The Command to Love
"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure".
Sin and the Child of God
"Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God".
The Imperative of Love
" In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother's righteous.
Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him".
The Outworking of Love
"By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?
My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment".
Abide in HIM
"Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us". (NKJV)
“Love, Sin, and the Child of God”
I. The Command to Love (verses 1-3)
A. The Manner of God’s “Bestowed” Love (vs. 1)
SEE how incredible] the quality of love the Father has given (shown us, expressed to us, bestowed upon us, that we should and are permitted to be called the children of God!! The reason that the world does not know (recognize, acknowledge) us is that it does not know (recognize, acknowledge) Him.
B. We are “called” the “children” of God. (vs. 1)
This happens by divine adoption and election through Jesus Christ.. We can’t earn this position with God nor do we deserve it.
C. Therefore: the “world” don’t know us because they don’t know HIM. (vs.1)
The world does not understand our Life principles, the reasons we conduct out behavior the way we do, nor the sources of our comforts and joys. We are accused of being “fanatics” or “enthusiasts”; even as “foolish” because we abandon the world’s pleasures and pursuits. There is nothing which the frivolous, the ambitious, and the selfish "less" understand about the Christian's character, or the nature and source of the Christian's joys. This joy I have the world didn’t give it to me
D. Now we are the sons of God (vs.2)
1. It hasn’t been revealed what we shall be. It is not fully revealed what we shall be hereafter; what will be the full result of being regarded as the children of God. There are, indeed, certain things which may be inferred as following from this. There is enough to animate us with hope, and to sustain us in the trials of life. There is one thing which is clear, that we shall be like the Son of God; but what is fully involved in this is not made known.
2. It is revealed to us that we shall be made like Christ; that is, in the bodies with which we shall be raised up, in character, in happiness, in glory. This is enough to satisfy the Christian in his prospects for the future world. To be like Christ is his supreme aim. For that he lives, and all his aspirations in regard to the coming world may be summed up in this-that he wishes to be like the glorified Son of God, and to share his honors and his joys.
3. We know when HE is revealed, we shall be like HIM.
4. We shall see HIM as HE is.
5. Everybody who has this hope purifies himself. (as Christ is pure) (vs.3)
Note: Anyone who has hope of seeing Christ, our Savior will strive to be Holy. They must put forth their best effort in their life’s struggle to conquer the power (influence) sin has had in life. They will work diligently to overcoming their evil propensities (habits) because this is necessary to make them pure. In order to be successful against sin, we must depend on God’s divine help. In truth, the hope of being like Christ, and the privilege to dwell with him, will lead a man to earnest efforts to become holy, and will produce the right result.
II. Sin and the Child of God Dealing with “Lawlessness” (verses 4-9)
A. Lawlessness: Whoever commits sin commits lawlessness. Sin is lawlessness! (vs. 4- 6)
1. Christ was manifested (in human flesh) to take away our sin. There is NO sin in HIM. (vs.5)
2. Whoever abides in HIM does not sin. (as a practice) (vs.6)
3. Whoever sins has not known HIM or seen HIM.
B. Deception: Let No one deceive you! (vs.7-9)
1. Whoever practices righteousness (puts into daily living) is righteous, just as Christ is righteous! (vs.7)
2. Whoever sins (practice sin as a lifestyle) is of the devil. (vs.8)
a. The devil sinned from the beginning.
b. Christ was manifested (came in human flesh) to destroy the works of the devil.
3. Whoever is born of God does not sin. (vs. 9)
a. Their seed remain in them.
b. They cannot sin because they are “born” of God.
Note: They who are born of God, that is, who are true Christians, do not sin habitually, willfully and characteristically. Neither this verse nor seven imply that Christians do not sin. The implication is as we strive to live according to the principles, precepts and truth contained in the Word of God, we will not practice sin as a daily lifestyle. Also, keep in mind we are being sanctified daily by the Holy Spirit and the “washing” of the Word of God. God is cleansing us from unrighteousness, as well as developing the belief in each Christian that sin no longer has dominion over us according the Romans 8.
Here’s another point to consider:
That “seed” John referred to is the “truth” of God’s word which God has implanted or sown in the heart of the believer. David said to the Lord : “Thy WORD have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against You”. It’s from the implantation of the ‘Word of God that the fruits of righteousness will grow. After God’s word is implanted in your heart, it’s no longer not the “naked word” of God; (Living but not regenerated in the life of the believer) The Holy Spirit guides us in the truth contained in god’s word and opens our understanding to the power and principles and its precepts. God’s word becomes alive and active in our heart and soul and we grow, compelled to uphold its principles through our daily living.
III. Love: An “Imperative” (verses 10- 15)
Note: The test of a person’s true character is found in doing righteousness, and in the love of the brethren. The “general” idea is: If a person is not truly a righteous person, and does not love the brethren, he cannot be a child of God. Righteousness is an essential part of brotherly love.
A. Manifested: The Children of God and the children of the Devil. (vs. 10)
1. Whoever doesn’t practice righteousness is not of God.
2. Whoever who does not love their brother is not of God.
3. Message in the beginning: we should love one another. (vs. 11)
4. We should not practice the “way” of Cain. Cain murdered his brother Abel.
5. Cain murdered Abel because his works were righteous and Cain’s on works were evil. (vs. 12)
B. Don’t marvel: The world hates you too! (vs. 13- 15)
Jesus told us to expect to be hated by the world. Just as they persecuted all the prophets before us, we should not expect to receive love from this world. They hated Jesus because HE testified against the evil that was rampant in it. As minister and teachers and ambassadors for Christ, we should not expect to be treated any different.
1. We have passed from death to life because we love the brethren. (vs. 14)
2. Whoever doesn’t love their brother abides in death.
3. Whoever hates their brother is a murderer. That is, that person possess the spirit of a murderer.(vs. 15)
4. No murderer has eternal life in them.
IV. The “Outworking:” of Love (verses 16- 23)
A. By this we know love: (vs. 16- 17)
1. Jesus Christ laid HIS life down for us. (vs. 16)
2. We should lay our lives down for each other. (under the right circumstances)
That is, for the good of our fellow Christians, if it be necessary. That is, circumstances may occur where it would be proper to do it, and we ought always to be ready to do it. The “same” spirit which led the Savior to sacrifice his life for the good of the church, should lead us to do the same thing for our brethren if circumstances should require it. Jesus said whosoever loses their life for MY sake, the same shall save it…Remember:
a. JESUS Our Savior did it and we are bound to imitate his example, and to possess his spirit;
b. The prophets, apostles, and martyrs did it, in biblical times did it. Often times, they did it, laying down their lives in the cause of truth, and for the good of the church and the world; and
c. It has always been held that it is right and proper, in certain circumstances, for a man to lay down his life for the good of others.(Military in the act of war)
3. If you have the world’s goods in abundance and sees your brother in need and refuses to help them, (shut up your heart toward them) how does God’s love abide in you? (vs. 17)
B. Love in Action: (vs. 18- 23)
1. Show love in your actions, sincerity and truth, not just in what you say (vs. 18)
2. Evidence that we are of the truth and assures our heart before Christ. (vs. 19)
3. If our hearts condemns us , Christ is our “greater” heart. (vs.20)
4. If our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. (vs. 21)
5. Whatever we ask of HIM, we receive from HIM because we keep HIS commandments and do those things that are pleasing to HIM. (vs.22)
6. HIS Commandment: To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and love one another. (vs. 23)
V. Conclusion: “Abide in Christ” (verse 24)
Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
Rev. Dr. William Edward Boddie