Don’t be a Stumbling Block

Don’t Be a Stumbling Block (1 John 2:7-14) *Verses in NKJV version*

(Read scripture first, then open in prayer)

Read 1 John 2:7-17

– After the disciples were driven out of Jerusalem around 70 AD, John settled in modern day Turkey and continued in ministry, primarily to the Gentiles of that area. 

– Based on the timeframe, my guess is that these are mostly “first-generation” believers. People who got saved as adults with no previous church/Christ experience. (Not raised in the church.)

– This letter would have been written around 90 AD and have been circulated around to all of the churches. This makes John OLD, and possibly these are the summation of his final thoughts.

– His concern in this letter is to stop these believers from buying into the false teachers and their new message about Jesus. He wants them to remain true to what they were taught from the beginning.

– John reminds them of his credibility as an eyewitness to the life of Christ. He knows more than anyone else could ever know. He “knew” Jesus.

– This is really an extension of John’s Gospel, which was previously circulated.

– His message is simple and repetitive:

– Jesus Christ is faithful to forgive sins if we come back to repentance.

– Love one another as Christ loves us. Maintain fellowship with each other in the truth.

– “Stay in the light” and walk Christ-like. If we don’t obey God, we don’t know God.

– Recognize and avoid false prophets and false teachers.

 – This must be important for John to talk so much about it.

1. Not a “new” commandment.

– John has been repeating himself and his message over and over, in slightly different ways.

– The commandments to obey God, love one another, and live Christ-like were already given to the church through John’s gospel. They have had it “from the beginning” of their spiritual conversion.

– This was described by Jesus as a “new commandment” given the Church, in the beginning of the new covenant, when Jesus first declared it. 

John 13:34-35, (Jesus said), A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

– This new command from Jesus, that John is now repeating to them basically saying that nothing has changed (“not a new commandment”), was to love and serve each other as Christ himself loved and served his disciples.

John 13:15, (After washing the disciple’s feet, Jesus said), For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.

“By this, all will know you are my disciples…”  Not how we dress, or the Christian-eze that we speak, or how spend our Sunday’s, etc… Remember that people think Christians are hypocrites, so you need to do more than to look the part. Authentic love is hard to fake.

– As John repeats the light/darkness metaphor again. Walking in the light means loving your brothers. It means obedience to the scriptures. Walking in the darkness will cause you to stumble. 

Example: USMC Land Navigation. In the day I did great because I could see the terrain feature. At night I was lost. I didn’t know how to use my map and compass. I hid until it was over.

– If I was leading a team, we would have been in unseen danger.

– The Marine training culture did not support asking for help, so I settled for darkness.

– The map represents the bible, and the compass is the Holy Spirit. When you can see the physical world, you can make your way through it. But the spiritual world is very dark, and you need the tools to live in it like there is light.

– The training culture represents the Church. If it is one that claims to be perfect, and everyone is successful, those who are not will not ask for help. They will settle for darkness.

– Brothers Always Together! We need to create an honest culture where our brothers know they can ask for help. We are in this together, no perfect, but walking in the light of the Holy Spirit!

– The sincerity of a believer is shown in how they see themselves in the brethren, and the church!

2. Don’t cause your brother to stumble.

1 John 2:10-11, 10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

– In the Greek, “cause to stumble” can also mean to ensnare of entrap them. The false teachers were doing this and trapping deceived believers in darkness. 

– “Living in the light” means living a godly life, which will help the Christians around you, instead of hindering them.

Example: Firefighter Memoir book I started reading. Written by the son of a well-known “fire service god”. This is no exaggeration, as he has written several fire service philosophy books that comprise our modern-day doctrine.

– In this chapter he is the senior, experienced firefighter, and has a rookie on his crew.

– The story is full of disrespecting his officer, rebellious behavior, and stopping right before he is disciplined for his behavior. He is bragging about all of this.

– What is the rookie learning about being a firefighter from the “son-of-a-legend”???

– His exploitation of grace is leading the rookie to destruction! Spoiled, prideful…

– Imagine that he was a Christian in the church. A new believer arrives and sees that this guy is not only a salty Christian, but also a legacy Christian, son of an enshrined hero of the faith. Will the new believer be caused to stumble by watching them exploit God’s grace??

Romans 14:12-13, So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.

– What can be learned from the salty firefighter??

– The old guard? “I did it X, so you have to now…” Nothing can be learned from them.

Example of the Good leader: The class of soon-to-be chiefs sharing insecurities and self-doubt… Matt, Christian, and John doing this also.

– I am not alone! We all struggle! That actually encourages me a lot!!

3. No matter where you are in your walk with Christ, this word is for you! 

– John says, “I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake, because you have known the Father.” … “I write to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning.” … “I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.”

– This is encouragement focused on the different stages of maturity in Christ; child, young man, father figure. 

– Wherever you are at, be encouraged that you are in the truth, and remain in it.

1 Cor. 2:1-2, And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 

– The gospel of Jesus Christ is worth repeating. It is the message unto salvation for those who believe!

1 John 2:8, Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.

– The true light is already shining! Now is the time to come out of the darkness and walk in repentance!

*Alter call*

– prayer –

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