If You Walk in the Light, You Will Love Others 1 John 1:5-9; 2:9-11

John is confronting false teachers who say they are “enlightened” and that they know God, but they are still living in moral darkness.

John says that “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth” (1:5-6).

“Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in darkness. Anyone who loves their brother or sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble” (2:9-10).

… John wrote this letter to deal with false teachers. Some people were giving false teachings. These people claimed to know God either intellectually or emotionally. John says that knowing God is more than either of those. It's more than knowing He exists, more than just feeling His presence. It also results in a moral change. We should desire to follow His instructions and to have the same morals as God. But none of us are perfect. Even those of us who were saved many years ago still aren't perfect, so we still need to confess our sins to God. When we keep our sins hidden, the darkness grows. Unaddressed sin leads to darkness. Confessing it to God shines a light on the shadows caused by sin. So, in order to walk in the light, we must continually confess to God and keep His commandments. We must love others as He loves us. 

If we are to shine like stars, we must love one another in the church (John 13:34-35; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

Four principles to help us love others beyond our church:

  1. Understand that love does not equal approval. It’s OK to do good things for bad people. (Matthew 5:43-46).... Jesus tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. God sends the sun to shine on everyone, righteous or evil, just or unjust. 

  2. Try to see the person behind the label…. We tend to label people. It's not a good way to go through life, but it is something we do. We should look beyond those labels and see the people begin them, connect with those people on a personal level instead of relying on the labels. 

  3. Love is best expressed in tangible action…. God loves us, but He didn't just yell down from Heaven, "I love you!" He sent His son to die for our sins so that we can be forgiven. How can we show love to others in tangible, concrete ways? We serve in ministries. We help others. We hand out food to the hungry. 

  4. The greatest love is sacrificial (John 15:12-13).... Going back to Jesus, we see that sacrificial love is the greatest love of all. If Jesus can sacrifice His life for us, we can sacrifice our time and money for others.