I. "WHOSO KEEPS HIS WORD."
A. It isn't knowing the word that counts.
1. The important thing is to keep the word.
2. James exhorted, "Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only."
3. James declared, "He that knoweth to do good and doeth it not to him it is sin."
B. Assenting to the truth of the word is not enough.
1. A lot of people say, "I know I should be doing that."
2. Some even promise that they will.
3. Jesus told the story in Matthew 21
of the two brothers. The father came to the first and said, "Go today and work in my vineyard," and he answered, "I will not." But later he repented and went out and worked in the vineyard. The father came to the second son and said, "Go work in my vineyard." And he answered, "Sure dad," but he didn't go. Which one did the will of the Father?
C. "In him truely the love of God is perfected."
1. His word is to love one another as He has loved us.
2. When we choose to obey that command, He will perfect His love in us and through us.
3. Have you ever asked the Lord to love a person through you? "Lord, let me be the instrument through which you show your love to them."
4. You must not choose some gloriously beautiful person to pray that about.
a. Jesus asked, "If you love those that love you, what reward do you have, even the sinners do that."
b. Jesus said,
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
c. You need to pray that concerning someone that is naturally repugnant to you. Someone that no one seems to be able to love because of their personality flaws.
D. "Hereby we know that we are in Him."
1. I do not know it because I say it. Throughout this epistle we find people saying a lot of good things that are not true.
a. In chapter 1, he speaks of those who, "Lie and do not the truth; of those who have deceived themselves and those who make God a liar because the truth is not in them.
b. It is possible to deceive ourselves because I have the spiritual jargon down.
2. I know it because I am loving the unlovely. Again James said, "Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves."
II. "IF WE SAY THAT WE ABIDE IN HIM, WE OUGHT TO WALK AS HE WALKED."
A. Jesus said to His disciples after washing their feet, "For I have given to you an example that you should do as I have done to you."
B. Writing to the church of Ephesus Paul said,
And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
C. Peter wrote,
Honour all [men]. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
Servants, [be] subject to [your] masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.
For this [is] thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
For what glory [is it], if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer [for it], ye take it patiently, this [is] acceptable with God.
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed [himself] to him that judgeth righteously:
D. When you think of the life of Jesus, what are the characteristics that stand out in your mind?
1. Love. I like the word compassion. Nine times in the gospels we read of Jesus having compassion on the multitudes or for the needs of individuals. I love the phrase, "Moved with compassion," for true compassion moves you to action.
2. Forgiveness. To the woman taken in adultery; to the man with the palsy; to the prostitute who washed His feet with her tears; to the thief on the cross.
3. Purity. Peter said of Jesus, "Who did no sin, neither was any guile found in His mouth."
4. A songwriter who had visited in the Holy Land wrote after a visit to some of the holy sites, "I walked today where Jesus walked." How much better to be able to say, "I walked today as Jesus walked."
5. In constant communion with the Father. Look how often He prayed. Prayer was as natural to Jesus as breathing.
E. If we say that we abide in Him, then this is how we should be walking.
III. "BRETHREN, I WRITE NO NEW COMMANDMENT UNTO YOU, BUT AN OLD COMMANDMENT THAT YOU HAD FROM THE BEGINNING."
A. In the book of the law we read,
Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I [am] the LORD.
And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
B. Jesus responded to a question posed to him by a lawyer who had asked, "What is the greatest commandment?"
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
C. Paul wrote to the Romans,
Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if [there be] any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love [is] the fulfilling of the law.
D. Paul wrote to the Galatians,
For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only [use] not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, [even] in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
E. James wrote,
If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: note: he called it the royal law.
F. In this letter John wrote,
For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
G. In his second letter he wrote,
And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.