In America, we have many options. You can choose your political affiliation, job, spouse, type of phone you want, I could on, there's so many choices we have, and choices we make every single day. It's overwhelming. I say this because I have friends in other countries who do not have so many (or very many at all) choices they can make in their lives, governments, religions, ruling authorities all determine what they can and can't say, or can and can't do. If you think about it, in America, especially within the church in America, it's these choices that we so often take for granted that divide up Christians from brotherhood and fellowship with one another. The Early church put aside all differences and focused on Christ. Here's what I mean: 42And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44And all who believed were together and had all things in common.45And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47) They were so devoted to Christ and to one another that they could not focus on the divisions, rather, they sought one another's welfare. I think many of us in the church are so divided on politics, rich, poor, ethnicity, that we miss the point: The unity of the body of Christ is not an option, it's SCRIPTURAL. It's something that, if we're to emulate the body of Christ that Jesus Himself set up, we're to do exactly what He says: " 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” "(John 13) The World, it's politics, it's choices, and it's wiles seek to divide us, from Christ and one another. What the Enemy fears most is a united church, a church that goes out of its way for one another, that LOVES one another as we're commanded by Christ to do. Drop the division. Drop the politics. Focus on Christ, and following the pattern of His life (Philippians 2). If we focus on Christ, we won't have an option but to love one another, because He first loved us.
1 John 2 English Standard Version (ESV)
Christ Our Advocate
2 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
The New Commandment
7 Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. 8 At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because[a] the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him[b]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.
12 I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name's sake. 13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father. 14 I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
Do Not Love the World
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life[c]—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
Warning Concerning Antichrists
18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.[d] 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he made to us[e]—eternal life.
26 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you.27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.
Children of God
28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.
a. 1 John 2:8 Or that
b. 1 John 2:10 Or it
c. 1 John 2:16 Or pride in possessions
d. 1 John 2:20 Some manuscripts you know everything
e. 1 John 2:25 Some manuscripts you