1 John 2:7-11: The Love Walk!

August 24, 2017

 We live in a hurting world, there are literally millions of people of all ages that are yearning for a touch, a hug, a kind word, acceptance, for some confirmation that someone cares about them. Even among believers, there is a feeling that no one really cares. So they sit side by side in long pews and never touch, never communicate, never exchange a kind word, and their hurting and lonely soul goes out feeling as hurting and unloved as when they arrived.

Here’s a song from the seventies that aptly describes our hurting world.

 

The boy’s name Steve, he wasn’t quite five,

And when we saw him that day he was barely alive.

Just an old pair of jeans, and a face full of fear, dirty bare feet

And eyes filled with tears, and what he said still rings in my ears,

He said, ‘Please won’t somebody love me?’ ‘Please won’t somebody love me?’

I’ve been all over town and I still haven’t found anybody to say,

‘Come over to my house and stay?’

‘Please won’t somebody love me, love me?

‘Please won’t somebody love me?’

–Phil Johnson

There is world out there, in your neighborhood, even in your church saying, ‘Please won’t somebody love me?’

Now to our text 1 John 2:7–11: These five verses must be taken as a whole because they contain one particular, great message. John has just written that his readers are to walk as Jesus walked. I John 2:6, “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” In this section he amplifies this thought by explaining what this conduct looks like in the life of one who follows Jesus.

“Because love is the saint's highest moral duty toward others, it is not only the ultimate mark of genuine salvation, but also provides the supreme assurance of that reality. In this passage John reiterates the theme of light versus darkness that he had introduced earlier (cf. 1:5-7). Light represents the kingdom of Christ and eternal life (Luke 2:32; John 1:4, 9; 8:12; 12:46; 2 Corinthians 4:4b; 1 Peter 2:9; cf. Psalm 36:9, Proverbs 4:18; John 3:20-21; Ephesians 5:13), and darkness represents the kingdom of Satan and eternal death (Proverbs 2:13; Matthew 8:12; 22:13; Acts 26:18; Ephesians 5:11; 6:12; Colossians 1:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:5; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; cf. Isaiah 59:9-10). Though a form of the word love appears only once in this section, love is clearly John's theme as he emphasizes its primacy as a moral test to verify salvation (cf. 3:10-11, 16-18, 23; 4:7-12, 16-21; 5:1-3; 2 John 5-6). The passage describes love as an old commandment, a new commandment, and a way of life.”-John MacArthur

The most obvious mark of a believer is not how long he can pray; how loud he can sing; or how fast he can talk, but the most visible mark is the way he lives! He lives the love life! What the New Testament writers called agape love is a love not based on feelings. Agape love is a decision to consider the needs of others ahead of your own needs; to live sacrificially; to give without demanding a return; and to overlook an offense. Most of all, agape love is a decision to receive and respond to God's love. “We love Him, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

The love life is a life that is born in us by the Spirit of God. It is a result of the fruit of the Spirit working in our lives that makes our Christianity obvious. Matthew 7:16, “You will know them by their fruits.” Galatians 5:22-24, “The fruit of the Spirit is Spirit is love, (which produces) joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” The more we yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit, the more we experience, and share agape love.

John 13:35 says, “By this (agape love) all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love one to another.”

“Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love” (1 John 4:7,8 MSG).

Verse 7: “Brethren (beloved), I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning.”

“Do those seem strange words, ‘an old commandment,’ ‘a new commandment?’ What does he mean? What is old and yet new? There is a clue here in his words, ‘an old commandment which you had from the beginning,’ i.e., the beginning of your Christian life, as this phrase most frequently means in John's letter. This is something that you learned when you first came into the Christian experience. It accompanied or was part of “the word which you heard, i.e., God's word to man. What is the first note of God's word to man? Well, it is written all through the Scriptures. You find it at the beginning of the Bible and it runs like a river all the way through the inspired text, from beginning to end. Jesus called it the first and great commandment, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and all thy soul, and all thy strength, and all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself,’ (Matthew 22:36-37, Mark 12:29-30 KJV).” ­–Ray Stedman

When John writes that one should “Walk just as Jesus walked” (2:6), he goes on quickly to remind his readers that this is not a new commandment suddenly being imposed upon them. He is alluding to Jesus' command in the following verses: John 13:34, and 15:12:

John 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

John 15:12, “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

It was Jesus who gave the command to love, and it was also Jesus who lived it out to the full in giving his life. John 13:1, “Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.”  

Now, years later when the author reminded his readers of this command it was no longer new, but familiar and, in point of time, old committed to them in the beginning. The command to love was part of the message you have heard.

“What made the command new when Jesus gave it was not its content. The Old Testament contains the command to love one's neighbor (Leviticus 19:18), and Jesus quotes it in some of the Gospels (Matthew 19:19; 22:39; Luke 10:27). Neither does Jesus have in mind a new kind of love or a new expression of love. The God whom Jesus knows and proclaims is a God of love (John 3:16).

But the command to love one another can be called new for two reasons: First, it points to a new example of love, that of Jesus' own life. We see his love most fully manifested in his death on the cross (compare John 13:1; 1 John 3:16; 4:9-10). Second, Jesus' death creates the new fellowship in which obedience to His command is possible. Jesus' death is the act by which all God's people can be gathered together (John 10:16; 11:51-52; 12:24). The command to love was given and modeled by Jesus, and now it is to be put into action by the believing community (2:8). Through their love for one another they testify that the light brought into the world by Jesus' life continues to shine.” –Bible Gateway

Verse 8a: “which thing is true in Him and in you,

“True” in Greek is, alethes, an adjective which literally describes that which will not escape notice. So this describes that which is clearly seen, that which is authentic, real, sincere and trustworthy.

Verse 8b: “because the darkness is passing away…”

Darkness is not physical but spiritual darkness. When Christ invaded earth as the God-Man, His light began to expose and expunge spiritual darkness. So Luke announces His darkness-dispelling arrival...

Luke 1:76-79, “And you, (Jesus)…will be called the Prophet of the Highest; for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on High has visited us; to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

1 Peter 2:9,But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” “the darkness is passing away:” The total thick darkness of the heathen world, and the comparative darkness of the Mosaic dispensation, are now passing away; and the pure and superior light of Christianity is now diffusing its beams everywhere. He does not say that the darkness was all gone by, but it is passing away…” –Adam Clarke

Then why do men still dwell in darkness?

John does not say that the fullness of the light had appeared, but it is now shining and will shine more and more to the perfect day; for the darkness passes away in proportion as the light shines and increases.

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

John 1:4,5,In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”

John 3:19-21, “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”]

John 11:10,But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”

Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

The world as we know it has changed drastically in recent years, and the changes are coming so fast that few people are really processing it. 2 Timothy  3:1-5 describes our culture, a culture steeped in darkness.

 

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”

Verse 8c: “the true light is already shining.”

The whole world was lost in the darkness of sin,

The Light of the world is Jesus! Like sunshine at noonday,

His glory shone in. The Light of the world is Jesus!

Philip P. Bliss, 1875

Everywhere Jesus went He shone forth as the true Light, spreading the light of true life and true love. “The darkness is passing away little by little, and the True Light is shining brighter and brighter in our hearts.” – Wiersbe

Ephesians 5:8, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.”

“God is light; and whatever is not in fellowship with God is therefore darkness. In all cases where the word is not used of physical darkness, it means moral insensibility to the divine light; moral blindness or obtuseness. Compare John 8:12; 12:35, 12:46; 1 John 2:9, 1 John 2:11.” –Marvin Vincent

Verses 9a: “He who says he is in the light,

The question is “Do my attitudes and actions (behavior) authenticate the truth of my profession?” John is describing the behavior of one who professes to be a believer and yet who continually conducts himself as an unbeliever (continually hating his brother). He says and perhaps thinks he is in the light, but he has never seen the light; it has never shone on him.

The structure of this verse is very similar to John's statement in 1 John 2:4,

“The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

Verse 9b: “and hates his brother, is in darkness until now.”

What does he mean here by “hate?” The dictionary tells us that hate is “a feeling of extreme hostility or extreme dislike of another.”

“Those who profess to be Christians, yet are characterized by hate demonstrate by such action that they have never been born again. The false teachers made claims to enlightenment, transcendent knowledge of God, and salvation, but their actions, especially the lack of love, proved all such claims false…It is a meaningless boast for someone to say he is in the Light (cf. Matthew 7:21-23-note; James 1:22-note; James 2:14-26-note; 1 John 1:6); if he (or she) hates his brother—meaning that he does not love saints selflessly as God does—he is not in the divine kingdom of light but remains in the darkness until now.” – John MacArthur

“If you hate your brother, no matter what you profess, you are still in darkness…Notice he did not say you may be a real Christian who has fallen into darkness; but he said, if you hate your brother you are “in darkness even until now.” You have never been anywhere else. You have never been in the light at all. You cannot have divine light or the Holy Spirit or the love of God dwelling in you, and still hate your brother. And yet we often see people professing the name of Christ while showing hatred toward others.” –H.A. Ironside

Verse 9c: “Is in darkness until now.” John Wesley like most conservative commentators interprets  in darkness until now as ‘Void of Christ, and of all true light.’”

“Up to this moment. He is still dwelling in the domain of darkness, not in the kingdom of light. How much clearer could John state his case? How could this possibly describe the habitual practice and position of a believer?”–Wuest

Verse 10a: “He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.”

“Abides” is present tense which pictures this as his habitual practice or lifestyle. A believer's practice of love reveals that he “abides in the light,” that he lives in or is at home in the sphere of “the light,” the sphere associated with the presence and power of God.

Verse 10b: “and there is no cause for stumbling in him.”

The light of God shines on our path, so that we can see clearly and so walk properly. If we love people, we see how to avoid sinning against them.

Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”

Proverbs 4:18, “But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.”

John 11:9, “Jesus answered, ‘Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.’ But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”

Ephesians 5:2, “Walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us…” Walking in love is the safest way to walk spiritually. “There is no cause for stumbling…” The word for “no” in Greek is ouk and it conveys the strongest negative, the idea is “absolutely no cause for stumbling.”

Verse 11: “But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”

“The point is plain. If we lose love then we lose everything. There is nothing left. You can do all the right things, believe all the right truths, but if you do not love other Christians then all is lost. The three tests: moral, doctrinal, and love, all stand together, like the legs on a three-legged stool.  It is all too easy for people to place ministry or being right above love in the body of Christ. We must do ministry, and we must be right, but we must do it all in love - if not in perfect actions, then following with proper repentance.”–Guzik

I have often thought of an unbeliever as a man in a pitch-dark cave. He is slowly feeling his way in the darkness, groping along the stone cold walls, looking for just one tiny ray of light, but finds none. That’s the condition of the lost! The amazing thing is, as horrible as this experience is, they say things like, “I’m having a great life.” “I’m grabbing the gusto.” “This is fun.” They do not know that they, like the church at Laodicea are “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17).  If only they knew the “Light of the World,” they could, “Walk in the light as He is in the light, and have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7).

“What an awful agnosticism! Can anything be more terrible than for a human soul to be compelled to plunge forward wildly, blindly, without a ray of light in any direction, simply because he would not follow the light God sent him, and tampered with his own power of seeing?” –Pulpit Commentary

The Light Of The World - By Vernon C. Grounds - One dark and ominous night during World War II, a US aircraft carrier was plowing through heavy seas in the South Pacific. All lights were out because of enemy submarines. One plane was missing. Somewhere in that pitch-black sky it was circling in a seemingly futile search for the carrier—its only landing place, its only hope of not being swallowed up by the giant ocean. The ship’s captain, knowing the terrible risk involved, gave the order, “Light up the ship.” Soon the plane zoomed onto the deck like a homing pigeon.

At Bethlehem, knowing the risk, God gave the command, “Light up the world.” Then Jesus was born. A new and radiant light began to shine, pushing back the darkness of the world, of spiritual ignorance, and of sin and despair. Like a ship lit up in an otherwise darkened sea of sinful humanity, Christ came as “the light of the world” (John 8:12). John wrote, “The darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining” (1 John 2:8). When Jesus the Savior entered this world, it was like the sunrise breaking radiantly over the horizon of human history (Luke 1:78-79).”

Unless otherwise noted, the New King James Version of the Bible was used. Also The New Living Translation (NLT); The New American Standard Bible (NASB); The Message (MSG); The New Century Version (NCV); The Amplified Bible (AMP); The King James Version (KJV), The New Life Version (NLV); English Standard Version (ESV); J.B. Phillips New Testament; Easy to Read Version (ERV) and The Living Bible (TLB).

 

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