Summary: The church is under intense scrutiny in our modern culture. Many believe it is filled with hypocrites. As part of the body of Christ, we have an obligation to bear fruit consistent with our calling, while being an effective witness among the world.
Character Traits of the Believer
1 John 2: 7-11
Luke 6:43-45 – For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.  For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.  A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. In these verses Jesus reveals the true nature of our hearts is known by the lives we live, the words we speak, and the actions we perform. What we possess on the inside will eventually, and inevitably, make its way to the surface.
If we were to survey the community around us, I am certain many of those surveyed would claim association with Christ and consider themselves to be a Christian. But, what do their lives reveal? Is there any fruit that bears witness to such a claim? Are their lives lived in light of God’s Word? Simply, Christians will be known by the life they live. That is not to say we are perfect, or that we never sin, but there will be evidence of our conversion.
In our text John speaks of such evidence, the fruit born by believers. He reveals two characteristics that ought to be present in the life of a Christian. I want to consider these characteristics as we think on: Character Traits of the Believer. First we must consider:
I. Our Acceptance of the Scripture (7-8) – A genuine believer, one truly born again in Christ will embrace the Scripture as the Word of God. That isn’t to say we will understand it all, but that we accept it as the very word of God. John speaks of:
A. The Authority of Scripture (7a) – Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The words John has written and the thoughts he hopes to convey are nothing new. He is simply rehearsing to them commandments given of old from the Lord Himself. He was not asking the reader to embrace these words because he had written them, but because they were founded in Scripture.
A genuine believer, whose heart is right with God, will accept the Word recorded within the Bible as the very word of God. It is given directly of Him, literally God breathed. It was penned of old by mortal men who were supervised by the Holy Spirit. 2 Tim.3:16 – All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: We must accept the Word, as it is written, to guide our lives whether it comforts, confronts, or convicts! God’s Word is the final authority for our lives.
B. The Application of Scripture (7b) – The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. As we considered, John was not offering something foreign to them. He was giving them instruction consistent with the Scriptures, the very words they had heard since childhood. He knew a genuine believer would be reluctant to discredit or ignore God’s Word and he urges them to apply these truths to their lives as well.
I will admit certain portions of Scripture are easier to embrace than others. We love the thought of being able to do all things in Christ (Phil.4:13), but we don’t relish the thought of being unable to do anything without Him (John 15:5). We boldly proclaim those portions we assume apply to others, but rarely mention the verses that bring conviction to our lives. God has given His Word for our benefit. We have no problem embracing it as the Word, but often we have difficulty making application. A mature, victorious Christian will embrace and seek to apply the Word.
C. The Affirmation of the Scripture (8) – Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. If there was any doubt or reservation, John sought to put those to rest here. Notice:
1. The Presentation (8a) – Again, a new commandment I write unto you…Some view this statement as contradictory to the previous verse, but there is no contradiction here. Again has the idea of “on the other hand, or from a different point of view.” As we will see in a moment, John is referring to Christ, the living Word. His life confirmed the Word. He came not to discredit the law and writings of old, but to fulfill them.