I. WE KNOW THAT WE HAVE PASSED FROM DEATH INTO LIFE, BECAUSE WE LOVE THE BRETHREN.
A. We know, (oidas) by intuition or by revelation. In this case it is revelation.
1. Romans 8:16
tells us that the Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the sons of God.
2. What do we know? "That we have passed from death into life."
3. What a wonderful thing to know.
4. Do you know that, are you assured of this truth.
B. In John 5:24
Jesus speaks about those who believe in Him as having passed from death into life.
C. Paul in Ephesians 2
said, "And you has He made alive, who were once dead in trespasses and sins."
1. This is speaking of death from a spiritual definition. The separation of a man's consciousness from God.
2. Paul tells us that in Adam all died, so that thorough Christ shall all be made alive who trust in Him.
3. Paul wrote to the Colossians,
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
When Christ, [who is] our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
D. How do we know that we have passed from death into life?
1. The witness of the Spirit in our spirit, and the work of the Spirit in our lives giving us love for the brethren.
2. In a little bit John will tell us that he that loveth is born of God and knoweth God, but he that loveth not knoweth not God for God is love.
II. HE THAT LOVETH NOT HIS BROTHER ABIDES IN DEATH.
A. This is very strong language.
1. We must be careful not to seek to modify this so as to fit our failure.
2. I think that many times when we read something like this, the tendency is to think that somehow this does not apply to us or or situation, and that somehow we have a special case.
3. I am always suspicious of myself when I try to modify what is the plain teaching of the Word.
4. I would much rather ask God to help me to come up to His standards rather than to reduce His standards to accommodate my shortcomings.
5. It is interesting to me that when Jesus said to His disciples "One of you is going to betray Me." They all began to ask, "Lord, is it I?" None of them said, "I know it is not me." When God warns us of something I think that it is good that we ask, "Lord is it I?"
B. If you have no love for those in the body of Christ no matter what you may profess of correct orthodoxy or election, you are abiding in death.
1. None of this hypocritical prefacing of your remarks of rancor and bitterness by saying "I love you brother, but,"
2. You are as guilty as the unrighteous Jews who would preface their cursing of their parents by saying "This is a gift for your own benefit."
III. WHOEVER HATES HIS BROTHER IS A MURDERER.
A. This is where we need to be very careful about deceiving ourselves.
1. I have often heard people say, "Well I don't hate him" and in reality they do. Their words and actions toward them prove that the hate them.
2. If you truly loved your brother and you felt he was in the wrong you scripturally should be going to him and personally seeking to resolve your differences and seek reconciliation rather than seek to publicly tear him down.
3. As long as you are saying, "I don't hate him," you can go on in your endeavor to destroy him, and feel you are doing the right thing.
4. People can go on for years living in hatred and never have to deal with it because they are in denial. In God's eyes, I am certain He sees it for what it truly is.
5. If you confess your hatred then God can begin to deal with it in your life.
6. It is like an alcoholic, there is no help for him until he recognizes the truth that he is an alcoholic.
B. John's assessment is very strong, "is a murderer."
1. We think of Jesus in the Sermon on the mount as He said that our righteousness had to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisee's if we hoped to enter the kingdom of heaven.
2. He said, "You have heard that it hath been said, "Thou shalt not murder, and whoever murders is in danger of the judgment." But I say unto you, whosoever is angry with his brother without cause is in danger of the judgment and whoever speaks in a derogatory way or calls him names is in danger of hell fire.
3. It is interesting to see what in the mind of the Lord what constitutes things that are equivalent to murder.
a. It is the attempt to destroy someone else's character or effectiveness by your words of criticism.
b. Years ago there was a man by the name of John Todd who was going around the country telling all kinds of lies about me and the ministry of Calvary Chapel. He was also telling lies about Billy Graham and Jerry Falwell. So I was at least proud of the company that he was putting me in.
c. His remarks were wild and reckless, but he was a good actor and he had many believing that we were in league and being financed by the illuminati, and witches.
d. The sad by product of this man's lies by which he destroyed in the minds of many people the legitimacy of our ministry, was that people all over the country were using the tapes of our Bible Studies for home Bible study groups. They really did not know who I was, but were being blessed by the study of the Word. When they heard this fellow, they were shocked, and many rather than seeking find out the truth, believed what he was saying and stopped ordering the tapes.
4. This man murdered me in the minds of many people.
C. There is something else that we also know, "No murderer has eternal life abiding in Him."
1. Throughout this book John is warning that it is not what we are saying that really counts, but what we are doing.
2. You can be saying one thing while doing something else that totally negates what you are saying.
3. In a few verses John will be telling us not to love in words but in deeds and in truth.
a. It is our deeds that God is taking account of.
b. I am certain that God really doesn't pay much attention to what we say, for so often what we say is a lie.
c. John warns over and over about lying.
If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
d. Sometimes when someone says something to us that we know is not true, we say "That's a lie."
e. I wonder how many times when we are talking to God about ourselves and we declare, "God I really do love him," that God responds, "That's a lie."
f. True love is shown in deeds, not declared in words.