1 John – Evident Love or Secret Knowledge

From the Series: Certainty – Absolute Truths That Bring Joyful Assurance



In the time of John, there was a group of people, later termed Gnostics, who taught that our souls were pure and like a prisoner trapped inside the body. For them, it was inconceivable to think that God would have a physical body, because they considered the material, physical world to be evil—including the body. Thus, for them, salvation was through a secret knowledge—gnosis. They viewed the physical body as a prison which malevolently trapped the “divine spark” within humanity (Pearson, Ancient Gnosticism, 12–14).

Today, there is a new form of Gnosticism. While Christians have a moral obligation to get to know their culture around them, this is not what Social Justice Scholarship is teaching, nor is this the tone of what is being communicated. Social Justice Scholarship teaches: (1) those who are oppressed have access to experience-based knowledge that others do not, (2) epistemic violence is repressing this knowledge or not making an effort to know this knowledge, (3) those who do not have this knowledge are simply ignorant, and (4) experience-based knowledge (emotion included) is superior to evidence-based (scientific-method) or reason-based forms of knowing.

As Christians, we should not find our confidence and assurance in fleeting philosophies or worldviews of the day. True love as highlighted by Jesus is the mark of true believers. Are you marked by this true love?

True love as highlighted by Jesus is the mark of true believers.

Let the True Light Manifest Who Is Keeping the Old Command (1 John 2:7)

The command to love is an old command biblically (Leviticus 19:18). John told these “Brethren,” these loved ones, this command when he first came to them. Notice that there is something new (1 John 2:8). First, the true expression of love is found in you and in Jesus Christ. This is one of the evidences that you know you have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Second, “the darkness is past” is actually active and should be read as the darkness is passing away.  In terms of world history, the coming of Jesus has brought about a new time. Jesus has dealt a definitive death blow to the prince of darkness — Satan. Third, and more personal to these beloved people, the true expression of Christlike love is now more clearly seen because it has exposed those who have left. Sometimes, it is difficult to see the difference between Christlike love and hatred because hatred has many disguises. You must always see that the measure of true Christian love is Jesus Christ the true Light (John 13:34).

Let the True Light Distinguish What Is Love and Hate (1 John 2:9-11)

John is pointing out that one of the confusing things that can lead to a lack of confidence is that people say one thing about their love, but their love actually looks like hate and not truly Christlike. The person who loves has reason to be confident because the light has been turned on in their life. The person who has been changed by the love of Jesus can see clearly, and they are not hopelessly offended by another. Is the kind of forgiveness you offer a Christlike forgiveness that has been extended to you? Also, the person under the power of darkness stumbles over a lot. This is a blindness that happens even though their eyes are wide open, similar to Haman’s blindness in the story of Esther. They just can’t see the real problem. They are blinded by Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4).

If you were deceived or blind to true love, how would you even know it? It is the blindness of sin, and it is evident by hatred that is exposed by Christlike love. True love is what has been expressed in the Person of Jesus Christ, and what finds expression in those who have eternal life. There are many things we do not know, but true love has manifested himself in perfect, physical manner. Have you received the love of God in the Person of Jesus Christ?

It is not a secret knowledge that saves us. It is not experiencing what others have experienced that gives us confidence. Confident assurance for joyful living is in the evident love of Christ to us and through us.

Read the full transcript of the sermon here.


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