Love an Old yet New Commandment
1 Jn. 2:7-11
Obedience is one of the proofs that a person is saved. The second is love. Love is a very interesting
topic specially to young people who are falling in love. The word love is commonly misused in
ordinary life. It is also misused by professing Christians specially by the ecumenical movement
people. I met a pastor who doesn’t want to expose the errors of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons,
Catholics, etc., telling me that we should show them love. While it is true, we should love them, we
must also tell the people of their unbiblical errors to protect our flock. A shepherd who loves wolves
more than the sheep is a confused and wicked shepherd. Love is the evidence of walking in the light.
Hate is the sign of walking in darkness. We can prove our walk-in fellowship with God by our love.
I. The Command to love (1 Jn. 2:7-8).
A. In this verse John tells the believers that he was not writing some new kind of
teaching or commandment.
B. The command was the same as they had received at the very beginning of their
Christian life. It was old but not obsolete and must not be discarded and forgotten
C. It was a new Command because of the following reason:
1. New in Christ, a new importance. His love is both pattern and power for ours.
2. New in quality. That is, our love is to be sacrificial.
3. New in extent, reaching to anyone in need, enemy as well as neighbour and
4. New, in the sense of continually being renewed, kept fresh and flowing.
5. In other words, it was new in kind but not new in time.
D. The Greek N.T. uses three words for love.
1. The Greek word most frequently translated love is “agape”, referring particularly
to a giving, sacrificial love, as God’s love for man (Jn. 3:16; 1Jn. 4:10). It
“indicates a direction of the will and finding one’s joy in anything”. This is the
kind of love Christians are to have toward God (Mt. 22:37), toward other
Christians (Jn. 13:34), and toward all men (Gal. 5:14).
2. Another common word for love is “phileo”, referring more to an affection and
friendship. It is translated “kiss” in Mt. 26:48; Mk. 14:44; and Lk. 22:47. Phileo is
used to describe Jesus’ love for Lazarus (Jn. 11:3) and John (Jn. 20:2). Phileo is
from the same Greek root as the word translated “friendship” (Jn. 15:13-15).
Agape and never phileo is used of love toward our enemies (Mt. 5:44).
3. Eros used to describe carnal or sexual love.
E. It is this agape love that the Lord wants us to do in this verse.
F. There are seven Bible facts about love.
1. Love is God’s nature (1 Jn. 4:8,16).
2. Godly love is giving, sacrificial love (Jn. 3:16; 1 Jn. 4:9; 3:16-17).
3. Love is the greatest thing (1 Cor. 13:13).
4. Love is an evidence of being Christ’s disciple (Jn. 13:35).
5. Love is the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22).
6. Love is the first thing the Apostle mentioned concerning Christian living (Eph.
7. True Christian love cannot be separated from truth and holiness and obedience
(Ph. 1:9; 1 Jn. 5:3; 2 Jn. 1:1-13; 3 Jn. 1:1-4). (WOLE).
G. Because of what the Lord Jesus Christ’s death on the cross , the darkness of
ignorance, unbelief, and disobedience, passed away as the light of God’s truth and
love shines into our hearts and lives. Praise the Lord its already shining as it is
written in Jn. 8, 12, Eph. 5:8-14, and 1 Thess. 5:4-8.
Illustration: The Importance of Love
God’s benevolent concern for humankind. All religions have some idea of the importance of love.
Christian theology stresses the importance of love because God has revealed that he is love (1 John
4:8, 16). Love is both what God is and what he has done; God always acts in love.
Love is a transitive reality—that is, it requires an object. In the Bible, love is described as personal
(between persons) and selfless (desiring the best for others). Christians see God’s love in sending his
Son to die on the cross to save sinners (Rom. 5:8; John 3:16; 1 John 4:10). Christians are to be known
by the fact that they love God and others (John (13:34-35). Their love is not to be like the love the
world has (Luke 6:32, 35). Love is best seen in actions and in most cases is to be identified with what
we do—in our compassion and commitment to those around us, regardless of the object’s virtue (1
John 4:19). Our loving attitudes and behavior are to reflect God’s love. Jesus said that only two
commands are needed to govern our lives: love of God and love of neighbor. If such love is
demonstrated, all the law and prophets are fulfilled.
The Shaw Pocket Bible Handbook.
II. Love and Light (1 Jn. 2:9-10)
A. Love is a family characteristic of God’s family.
1. Anyone who hates someone else is not showing the likeness of God’s family.
2. To say you are in the light is not enough.
3. Prove it by showing love.
B. Love and light are closely related.
1. When we love, we show that we are living in the light
2. It shines on our pathway so we can see clearly and walk properly.
3. It gives us spiritual safety from stumbling (in sin).
4. It is said that light is love’s home and love is light’s offspring. (Jn. 8:12, 11: 9, 10,
Illustration: Love Was the Motivation
Love reaches for the hurt and takes bold steps without self-interest. It can accomplish unbelievable
things merely because it is so void of self-interest.
Some time ago, a teenager, Arthur Hinkley, lifted a 3,000-pound tractor with bare hands. He wasn’t
a weight lifter, but his friend, Lloyd Bachelder, 18, was pinned under a tractor on a farm near Rome,
Maine. Hearing Lloyd scream, Arthur somehow lifted the tractor enough for Lloyd to wriggle out.
Love was the real motivation.
III. Hate the opposite of love (1 Jn. 2:11)
A. Hatred is of the devil and is the mark of his kingdom, the kingdom of darkness.
B. Hatred here is not necessarily active, open fighting but can mean lack of love.
C. As darkness is the absence of light, so hatred may be described as the absence of
D. Those who try to walk in the dark cannot find their way. Prov. 4:19
E. They are blinded by the god and ruler of the kingdom of darkness (2 Cor. 4:3-4)
F. Take a look at the contrast:
1. The believer loves. The unbeliever hates.
2. The believer walks in the light (1:7). The unbeliever walks in darkness (1:6, 2:11)
3. The believer is in the light (2:9). The unbeliever is in darkness (2:9).
4. The believers abides in the light (2:10). The unbeliever is blinded in darkness
G. There is no middle ground here, no twilight zone. Its either you are in the light or
you are in darkness. Which side are you, in the light or in darkness?
Illustration: Illustration: Miracle On The River Kwai
In The Christian Leader, Don Ratzlaff retells a story Vernon Grounds came across in Ernest Gordon’s
Miracle on the River Kwai. The Scottish soldiers, forced by their Japanese captors to labor on a jungle
railroad, had degenerated to barbarous behavior, but one afternoon something happened.
A shovel was missing. The officer in charge became enraged. He demanded that the missing shovel
be produced, or else. When nobody in the squadron budged, the officer got his gun and threatened
to kill them all on the spot . . . It was obvious the officer meant what he had said. Then, finally, one
man stepped forward. The officer put away his gun, picked up a shovel, and beat the man to death.
When it was over, the survivors picked up the bloody corpse and carried it with them to the second
tool check. This time, no shovel was missing. Indeed, there had been a miscount at the first check
The word spread like wildfire through the whole camp. An innocent man had been willing to die to
save the others! . . . The incident had a profound effect. . . The men began to treat each other like
When the victorious Allies swept in, the survivors, human skeletons, lined up in front of their captors
(and instead of attacking their captors) insisted: ‘No more hatred. No more killing. Now what we
need is forgiveness.’ The Christian Leader, Don Ratzlaff
Indeed, we should love God first and then our neighbor as Christ commanded. Its an old
yet new commandment. Your love will determine whether you are in the light or in
darkness. The question is which side are you in.