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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

HIS COMMANDMENT

1 John 3:23-24 And this is His commandment, That we should believe on the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment. And he that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him. And hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit, which He hath given us.

Versed immediately preceding the lesson text tell us, that when love for God, and love for all mankind, results in actively performing deeds of kindness and compassion, we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him (Prev. Vs. 19). This is the confidence a Christian has when they are willingly, and devotedly, doing God's will here on earth. Knowing the two laws of love given by our Savior, the love of God and the love of our neighbor (See Matt. 22:37-40), our heart will condemn us for disobedience, and condemn us not when we are obedient to these laws. It is in obedience to His will that we find confidence toward God (Vss. 20-21). In the Father/child relationship that exists between God and obedient Christians, one finds confidence that He (God) will hear and answer each and every prayer offered through His Son, Jesus Christ (See Vs. 22).

These verses lead us into the lesson text, where the apostle John tells us, once again,His commandment. In this context, what is God's commandment? It is to believe on the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another. Obedience to this commandment demonstrates obedience to the first great commandment as given by our Savior, when He told all people of the world, that thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind (See Matt. 22:37-40). His commandment, referred to in the lesson text is given in two parts. The first part is to believe Jesus to be the Son of God, and the promised Savior of the world. In order to do this, we must believe His message, which tells us that we are to sincerely love God and our neighbor. We must also believe the gospel message of eternal salvation given to His apostles when He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned (Mark 16:15-16). This is exactly what Peter, and the other apostles, preached to the multitudes on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:38). And they that gladly received His word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls (Acts. 2:41). And to what were they added? And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved (Acts. 2:47). One cannot become a Christian without believing in His Son, obeying His will, being baptized, and being added, by God, to the body of Christ, His church.

The second part found in His commandment, is to love one another. The knowledge of our heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, and our obedient trust and love for them, cannot be separated from our love (for) one another. Each is required in order to bring about, and satisfy, the other. Without the love of one, love for the other is also made void. One cannot know Jesus Christ, as this lesson text states, without love for fellow human beings. Notice the new commandment Jesus gave to His disciples: That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. Now consider the teaching of Jesus that followed this verse: By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another (See John 13:34-35). In other words, one cannot be known as a disciple of Christ without sincere love (for) one another.

In order to be Christ-like, one must conduct themselves as did Christ during His life here on earth. We must act as He acted; we must "walk and talk" as He did. Paul, in His letter to the church at Ephesus wrote that, as Christians, they were to walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor (Eph. 5:2). Also, Peter wrote that all Christians must be born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. This re-birth takes place when one obeys God's word and is baptized into the body of Christ for the remission of their sins. To these newborn Christians, Peter gives this admonishment: Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently (See 1 Peter 1:22-23).

John closes the lesson text with this truth: And he that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him. And hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit, which He hath given us. What a wonderful commandment to guide our lives: he who loveth God love his brother also (1 John 4:21).