Evidences of Salvation
I. John begins this section by stating he is not giving them an new commandment but reminding them of an old commandment that was given "in the beginning." 1 John 2:7. The "beginning" refers to the instructions given by the Lord Jesus to His disciples while He was on earth and founding the Gospel.
A. John changes the tone of his address to make it more personal. "Brethren", can be translated "my friends" or "my dear friends." The tone changes also in that what he is about to say in going to be mildly or somewhat accusing. They needed to be instructed and to address this area they were deficient.
B. John is basically saying, "I'm not writing something that is new to you, as this was God's instruction from the beginning of the Gospel being preached." (Paraphase) He is saying this is something you are ready should know!
C. What is the old commandment they learned of when they were saved?
2. Jesus stated this commandment in His ministry as recorded in John 13:34, said, "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another, as I have loved you, that ye also love one another."
3. V35 "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if Ye have love to the other."
4. This is a SPECIAL LOVE, it is a love expressed to fellow Christians.
a. Matt. 5:44, Jesus also said His disciples were "To love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you and pray for them which spitefully uses you or persecutes you.
b. This is a deep love as a brother or sister and is a family love.
5. Thus John is referring to what Jesus had said and established early in His ministry.
a. This new teaching is not found in anywhere in the Old Testament.
b. In the Old Testament instruction which was based on the Law was an eye for an eye, tooth for tooth. This was a civil law that dealt with individual societal crimes.
c. However in the New Testament and in the church age the believer's relationship to the world is influence by his relationship to God. That relationship was established out of God's love for the world. (see John 3:16). This new relationship to the world is one of being witness to the Gospel and salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
The Old Testament law set penalties for wrong doing, whereas in the New Testament the emphasis is on God's grace and mercy. The believer in showing love to those who oppose and hate him reflects the love of God for the sinner.
6. This love is that which comes from God only! John 3:16 "For God so loved the World, that he gave His begotten Son, that who so every believeth in Him might not perish, but have everlasting life." It is a love, that stem from the marvelous grace of God. 7. It should be noted that this love is commanded by Christ. Clearly this love not based on physical or personal attraction, nor is it based on one meriting our love. Romans 5:8 states this perfectly, "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." The love we are to show is a love of choice. The child of God chooses to love others because God wants Him too and because God loved him when he was undeserving of that love.
II. The Love of God Abides Within the Christian. 1 John 2:10
A. Verse 11 states that the one who hates his brother is in darkness and walketh in darkness, and doesn't know even where he is going, because the darkness of not having the Lord Jesus Christ blinds him.
B. This is an emphatic statement! If a person claims to be saved, and has no love for his fellow Christians John is saying he is not saved!
C. From the way this verse are written it appears John was bringing this to their attention because they were lax in this matter or there was some question about it among them.
1. In verse 8, John says this love is in the true Christian. WHY?
2. Because if one is saved then Christ is living in them, and when Christ indwells the believer through the Holy Spirit and He manifests the spirit of love by His presence.
3. For the lost person, he is in darkness to this love and can not obtain it! One can only have it when they come to accept Jesus Christ as there Lord and Savior.
D. The author of hate and bitterness towards others is the Devil and the carnal nature of man, not God.
1. Hate comes from ones selfish nature. We hate another because we envy them, or they hurt us of someone we love.
2. John says in the church, in the Christian this has no place.
3. I have send, ugly hate raise is head in churches and seem all the bitterness it causes. I have seen professing Christians, who refused to forgive a brother for some offense or harbor ill feelings to someone over long periods of time.
ILLUS: In one of the churches in which I pastored I had to talk to the treasurer because of something she was doing that was upsetting the congregation. By the second week of the month she was going around the church stating she did not know how we were going to pay our bills because not enough money was coming in. What she was doing made absolutely no sense because we always have extra money at the end of the month after paying our bills. Never was the money short or even close at any time. People in the church came to me asking what was the problem and wondering where the money was going?! I carefully and tactfully as I could went to her and explained that she probably did not even think this was causing any trouble, but that it was upsetting some. Listen, I was as nice to her as I would be to mother and was in not way judgmental or condemning. Yet, she was upset and she harbored her hatred for me because of this for over five years and when the opportunity arose to oppose and hurt me she did so with a vengeance. I still to this day do not understand why she was so upset and more than that why a professing Christian could harbor such a mean and unloving spirit.
It is a fact that at some time we may have a disagreement, but if we are saved people we will not harbor bitterness and will forgive and forget it. Because of John's instruction, I very seriously doubt the salvation of a person who is constantly bitter and unloving to their fellow church members.
III. The Burden to Forgive and to show love rest on the shoulder of the Offended.
A. Prov. 19:11 says "The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression." The word "discretion" means to be understanding. It is the mark of immaturity to harbor anger. The mature person understands the source of anger and the true cause of someone being offensive or hurtful. Therefore he understands that all men have the carnal nature and sin, but as a child of God he follows Christ's example and seeks to forget and to restore fellowship that is broken. In fact it becomes a necessity that because he loves the Lord he must show love to others.
1. Ecclesiastes 7:21 says " Take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse you".
2. It is a natural thing for a person to be offended from time to time. Intentional or not we will get our feelings hurt.
a. People will hurt you, belittle you, and even at times ridicule you.
b. They may steal credit for you labor and work. They make little of your sacrifice for them and show no appreciation for you efforts.
c. But our relationship to other Christians is to be as a family relationship. A parent does not stop showing love to their child because he does not return your love, or even if they take advantage of you.
3. The burden to forgive is also without number. Lord, you may cry, they just keep on and on, how long must I forgive them? In Matthew 18:21, Jesus answered that very question when Peter ask Him about forgiveness. Jesus replied, seven times seventy or four hundred and ninety times we were to forgive. He was using a figure of speech which means believers are to forgive for an indefinite period. There is not end to God's forgiveness, nor can their be to ours. Paul describes the bitterness in the heart of the lost man in Rom. 3:10-18.
1. Is there bitterness in your heart?? Be honest! Who is it hurting???? YOU! It hurts you to harbor an unforgiving spirit, and it make no difference if you are in the right or wrong.
2. It hurts you because when you are unforgiving, Christ can be in close fellowship with you.
3. You lose reward, even though you may faithfully continue in your job at the church. I John 1:9, says you need to confess it as the sin it really is, as being disobedient to the Lord's command to LOVE one another. You lose you testimony and your joy of service to the Lord.
Prov. 19:11, says it is to you glory and credit if you forgive and return love for even hate. You are the richer for it. What a joy to have the load and weight of bitterness and an being at odds with some, lifted.
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