[This message is part of a series through the book of 1 John, entitled “Salvific Assurance Through Testimony,” preached by Pastor Senter].
Last week* we discussed our being witnesses of the love of God and the truth of it. We also looked at some falsehoods associated with this witness. I pray you understood the discussion concerning man’s ability and propensity to compartmentalize issues–to put people in categories where some are salvageable and some are not. We looked specifically at the act of speaking or saying one thing, then actually doing another. Moreover, we looked at those who are actually doing what they are saying they will do. We can actually see the difference in these people; the love of God operates through them in a visible way. We also looked at the commandment to man, which is to manifest an active, obedient love. We asked if we were actively placing the things of God, the word of God, and the commandments of God into our lives. Are we in fact taking steps to be proactive in our efforts to love God? Finally, we discussed the commitment of man in his belief and the results of it. We considered desires for the things of God over those of the world and that the scripture ties these things to a love of God. Do we, therefore, more greatly desire the things of God, rather than the things of the world? If we were to depart this world, would we in fact miss anything, or have regrets?
Please look at 1 John 5:2. We somewhat begin a new section today, still focused upon love; but we turn that focus from our personal relationship between ourselves and God to that of our relationship with others. Though we have opened this discussion on many occasions throughout this study, we will now focus upon it and what God would have us do to love one another.
There was once a man who loved God, and loved his family dearly. His father gave him special privileges because he recognized the love of God in him. He gave him special gifts signifying this special status. These things were not very well-received by the other members of his family. He was very much despised, ridiculed, and jealousy permeated the hearts of his other siblings. This culminated in their taking action against him. First, they simply imprisoned him. They later decided to remove him from their life all-together but did not want to kill him because he was still favored by their father. Therefore, they simply sold him into slavery. Through the submissive and faithful service he gave as a slave, he was elevated again to a position second only to his master. He devoted his service to his earthly master, and never forsook his heavenly God in the process. This service and devotion showed love in both areas–toward his earthly master, and toward the God we all serve. Once again, though, he was falsely accused in such a way that hate and jealousy were heaped upon him. Imprisoned again, but so much a man of God that it was undeniable, he again was raised to a status like no other on earth. This position, again second only to the ultimate earthly master, placed him in a position to make a choice of holding his family accountable for the mistreatment they had bestowed upon him. Conversely, he could choose to care for his family at a very trying time. At no time in his history is there testimony of him having hatred for those who dealt with him in malice and contempt. At no time do we find that he was angered or upset at the abusers or the abuse levied upon him. He chose to care for his family, to love them despite their hatred for him. In our own hearts, we would have been seething with pain and revenge on our minds. Today we learn what John thinks of the story of Joseph while we study regarding how “obedience through faith overcomes all worldly obstacles and shows the love of God to all believers.” Our hearts’ need for this instruction is displayed in the fact that the “love of God is obedience to God shown through a love for His children; but you still hold parts of yourself back out of selfishness.”
*We are now operating in “real time”–meaning that each posting will now be made (Lord willing) by Wednesday of each week, and will provide the reader with notes for the sermon that was given the Sunday previous, at Grace Bible Church.