Summary: John calls "love one another" a command old and new. Love turns on the light. It is imperative for Christians to walk in the light of love.
INTRO.: Love is a very popular idea in today’s world. We distort and misinterpret it, but it is on everyone’s lips. Many of our most popular songs, books, and movies are about love. There are enough to fill a library.
We often forget love is a truly Christian idea. It is seen in its fullness only in Christ. Love originated in the mind of God, of whom it is written, "God is love." But, often what the world calls love is vastly different from what God in Christ revealed love to be.
The world describes love as a feeling, an overwhelming passion. God says it is a guiding principle of moral life. Love is the light by which the Christian makes the moral decisions of His life.
ILLUS.: One of our cars had switches for the windshield wipers and the headlights side by side. The switches looked and felt alike. While driving on a winding country road on a rainy night, my friend, Paul, accidentally turned off the headlights in an effort to turn the wipers on. It was a very frightening experience to suddenly be "in the dark" in a very dangerous situation.
If you live without love in your heart, you are often in the dark when you need to make important decisions, because you can’t see which way to turn. But, John writes, "Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble." v. 10.
I. John calls love a command both old and new: verses 7 & 8:
A. This is the message John’s readers have heard from the beginning:
3. The love Jesus commands is not just a feeling or a passion, but unselfish, intelligent, active good will.
4. To exercise this kind of love is a decision we make, a command we obey. One cannot "fall into" this kind of love.
B. "Love one another" is indeed an old command. It was around long before Jesus was born.
1. One of God’s earliest commands to the Jews. Lev. 19:18
2. At the time John wrote, it had been a major theme of the Church for at least 50 years.
3. Even today, it is an old and familiar theme in every generation.
C. ILLUS.: a beautiful butterfly emerges from a cocoon spun by an ugly caterpillar. It is the same creature in essence. But, by a process called metamorphosis, it has become a new creature in appearance and ability. It is beautiful and it can fly.
1. Jesus brought love out of its cocoon. He raised it to a new standard and gave it new meaning.
2. Men really didn’t know what love is all about until they saw it in Christ.
A. We usually think of darkness ass ignorance and superstition, and this is a proper analogy.
1. But, John is writing about the difference between love and hate. Love is light. Hate is darkness.
2. We are not truly enlightened or in any way knowledgeable about the really important issues of life unless we have learned and shared the love of Christ.