I. "BY THIS WE KNOW THAT WE LOVE THE CHILDREN OF GOD"
A. It is not by my saying, "I love all of the children of God."
1. Words are easy to say.
2. John has warned about many false professions that people were guilty of making.
3. He has told us not to love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
4. True love is demonstrated more in actions than in words.
a. The old adage is true, "Actions speak louder than words."
b. It is possible to avow one thing, but your actions totally disallow your vow.
B. How do I know that I love the children of God?
1. "When I love God."
a. This goes back to the previous verse, if I love Him who begat, then I love those who are begotten of Him.
b. We see here circular reasoning. How do I know that I love God? Because I love the children of God.
1. If I say that I love God and hate my brother, I am a liar.
2. This is the commandment that we have of Him, "He that loveth God, love His brother also."
c. How do I know that I love the children of God? Because I love God.
2. "And I keep His commandments."
a. This is a continuation of the circular reasoning. His commandment is for us to love one another as He has loved us.
b. "He that hath My commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me, and He that loveth Me shall be loved My Father and We will come and manifest Ourselves to him."
c. They all tie together, you cannot have one without the other.
C. It becomes very clear that the key word of the gospel is love.
1. It begins with God's love for us.
2. It continues with our love for God in response to His love for us.
3. Because I love God, I want to keep His commandments.
4. His commandment is that I love all who are born of God.
5. Without love there is no gospel.
6. Love is to be the great motivator in my life.
a. Paul said that the love of God constrained him.
b. My love for the body of Christ constrains me to reach out in love to those in the body.
c. As in the lyrics of Kenn Gullickson's song, "If I have not charity, If love does not flow through me, I am nothing, Jesus reduce me to love."
II. FOR THIS IS THE LOVE OF GOD.
A. That is, the demand that God's love places on me.
1. Have you discovered that it costs to love?
2. It takes sacrifice to love.
3. True love seeks to please the object of that love.
4. Sometimes the sacrifice is to lay down my own will in submitting to the will of the one I love.
5. Jesus said that greater love has no man than this, that a man will lay down his life for his friends.
a. Sometimes it is easier to lay down our lives than to lay down our wills.
b. Jesus loved the Father supremely, and He laid down His will to please the Father when He laid down His life for us.
1. He said that He did not come to do His own will, but the will of the Father who had sent Him.
2. He prayed Father, if it is possible let this cup pass from Me, nevertheless not My will, but Thy will be done."
B. What demands does God's love place on Me? "That I keep His commandments."
1. I do not see this as unreasonable.
2. If I truly loved God with all of my heart, soul, and mind, it should only follow that I desire to do His will which is expressed in His commandments for me.
III. "HIS COMMANDMENTS ARE NOT GRIEVOUS." HEAVY, BURDENSOME.
A. In Matthew 23
Jesus spoke of how the Pharisee's about heavy burdens on others that they were not willing to bear. The same Greek word translated in our text grievous is the word translated heavy.
B. Several of the translations have it, "His commandments are not burdensome."
C. Speaking of the law in the church counsel in Jerusalem Peter said concerning the relationship of the Gentile to the law, "Why should we lay on their necks a yoke that neither we nor our fathers were able to bear?"
D. In writing to the Galatians in reference to the law, Paul called it a yoke of bondage.
E. Yet we know that Jesus said, "My yoke is easy, and My burden is light" and here in the text John declares "His commandments are not heavy."
1. The psalmist said,
The law of the LORD [is] perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD [is] sure, making wise the simple.
The statutes of the LORD [are] right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD [is] pure, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the LORD [is] clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD [are] true [and] righteous altogether.
More to be desired [are they] than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Moreover by them is thy servant warned: [and] in keeping of them [there is] great reward.
2. He spoke of the benefits of delighting in the law of the Lord and meditating in it day and night.
F. Who is right? Is the law a heavy yoke of bondage or is the yoke easy?
1. Those who are calling it a yoke and an unbearable burden, are referring to the commandments as they were being taught by the Pharisee's. Jesus called their interpretations of the law as heavy burdens.
2. The actual commands of Jesus are not heavy. Unless you consider loving those in the body of Christ as an unbearable heavy burden.
G. His commandment is not grievous because,
1. He does not command us to do anything that He will not also give us the power to do.
a. If I had to do it on my own, it would be an impossible burden.
b. He gives to me the power to obey every commandment that He might ever impose on me.
c. We do observe Jesus giving impossible commands,
1. He said to the man with a withered hand, "Stretch forth your hand."
2. To the lame man He said, "Take up your bed and walk."
3. In every case where He gave an impossible command, He also gave the capacity to obey that command.
2. Our response to the commandment is the response of love.
a. Because of the great love that I have for Him I never see it as heavy or burdensome.
b. The little boy carrying another boy on his back when someone said, "He must be heavy" and the immediate response was, "No, he ain't heavy, he's my brother."
3. He promised that He would put His law in our minds, and write them upon our hearts.
a. He works from within, He works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure.