That Our Joy May Be Complete #03
1 John 2:7-11
Old But New Every Day
So, John wants to help us have complete Joy. He wants to help us break out of the mundane and mediocre existence and into wondrous joy in the Lord. Satan would like to keep us broken down in sadness or depression. But if he can’t he is more than content to keep us in the uselessness of mediocrity that comes when we are struck in apathy or joylessness. He will keep us searching for self-centered happiness while we leave true joy untouched
But John calls us to God’s Light, God’s Joy and victorious living
John told us at the beginning of chapter 2 that love was the issue in regards to obedience and victorious living. Remember Ephesians 5:1 says “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children”. So, we are supposed to act like children running around trying to imitate our beloved father.
Well, we can’t imitate God without copying his most famous trait. So, Ephesians 5:2 says “live a life of love just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
“Live a Life of Love”. Oh that is a deep well we could draw from for a long time and not even begin to get all of it
LIVE a LIFE of love … it doesn’t say live your life however you want and love ALONG THE WAY. He doesn’t tell us to donate some time or money, do a good deed, and go on about our business. No, it says “LIVE a LIFE of love.”
Our purpose and consuming passion should be to love as a lifestyle.
To what level are we to live this life of love? Live a life of love, As Jesus did in dying for us though we had not yet loved him and many that he loved would not love him in return.
And for what purpose are we to live a life of love as Jesus did? We are to live as an offering and sacrifice, that is we are to be emptied out in worship of God.
So now, read our text with me from the 2nd Chapter of John’s first epistle …
READ 1 John 2:7-11
There it is in verse 7 … an …
1. Old New Covenant v7
Now remember John is an old man 60-70 years have passed since John heard Jesus say, “a new commandment I give to you, that you love one another …” John 13:34
Everybody wants the newest and the latest. We want a new car, new T.V., new computer, new hair color or style, hey some just want their old hair back … but new will do …
We are guilty in the church too. We want the latest craze and the latest understanding. We want the latest method. It’s really all about us isn’t it? What angle can we play with God to get what we want
But it is not nostalgia of an old man here with John. He knows that more than something new, we need to do the 1st things and the most important things.
Jesus called love “a NEW commandment” but was it new?
Leviticus 19:18 says “love your neighbor as yourself”
When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was he said “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.” And then he said the 2nd greatest commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself”
So, what is NEW in the command? Well when Jesus gave this command it was the night before his crucifixion. They didn’t know it but he was about to take the definition of loving your neighbor UP a notch.
Oh how those words must have blossomed in their minds AFTER the cross. Because he said “a new commandment I give to you, love one another, as I have loved you, may you also love one another 35 by this will all men know you are my disciples as you have love for one another”
At the cross, Jesus showed us just what it IS to LOVE our neighbor.
Love is not selfish, it is selfless
Love is not gratuitous, it is gracious
Love is not self-preserving, it is sacrificial
Jesus said “as I have loved you”
John was the only disciple who we have recorded as being at the cross and obviously he never got over it.
I wonder if as he looked at Christ on the cross, that day or later in his mind, he heard those word, “as I have loved you”
He saw his back beaten, his beard plucked out, his face spat upon, and not a word, but John heard “as I have loved you”
He saw him as nails pierced his hands and feet, and heard “as I have loved you”
He saw him lifted up, mocked, jeered, gasping for breath, carrion birds hovering overhead and he heard “as I have loved you”
“Father Forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing”
“Today you will be with me in paradise”
“Father into your hands I commit my spirit”
“It is Finished”
And he heard, “As I have loved you … love one another”
We are talking here about believer to believer … ONE ANOTHER
It is amazing how sometimes we will do something for a nameless face or a total stranger, but won’t lift a finger for one another
“As I have love you” –
But they aren’t nice to me
“As I have loved you”
But what’s in it for me
“as I have loved you”
A NEW Commandment; An old commandment but
2. New For Today
Love will never go out of style and never be not needed in this world and in the church
READ ROMANS 13:8-11
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
11 And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
It isn’t saying that you can’t or won’t ever have a debt but it is saying not to be controlled by them or delinquent in them and seek to pay them off in a responsible manner
But there is ONE DEBT you will never pay off. One obligation we will always have … that is to LOVE ONE ANOTHER
What is so special and powerful about love?
V10 there in Romans says “love is fulfillment of the law”
“So Pastor, if I just love I don’t have to worry about the other commands?”
YES … If you will LOVE … you can do what you want
Yes, because, if you love … you won’t murder, if you love you won’t steal, lie, covet, be unfaithful, you won’t dishonor your parents
If you love you won’t have other gods before Jehovah God, you will honor his name, you will keep the Sabbath holy, you will not create false gods.
Yes, if you love … really love … as HE loves, love …
Then we can do whatever we want … because we won’t want to do anything that does harm
Love shows what God is like to a world who is watching … and they will ask
“why do you live like that?”
And you will answer “bottom line, I am loved by God, I love him and that makes me love you, how can I do any less?”
And then Paul takes it up a notch,
V11 “do this understanding the present time, the hour has come for you to wake up, salvation is nearer now than when we first believed”
Have you ever been in a grave situation, like the loss of a loved one and someone said “we don’t have time for pettiness, we need to focus on what is important”?
That is what Paul is saying
Have you ever been in crunch time at work and said “we need to put aside our differences and come together because we need to finish this task”?
Or maybe, Mom and Dad are coming home soon, so “we better straighten up, get the house in order before they return”
Well, our heavenly Father’s returning is closer today than yesterday so we need to straighten up and act right
We need to clean the house for his return
We’ve been told to take his gospel to the world so we need to put aside any differences and get to work
Life is short so let’s stop wasting our time on selfishness and petty action
We have a commandment that seems like a new way of thinking but it is as old as time so we need to
3. Live Out Loud In the Body
Back in 1 John 2:8 John says something that we need to be aware of today, it’s the same sentiment that Paul had in Romans 13 … John says “the darkness is passing” … Oh folks it may seem like it never will. It may seem like darkness is increasing and Jesus will never come again, but the darkness is passing.
And when WE SHINE God’s love, we are evidence of the systemic change that is happening through the coming of the Kingdom of God.
When we love we are proclaiming that, thanks to Calvary, we don’t HAVE to put up with Darkness
SHINE THE LIGHT OF LOVE
So there is
A. Nothing TO Stumble On
Chapter One talked about living in the Light and we know that God is light
So we are to focus on being right with God
Well if you want to be IN the Light, as HE is in the Light,
LOVE YOUR BROTHER/SISTER in Christ
It isn’t that we don’t know we ought to. It is burning within us because we have God within us
1 Thessalonians 4:9,10 Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. 10 And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more.
MUCH MORE … never be satisfied with the level of love, level of obedience, level of service to God or man
You have been taught by God, that is God the Holy Spirit living in us teaches us
I would dare say that one of the 1st evidences of your salvation was an urge within you to love. Why is that? It is the result of God’s love experienced and “Christ’s love compels us” (2 cor 5:4)
Your whole system of love and hate changed when you came to Christ
When we love it keeps our eyes up and out and we are less likely to stumble
But when we are looking at ourselves our gaze isn’t outward and we may “stumble”
Skandalon = trap, temptation
Real love prevents a scandalous temptation that traps us and brings us down
And then …
B. Love Identifies
In our love we are identified with Christ as one who belongs TO Christ.
“whoever loves his brother lives in the light”
Love sees our place in the world and purpose in the world
Jesus tells us to love one another in John 13:34-35; 15:9, 12, 17. Paul teaches it in Romans 13:8 and 1 Thes 4:9. Peter instructs it in 1 Peter 1:22 telling us to love one another deeply from the heart. And so John does in 1 John 3:11; 4:7, 11, 12; and 2 John 5.
And those passages are the ones that specifically teach to “love one another” which many more teaching the principles of loving others.
But God’s love identifies, and by that I mean it is an understanding of our relation to the world and to God and it is not a simple stirring of passion or even compassion. Love is a decision of the will. It is like one who sees a mountain and says “I am going to climb that.” Your emotion might want to but your emotion will not get you to the top. That only comes through a determined will.
Emotion may run a sprint, but a determined will is required to run a marathon.
It is a determined will that tears down walls between us
Love realizes that the world doesn’t revolve around me and I have to grow up
Titus 3:3-5a “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us”
We WERE … foolish, deceived, enslaved, with malice, envy, and hating ….
But when Jesus showed us kindness and loved us … everything changed …
And we can’t keep living selfish, driven on a self-centered path with our eyes on ourselves alone … we must LOVE … and not HATE …
Oh I need to move toward a finish, but we can’t ignore that …
John plays the negative side of this illustration as well
Certainly if you love, then you will walk in the light
But if you do NOT LOVE … you are NOT in the light now and it is most likely evidence that you never were because Love identifies us AS believers but
C. A Lack of Love Disqualifies us
“whoever hates his brother, walks in darkness … he doesn’t know where he is going … darkness has blinded him”
Certainly a lack of love can be evidence of someone who thinks or claims to be a child of God but they are not
It also can be a very immature believer who is hiding their light under a basket. Not only do they not see and meet needs but they can’t see where to go themselves
Our very purpose is to live in the love and in so doing, we loudly proclaim God’s love
So when we refuse to love, we just wander around aimlessly because we don’t live by our purpose
You know, retirement can be a difficult thing for some people. It is exceptionally so for those who have made their job their whole life.
Without it, they stumble around.
The athlete that knows nothing but the field often struggles like that
Well we need to know and fulfill our purpose and our purpose is to LOVE and BE LOVED …
so when we HATE … we shut off the light of God and we don’t know what to do or where to God
“well Pastor, I’m ok, because I don’t HATE … I don’t want to HURT anyone, I just don’t LIKE people … sometimes, in certain circumstances, but I don’t hate, so I’m OK right”
The word is miseo = ill will in words or conduct, a persecuting spirit; (2) to love less
To LOVE LESS … we are told to love one another AS we LOVE ourselves and AS Jesus Christ Loved as he died on the cross for us
So when we love LESS than we love ourselves and we love less than the sacrifice of Christ on the cross … that is miseo … hate …
There is no room in our lives for hatred of another brother / sister even when we don’t like everything they may do
It was Jesus who taught us to love our enemies and to bless those who curse us and to forgive EVERY TIME someone repents and asks for forgiveness
We are followers of Jesus Christ, the Morning Star, when we hate, love less, we advance darkness … and so seeing that darkness is passing and light has come on us, how could we bring darkness to someone
In Luke 1:78, Zechariah prophesied that his son John would prepare the way for the Messiah saying “the dayspring from one high … to give light to them that sit in darkness in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace”
We cannot shine less or love less
Oh if we had a cure for AIDS would you declare hatred and death or light and life?
We should be proclaiming that darkness need not remain
Malachi 4:2 says that to those who revere his name “the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in his wings, you will go out and leap like calves from the stalls”
So brothers and sisters we cannot claim to love God while we hate one another
We are WITH Christ in love and light or we are NOT in fellowship and walk in hatred and darkness
Luke 11:23 Jesus said, “he who is not with me is against me”
If darkness is the absence of the rule of light, then hatred is the absence of the rule of love
If darkness is the absence of the ACTION of LIGHT
Then HATRED is the absence of the ACTION of LOVE
Oh let that sink in,
because I think sometimes we think when we do nothing we are OK … But while hatred CAN be action it also can be INACTION as well …
If we don’t love then we hate … oh I know that is radical and it hurts … but I believe it is true … it follows logically with the line of reason that John is giving to us
The NIV says “one who hates” –
By “hate” I don’t mean a reaction, this is not a momentary feeling indicative of anger processed in a sinful way. But here we speak of one who actually in the present is carrying out in a harmful intentional hatred toward another. Or one who is intentionally habitually failing to respond in love … that person cannot belong to Christ, because he is the Lord of light and he has not LOST it … no it says
he “is still” or he remains in darkness
In other words that person never left darkness
He or she may have appeared to be in the light but they never have known it
Sadly I have known some people in churches over the years that were faithful and active in the church meetings, but without love in their spirit, and well that puts their very salvation in question
Hatred is a terrible thing that blinds and causes people to do or overlook many terrible things
In the book of Esther, Haman so hated the Jews for an action toward his ancestors, generations removed that he sought to kill them all …
Hitler’s hatred for Jews took 6 million innocent lives
Hatred for people of color has been the father of countless heinous crimes and atrocities in the history of our country
Hatred brought down the twin towers and caused bin laden to be responsible over the years for more than 13,000 deaths
Hatred can make us believe and do terrible things
In the same way, the choice of our country to LOVE LESS the innocent lives of unborn babies is also hatred that has taken millions upon millions of lives
And the choice in me to see someone in need and have the ability to meet the need and not be moved inside, John will teach us in 1 John 3:17 “how can the love of God be in us?”
Nevertheless, though Hatred is sin and darkness …
There is a BALM in GILEAD …
There is a Balm in Gilead
Oh people it is NOT that there is no solution
Jeremiah wept for his people in Jeremiah 8:21-22 since my people are crushed, I am crushed: I mourn, and horror grips me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?”
Gilead was known for their healing salve, and the physicians that knew how to apply it …
His point was, why are we sick when a medicine is readily available?
And verse 1 of chapter 9 follows Oh that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears! I would weep day and night
Oh people is there no answer for the darkness and hatred we live in?
Is there no hope for a world of wars, selfishness, and the sickness of sin?
YES there is a Balm in Gilead
If the Church, the Redeemed of God, the People who know firsthand the kindness and love of God, if WE if WE will LOVE OUT LOUD … if WE Will Love Recklessly, Radically, Unconditionally. If we will love one another like Jesus loved us when he died for us, if we would love like we love ourselves and would settle for NO LESS …
Then they will want what we have, they will know we belong to Jesus
That is the antidote,
In that we TURN ON THE LIGHT
We Let Love Shine
Let Love and Life be born in us and through us …
Oh what might happen today … what might happen tomorrow …
Oh the world wouldn’t pay any attention to the charlatans and lunatics that made the headlines because they would know the real thing and THEY would say, “that’s not Jesus, That’s not his church … because LOOK there at New Life Baptist Church …”
That’s Jesus, That’s Love …
Darkness is PASSING … it is OUT OF STYLE
JESUS IS ALIVE
JESUS IS LOVE