Approximate Transcript of this sermon – audio to follow soon
(Preamble) In verses 1&2 of chapter 2 (1 Peter)
Last week we learned that Christ advocates for those whom He knows. This week we will learn how it is that we can know if He knows us? Thus know if we are right before God. As part of this we will be doing a pretty detailed study on the subject of love.
1 John 2:3-6
If we knew Him in the past, and keep His commands we continue to know Him and He continues as our advocate before God. We might be tempted to say, “I know Jesus” “He is a great teachers, wise in many words” “He is a good guy” If then we fail to keep His commandments we are liars and the truth is not in us. We are not merely deceiving ourselves but we are living outside of the truth of reality. Now of course lots of people do this very thing, even brethren. All of whom must stop living in this lie and start keeping the word of Christ Jesus When we keep His word the love of God is perfected in us, or put another way, its final goal is fulfilled in us. What is that goal? Well the next verses help us see it more clearly.
v6 – He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
– For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.
– John 13:15 – Jesus
If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
– John 15:10 – Jesus
So clearly abiding in Jesus is not only an act of the heart and the mind, But an action of obedience to His commands. In the absence of obedience Christ cannot be our advocate. Though if we turn to Him in obedience He will yet again be our advocate before God. And there is still more to John’s point in 1 John 2:6 as we see in verse 7
1 John 2:7-11
The command to love your brother is old in the sense that it has been around from the beginning. It has always been part of the gospel of Christ. It is new in that it is an ever flourishing thing, not growing tired but always being renewed with each successive generation, and with each new disciple.
In verse 8 John says the new command is true in Jesus and in us His disciples. This points back to verse 6 for we ought to walk as He walked. We are obligated to walk as He walked fulfilling this command because the light of Christ is shining. He has fulfilled all righteousness for our sake it really is the very least we could do when we consider, what He has done for us. This language points back to John 13:34-35 So how will we be known as His disciples? By our love for one another.
In 1 John 2:9, we are told that hating our brother means we are in the darkness. Now last week we learned a bit about what it is to be in the darkness. Hatred grows from a variety of sins; so to hate your brother means that you have allowed some sort of sin to dictate the relationship you have with your brother. In so doing we love darkness over light preferring it, so that our wicked deeds are not made known. Thus we are lost and cannot see the righteous path because this darkness clouds our way blinding us to righteousness. It is no small thing to hate your brother doing so means that we are in the darkness and are no longer abiding in Christ and thus He cannot be our advocate before God.
So what is the solution to this problem? We must love our brothers and sisters in the faith. and in so doing abide in the light. Love such as this makes it clear for us to see the way to go. We can see the righteous path set before us by God, and we walk upon it. So instead of worrying about what we are doing wrong, lets look at what we should be focused upon, what we can do right. That is love.
What is love?
First we have the love of Christ. This is what John points us back to. Jesus was God’s manifestation of love for man. He was patient, self sacrificing, and compassionate among many other things.
We are told to love one another as He loves us. So how does He expect us to do that? Fortunately God, through Paul, gives us one of the best explanations about love in 1 Corinthians 13
Anything without love is nothing
1 Cor 13:1-3 shows us that no matter how good the work in the absence of love it is a meaningless endeavor.
A godly definition of love
1 Cor 13:4-8 is where we get a solid godly definition of love.
Love suffers long.
When we live this, we are in it for the long haul. We understand that being with brethren is a relationship that requires a long view. We are not to be short sighted in our communications, our actions, nor our thinking. We are to endure the natural hardships that come with being among regenerated sinners. Brethren are not perfect, but they are being perfected by God over time.
Love is kind
Love is kind, it is a gentleness. As we suffer long we do not lash out. This kindness is tied to the long suffering thus it turns the other cheek not seeking vengeance but leaving such vindication to the Lord.
Love does not envy
We are not to be busy looking at what our brother has and being upset that he has what we want. If we are envious we are firstly destroying the contentment and peace we can have in the Lord We blind ourselves to the blessings we have being in the darkness. Thus we hate our brother for the blessings he has. What a self inflicted misery this is.
Love does not parade itself;
Or, put another way, it is not vain-glorious, exalting itself in its own vanity. It is not puffed up thinking itself more than it is. So we do not show off before our brethren looking backward on our accomplishments real or imaginary. After all any good that we have done is the least we can do in light of the gracious gift we have in Christ. When we do this, we are blind to our own limitations, and to the strengths of others. This darkness will likely cause us to undermine the efforts to strengthen and expand the kingdom.
Love does not behave rudely
We should not behave in an unseemly fashion. We should not be disgraceful. or we should be full of grace and decorum. In so doing we bring honor to our God and brethren whom we are in fellowship with. If we are trapped in this darkness and are not brought out, we will create all manner of conflict acting as the proverbial bull in the china shop. We will probably think ourselves justified in this behavior, and in that way we will fall in the darkness.
Love does not seek its own
Rather we should be seeking the good for our brothers and sisters in the faith. We should not be creating factions and alliances to a political end. But instead we should seek the good for all and we should seek this good in a loving way. Fundamentally the good we seek should be that which God calls good. We should be seeking to build the body of Christ and expanding that body while we bear one anthers burdens.
Love is not provoked.
When we are easily provoked we are like an aggressive bulldog waiting to strike at the pettiest slight. This wreaks havoc upon the body of believers causing those around us to walk on egg shells. This controlling and manipulative behavior weakens the body of Christ and drives visitors away because it epitomizes an unloving attitude. being lost in this darkness means being condemned to a life of strife, friendlessness, and pain, and an eternal life of torment all for a momentary sense, of power.
Love thinks no evil.
We should not attribute evil doings and motives to one another by virtue of our own thinking. The only way you should arrive at such a conclusion is if you have actual hard evidence of sin. Doing otherwise makes for a very low trust environment where everyone is under suspicion all of the time. Under such conditions people just stop functioning they are too worried about being attacked, or being hurt by another. This is easy to slip into and easy to justify in the name of “keeping the body pure” but God has given us a route to ensuring that purity through proper church discipline which is evidence based, not supposition based.
Love doesn’t rejoice in iniquity but rejoices in the truth.
When we are dealing with people and we catch them in sin, we should not rejoice that we have them and can show them to be sinners. This only creates a destructive politicized environment where people hide there faults and dodge responsibility for their sins failing to repent.
Rather we should only rejoice when they turn back to the truth. This creates an environment that encourages people to be honest about their failures and to sincerely repent.
Love bears all things
Which is also rightly translated covers all things. This is the idea of being discrete. When we learn of the error of another we come to him and seek to bring him back to truth. We bear this matter alone, we cover it from others. We don’t go telling everyone and their dog about the other persons faults. We want reconciliation between them and God. The only reason anyone should learn of the matter is if they will not hear you. Then we follow the pattern laid out in Matthew 18:15-17 Failing this we damage relationship unnecessarily among the brethren it is an unneeded risk.
Love believes all things
When we talk with a brother in sin and he communicates he wants to change we should believe him. Give him the benefit of the doubt.
Love hopes all things
So we hope that he will stay true, rather than being derogatory about the prospect of his changing (the brother repenting of sin).
Love endures all things
And if he does fail again, as we all often do we endure these things guiding one another back to truth and light out of the darkness. So that we may all abide in Christ so He can be our advocate before God.
So if we love our brother as Paul describes to us we will certainly abide in the light of God. We will be very hard pressed to stumble. Of course I know that each of these things Paul tells us can be difficult for us depending on our individual disposition. And we must persist in pursuing love, sacrificing our own pride and submitting to God’s will for His children.
We must abide in faith, hope and love
Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen. That which we hope for is an eternal home in heaven. When we are in heaven faith and hope will have been fulfilled and so they will go away.
But love, love never fails, it will last for eternity.
If you are not in the faith, if you have not obeyed the commands of Jesus you are not abiding in Him and He cannot be your advocate before God. You are still in the darkness in need of the light of Christ.
At this time we would like to invite you to obey His commands repent and be baptized for the remission of sins that you may walk in newness of life.
If you are a brother or sister in the faith and you have gotten caught up again with sin and it is of a public nature you need to repent publicly for it.
We ask either group to come forward while we stand and sing the appointed song.