1 John 2:7-11 - Whoever Loves His Brother Abides In The Light
In 1 John we have seen that there are many traits that can be seen in the one who is enjoying fellowship with God.
There will be an acceptance of who Jesus Christ is (1:1-4)
There will be a belief that God is holy (1:5)
There will not be a persistent life of living in sin (1:6)
There will be a willingness to acknowledge and confess sin (1:9)
There will be an attitude to not want to live in sin (2:1)
There will be an obedience towards the commands of God (2:3)
Today we will find another trait that is seen in an individual or a church who is experiencing true fellowship with God.
Our text this morning is 1 John 2:7-11,
Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment, that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. 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. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
Let me begin this morning by addressing three tings in this opening verse. “Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment, that you had from the beginning.”
First, John addresses them as the ‘Beloved’ for the very first time in this letter. John uses four family terms throughout this letter (Beloved, brother, little children, children). These are not just cute words that John is using; rather, they are rich in meaning and significance.
Mindy and I have been watching a show called ‘Fixer Upper’. It is about a husband and wife who remodel homes for each other. I enjoy the show but sometimes I really get annoyed at the little terms they use towards each other. The husband will call his wife ‘sis’ and the wife will call her husband ‘bud’. Then they will use those same awkward words in reference to their clients as well.
John will use the term ‘Beloved’ five more times in this letter (3:2,21;4:1,7,11). But this is not done in a trivial manner. For example, John will use this term again in 1 John 3:2 but the context is important. He says in verse one, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. Beloved…”.
In one sense, John is speaking of a profound relationship that a believer has with the Father. In another sense, John is also using these terms in a very personal way as he expressing his own affection for these Christians. For example, we saw this in 1 John 2:1 when John says, “My little children...”
One reason the term ‘beloved’ is significant is because of the topic that John is going to address: Christian love. This kind of love is only achievable by those who have a special relationship with Christ. We see this in our text in 1 John 2:8 where John says, “...it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in Him and in you…”. Jesus’ disciples are beloved and as such they will reflect Christ’s love to others.
John speaks of this in his gospel when he says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just 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 13:34-35) A Christian who has experienced the love of God will be changed. Martin Luther said, “I could not love God unless I thought that He was first kindly disposed to me.”
Secondly, ‘beloved’ is significant because of the type of love that we are loved by God with; it is an agape kind of love. This is seen in the Greek word that is used here – ‘agapetoi’. Agape love is a decision of the will to love someone. It is a love that is not given on the grounds of merit, emotion or beauty. It is a decision of one’s own will to love someone else. Believers are loved by God with this sort of love and in response they are to love others in this same way.
Next let’s consider the words, “I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment, that you had from the beginning.”
We live in a world that is obsessed with enjoying the ‘newest thing’. We want to do something new, believe something new, create something new, possess something new and all too quickly put our trust in something new and when that lets us down we search for something else that is new.
I have noticed that Jim and Debi Swanson have really good appliances that work. They are not new but they work. And sometimes I wonder to myself why they do not go and get the newest appliances. The old ones have worked for decades and the newer ones, which are more disposable, will only last a fraction of the time. Yet, I am prone to think they should go get the new. How ridiculous.
Every generation has been enticed by this sort of thinking. The church(es) that John is writing too had false teachers who came and had begun to teach ‘new’ things. They spoke about how they possessed a ‘new knowledge’, a ‘new ethic’, and a ‘new morality’. They came with ‘new doctrines’, ‘new philosophies’ and ‘new theologies’. They claimed to have some special revelation that gave them a relationship with God that no one else had.