Sermon Reflections from Love and Hatred | Alex Hardt | October 8, 2023
Pastor Alex spoke candidly about the world’s pressures upon us to choose its ways over God’s. Our sin nature predisposes us towards that, but our Spiritual nature from God moves us towards Him in spite of our propensity to sin. We are reminded of Jesus’ words of promise in 1 John 4:4 “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” We are comforted by this truth for we know that we will be victorious in Him.
Our text for today was 1 John 2 and begins with obedience in the face of sin. John acknowledges that we all sin and comforts us with the truth of Jesus’ forgiveness. “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” John hopes that by leaning into Jesus we can avoid sin, but he assures us that we bear Jesus’ righteousness though faith. This truth can and does comfort us. John then tells us how to focus on being obedient to God in the face of all the adversity in which we live daily.
*If we have come to know Jesus, we’ll work to keep his commandments (3)
*Obedience to God’s word brings God’s love to completion in us (5)
*Knowing Jesus gives us the desire to live and be more like Him(6)
*Living in Jesus’ light means setting aside hatred for others, exchanging darkness for light (9)
*Hatred for others, or yourself, creates a darkness which will surround you and cause you to be blind to Jesus and what He desires for your life. (11)
By being Obedient to God’s Ways and Word, we show our love for God. The proof of our love is in how we act and speak. How does this challenge you to better align your actions to God’s Word? Do you see a need to know more about His ways so you can better show Jesus to those around you? Join a home group- a bible study and dive into His Word with fellow believers. See the Church Website for groups and when they meet.
In 1 John 2:15-17, John specifically talks about avoiding the world’s influence in our lives. “ Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”
John warns us not to put our love efforts into loving the world. Because if we do, we are committing ourselves to many undesirable things that are opposed to God and His ways. He names pride, lust, fleshly pursuits which would include craving physical pleasures, power, greed, advancement, achievements for self-gain, etc. Many of these can start out harmless enough but when fueled with pride, greed, lust and envy they become perverted. We do need to work hard and take pride in our work and achievements, but not be filled with boasting, self-love and entitlement. John also reminds us that the worldly things are just that, worldly and will only endure for the here and now. They are temporal and NOT eternal. Only things done for God will stand for all time.
Lastly, John warns us of opposition we will face from without. Before the opposition has been within our own character. This opposition in the form of antichrists which are very real and powerful. Verse 22-23 “Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.” Each one of us faces antichrists in our lives. John classifies anyone who denies Jesus is an anti-(against) Christ. We need to be watchful and aware of those in our lives that oppose us because we love Jesus and desire to live like Him. Jesus prayed for us as He knew we would face opposition.
John 17:20-21 “ My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” Paul warned of spiritual opposition in Ephesian 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” James encourages us in James 4:7-8 “ Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you.”
Pastor Alex concluded with the fact that Satan with all his worldly enticements opposes Jesus with His love assurance, protection, eternal life, hope and guidance and are competing for our love. The choice is up to us. God created us with free will and we have to choose. Not choosing is denial. There is no fence sitting. Why wait? Walk with Jesus and taste of His eternal love, commitment, guidance, protection through His indwelling Holy Spirit. Be assured that those God who answer God’s call He will equip and empower to follow His Son!
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A collection of thoughts from our community