Pastor Kirk

Reflections from a spiritual pilgrim in Toledo, Ohio

Love languages

Sin and Obedience, 1 John 2:1-6, 19 April 2015

Big Idea: God’s love language is obedience

Q&A (question from last week)

Introduction

Last week we began a new series on the book of 1 John entitled Love Illuminated. Love and light are two dominant themes in this short book written to the early Church by one of Jesus’ three best friends, John, the same man who wrote the Gospel of John and Revelation.

John describes in the third verse of the book, which we examined last week, the purpose:

We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:3)

1 John is written to followers of Jesus so they might have fellowship with one another and with God.

Last week someone texted in a question about the plural “we.” It is a reference to the early Church leaders. Just as I might use “we” to describe Scio’s elders, so John is representing the first disciples of Jesus who have become “fathers” to new believers.

This is a book about fellowship, about relationship.

Have you ever had a strained relationship? How did it feel?

Sometimes people confuse position with status. For example, my position might be daddy to my kids, but the status of our relationship may be strained in a given moment.

Our passage today does not deal with salvation. John is writing to children of God. It does, however, deal with fellowship, the status of our relationships with God and one another.

PRAY

Love

Who do you love? It’s a simple question. Think about the people in your life that you most love. Why do you love them? How do you express that love?

Dr. Gary Chapman’s best-selling book
The Five Love Languages provides the five ways people express love (we’ve looked at these before):

  • words of affirmation
  • physical touch
  • quality time
  • acts of service
  • gifts

A note to couples, it is extremely rare for both of you to have the same love language and, therefore, you need to learn the language of the other person and speak their language…since speaking yours is rarely as meaningful.

I believe God’s love language is
obedience.

As a dad, I can tell you obedience—and physical touch/hugs—is my love language. If I ask my kids to clean their room and they buy me gifts and say nice things to me but leave Coke cans in their room attracting ants—or worse—I don’t feel loved! I feel disrespected and ignored. Daddy usually knows best…especially when the ants arrive!

So many people talk a great talk about following Jesus on Sunday, singing songs and putting money in the offering plate, but ignoring Him during the week. This is nothing new. When Saul disobeyed God, he told Samuel about the great things he did for God.

But Samuel replied:
“Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the LORD?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22)

Which brings us to our passage for today.

Scripture: 1 John 2:1-6

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. (1 John 2:1a)

John speaks as a father to his children, his dear children, his spiritual children. The word “children” in the Greek is a term of endearment.

Sin is anything that separates us from God. By definition, it affects the status of that relationship. If I sin against you, our fellowship is strained. Any sin is ultimately a sin against God.

But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:1b-2)

Here’s a good “but!” We all sin. We all fall short of God’s glory, His standard of perfection, His righteousness. Praise God for Jesus, the Advocate, the Righteous One who died for us. He is the propitiation for us, meaning He atoned for our sins, meaning His suffering paid for our sins. He took our punishment. The wages of sin is death, and Jesus died as the Lamb of God to take away the sins of the world. He is the atoning sacrifice: at one moment Jesus died to reconcile us to our heavenly Dad.

This is truly good news!

We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. (1 John 2:3)

Christians are not permitted to do whatever they please. They must do what pleases God. This is a radical notion, especially in our hyper-individualistic culture that says do it now, have it now, and seize your rights.

We know that we know…Him if…we keep His commands. You can’t know if you’re disobeying God. The assurance comes when we keep His commands. That brings peace. That bring joy.

Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. (1 John 2:4)

Strong words! Any mystery to what he is saying? A disobedient Christian is a liar!

Disobedience is proof we don’t know God.

Many people call themselves Christians but that doesn’t mean they are really God’s children.

Do you love God’s commands?

King David did. Perhaps that’s why he’s called a man after God’s own heart despite his own sins and shortcomings.

The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. (Psalm 19:8b)

Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. (Psalm 119:35)

Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies. (Psalm 119:98)

I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands. (Psalm 119:131)

It’s easy to talk the talk, but walking the walk is another story.

The test of your car battery is not when it’s 70 degrees and sunny, but ten below zero.

The test of your patience is not when you’re relaxing at the beach, but when you’re stuck in an hour-long traffic backup.

The test of your faith is not what happens on Sunday morning, but 24 hours later when the boss—or teacher—barks out an order for you.

Jesus said…

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7:21-23)

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27)

But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: (1 John 2:5)

The Word of God and the commandments of God.

The commandments are the Word of God.

The Word of God includes the commandments…and more.

Jesus said

“If you love me, keep my commands. (John 14:15)

Jesus replied,
“Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. (John 14:23)

Children of God want to not only do the commandments but please the Father in all they do. Not “how far can I go and still be a Christian?” Is it ok for a Christian to _________? That’s the wrong question. The right question is, “What can I do to please my heavenly Father?”

Do you want to please God or yourself?

The commandments are one thing, but the word is another.

What is your attitude toward sin? What do you do when you sin?

Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. (1 John 2:6)

Jesus is our example. He did the Father’s will. He obeyed the Father.

Do you think it pleased Jesus to die on the cross? No, but it pleased the Father.

So What?

Are you living as Jesus did? Of course we all fail to live up to His perfect standard, but each week it’s helpful to reflect, to remember, to read, to realize Jesus is the One we strive to follow.

We are not merely to obey commands but follow His example, be in fellowship with Him, do life with Him.

Jesus said the greatest thing in all of life is to

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ (Mark 12:30)

You can listen to this message and others at the Scio podcast here. You can also subscribe to our podcast here.

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