Vital Signs: Loving Your Brother
1 John 2:7-14
Pastor Ron Johnson
In 1 John 2:7-14 (our passage for this morning) he's about to introduce something else that's incredibly important for us to keep in mind… and John cares about it so much because he understands indirectly affects our fellowship with God and he also identifies it as evidence of knowing God and possessing eternal life. So what exactly does he have in mind?
According to John, those who have eternal life, ________ ________ ___________ _____ __________ in Christ.
7 Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. 8 At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. I am writing to you, little children because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake. 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, children because you know the Father. I write to you, Father because you know hi who is fro the beginning. I write to you, young men because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
In short, John cares enough to warn because he doesn’t want them to be naive, he doesn't want them to be confused and you can be sure he doesn’t want them to be misled (believing they are in Christ, while their unwillingness to repent of continual sin may indicate they’re not).
As I mentioned earlier, John has just emphasized the importance of his readers keeping God's commandments and his focus has now narrowed a bit and honed in on THE commandment that's at the pinnacle of God's list... that we love one another (2 John 5).
It's not that the concept of loving your brother is NEW because it had never been spoken of before. The idea appears to be that John's is now placing emphasis upon the __________ of love God’s called us to have for one another in a fresh new way (perhaps in contrast to the old, stale way in which many perceived it).
Of course, Jesus never downplayed the importance of the law (including God’s commandment to love your neighbor). However, He did take it to THE NEXT level regularly and sought to help the people grasp the TRUE SPIRIT of God's law and not merely how they could abide by the letter of it.
Church family, truly encountering Christ changes us and it shows up not merely in what we profess, but in what we do. Not merely in what we say, but in how we live and as we've seen today... it shows up very clearly in how we love.
According to John, you’re still in darkness and are in need of coming to the light and embracing Christ if you're continually __________ your brother.
Henry Ironside: Notice he did not say you may be a real Christian who has fallen into darkness; but he said, if you hate your brother you are “in darkness even until now.” You have never been anywhere else. You have never been in the light at all. You cannot have divine light or the Holy Spirit or the love of God dwelling in you, and still hate your brother. And yet we often see people professing the name of Christ while showing hatred toward others."
Church family being in the light and hating your brother are incompatible. No ______, No ________.
As we consider John’s straight forward words in this passage, let’s keep in mind that his intent is never for genuine believers to doubt their salvation. On the contrary, he wants them to know they have eternal life and that’s why he’s helping them check their vital signs. Simply stated, God’s children don’t continually hate their brother.
Brothers and sisters… John wants you to know that if you’re in the light, if you truly belong to the God who is light, if you have eternal life, you won’t be continually hating your brother. So don’t be fooled?
Is there anyone God is calling you to begin loving? How could we not when we consider how our God in Jesus Christ has loved us?