The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi.
I have loved you, saith the Lord.
Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us?
Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the Lord:
yet I loved Jacob,
And I hated Esau,
and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.
Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished,
but we will return and build the desolate places;
thus saith the Lord of hosts,
They shall build, but I will throw down;
and they shall call them, The border of wickedness,
and, The people against whom the Lord hath indignation for ever.
And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say,
The Lord will be magnified from the border of Israel.
A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master:
if then I be a father, where is mine honour?
and if I be a master, where is my fear?
saith the Lord of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name.
And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name?
Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar;
and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee?
In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible.
And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil?
and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil?
offer it now unto thy governor;
will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the Lord of hosts.
And now, I pray you, beseech God that he will be gracious unto us:
this hath been by your means:
will he regard your persons? saith the Lord of hosts.
Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought?
neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought.
I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of hosts,
Looking from the book of 1 John. We must take note of some really big issues and talk about walking the light and love of Jesus Christ and because of that we have eternal life if we do the will of God and love our brothers in Christ. Summing up this great book…
Its essence is that God is light (1:5);
God is love (4:16); Jesus is Messiah (2:22),
the Son of God (4:15) who has come in the flesh (4:2) to make us his children (3:1).
As such, we have eternal life (2:25) and are called not to sin (2:1),
but to love one another (3:11; 4:7-12).
Today I want to hit a huge portion, covering the end of chapter 2, all of chapter 3 and the first part of chapter 4. Now don’t be alarmed this will not take long! The reason I am doing this is because it is almost as if John is jumping from topic to topic giving rapid advice to a church that is being led astray into false doctrine.
So let’s get to work and discover some very important truths that will help us to walk in the light, love our brothers and know the unending love of our Father Jesus Christ.
The Righteousness of God’s Children! (2:28 – 3:3)
(Repeat after me) “There are no orphans in the church!” According to the studies of the University of Capetown there are
571, 319 (orphans age 0-5)
1,372,169 (orphans age 6-12)
1,417,918 (orphans age 12-17)
These numbers are from a 2005 survey. I cannot imagine how much these numbers have grown since 2005. According to this survey there are 3,360,505 orphans living in South Africa, which means 19% of the population, is without one or both parents.
(Repeat after me) “There are no orphans in the church!” If you are here this morning and you are a part of these numbers I have listed let me speak to you very plainly. You have a Father – his name is Jesus Christ: you have been adopted through baptism in water and spirit into the family. You have a mother – her name is “the church.” Look at what the Apostle Paul told the church at Rome..
Romans 8:15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
Paul told the church at Galatian that we have been adopted into God’s family and because of this we are sons and heirs not slaves. Look at what John is telling us here…
Great is the love of the father (3:1)
His love has been lavished on us (3:1)
We are called the children of God (3:1)
John tells us, “NOW” we are the children of God (3:2)
Because we are NOW his children we are expected to walk in righteousness. What is righteousness – simply put it means to be right with God! When we are born again we are adopted into God’s family – we take on the family Name in water baptism and we receive a New Spirit when the Holy Ghost fills us. You are a new creature – a new person in Christ! Because we have repented and been adopted into the family we are automatically made righteous but we must learn to walk in righteousness. That is why John tells us that as God’s dear children we should not practice sin or allow ourselves to be associated with the things of the Devil
The Practice of Sin and the Devil (3:4-10)
Everyone who sins breaks the law and acts in a lawless manner but Jesus appeared (was made manifest) to TAKE AWAY OUR SINS!!! Remember folks you are not just any child but you are a child of the Most High God – YOUR DADDY IS THE KING OF KINGS!!! The next time someone makes fun of you because you are an orphan you look them straight in the eye and tell them, “My Daddy created the universe, put the stars in the sky and created me in His image – can you daddy do that?” But we must also live our lives by our Daddy’s rules, which means as His children we must not keep on sinning and breaking the law! John tells us that those who continue in sin and breaking the law have never really understood or known there true privilege of being the sons of God.
Don’t be fooled by people who tell you a little sin is OK. Don’t let those who want to bring you down tell you doing the right thing is wrong! Look at what John tells us…He who does right is righteous and he who does what is sinful is of the Devil! There is nothing in the middle of this – no room for discussion. To be righteous we must do what is RIGHT if we do not do what is RIGHT we are SINNING AND OF THE DEVIL! If we refuse to do what is RIGHT then we are NOT the children of God! If we do not love our brother – we are not children of God!
I know that sounds harsh but it is what it is! We can repent. We can ask forgiveness but it is better to not sin than to have to repent of sin! John told us earlier in 2:1 that we should not sin – but if we do we can be forgiven.
Love Against Hate (3:11-15)
John then begins to describe this battle that is taking place between “love” and “hate” he does this by talking about Cain. (READ v. 12)…Cain murdered his brother! Why? Because his actions were evil and his brothers were righteous.
(v. 13) Folks as you strive to live a life of righteousness and holiness in this world do not be surprised if people hate you for it. As you do the right thing and make right decisions do not be surprised if your friends or even family rise up against you. Jesus told us…
Matthew 10:22 All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
Think about the story of Cain. Cain hated his brother because Abel did what was right no matter what anyone else said. Cain hated Abel because Cain felt guilt and shame over not giving his best to God. The same is true of those who will hate you because you are living righteous lives. They do not necessarily hate “you” but really they hate “themselves” because their own conscience is telling them they are sinning and working with the Devil. Instead of repenting and giving their lives over to God they lash out at those who remind them of their own sinfulness! So what if people hate you for doing what is right – DO THE RIGHT THING ANYWAY and let God sort out the rest.
John tells us that anyone who hates his brother is a murderer. Sure you may not shoot or stab someone but by hating someone you have committed murder and you will not inherit eternal life! Let me ask you something. Are there people in this world that you hate?
Hating in this manner is, in Jesus’ book, murder! You must repent and ask the Lord to give you love for your brother. I wish I could give you a simple 1,2,3 plan for loving people but I can’t. You will have to choose to love people – even those who are different from you or have things you do not have!
I listen to talk shows and radio presenter’s talk about all these pie in the sky programs and government initiatives to eradicate racism and poverty. I am sure these things do some good but the real answer is staring us in the face: repent of our wicked ways, recognize we have differences, love each other despite those differences and ask Jesus to help us love! The reason we have so much violence around us is because we are a people who enjoy hating! Hating our brother is murder and it leads to all sorts of evil deeds against humanity. In the end though we are only trying to destroy what is right and good; and when this happens we all lose!
So what is the answer? I’m glad you asked…
Love and Generosity (3:16-18)
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers (v. 16).
We all talk about how Jesus laid down His life. We all listen to how this one man, who was God in the flesh, sacrificed His life so we as sinners could be forgiven and granted an abundant life. We love to hear about how somebody else gave of himself or herself but John doesn’t stop there…And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
The temptation I have at this very moment is to give you some kind of NICE story about how some little girl or boy; or some man or woman; or some husband or wife gave their life so the other could live. There are thousands of those stories out there BUT I CANNOT DO THAT! I simply want to ask you, “How are you laying down your life for the sake of others?”
John tells us that we should not just love in word or in tongue but in ACTION AND TRUTH! Look at v. 17
If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?
Let me be very transparent – this verse bothers me! I tried to look up the Greek meaning to see if there was some kind of way out of this verse but there just wasn’t one. Basically John is telling us that if we see a “brother” in need and we are able to help with that need we should do what we can. The original language here suggests that if we do not help our brother it is like slamming the door in his face.
What am I doing to lay down my life? What am I doing to help my brother in need? To be perfectly honest I am not doing what I can and I need Jesus to help me. Cain is the picture of selfishness while Jesus is the picture of selflessness – I want to be like Jesus! HELP!!!
I really struggled to understand these verses as I studied them. I am not exactly sure why I struggles so much but I did and through that struggle I think I have understood a beautiful truth.
If you have lived for God any time at all you have had some doubts about whether or not you are saved. After all, we know ourselves. We know our sins and our shortcomings. Sometimes we struggle to believe God would love us and use us because of what we know about ourselves. John tells us we should practice real love and not just give lip service to love. This how we truly know we are abiding in Christ but as we try to practice REAL LOVE we have these doubts – we criticize ourselves. We think we are being a hypocrite or something. John tells us to remember that in those times of self-criticism or self-doubt we must not doubt that God knows our hearts and sees our true motives. If our heart condemns us we should search out the reason for the condemnation, take it to Jesus, repent and clear our heart.
When we have taken care of these things we can then come boldly and freely before God. We can lift our hands with confidence knowing there is nothing between me and Jesus – THAT IS CALLED RIGHTEOUSNESS!! We are doing the things that please God and what are the things that please God…
Believe in Jesus and…
Love my brother.
How do we know the Spirit of God is with us? How do we know we are saved and walking in the light? We keep His commands: believe in Jesus and love our brother! How do we abide in the presence of the Lord? We keep His commands: believe in Jesus and love our brother! How do we know Jesus lives in us? keep His commands: believe in Jesus and love our brother!
The Spirit of God and the Spirit of Antichrist (4:1-6)
We know we have the Spirit of God! We know we are abiding in the presence of God. We know we have God’s assurance of salvation if we keep His commands but there will always be those who try to convince us this is not true.
The “world” system tries to persuade us that living a righteous life is “old fashioned,” “out of touch,” irrelevant,” or that we are being “prude.” (Example of talk show on radio. “I am not a prude, but…) Let me tell you something, if living for God and standing for what is right, pure and holy is being a prude then I AM A PRUDE AN PROUD OF IT!! May our tribe ever increase.
John tells us that because there are those who will try to persuade us to give up on Jesus we must, “not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God.”
How do we test the spirits that we come face to face with every day? Let me give some practical and simple ways to know if what someone is telling you is from God or from the Devil.
Observe (4:1). Instead of just believing what people say, watch what people do. Are their words and actions matching up? If not, then reject their words as a spirit that is not from God.
The flesh test (4:2). Does the person or preacher speaking preach that Christ came in the flesh? If not then reject their words as a spirit that is not of God.
The Word test (4:4-5). Do the things people or preachers are saying consistent with the Word of God. This, of course, means that you know the Word of God through study and reading. Not knowing the Word leaves you open to deception from false preachers.
The Listening Test (4:6). Are these folks willing to listen to the Word of God or are they too wrapped up in their own opinions about God? If they will not listen to godly people or the Word of God then they are not of God.
We can recognize truth from falsehood. Don’t believe everything you hear. I challenge you to go home and read the verses I have preached from today and test what I have said and see whether it is from God. Did you know the Devil disguises himself as an angel of light? The Devil can speak through people and lead them astray – but we must test the spirits.
If you have been born again of water and Spirit you are a child of God. As a child of God you are expected to live life in a righteous and holy way. We reject the sinful desires of the world and do not give ourselves over to things that would destroy our testimony. We stand against hate by loving Jesus and loving our brother. We demonstrate our love through generosity and kindness toward those in need. Knowing that if we will love Jesus and love our brother we will have assurance of salvation. As children of God we seek to walk and live in truth so we may recognize the Spirit of God at work or the spirit of the Antichrist