84
“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.”
Jesus said that loving one another would be our proof of discipleship.
In verse 11 of 1 John 2, John says, “But whoever hates his brother [or sister] is in darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.”
I know you have walked around in the darkness of night. But have you ever been in complete darkness? Last year, Deann and I went with our son Chad and his family to the Great Smokey Mountains. While we were there we visited Tuckaleechee Caverns. They took us way down deep inside the cavern, and at one point, they had everyone sit down, and they turned off the lights. No matter how hard your eyes tried to adjust—no matter how hard your eyes tried to see something, you couldn’t. There simply was no light. Then, the guide lit a coal lamp—the kind miners would use, and all of the sudden, we were able to see. A dim, lamp from a coal lantern allowed us to see again. Darkness is blinding! Wandering around in darkness leads to disaster.
Hatred—puts us in complete, utter, disastrous darkness. Hatred separates us from the love of Jesus!
John has given us a warning about the consuming power of darkness. An uncaring, unloving attitude begins subtly, and then grows and grows until it consumes us. John gives his readers this warning for a reason. In verses 12-14 he explains his reasoning.
He is going to use three terms: (1) Children, (2) Fathers, and (3) Young men. As we read this passage think of these terms as: (1) God’s Children, (2) Those Mature in the Faith, and (3) The Warriors of the Faith. Each of us should find ourselves in each of these terms. Followers of Jesus are God’s Children. We should strive to be spiritually mature. And each of us is called to battle the enemy as spiritual warriors!
Now let’s look at the verses.
1 John 2:12–14 NIV84
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.

Dear Children

Each of us who have accepted Jesus as our Savior and who are seeking to make Him our Lord are dearly loved Children of God!

1. Our sins have been forgiven because of Jesus. (v. 12)

2. We know the Father. (v. 13)

Fathers

Each of us should be striving to grow in our faith in Jesus. This should lead to spiritual maturity!

1. We have knowing the God who was from the beginning! (v. 13 & 14)

Spiritual maturity leads us to experiencing deep fellowship with God. This kind of maturity leads us to walk as Jesus did (v. 6).

Young Men

John addresses young men—warriors! Look at what he says about them in verse 13 and 14.

1. They have overcome the evil one! (v. 13 &14)

2. They are strong! (v. 14)

3. The Word of God lives in them! (v. 14).

The Sequence Children, Fathers, Young Men

As children of God we have experienced what it means to know the Father, and experience what it means to have our sins forgiven.
As mature believers we have experienced fellowship with the eternal creator of the universe—God Almighty!
And as warriors, we have had vigorously battled the evil one, using our knowledge of God’s Word we have overcome Satan and his schemes!
Question: Have you experience what it means to know God, and experience His divine forgiveness?
If you struggle at this level, then this morning, I want to challenge you to take some time and talk to the Lord about your relationship with Him. Confessing your sins, and then standing on the promise that He [God] is faithful and just and will forgive you of your sins! (1 John 1:9)
1 John 1:9 NIV84
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Question: Are you experiencing fellowship with the Eternal Creator of the universe—God Almighty?
God desires to not stay little children. He desires that we grow in our knowledge and understanding of our Eternal God! If you struggle with this today, I want to challenge you to dive into God’s Word, and seek to know Him more. Ask God to help you grow so you will become a mature follower of Jesus! Each of us should make sure we are not like those described in Hebrews 5:12.
Hebrews 5:12 NIV84
In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!
Question: Finally, are you prepared to battle the enemy? Are you strong? Does God’s Word live in you? And are you overcoming the evil one day-in and day-out?
God wants us to live as overcomers! Yet many of us simply do not understand that there is a battle, a battle between good—God and evil—Satan. So many times I go through life without realizing the battle that is raging just inches from me on the other side of the curtain! And you and I need to join in and live as overcomers! If you struggle with this, then prepare yourself for battle by taking on the full armor of God that we see in Ephesians 6:10-18. And especially focus on verse 18.
Ephesians 6:18 NIV84
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

So What?

Wouldn’t it be nice if the people we are supposed to love were all lovable? Yet, I’m reminded constantly, that being obedient means loving people that are unlovable. Those that are easily “offended” or easily angered. Those who are difficult or simply make it hard because they are like loving a porcupine.
Then, God reminds me that often I’m a porcupine—I’m easily offended, or easily angered. And to those around me, I’m unlovable.
Jesus didn’t tell us to love the lovable. He told us to love. If you and I are going to be obedient to Jesus’ command we need to love our brothers and sisters in the Lord—even those who are not easy to love.
The second so-what is this: we need to be children of the Father who have experienced the deep forgiveness of Jesus Christ. Followers of Jesus that are seeking deepening fellowship with the Eternal One—God, and as a result we are involved in defeating the attacks of Satan with the strength that comes from the Word of God.
How do you measure up?
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