Love and Light
1 John 2:7-14
February 2, 2020
- Illustration: Walking in the dark
- John writes with the heart of a pastor to this congregation he loves, not wanting them to walk in darkness but in the light of the Lord.
- John wants those who are walking in the light to have deep assurance of their salvation. At the same time he wants to remove a false sense of salvation from those who shouldn’t have it – those who are presently still in darkness.
I. Old Commandment or New (verses 7-8)?
- John begins by reminding them that he is not giving them a new commandment when he talks about love, but an old command that they have had since the beginning.
- The “old commandment” is love for God and love for others (Lev. 19:18 and Deuteronomy 6:5).
- Jesus confirmed these commands, yet renewed them at the same time (Matthew 22:34-40). In one sense, Jesus says they constitute a new commandment.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” — John 13:34
- Jesus affirmed and expanded the law, and so therefore it in one sense these commands could could be called new.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another (John 13:34).”
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 (1 John 2:8).”
- We certainly see the law of love at work in Jesus Christ (in the gospel), but now John makes an astounding statement — the love of Christ is now in us.
- With the coming of Christ, God now writes His law on our mind and hearts.
- Through regeneration, the power of Christ enables us to show Christ-like love to others. As we have received the love of Christ, we are now empowered to live out the love of Christ.
- Genuine Christianity, therefore, reflects the light and love of Christ!
- If we claim to be a Christian and don’t reflect the love of Christ, we are fooling ourselves.
- For the light of Christ shines in every Christian, and if you have hate for your brother, take notice of your heart for you are deceived
II. Darkness or Light? Hate or Love ? (verses 9-11)
- These false teachers kept emphasizing that the only thing that really mattered was a certain kind of enlightened knowledge.
- John says – ‘If you say you have knowledge of God, yet do not love, you really do not know God. You still walk in darkness.’
- If we know God by experiencing the amazing grace of His forgiveness, it will in fact transform our hearts.
- The absence of love for others, and especially for those who are in Christ, is an indication of walking in the darkness.
- Application: We do well to guard our hearts against bitterness.
III. Song of Encouragement (verses 12-14)
- John is writing these theological truths so that they can be robustly applied in the lives of the church.
- He addresses:
- The whole church
- The more mature in the Lord
- The rising generation
A. The Whole Church (verse 12, verse 13c)
“I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for His name’s sake (verse 12)”
“I am writing to you, children, because you know the Father (verse 13c)”
- Illustration: the importance of a name.
- John says ‘On account of the name of Jesus Christ, your sins are forgiven! On account of Jesus, you are free from the penalty of sin! On account of the name of the One who died to rescue you, you are FREE! Though you would be right to be judged and sit under the wrath of God against your sin, you are forgiven The judge has thrown down His verdict upon you, and its FREE! FORGIVEN! CHILD OF MINE!
“Preaching the gospel to myself each day nourishes within me a holy brazenness to believe what God says, enjoy what He offers, and do what He commands. Admittedly, I don’t deserve to be a child of God and I don’t deserve to be free of sin’s guilt and power. I don’t deserve the staggering privilege of intimacy with God, nor any other blessing that Christ has purchased for me with His blood. I don’t even deserve to be useful to God. But by the grace of God I am what I am and I have what I have, and I hereby resolve not to let any portion of God’s grace prove vain in me!” — Milton Vincent, The Gospel Primer
- Your biggest problem is solved!
- As a result of your faith in Christ, you now have restored relationship with the Father, a restored relationship with our Creator
B. The older, more mature generation – (verse 13a, verse 14a)
“I am writing to you fathers, because you know Him who is from the beginning”
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. — John 1:1-3
- John is calling their attention to the One who holds all things together. If He can hold the whole world together for all eternity, can He not hold your life together as well? Is He not able to oversee and care for your life? You can hold fast to the One who holds all things together!
- You can hold fast to the Alpha and Omega, the beginning of all things and the end of all things. He is the One to whom you look to and trust.
C. To the rising generation – (verse 13b, verse 14b)
“you have overcome the evil one”
“The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it” – John 1:5
- In Christ, we have been rescued from the powers of darkness. Therefore, we need not walk in evil.
- There is nothing you will face that the Lord hasn’t already supplied a way of escape through His power and His victory.
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
- Why is this important for the rising generation to know this?
- Because of what Isaiah said:
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint. — Isaiah 40:30-31
- In Christ you are strong. When the Word of God abides in you, you have the ultimate power over the enemy!
- At the Word of God, darkness flees!
- The Word of God fought back the lies of the enemy at Jesus’ temptation.
- The Word guides and deciphers our hearts.
- The Word of God is a light to our path (Psalm 119:105).
- May God help us to walk in the light. We need not walk in darkness. In Christ we have the light. We can love one another. We do not have to be overcome by evil. We can live in the good of Christ’s triumph over evil through His death and resurrection. We can honor and please the Lord.
Questions For Discussion/Application:
- Re-read the text, 1 John 2:7-14. What initial observations and insights do you have from reading this text?
- What does loving others have to do with walking in the light?
- Re-read verses 9 and 10. What is John getting at here?
- What are the marks of true, genuine, authentic Christian love?
- In what ways do you think God is calling you personally and specifically to grow in loving others?
- Verse 12 is a powerful reminder of the gospel. Re-read the Milton Vincent quote above. What does it mean to “preach the gospel to ourselves.” In what ways do you seek to preach the gospel to yourself? In what ways do you desire to grow in doing this?
- Jesus has overcome the evil one. What does it mean practically for us as believers to walk in the victory He secured for us?
- Consider taking time to pray that:
- God would help us to walk in the light.
- God would help us to love one another.
- God would help us to cling to the gospel.
- God would help us to overcome to the evil one.