This is part 2 of the redo I probably shouldn’t do. I write for myself because it is cathartic, I write for you because I hope to be clarifying, and I write for God to glorify him that much more through the one sermon. The reason for saying anything about the second half of this passage is not to retract everything I said, but simply to ensure that the right emphasis is made.
10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. 1John 2.10-11
Every sermon has an emphasis. Sometimes the depravity, or the problem, is emphasized more than the grace, or the solution. Sometimes it is the opposite. The hope is that there is a balance because sin and grace go together–you can’t have one without the other. The problem to be emphasized in this particular passage is man’s denial of God’s love, his walk in darkness, and the chaos of his daily life. The solution for all of these things, is to abide in God’s Word. Abiding is an intentional exposure to, immersion in, and feasting on Scripture. It is not only the God-given grace through which we commune with God, it is our guidebook for imitating Christ. And while obedience is doing what God commands, God commands are burdensome–they are the very way of truth and life. Obedience then is not a white-knuckled adventure in morality to prove how good we are–it is our means to commune, to know God. Obedience, as indicated by John, is the natural result for those to whom God has revealed himself. But all hope for that revelation comes through God’s Word. God’s written Word is the power to pull from and keep us out of the darkness:
- For those who hate their brothers, they need God’s Word which reveals the love of God in Christ. (2Corinthians 13.14-15)
- For those who are alone, walking in the darkness, they need God’s Word which brings them into fellowship with God and others. (1John 1.7)
- For those who stumble in the darkness, they need God’s Word which will light their paths. (Psalm 119.105)
- For those who confused by the darkness, uncertain where to go, they need God’s Word to lead them (Psalm 1, Proverbs 3)
God’s Word has power. It has power to bring new life into a person, it has power to bring once darkened people into community together, it has the power to help us stop sinning, and it has the power to equip us for every decision we make and every good work we do.