Good evening and welcome to eBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of 2nd John. Tonight is study number 9, and we are going to be reading 2 John 1:6, which says:
And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.
We have been discussing the subject of “love,” the Bible’s particular definition of love, and not the world. The world has its own ideas concerning love and we are very familiar with the world’s love songs and poems and stories. It is all about emotion, it is all about feeling and being starry-eyed. That is not the Bible’s definition of love.
The Bible defines love as obedient action in response to the Word of God. For instance, we read in Matthew 22:37-40:
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Here God is telling us that love hangs on the commandments of God, just as Jesus said in John 14:15:
If ye love me, keep my commandments.
There is the Bible’s definition of love, if we love God. You can say it all day long, and you can profess it with your mouth until you are blue in the face, but it proves nothing. God looks upon the heart and He looks for an obedient response coming forth from the heart to His commandments, His Word, the Bible.
As it says in Romans 13:8-10:
Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
Right there, in that statement, and there are a couple of other verses we want to read there, but notice, “he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law,” because the law commands to love, and therefore, it is obedience to the law that fulfills the law.
Romans 13:9-10 goes on:
For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
There again, it fits right in with what Christ said in John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” If we love our neighbor, we will not kill him, we will not steal from him, we will not lie to him, we will not covet his possessions, and so on. And therefore, keeping these commandments, as well as others, is an act of love to our neighbor.
We might keep many commandments and commit one wrong against our neighbor, and therefore, we have not loved him. Love is a complete keeping of the law towards our neighbor, and not just mostly. That is why man cannot love others in the Biblical sense. They can love on an emotional level, in a carnal way, a physical, natural and fleshly way, but they cannot love, as God outlines it in the Bible. It is impossible for an unsaved individual to truly love according to the Bible’s command, unless they have been born again.
It goes on to say (we are looking at the Bible’s definition of love), we know that Jesus said in the Gospel accounts, that love is conditional upon keeping His commandments. But, you may not be aware (because it is not really discussed all that often) that the Old Testament is just full of that kind of information. It says in Deuteronomy 5:10, and we are going to read several verses in the Book of Deuteronomy:
And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.
There it is in the Pentateuch, as it is known as, in the Old Testament, and is exactly what Christ said in John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
In Deuteronomy 11, it says in Deuteronomy 11:1:
Therefore thou shalt love JEHOVAH thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, alway.
There, once again is love and the keeping of God’s commandments alway or forever. This is the demonstration of love, the evidence of love, the proof of love. It is love itself. This is also seen a little further in Deuteronomy 11:22-23:
For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love JEHOVAH your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him; Then will JEHOVAH drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves.
It is literally all over the Bible, in verse after verse, where God links love, to the action, to the work of keeping His commandments. We will discuss later on, more about how that is possible for a believer to do the will of God in this area, to demonstrate love towards Him by keeping His commandments, and yet not to be involved in a work’s gospel. Israel and the church (to some degree) have failed on this point and especially, Israel of old. They were greatly deceived into thinking that they could do sacrifice and perform ceremonial laws and these were evidences of their love to God, because outwardly to some degree, they always failed to do it perfectly of course, but outwardly, they made attempts to do God’s commandments and to obey Him on a certain level, and they were confused and deceived into thinking that this was pleasing to God. But they always failed because it is impossible to keep the law of God perfectly.
And again, a little later hopefully, we will be able to see how God expects man to obey this commandment to love Him and our neighbor, by keeping His commandments. How is that possible when no one can do this? LORD willing, a little later, we will discuss that.
First we should note that it is obvious that keeping God’s commandments as an expression of love, or as an act of love, as the fulfillment of love, is not very romantic sounding. That is obvious. No; it does not sound that romantic, and it certainly would ruin the multitude of the world’s love songs on this subject, yet, it is true nonetheless. Love is keeping the Word of God. This is the Bible’s definition of how one is to love another. It is by fulfilling the Word, the law of God, and in so doing, love is expressed.
I remember that when I was a teenager, I saw a film and in the film, this couple who had been married for many years, in an arranged marriage. The husband, after all these years of marriage, finally asked his wife, because he was aware that the marriage was arranged by their parents, and so he asked her, “Do you love me?” At first, the wife did not want to answer, but he kept asking her, “Do you love me?”
She finally responded that she cooked for him and cleaned for him, and she listed many things that she does for him on a daily basis around the house, in caring for him, in raising their children and so on, and then she finished by saying, “If that is not love, then I do not know what is.” She answered his question by pointing to her actions over many years and it was a demonstration of her love.
And even though, of course, that is a film and it is not from the Bible, it is nonetheless, relating exactly to what God is saying that love is action. It is doing. It is a keeping of His Word, as it says in 1 John 3:18:
My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
There God is indicating that love is not words. Yes, it can make a girl swoon, when she hears a love story or a poem written, and a song that is sung in such a way that she feels love, because the words are saying quite a lot about how much he loves her. And yet, what if, after that song is written or that poem is written, a couple of years later in an actual relationship, that that same guy sees someone else and he is gone. Did he love her? Of course not. Love is action, love is a doing, a performance of things. It is not words. Anybody can say words. Words have little value, little meaning. Love is accomplished by the wife who does the laundry and the cooking and the sewing and so on. And love is accomplished “in deed,” as God says, and “in truth.”
Let us go back to 2nd John and read 2 John 1:6 again:
And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.
And again, God is telling us to walk in something. Earlier, the elder writing unto the elect lady said (and this is back in 2 John 1:4), “I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth,….” And now, God is commanding that we walk in love. Truth and love are all pointing to the same thing, and that is to the Word of God. We walk in His Word.
But, how do we finally do this? How can we walk in love? How can we fulfill God’s command? The LORD tells us how this is possible, in the Book of Deuteronomy, once again, in Deuteronomy chapter 30. Let us turn back to Deuteronomy 30 and it says in Deuteronomy 30:16:
In that I command thee this day to love JEHOVAH thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply:…
There it is again. And Deuteronomy 30:20 says:
That thou mayest love JEHOVAH thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which JEHOVAH sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
Again and again, God indicates that we are to love Him, by obeying Him. Deuteronomy 30:20 tells us:
That thou mayest love JEHOVAH thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice,…
Love and obedience are inseparable, and they go hand in hand.
If someone says that they love God and are disobedient, as is the case with the entire church world today. They profess quite a bit to love God, and yet, if you talk to them for any length of time at all on Biblical subjects, on the Bible’s teaching, you will quickly find out that they rebel on this point and they rebel on that point. They turn things around over here and they do this and do that, which reveals that they are not walking in truth and they are not walking in love, that is, in obedient response to the Word of God. They are failing to love God and it can be demonstrated or proven with their failure to keep His commandments. They are twisting the Bible around to suit their denominational stance, to get it in line with their confession and creed, and as a result, they are not showing forth love to God.
Of course, that would mean that God has not loved them, because the Bible says that God first loves us and then we love Him. He takes the first action in the matter of salvation.
Here we are in Deuteronomy chapter 30 and we see more verses. We just read in verse 16 and verse 20 and as we read earlier in the Book of Deuteronomy and elsewhere, that love is action. And yet, how can we perform the doing of it?
In Deuteronomy 30:6, God gives us the answer:
And JEHOVAH thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love JEHOVAH thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.
There is the answer to the fulfillment of God’s command. He commands all man to love Him, to obey Him, and to keep His commandments. None are able. None are able to keep the law of God. We fail to do so perfectly, and therefore, we come under the condemnation of the law.
But with some (God’s elect), God has decided, before the foundation of the world, to save them and when they enter into the world through birth, at some point in their lives, God sends forth His Word to reach them and they hear the Gospel and God uses His Word to save that individual and that Word circumcises their hearts.
Obviously, this is a spiritual commandment: “JEHOVAH thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love JEHOVAH thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.” Our hearts can not physically in any way be circumcised, because circumcision involves the cutting off of the foreskin of the reproductive organ. That is the physical circumcision, the ceremonial law, that God gave to Abraham and his seed, and that pointed to having our sins cut off, in the Person of Christ.
And so, our hearts must be cut off. Our hearts of stone, of desperate wickedness, must be circumcised and this is spiritual language indicating that God will take out that heart and give us a new heart and a new spirit, and the desire of that heart will be to do the will of God, an ongoing desire to do it, and it will, from the heart, do it perfectly. There is no sin in the new soul, spirit or heart (they are all synonymous) that God gives the one He saves. It is without sin.
The individual himself, while alive in this world, is still a sinner because we are in our physical bodies that have not yet been redeemed. And therefore, we still commit sin. We still have sin. We cannot say that we are without sin, but in the heart, in that new spirit, it is sinless. It is perfection. This is the solution to God’s commandment to love Him and to love our neighbor, as love is the perfect keeping of the Word of God. It is done, once God saves us. Then we can love Him with all the heart and mind and soul.
Deuteronomy 30:6 is basically saying the same thing that we read in Ezekiel 36:26-27:
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
There is the obedience and it comes after salvation. It comes as a result of salvation and it comes forth from the heart, the new heart, that God has given us. It causes us, literally, to walk in His statutes, and therefore, to walk in love. We will love Him.
We are living in a time, the Bible says in Matthew 24, when love is not so much in evidence any more. It says in Matthew 24:12:
And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
And this verse has application to the time of the great tribulation and after (where we are at, in this modern day). God foretold that the love of many would wax cold. That is, there would be a failure to perform love. We might read this and think, “Oh yes, man’s hearts are very cold today. There is not much of that loving feeling going on in the world.”
But that is not the Bible’s definition of love. God is not talking about the lack of feeling that man may have, and that could be true. No; He is not referring to that. What is the Bible’s definition of love? It is, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
And, what if you do not love “me”? What if your love is waxing cold, then, what will the result be? It will be a failure to keep God’s commandments.
Is it not interesting that as we are going on in time, we are seeing that the world (which did to some degree, at least observe the commandments of God in the Bible, and respect them to some degree) no longer observes them and no longer has any respect for them. Just 50 or 60 years ago, the world itself shut down its stores on Sunday. But, is that the case any longer? No; Sunday is like any other day of the week. The world has lost all respect for God’s holy day.
What about God’s command to not murder? The world now murders at will, with abortion. They put to death millions of children, and untold numbers of children, and they could care less that God says, “Thou shalt not kill.”
And we could go on and on. Homosexuality, the Bible commands, is against nature and it is contrary to the will of God. God has established the earthly relationship between a man and a woman. They are are to marry and reproduce and they are the only way that there should be any kind of sexual relations. It is between a husband and wife. And yet, the world has changed this to their own suiting and to their own ideas. And we can just continue on down the road.
Why is this? It was not the case a century ago. It was not the case 500 years ago or 1,000 years ago. Why suddenly, in just a few decades, has practically all the world gone in this direction?
For the first time in such a severe manner, it has gone against the commandments of the Bible on many levels. And the answer is that God prophesied and foretold that this would happen at the time of the end: “iniquity shall abound,” and “the love of many shall wax cold.” They will not have a desire to even half heartedly obey these commandments any longer. Their love is going away.
But not for the true believer. The true believer will continue to love God, and therefore, continue to desire to, and actually do the commandments of God, and this is because of what we saw, when God saves us, He gives us His Spirit.
Notice in Galatians 5:22, it says:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,…
and so on. These are the fruits of the Spirit. And of course, in order to have fruit, you first have to have the tree, and in order to have Spiritual fruit to be seen in your life, you first have to have the Spirit of God.
The church turns this around and does things backwards, and they say, “Believe on Christ and then you will be saved and receive the Spirit.” But, one of the fruits of the Spirit is “faith,” so how can you first have faith without the Spirit? It takes the Spirit first.
Always, the Bible teaches, throughout the Scripture, that God first does the action. He first loves us and He first saves us and gives us His Spirit, then we should see evidence of that Spirit (the fruit of the Spirit). And the number one fruit listed is “love.”
“Oh, yes, if the Spirit of God is in me, if I am saved, I am going to have warm and fuzzy feelings towards God and towards others. I am just going to feel so loving.” No; we know that that is the world’s idea of love.
The Bible defines love as obedient action to the commandments of God ,and therefore, the fruit of the Spirit is the keeping of God’s commandments. If we are a child of God, we should see obedience in our life, more and more as we go on.