1 John 2 – This passage is full of indicators or “barometers” of how we are doing spiritually. Those who know God will have this pattern of obedience in their lives.
There are lots of people who know a lot about God but who don’t do well at obeying God. This isn’t a “head knowledge” about God, but rather a relationship with God through Christ.
Do we abide in Christ? Do we walk how Christ walked?
Jesus cared for people. He wasn’t caught up in the “American” or “Israelite” dream… he was all about the Father’s dream.
1 John 2:7-11 – Why should we love our brother? Loving your brother is a major theme of John’s. He talks about it in a number of chapters here.
Why should I love my brother?
God commands us to love each other. Not loving each other is a breach of this command. What if you don’t hate your brother but don’t love him either?
Being indifferent about and not loving our brother is a big problem. Later John says, “whoever does not love abides in death.”
1 John 4:20 – Does not love is the same thing as hate in John’s eyes. This can be a problem. Those who love walk in the light.
What does this love look like?
What is love? Love isn’t something that is described by a feeling. Love has to do with how we treat each other.
- Service. This is what John emphasizes a lot in this letter. Serving is necessary in love. It is one thing to see a brother’s need, it is another thing (and love that causes it) to be spurred to action. If we just talk nice but never do anything nice… we are probably fakes. Love is service. It is looking out for each other. It is making sacrifices for each other. How far should we take this? John said that a measure of true love is whether we would be willing to lay down our lives for a brother.
- Forgiveness – 1 Corinthians 13:5 – A person who loves doesn’t keep track of wrongs others have made to us. Just as we need forgiveness we must forgive others.
- Patience – 1 Corinthians 13:4 – If we love each other we will be patient with each other. Love understands that people and circumstances are not perfect. Growth takes time.
We need each of these aspects of love this morning. Have you ever needed someone to serve you? Have you ever needed forgiveness? Have you ever needed someone to be patient with you?
There aren’t any exceptions here. This isn’t just something that applies to those we like more than others.
If we love each other we will treat each other as we would like others to treat you.
This is what our churches need. A love that leaves us willing to lay down our lives for each other.