1 John 2:7-17 (ESV) 7 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. 8 At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because[a] the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him[b] there is no cause for stumbling. 11 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.
12 I am writing to you, little children,
because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.
13 I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, children,
because you know the Father.
14 I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong,
and the word of God abides in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life[c]—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
We continue our journey through 1 John, a love letter to the church from the elderly apostle John who addresses us as ‘Beloved’ just as he heard Jesus address him. In this love, he firmly writes of a new emphasis on an old commandment: to love one another.
Pastor Chris helps us discover how our lifestyle reflects either our love for the Lord or for the world. He unpacks the metaphors John uses to demonstrate how a believer grows in spiritual maturity. When we choose to live the authentic Christian Lifestyle, we think, speak, and act in ways that show others how to make each day count now and for eternity.
Those Who Walk in a Christian Lifestyle can Honestly Answer these 3 Questions:
- Are you marked by love or hate? (vv. 9-11) “Whoever loves his brother abides in the light….11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness…”
- Are you marked by Maturing in the Lord? (vv. 12-14) “I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning…young men, because you have overcome the evil one…children, because you know the Father.”
- See also, Ephesians 4:14, Psalm 119:9
Spiritual Growth: Fruit of Lifestyle Christianity
15 As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience. Luke 8:15 (ESV)
6 Phases of Leadership Development
- Sovereign Foundations: Understand and Respond!
- Inner-life Growth: Godly Character & Integrity!
- Ministry Maturing: Growth!
- Life Maturing: Rhythms & Refining!
- Convergence: Sweet spot!
- Afterglow: Wise Sage!
- Are you marked by Love for God or Love of the World? (vv. 15-16) ”If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
Love of the world is summed up as:
- Lust of the Flesh ~ craving for physical pleasure
- Lust of the Eyes ~ craving for everything we see
- Pride of life ~ pride in our achievements & possessions
24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:24–25 (ESV)
We are not to have desire for, affection for, or flirt with the world – this is what John means by love of the world. We have a way to overcome the cravings of our human nature. Instead we can choose a lifestyle of love for God and others – a new commandment!
- How might someone who claims to be a Christian demonstrate a lifestyle of hate? How about a lifestyle of love?
- How do you see the path of spiritual growth in John’s metaphors of children, young men, and fathers? What are some characteristics of a believer at each of these stages?
- How does someone in love with the world try to satisfy their cravings? How might a believer overcome these desires?
- John ends the passage with, “whoever does the will of God abides forever”- what does it take for you to do the will of God?
- What might people say at the end of your life about your lifestyle? Will they remember that you loved or hated?
- Reflect on your spiritual growth. Ask God to reveal if you are increasingly growing in God, even with setbacks, in a way that is opposite the world. Ask Him to show you how to grow this week!