1 John (3): The Love Commandment (2:3-17)

Date: 5/16/2010
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Type: Sunday Sermon
Topic: 1 John
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That You May Know: An Exposition of First John
Part 3: The Love Commandment (2:3–17)

The Parallel Outline of First John
A 1:1–4 — Prologue — Eternal Life Manifested   
  B 1:5–2:2 —The Truth Proclaimed
    C  2:3–17 — The Love Commandment
      D 2:18–27 — Antichrists Deny Jesus is the Christ
        E 2:28–3:10 — Confidence as Children of God
          F 3:11–18 — The Message: Sacrificial Love for One Another
        E’ 3:19–24 — Confidence in God’s Presence
      D’ 4:1–6 — Antichrists Deny Christ Came in the Flesh
    C’ 4:7–5:5 — The Love Example
  B’ 5:6–12 — The Testimony Received
A’ 5:13–21 — Conclusion — Eternal Life Assured

The structure of First John is centered around the theme of knowing one has life by means of fidelity to the truth which is demonstrated by love. This comes through in the C level of the outline where there is an interplay of several key ideas: knowing, keeping the truth, maturing, abiding, loving, and overcoming. The flow of thought of this section is more of an argument than topics to be expounded. The argument moves like this:

If we know Him, love is maturing in us by obedience.
If we love one another, we are abiding in the Light.
If we are abiding in knowing Him, we are forgiven, faithful, and overcome.
If we overcome, we abide in the will of God by not loving the world.


If we know Him, love is maturing in us by obedience.
By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 2:4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 2:5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 2:6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.

If we love one another, we are abiding in the Light.
2:7 Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you ... 2:9 The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. 2:10 The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 2:11 But the one who 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.

If we are abiding in knowing Him, we are forgiven, faithful, and overcome.
2:12 I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake. 2:13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father. 2:14 I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

If we overcome, we abide in the will of God by not loving the world.
2:15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 2:17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

 

Gregg Strawbridge Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more