Summary: We love as we’ve been loved
August 21, 2011
We’re studying through the book of First John, and the major point has been that we have a fellowship with God that can’t be broken which causes us to have fellowship with other believers and to walk in righteousness.
We’ve stressed that this fellowship is in Christ and that it’s not something we’ve accomplished or done. Remember, salvation isn’t a reward for our good works because the soul that sins shall die (Ez. 18:20). Jesus never sinned and kept every requirement of the law—His reward is salvation.
We deserve to die, but God laid our sin on Him and laid His righteousness on us, so that He got what we deserved, and we get what He deserves. We aren’t rewarded with eternal life—He is rewarded with eternal life, and we share in the reward as co-heirs of the promise.
Therefore, we are in Him, and since we’re in Him we walk as He walked. We’re in the light, and so we walk as those in the light. We don’t do good to earn favor with God; we do good because of God’s favor.
And now here in chapter three we’re going to read about how our hope is based on God’s love for us, and we’re going to see how His love causes us to love each other and what that means. Let’s start with verse one:
We’re called sons because God loves us (:1)
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:
Now this is a contrast to the other people of the world. I’m reading through the Old Testament again and I’ve been surprised at how many times wicked people are called sons or daughters or children of Belial.
For instance, Eli was the high priest during the time of Samuel. His two sons (Phinehas and Hophni) served in the temple with him, but they sinned because they slept with the women who came to worship and because they took the meat from the sacrifices by force before it was ready. The Scripture says, “Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the Lord.”
The word Belial means “worthless” and “wicked.”
In the New Testament we find a couple of places similar to this. For instance, in Second Corinthians 6:15 we’re commanded to be pure for “what concord hath Christ with Belial?”
In another place Jesus answered some Pharisees who claimed to have Abraham as a father:
If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. 40But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. 41Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. 42Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. 43Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not (John 8:39-45).
These men were of their father the devil, and so, they couldn’t even hear the truth when Jesus spoke it to them. They were wicked sons of Belial who did what their father had always done.
Now I want you to think back to John 3:
3Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
It’s interesting that the Greek word for “born again” also means to be born “from above.” In fact, the Greek word for “again” isn’t even in this passage. Verse three literally reads, “Answered Jesus and said unto him truly truly I say to you unless not one is begotten from above not is he able to see kingdom the God.”