Summary: Love is meant to be the defining characteristic of the Christian. What’s that look like in the context of your life?
What’s Love Got To Do With It? - 1 John 2:7-11 - June 30, 2013
Series: That We May Know – Life With Jesus - #6
I’ll invite you to open your Bibles with me this morning to the book of 1 John as we continue in our series entitled, “That We May Know – Life With Jesus.” 1 John, chapter 2, and we’ll begin reading in verse 7. This is our sixth message in the series, and if you’re just joining us for the first time today, or if you have missed a message or two in weeks past and want to get caught up, you can do so by simply going to our church website and listening on-line.
Now over the years I’ve met a number of people who struggle with what we might call “assurance of salvation.” What I mean by that is this: large numbers of people in our churches are simply hoping that they will enter into heaven when they die, but who live with the fear that they may not. They don’t have any assurance of salvation, and, because they don’t have any assurance, they don’t have any comfort in, nor any joy from, their faith either. Day by day, week by week, they go through the motions, hoping against all odds that if they do everything right, that maybe, just maybe, they’ll make the final cut; they’ll discover that their sins really have been forgiven and that they truly have been born again.
And maybe you’re one of them. You’re not sure. You’re not certain. You’re only hoping that salvation is yours, but you live in fear that it might not be. Now in some cases that fear is not a bad thing; it might even be justified. We’re told to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. And the truth is that there are some people today who should be living with that fear, because when it comes right down to it, they aren’t saved. All these years they’ve been going through the motions, and they have a form of godliness, but one without any power. They have deceived themselves - and that’s something Scripture warns us about again and again, saying, “Do not deceive yourselves,” “Do not be deceived.” In other words, “Don’t fool yourself,” “Don’t believe something to be true that isn’t.”
The good news is this: We don’t have to guess. We don’t have to live with that uncertainty; with that fear. John says we don’t have to wonder. He says we can know. We can have that assurance that we crave. In 1 John 5:13 he writes these words … “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13, NIV84) All these things that John is writing in this book, he’s written that you and I may know that we really have been saved. That’s why we’re going through this book verse by verse because we don’t want to miss anything that John is trying to tell us here. We need to take these things that he is writing, and apply them to our lives. Because what John does is to give to us a number of tests regarding salvation, so that we may examine ourselves to see if we really are in the faith. And we’ve looked at a couple of those tests in this series already.
The first test is the test of your attitude towards sin. What is your response to the reality of sin in your life? What happens when you’re reading the word of God, or when you’re listening to a pastor speaking, or when you’re confronted by a godly friend, and you suddenly realize that you’ve been living with this on-going sin in your life? What do you do? Do you deny it? Do you revel in it? Do you celebrate it? Do you excuse it or justify it? Do you continue in it? Or do you see it as God sees it? Does it break your heart? Does it bring you to your knees in brokenness and repentance? Do you humble yourself before God, confessing your sin, turning from it, and seeking His strength to overcome it?
Our attitude towards sin tells us an awful lot about the genuineness of our salvation. John writes that “If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, [as always “darkness” speaks of habitual, on-going sin, ignorance and the absence of God] we lie and do not live by the truth.” (1 John 1:6, NIV84) So that’s the first test – our attitude towards sin.
The second test is a test of obedience to the Word of God. John says, “We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands.” (1 John 2:3, NIV84) There are many people, who claim the name of “Christian,” but who make no effort to walk in obedience to the Word of God whatsoever. In fact, many people continue to live their lives, after having supposedly come to faith, just as they did before coming to that moment in time. I would suggest, that if that describes you, that there is a very good chance that you’ve deceived yourself, and that you are just as unsaved today, as you once were.