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Love - The New Commandment

Notes & Transcripts

It’s as simple as Love!

Elkton, Virginia - Jarod Arlow Dean – Age 43 – Was riding bicycle home and noticed a 3 foot rattle snake on the road. He tried to catch the snake and it ended up biting him – surprise surprise! After he caught the snake and was taking it home the snake bit him again. Jarod says that when the snake bit him it made him so angry that he decided to bite the snake back and proceeded to bite off the snakes head. During the course of him biting the snakes head off he ended up getting bitten 5 more times from the snake.  

The doctors say he was a walking miracle and his sister, speaking for him at the hospital -because for obvious reasons - Jarod could not speak – attempted to answer the reporters questions. All of the reporters had just one big question for Jarod Dean… why did you do it? She says… all he tells me is the snake bit me first! 

Needless to say it is a bit dangerous to bite the head off of a rattlesnake. But we are going to look at something far more dangerous. Something that will cause a spiritual venom to run through our veins and wreck havoc on our spiritual life. We are also going to look at the anti venom. The dreaded venom is hating our brother – or failing to love.

-        You are going to be so sick of hearing about me talk about love that you just may love it when I am finished.

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-        I think that it is so important that we talk about love because I think if one word would sum up who God is, what Christ did and what He is doing and what we are to do that word would be “love”

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-        If I had to pick one word to explain the Bible that word would be “love” – in reference to God’s love for us.

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-        For many like us there is the harsh reality that we have never experienced what true love is like.

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-        For some of you it was not until you came here to GMBTC that you experienced love or truly were able to love someone else.

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-        And the reality is, as well that for many of us there have been some horrible acts done  to us by perpetrators that we have put up this wall to protect ourselves and it is takes that much more effort for us to love or to let another love us.

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-        Well Jesus Christ is of course our greatest example of love – and I submit to you that it is impossible for anyone on this planet, who has not placed their faith in Jesus Christ – who has experienced first hand,His love and forgiveness – to love someone else.

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-        I believe that only a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is capable of truly loving.

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-        Because of the true nature of the sinful heart and fallen man we are incapable of loving on our own.

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-        Human hearts are so wicked that without the love of God even things that we do that appear like love are really just self centered acts that we use to get people to respond a certain way.

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-        For what can appear to be one of the most selfless acts of love – can be just a self serving tool for our own benefit – and this is possible for the believer as well.

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-        Even a couple who has been happily married for many years may appear to love one another and have a great relationship. If they have not experienced the true love of Christ then they are merely manipulating each other to get the outcome that they desire.

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-        In keeping with our theme of 1 John I have to remind you that this is a book that is written for believer.

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-        That John has given us this book for the purpose of experiencing joy in our Christian life and that joy comes from being at the feet of Jesus.

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-        There are many things that get in the way of us experiencing joy and John covers many of them in this letter.

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-        We have already talked about many of these and they include both false and true moral guilt where the answer to false guilt is the blood of Jesus Christ and the answer to true moral guilt is confession.

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-        We are told that it is possible for us not to sin but John quickly provides for us relief knowing that the reality of this was impossible and he assures us that Jesus Christ is acting as our advocate and that He fully paid for all of our sin.

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-        We are told that if we really know God, if we really are close to Him and make that claim that it will be evidenced by our obedience to him in our life.

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-        It does not say that if you are not obedient you are not saved – but rather – if you say  that you really know God – yet you are not walking in the same manner that Jesus walked – then you don’t know Him as much as you may claim you do.

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-        And that the answer to being obedient – and knowing God comes by being in fellowship with Him – by abiding in Him – like it says in John 15 when it says “I am the vine and you are the branches”

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-        Lets take a look at those verse in John 15

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-        So the key to joy is abiding in Christ and allowing the Lord to prune us a little bit so that we can grow even more.

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-        Being pruned can sometimes be a painful process – but it is through our pain and that pruning that we grow – and we get to know God – in an intimate way – like John talked about in our verses last week – even better!

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-        So lets go back to 1 John

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-        One of the ways that we can do this John is about to talk to us about in verses 7-11 and this comes from keeping God’s commandment to love.

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-        On the flip side of this great love is the venom that we must all watch out for – and that is hate – and we must practice the anti-venom constantly – and that is to love others.

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-        It is possible for a believer to get caught up in hate and nothing is more destructive – in fact John calls it walking in the darkness and that is no place for a believer to be!

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-        So let’s take a look at our verses starting in verse 7. Read verse -

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-        John frequently summed up all of the commandments into a single one.

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-        The commandment to love one another sums up all of our Savior’s commandments.

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-        Paul even made this claim as well in the book of Romans.

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-        Romans 13:8-10 - Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

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-        So this was not a foreign or strange teaching to the early church. It is my belief and opinion that the 10 commandments were given for the period when God’s people were under the law and that Christ has set us free from those commandments and fulfilled all of them and we are now under the law of grace – and the law of Christ.

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-        Hillbilly 10 commandments!

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-        So John talks about a commandment here that his readers have had since the beginning – since the beginning of what?

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-        I don’t think the beginning of creation was in view like John mentions in chapter 1 verse 1 “What was from the beginning” speaking about Jesus existing at the beginning of time –  or the first verses in the Gospel of John – “In the beginning was the Word”

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-        John calls this commandment an old commandment because his readers had received it from the beginning – that is – the very earliest period of their Christian lives –

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-        He was reminding them that they needed to go back to the basics –

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-        You know sometimes we need to go back to the basics as well in our lives – we can get all caught up in debatable doctrine and controversies – when what we really need to do is get back to the basics of love…

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-         Read verse 8

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-        John calls the same commandment to love each other “new” here which is kind of strange since in the last verse he calls it an old commandment!

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-        It is a new commandment in the sense that John was drawing from memory the very words of Jesus –

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-        John 13:34 – Jesus said: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

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-        It was also an old commandment for his readers because like it says in verse 7 because they have known about this commandment since the beginning of their salvation.

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-        Then John talks about the darkness passing away. The darkness is simply the world’s system that is morally at odds with God the Father.

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-        Indeed this world system that is opposed against God is fading away right before our very eyes! And John reminds us – that the true Light is already shining!

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-        John gets a little eschatological here and reminds us that our time is short – and it is very important that we obey the commandments of God and walk in the Light – or abide in fellowship with Christ.

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-        We all look forward to the day when the darkness of this world has passed away and the true Light is all that we see

-         Jesus said in John 13:35 - “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

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-        John tells us here that we can experience that true Light right here and right now on earth by loving our brothers and when we do we can point the world to the one true Light and they will see by our actions that He is real!

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-        In verse 9 he tells us that the one who SAYS he is abiding with Christ but hates his brother is really buying into the darkness of the world’s system.

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-        It is very possible for a true believer to hate – this is the venom I was speaking of at the beginning of my message.

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-        Many teachers would say that it is impossible for a Christian to hate at all and therefore this verse refers to only those who profess to be a Christian and not to a true believer.

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-        I do not think at all this is what John has in mind as it does not fit in with the theme of this book and the grammar of the text does not really allow for this.

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-        Every pastor has dealt with this in his congregation. I am sure that at GMBTC the staff and Paul would tell you that they have dealt with hate as well.

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-        If we are all honest with ourselves I think we will admit that at times we have all dealt with feelings of animosity and hostility towards other believers.

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-        When we do this we are walking in complete darkness the text says –

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-        I have a friend who is walking in darkness right now- with a huge load of hate that he carries around for his ex wife that left him in the middle of the day while he was at work. (tell about Shannon)

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-        Verse 10 tells us that if we do love our brother we are abiding in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling.

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-        This is the anti-venom – we all need to walk in the light and love our brothers and sisters.

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-        And verse 11 just reminds us again like John is trying to really drive home a point

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-        Read verse 11 -  

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-        What a sad place for a believer to be – with the possibility of being in the light by choosing to hate we stay in the darkness –

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-        Are you in the darkness today?

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-        Alfred Lord Tenneson was a proclaimed agnostic that never acknowledged the existence of the one true God.

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-        What a tragedy that he never experienced the love of a God who loved enough to send His very own Son to die in our place.

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-        In looking at quotes on love Tenneson’s lines from his famous poem were on every single list:

I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

- For the believer – we have everything to gain from giving love – because God has loved us all.

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