1 John 2:1-10
May 28, 2017
Amen, all right the book of 1st John, the first question is who wrote it and there is some debate about that. But most believe because they look at the gospel of John and they see so many similarities that most preschoolers believe that this is none other than the famous John the apostle, who along with his brother James and peter formed the inner circle of the closest three to Jesus. John perhaps being the closest of all of them and in fact, in the gospel of John he refers to himself many times as the disciple whom Jesus loved and when Jesus was on the cross He asked John to take care of his mother.
Really showing you that the intimacy and trust that he had with John. When Jesus was having that last supper with his disciples, it was John who was sitting closest to him so that when Jesus said one will betray him they didn't know who He was referring to. It was Peter who whispered to John, "Ask Him who it is." Also after the resurrection, when the women had come and discovered that the tomb is empty and they encountered Jesus. They went to the disciples and it tells us that John and Peter ran to the tomb and I just love the fact that John makes a special point to let us know that he ran faster than Peter, I love that part. But interestingly John gets there first but he just stoops and looks in whereas Peter when he gets there he just goes right in.
Now there is bodacious Peter for you right there. John in his later years was ministering in the city of Ephesus, a very major city in the empire up in modern-day Turkey and he ministered there into his old age until he was exiled to the island Patmos where he wrote his letters and the revelation, which we're going to study very, very, soon. John at this point is like the eldest statesman, he is the last living apostle who served the Lord, who heard his word, who touched him, who touched the resurrected Lord. He is a man of tremendous authority as so his word, his letter carry tremendous amount of weight and it should in our lives as well.
And so, he's writing to them because they are these false preachers who are beginning to trouble the church and he knows that the best thing to do for them is to strengthen them in their faith, strengthen them on the truth. To build a foundation on the truth so that they can discern that which is false and frankly is really good for us as well. You think about a follow up to welcome weekend, last weekend, where so many came to faith in Jesus Christ across all six services, many came in faith in Christ, many re-dedicated their lives and it is a tremendous thing to see God moving in power but now what next is really the question. It is to establish a strong foundation to learn, to walk victoriously and it comes from a good understanding of God's word, God's truth and that's what we see in 1st John chapter two let's read it beginning in verse one.
My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin, and if anyone does sin we have an advocate with the Father Jesus Christ the righteous and He himself is the propitiation for our sins. Not for ours only but also for those of the whole world and by this we know that we've come to know him if we keep his commandments. Now the one who says that I've come to know him and does not keep his commandments, is a liar and the truth is not in him.
I. You Have an Advocate with the Father
I should mention by the way that James and his brother John were called the sons of thunder. Now you got a name like that, you can't just expect the personality to be bold, bodacious kind in your face a little bit won't you. Well, when you read 1st John you get a sense of that and there's one verse right there. It says anyone who says that he's come to know Him and then doesn't keep his commandments yes he's a liar, there's John right there bold right in your face saying it like it's got to be said but then notice verse 5. Whoever keeps his word in him the love of God has truly been perfected and by this we know that we're in Him.
Now the one who says that he abides in Him are himself to walk in the same manner as he walks. Star there underline that, that is the key for us it shows us God's heart in how to walk and how to live and how to live victoriously. We learn at verse seven, I'm not writing a new commandment to you but an old commandment which you've had from the beginning, the old commandment is the word which you've had.
On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Now the one who says he is in the light and yet hates his brother he is in darkness even up to now. But the one who loves his brother, he abides in the light and there is no course for stumbling in hell. Now, this is a great set of verses and I want us to really capture out of verse one, allow me to really key verses for a believer, which is you have an advocate with the father.
The reason he's writing verse one he tells us is so that you might not sin.
Part of that bold bodacious son of thunder writing and frankly we need to be bold when it comes to sin because we live in a culturally sensitive time where it's not politically correct to talk about sin. After all, we don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, we don't want anyone to feel badly. You know what makes feel badly? Well, they may feel badly is when sin messes up their lives and destroy relationships is when they feel ashamed and humiliated and lost and alone that's when they feel badly.
Frankly John is doing us a big favor when he talks so straightforwardly. He's being bold and we need him to be bold, we need to be shaken up sometimes to hear the truth in order to be transformed by the truth. Then he tells us if you sin, you have an advocate this is such a key understanding of our relationship that we have with God when it comes to sin because many people have a very wrongful understanding.
They're convinced that because God is holly and righteous which He very much is, they're convinced then because God is holy and righteous and because men we sin and that surpalize that God above, God pushes us away, God is offended. I'm holy and righteous and you just messed up get away from me you offend me. And many people are convinced that God at his anger is even looking for retribution, but what does it say?
A. If you sin, you have an advocate
If anyone sins he has an advocate that's a great word in Greek it's the word correctly and has a great meaning. it means one who's called alongside to help. Men I tell you what here's a demonstration, if you get in trouble with the law, God forbid, if you got in trouble with the law you'll be really really thankful that you had a good attorney. Can you imagine if Jesus were your attorney, like yes. Talk about help, talk about somebody who knows how to represent you, talk about someone who knows how to stand on your behalf and it says that He is your advocate with the father, who is the judge of all the earth.
It says in verse two, He Himself is the propitiation for our sins. Now that's a great big theological word and anyone who takes a good theology class at some point is going to run into that word and it is a very important word because it has a lot to do with what Jesus has done for us in behalf of us in regards to our sins. Propitiation means that the righteous requirement of the law has been satisfied that's the word propicy, has been satisfied in Jesus because he himself has paid the judgement. He himself has paid the debt so that the requirement of that justice has been paid and it is being paid in full that's the word propitiation and it's a great word for us.
That illustrated last week I mentioned in the pastor's note in the app, something and I want to bring it up because it really does illustrates this point, pioneers are childling west across the great planes and the covered wagons, at one point this group of people see a line of smoke on the horizon and then they instantly recognize that the planes have caught fire and are racing toward them which will absolutely destroy them as you can just imagine.
Someone understood the problem and understood the solution, said what we must do is this, burn the prairie behind us and so they leaved and so they lit the prairie on fire behind them and then he said now, move the entire company on to that black charred ashes of what we just burnt. They moved everybody out into the black ashes, I remember reading the story of a little girl's crying in terror as you can imagine, "Are you sure? Are you sure that we're not going to be burned up?" She called out to her dad. He said, "Child, the flames cannot reach us here. The flames can not reach us here because we are standing where the fire has already been." I love that illustration because in many ways it illustrates the believer. You are standing, where the judgment has already been and therefore it cannot touch you. You are safe because he is the propitiation for your sins.
Now you can imagine Jesus advocating in your behalf. I love to picture it. Here Jesus imagine you have to stand before the judge of all the earth. Jesus imagine would say to you, "Listen, let me do the talking. Just be there, let me do the talking. Father I'm here today on behalf of, your name there. And Father his debt has been paid and it has been paid in full because I paid it myself my Father." Now those words have some weight. Those words have some power. And it is in your behalf, He's advocating for you. If you sin, you have sin. He will advocate. He be like for you which is amazing.
B. Now go and sin no more
Now having said that, He tells us in in chapter two verse one, He's writing the so that we sin no more. In other words let's put that to practical application, He is telling us now, "Go and sin no more" If you sin, you have an advocate but that doesn't allow you to sin at will. Sin messes up lives. Sin brings shame, humiliation, destroys relationships, drives a wedge between you and God. He's very much concerned and He would very much like to turn us away from those things which are so harmful to us and hurtful to others. I mentioned on Wednesday one of the best illustrations I think in the Bible that illustrates this point is the woman who was caught in the very act of adultery.
They dragged her out and they cast her down in front of Jesus. They said, "There is a law that this woman had to die. What say you?" They said this, it tells us to test him. Can you just imagine just for a moment, can you just imagine what this woman is feeling? What a shame. What a humiliation. Her sin is exposed for everyone to see. She's dragged out and cast down at Jesus' feet. "We have a law. This woman ought to die, what say you?" Jesus bent down and started writing on the ground. They persisted. This is actually out of John Chapter eight verses seven and eight.
When they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up. He said to them, He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to cast the stone at her. And then again, He stooped down and wrote on the ground. I would have loved to have seen what he was writing on the ground. But I love this story for several reasons. I love the authority of Jesus here. I love the fact that He is advocating for this when He literally saves her life. He literally saves her life. Then he confronts these people in regards to their own sin. "Let he who has no sin cast the first stone at her" and he stooped down and started writing and tells us that the the people dropped their stones.
They had stones in their hands. And it says that they dropped their stones from the oldest to the youngest. Somehow it seems that those who are older grasp the gravity of their own souls just a little bit faster. And they walked away. Continuing in John eight verses 10, 11, straightening up, Jesus said to her, "Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?" She said, "No one Lord" and Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you. Go and from now on, sin no more" Now this is a wonderful compelling story because in many ways this woman really represents us. We've experienced shame.
I think everybody in this room has experienced shame and humiliation and the pain of sin that they've inflicted on themselves. And to know that Jesus is your advocate is an amazing wonderful word. But then He notices, He sets you free, He saves your life, He says are free but he didn't set every and save your life so that she can go back to the life she was living. Now you go and sin no more. See he's gracious to us too and we must be careful not to use our freedom as an opportunity for the flesh either. Paul writes this in Galatians five verse 13. You were called the Freedom brother but don't turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh.
II. Let the Love of God be Perfected in You
Then He tells us what to do, He tells us the answer, He tells us how to walk victoriously. Revelation verse five, what he's telling us is to let the love of God be perfected in you. Verse five, whoever keeps his word. The word keep is a good word there. Take hold of and take it into your heart, keep. Whoever keeps his word in Him, the love of God has truly been perfected and by this we know that we are in Him. Now the love of God is already perfect but what He's telling us here is to let the love be perfected in you. Let it be mature, let it be ever increasing. Keep drawing nearer. Keep drawing nearer. Now you've no doubt heard the saying.
It's been said many times. Christianity is not a religion, it's a relationship. But how is it applied here? What it means here is that religion really can be defined as the outward conformity to the standard of God. It gives the appearance that there's been transformation when in fact there has been no heart change. There is no transformation of the heart but relationship actually begins in the heart. If you want to perfect something, perfect your relationship to God, you want to perfect something, let the love of God be matured in you. This is the key, the rest will follow.
A. Loving God is man’s highest point
In fact can I even say this way, loving God is man's highest point. Ever thought about this or considered it? At what point is man at his highest? At what point is man at his lowest? For the woman caught in the very act of adultery, she's at her lowest. She's ashamed, she's humiliated, she's embarrassed. Her sin is exposed for all to see. Jesus sets her free so that she can go from her lowest point and begin to move toward that which is the highest. But what is it? What is the highest point? What is the greatest place for a man to arise to? In Buddhism, it's Nirvana.
That is a state of consciousness they say where one is free from suffering or sorrow, one is free from all desires and one is free from happiness. There is nothing greater and Buddha Himself did not obtain to it. In Hinduism in modern psychology it is self actualization or self realization. It is the fulfillment by oneself of the possibilities of one's character personality to become one's potentialities. There is nothing higher. Imaterialism, it is to maintain a path of greater and greater obtaining. There is no highest point because there is always more to obtain.
Speaking of eastern religions, I was teaching a class one time and there's a fellow there who had come out of eastern religions and was pretty new to Christianity and so he said, "Do Christians meditate like in the eastern religions?" and I said, "Well, yes and no. Christians meditate but it's quite different. In Eastern religions, they would meditate in emptying their minds in order to become one with the universe. They would empty their minds often times, no doubt you've heard this by repeating over and over and over the sound of the universe which you no doubt know what it is. [laughs] It's always amazing how people know that right away.
They will repeat hundred years and they're emptying their minds in order to become one with the universe. I said, "Listen, Christians don't empty their minds, they fill their minds and they fill their heart with God's Word and God's truth and God's presence not to be one with the universe but to be one with the creator of the universe which is frankly way better. Therefore we ask the question again, what is that highest point for a Christian? Now someone came to Jesus once and asked, "What is the highest, the foremost. That God has ever spoken?" Now, you know this but it's out of Matthew 22 verses 37 to 40. And Jesus said to him, you shall love the Lord, your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your mind. This is the great and the foremost commandment. And the second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. In fact, he added on these two commandments hang the entire law and prophets, the entire testimony can be summarized by that. In other words, man is at his highest point when he loves God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength. And he loves his neighbor as himself. You want to obtain the highest place that God has for you, it is found in those two words right there. Desire this, move into that, start to increase in this in your life. Now, has anybody ever got to the point where they say, "I have arisen, I have arrived, I am at the highest place." I hope that someday you can arise as I have arisen, my little children.
No, if anyone says that he's got another problem called pride. No, there's no such thing. The only time you can ever say that is when you're standing in the presence of God in heaven. But for now, we are all on a journey, we're all on a great journey of drawing our lives closer and nearer, there is no such thing as nearest. We're on a journey, we're always increasing, we must always be increasing. That's the question, are you increasing? Are you drawing near? Is there greater and greater presence of God? That's why he tells us in verse five, therefore take hold of his word and you will abide in. Take hold, verse five, whoever keeps his word in him the love of God has been truly perfected.
B. Take hold of His word and you will abide in Him
And by this we know that we're in him. This is the key to walking victoriously, this is the key. God sends forth his word, he sends forth his word in power. It is his heart that he sends forth for man to receive and to take hold of and to keep. Because it is the power of God that transforms a life. If you hold it fast, you are moved by it's power. Here's an illustration that's somewhat humorous. My wife, when she was young, in her family they had two horses. One was actually the offspring of a racehorse, and so it was quite fast.
And the other was old retired horse named Ginger, and the family had one saddle to share. So one day my wife and her older sister wanted to ride these horses. So the older sister gets the fast horse and the saddle. The thing is, the old retired horse, Ginger just loved to follow that racehorse everywhere it went. So her sister got on the horse, put on the saddle and took off in a run. And she's on ginger bareback and Ginger takes off in a run to go after the other horse. Now, she's on this horse and she's scared and she's trying to get it stop. So she's yelling at it, she's got a hold of the Maine, and she's yelling, "stop, stop, stop." And it doesn't seem to understand what she's saying so she starts kicking it in the sides.
Which doesn't seem to have the effect she's hoping for.
So she get's mad and she starts hitting the horse on it's rump like this.
And she's still running today, out there running though, I'm just kidding.
In contrast, I read this book, it's by [Mannie?] Roberts, great read. Called the man who listens to horses and it is an amazing story about this man who understood that horses actually have a language. Not a spoken language but he learned that he could communicate to these horses. And by being able to communicate to the horses, he can transform them. And he says, "I don't break horses, I gentle horses." And he can take a wild horse, undisciplined wild bucking horse off of a plain and have a saddle and rider on it obeying his direction in 27 minutes.
He did it one after the other. My point, is that when the word is spoken, when God communicates his heart it transforms us from that wild undisciplined worldly life. Jesus gave a parable, and he said that the word of God is like a farmer sewing his seed, wheat barley, whatever. And it fell on different types of soils. I want to just go to the fourth kind because it speaks to the point we're making. Luke Chapter eight verse 15, the seed that fell on the good soil. Now, these are the ones who've heard the word in an honest and good heart and they hold it fast. And therefore, they bare fruit that changes them, it transforms them.
And each bare fruit with perseverance. The reason they hold it fast is because it contains the word the God, the seed that sewn contains the very life of God. That's what they want, that's what they desire. The seed of something continues the life of the thing it came from. The word of God is the life, tells us in Hebrews four. It's living active, sharper than any two edged sword, able to just certain the thoughts or intentions of a man's heart. And it's sent with power to transform lives because it is the very presence of God. It is the very presence of God, because it tells us in John chapter one verse one and four, in the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.
C. Walk in the light of His glory
It is the very presence of God, Jesus is that living word. And it says in him was life, and the life was the light of men. People come to Jesus because they're tired of the mess, they're tired of the pain, they're tired of the shame that comes from walking into the darkness. And they want the life that comes from walking into a relationship with Jesus Christ, he is that life. That's what he tells us in the next verses, verse 10 walk in the light of his glory. This is the key, verse 10, the one who loves his brother is abiding in that light and there's no cause of sunlight. So he's equating light here to the presence of God and it comes from his presence, that transformation comes because Jesus is that very presence. Notice in John chapter eight verse 12, Jesus spoke and said, "I am the light of the world."
One of these famous I am statements. I am the light of the world, he who follows me will not walk in the darkness but will have. Would you notice this word, he will have the light of life. Light and glory are often equated in scripture. And they represent the presence of God, the holiness of God, the favor of God, the power of God. And in the Old Testament there was many examples, there was the true glory. The true kind of glory was a visible presence of God that resided over the temple in Jerusalem and Israel. The people could actually visibly see that the presence of God was among them. Glory light visible.
When Moses went up to Mount Sinai to receive the commandments, the tablets of the law. He was in the presence of God in such away it tells us that there was actually a light evident upon him. A physical light people could see, amazing. You could always tell Moses because his tent would be lit up at night. But this scripture tell us that the believer actually has a glory that is greater than that, that was on Moses. He said, "really, I don't glow. I mean I need night lights." In fact I would suggest to you that if you do glow you've been sitting in front of the computer too long.
No he's not thinking about that. What he's telling us is that there is a glory that resides in the soul. Because the spirit is the very presence of God in a believers life. And that is the glory that transforms us. In fact, second Corinthian chapter three verse seven to eight, if the ministry of death, that's the Old Testament law. In letters engraved on stones came with glory. So that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face fading as it was. How shall the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory. Sometimes people say, it doesn't work for me. I'm not seeing the transformation in my life that you're speaking of.
I would like to see it. So work it for me, can I suggest to you the answer is found in these very verses. Let the love of God be perfect and you need to draw nearer and nearer because his glory is ever increasing and his presence in your life is the power that does transform. And what we need is more and more of a relationship where we are drawing nearer and nearer and nearer unto him. Because when he is upon your life and his presence is transforming your soul. What happens is that his love, will transform your love. And his grace, will transform your grace. And his peace, will transform your peace. And his joy will transform your joy. And his presence will bring in you the very life of God himself. The very glory of his presence is the transforming power.