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Love And A Clear Conscience

LOVE AND A CLEAR CONSCIENCE

1 John 3:18-24

 Several years ago the number one song in America was “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” and you could say, that is exactly the way the Gnostics, those who thought they were enlightened, or the antichrist mentioned in chapter 2 thought, “What’s love got to do with it?”

Here in chapter 3, John says that love has everything to do with it!

 Regardless of what the Gnostics say, those who claim to have a special knowledge, John says, “If you want to be right with God; if you want to be in fellowship with God; if you want the assurance of eternal life; love has everything to do with it!”

But John doesn’t leave it up to the Gnostics or anyone else to define what love is. Look at vs. 16. John says: “We know love by this, that He (Jesus) laid down His life for us;”

And look at what our response should be to His love; vs. 16:    …and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

And most of us will, more than likely, never find ourselves literally laying down our lives for our brethren. .

But whoever has the world’s goods (means of livelihood – you are capable of helping), and beholds his brother in need (food, clothing, shelter, medicine) and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?

Now, vs. 18: Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.

So, that is the standard; vs. 16-18 is our assignment: 1) Be willing to lay down your life for your brethren; 2) give of your livelihood to help your brother and sister in Christ who are in need; and  3) manifest a sincere love by your actions, and not just by word.

But how many of us can fully live up to this standard? How many of us can fully love like Christ?

We shall know by this (by our actions of love) that we are of the truth (we are not pretending to love), and shall assure our heart before Him, 20 in whatever our heart condemns us;

 Because we feel like we have failed to live up to the standard.

And later we fill bad thinking perhaps that we “Didn’t do enough”; we “wish we could have done more.”

But John says here that our sincere actions of love show that we are “of the truth and we can stand with assured hearts before God.”

And look at the end of verse 20: …for God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.

 And notice that little phrase at the end of vs. 20: …for God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.

 Look at vs. 21   Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.

 Vs. 19-22 tells us that a Christian can live without guilt complexes even in the midst of failure.

Vs. 23:  And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.

Vs.24 And the one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And we know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

So, “What’s love got to do with it?”

And we will probably never have to literally “lay down our lives” to help a brother or sister; but we may be compelled to “lay down our lives” in other ways.

LOVE ONE ANOTHER

LOVE ONE ANOTHER

I John 3: 10-18

If I were to ask you what the ‘STEPS TO SALVATION” are…you would probably say, “Hear, Believe, Confess, Repent, Be Baptized, and walk in the light.

However, in this passage that we are going to cover John indicates that there is one more item required for salvation…that Hear, Believe, Confess, Repent, Baptism and walk in the light are not enough.

Now, keep in mind that John is writing this due to the influence of the Gnostics…and what John is doing is he is writing to tell these Christians not to give in to the Gnostic teachings…

In fact, look at verse 10: By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice (present tense) righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.

But what I really want you to notice is the last phrase of Vs. 10…because John moves into another facet that excludes the Gnostics from fellowship with God…but not only the Gnostics but anyone who does not have what John mentions here. Look at the end of vs. 10 again:

…anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. 11 For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; (reciprocating action)

The Gnostics didn’t have a love for their brothers…they were Elitists…they thought that they were enlightened…they were smarter than others…and in their great wisdom they looked down on those who weren’t as smart at they were.

And, it must be the right kind of love!  Look at vs. 11.

John says that we “should love one anothernot as Cain, who was of the evil one.”

John says, “We are not to love like Cain, who was of the evil one!”

John says, “Don’t love like Cain, who was of the evil one…”

Look at verse 12: And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds (speaks of a practice) were evil and his brother’s were righteous.

What about Abel’s walk and status? He was righteous as God is righteous.

Now look at verse 13: “Do not marvel, brethren, if the world hates (detests, hateful)  you.”

Now, if the world loves us what does that mean?

Now look at verse 14: “We know that we have passed out of death into life…he is going to tell us how we know…

“We know that we have passed out of death into life….because we love (present indicative) the brethren. He who does not love abides (present indicative) in death.

Now, look at verse 15:  Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer;

And look at what John says next: …and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

Vs. 16:  We know love (agape) by this, that He laid down His life for us (the church).

John says, “He laid down His life for us.”

; and we ought (Ophelay – speaks of a moral obligation: we are indebted, bound) to lay down our lives for the brethren.

Vs. 17: But whoever has the world’s goods (the means of livelihood – food, clothing, shelter) and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart (shows no compassion) against  him, how does the love of God abide in him?

This is a day to day assignment…love is not an isolated act.

18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.

He says we are to love “in deed and truth.”

What are the steps to salvation: Hear, Believe, Confess, Repent, Baptized, Love, and walk in the light.

These Gnostics said they had fellowship with God even though they hated each other…and John says, “If there is no love for one another…there is no fellowship.”

If you look at our culture and society it is evident that most people do not know what real love is.

 

Sin Does Matter

SIN DOES MATTER

1 John 3:4-10

I want you to notice vs. 7 again. John says, “Little children, let no one deceive you…”

So, what is the deception; what is the lie?

Well, we must remember John’s purpose for writing this letter.

The specific Gnostic teaching that John deals with here in this passage is the teaching that said, “Sin doesn’t matter.”

In other words you can be a fornicator, an idolater, an adulterer, effeminate, a homosexual, 10 a thief, covetous, a drunkard, a reviler, a swindler, be filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; one who gossips, 30 slanders, hates God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventor of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and still go to heaven.

The Gnostics said that “sin doesn’t matter” and that deception or lie is extremely prevalent today. And that is the lie that John refutes in this passage. Look starting in verse 4:

4 Everyone (There are not exceptions. People often want to exclude themselves or certain individuals from this teaching but John doesn’t exclude anyone.)

Everyone who practices sin…

And John says, “Everyone who does that, who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.”

Now verse 5: And you know that He (Jesus) appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.

And notice the end of the verse where it says, “…and in Him there is no sin.”

These Gnostics were saying, “Sin doesn’t matter. We practice sin and we have fellowship with God.”

Now look at verse 6: No one (again, no exceptions) who abides(present tense – acts in accordance, obeys) in Him sins (present tense – practice.)

And look at what John says next: …no one who sins(present tense…on going action) has seen Him or knows Him.

Vs. 7: Little children(these are new Christians…the most vulnerable to the Gnostic teachings), let no one deceive you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous;

 Vs. 7  “The one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is”; how righteous is God?

8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil.

 9 No one who “is” (punctiliar present active) born of God (born in the past and stays born) practices sin,

  Vs. 9…because His seed (Greek word “sperma”…used in Mk. 4:14 where Jesus taught the parable of the soils and referred to the “seed” as being the “Word.”)

abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.

 These Gnostics said that “sin makes no difference.”

But regardless of what John says here…people still believe today what these Gnostics taught…and sadly…many preachers teach this same thing.

In those situations I am saying that we shouldn’t be caring and sensitive.

If sin doesn’t matter, then there is no need to evangelize.

If sin doesn’t matter, then there is no need for Christ.

If sin doesn’t matter, then there is no need to come to the assemblies.

If people would quit teaching the “man who practices sin” into heaven, do you think it would change or society?

The Gnostic teaching that John deals with here in these verses is very much alive today and sadly it is being spread by men who call themselves “Gospel Preachers.”

 

 

 

 

Aint It Amazing

AIN’T IT AMAZING

1 John 3:1-3

How many of you know what “language of amazement” is?

Well, that is how John begins this chapter. Look at verse 1. John says: “See how great a love…”

And where John says, “How great a love…or what manner of love” that is the Greek word “potapos” and it has behind it the idea of “something amazing.”

But there something more to be amazed about…look what he says next; “See (give deep consideration to)…the great (amazing) love…the Father…has bestowed

And look at the next phrase…this great love was “bestowed” by the Father…upon us!

In and of ourselves we aren’t righteous people…we were sinners and we still are sinners…and yet Christ died for us.

But there is more…look at what else John says: “See…give deep consideration to…the great or amazing love…the Father…has bestowed or given upon us…that we should be called children of God;

So what you have here in this one verse is “amazing love…an amazing gift…and amazing status.”

Now, I want you to look at that last statement where John says “that we should be called children of God.”

Remember why John is writing this letter?

In fact, look at the end of verse 1: For this reason the world (Gnostics) does not know us, because it did not know Him.

 A lot of people claim to be…and maybe that is why we sometimes don’t fully appreciate the amazing status that we have….this has been trivialized.

But for those who do walk in the light…who do have the love of God in them…who do keep His commandments…who do love one another…who do let the word abide in them…who love the Father and not the world…who recognize the deity, the humanity, and the Messiah-ship of Christ…you are…you can be sure…that you are a child of God.

John writes this to refute the Gnostics…and to remind us of the amazing lovethe amazing gift…and the amazing status that we have.

Now, look at verse 2 again. John says, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be.

I will tell you…remember the Gnostics…some of them had come up with all different kinds of ideas.

But John refutes that. He says, “We are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be.”

And John says, in the here and now we are “children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be.”

What we do know, because of the word of God…we will be like Him.

Scripture does not attempt to define “what we shall be.”

And now, go back to 1 John 3: 3 and look at this very important verse…because this verse tells us a lot about how we are to be and live.

3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him(no one else…no thing else) purifies himself, just as He is pure.

Why do you think John says this?

What has John taught us?

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Antichrist

THE ANTICHRIST

1 John 2:18-29

 This past week I got a notice in the mail and on the envelop it said, “Urgent!”

Nothing to a lot of people and the reason it doesn’t mean much to a lot of people is because we use the term when the situation isn’t really “urgent.”

But there are times and instances when the situation is really “urgent” and should be treated as such.

Look with me at vs. 18 again.

Vs. 18: Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour.

So here in vs. 18 John is speaking to the “children” or to those who are new converts…because the new converts are the weakest in their faith…they are babies in Christ…they are the most susceptible…they are the ones who are in the most danger!.

So John says, “Children, it is the last hour”…two times in this verse John says, “It is the last hour.”

Now initially when you look at this statement it sounds like an  “end of time statement.”

And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what do I have to do with you? My hour has not yet come.”

John 5:27  “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour (a change)  is coming and now is, when the dead (spiritually) shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live.

John 5:28 “Do not marvel at this; for an hour (a change) is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice,

John 12:23 And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. (Here Jesus is saying, “It is time for a change.”)

Several times John in his writing uses the word “hour” but he doesn’t use it in the context of “end of time”…he uses it to refer to a change.

So, what you have in 1 John 2:18 is a warning about a change.

And why is this so “urgent?”  Because “even now many antichrists have risen.”

And this should not be a surprise to these new converts because John says that they have “heard (past tense) that these antichrist (these people who were against Christ) were coming.”

In fact, look at what John writes in 2 John vs. 8. John says, Watch yourselves, that you might not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward.

John is not talking about the “end of time.”

So John says, “Even now many antichrist have arisen.” Who are these “antichrist?”

Well, notice in vs.18 that John says that these antichrist are many.

 But when John speaks of “many antichrist” he is speaking more specifically about the many different currents of antichristian teachings and doctrines coming from false teachers who claimed to have a special knowledge (syncretizing the gospel of Christ with their human reasoning).

 In chapter 1:7 some of these false teachers were teaching that you could “walk in the darkness and still have fellowship with God.”

And look at vs. 19: John says, “They went out from us (they claimed to be Christians), but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us.

John says, “These antichrist went out from usbut were not really a part of us.”

The church didn’t lose anything when these people left because the church never had them in the first place.

And look at vs. 22:  Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.

And if you look at vs. 26 you see why John is writing this: These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you.

 Why would they do this? To justify themselves.

 These “children, these new converts” were going to encounter many different facets of antichristian teachings, just as we do today.

So, what do we do? In the presence of this danger that exists today, what do we do to keep from being deceived by those who pervert the word of God?

John says, These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you.

 27 And as for you, the anointing which you received… (What is this anointing? Well, you learn what the anointing is by what the anointing does!)

27 And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you…

Now, vs. 27 again: And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you  and you have no need for anyone to teach you (why?); because His anointing teaches you about all things (redemption and salvation), and is true and is not a lie, and just as it (not a person) has taught you, you abide in Him.

 What is this “anointing?” Well, it is something that teaches us; about all things.

And what John is saying is, there are many false teachers and there are many false teachings who will deceive you and lead you astray.

  

Little Children, Fathers, Young Men

LITTLE CHILDREN, FATHERS, AND YOUNG MEN

1 John 2:12-17

 ___________ do you have a watch? Here is what I am going to do…I am writing a number down and if you guess the number you get to keep the watch, but if you don’t guess the number, I get the watch!

I am sure that most of you have had some young men come by your house and they want to tell you about their prophet…and they want to give you their prophet’s so called “Latter Day Revelation.”

The reason I mention these things to you is because that is basically what John is saying here in this passage: Why would you give up what is already yours for something else?

Now it is important that you keep in mind that John is writing this to counter what the Gnostics were teaching and to counter their influence on these Christians.

So look at this passage…

Now, obviously, when he says he is writing to “little children” he isn’t referring to age.

Instead, he is referring to their spiritual chronology…their spiritual maturity.

Now look at verse 12:  I am writing to you (present tense) little children, because your sins are forgiven you (perfect tense in the Greek: speaks of a present state resulting from a past completed action; their sins were forgiven in the past and they are still being forgiven) for His name’s sake.

Look at what else John says to these “little children” or these new coverts…look at the end of vs. 13:

 I have written to you (now it is past tense – this speaks of past correspondence), children, because you know the Father (perfect tense).

Now, if their sins are forgiven…and if they know the Father…they don’t need to listen to the Gnostic doctrine. The Gnostic doctrine is of no value to them.

And the same is true for us…”why give up what you already have…for something else?”

Now look at what else John says in vs. 13: I am writing to you (present tense), fathers, because you know (perfect tense – again, this speaks of a present state as the result of a past completed action) Him who has been from the beginning (the beginning of Christianity).

Now look at verse 14:

I have written to you (past tense- speaks of past correspondence), fathers, because you know Him (perfect tense) who has been from the beginning.

Why would they give up what they already have for something else or why would they have to add to it?

And the same is true for us…”why give up what you already have…for something else?”

Now, look at the “young men” in verse 13:

I am writing to you (present tense), young men, because you have overcome (perfect tense) the evil one.

Vs. 14: I have written to you (past tense- speaks of past correspondence), young men, because you are strong (present tense), and the word of God abides (present tense) in you, and you have overcome (perfect tense) the evil one.

And isn’t that true for us today?

And notice the results of John’s past correspondence. Because of his past correspondence the little children, fathers, and young men “know Him; they have overcome the evil one, they are strong, and the word abides in them.”

But regardless, because of John’s past correspondence and his present writing, these “little children, young men, and fathers” are in fellowship with God.

And  the same is true for us.

If anyone who comes to your door and says, “You need this new revelation or you need what this “latter day prophet” has to say, they are doing the same thing that these Gnostics were doing when John wrote this letter.

Now, why do you suppose that John writes to all three categories of people here: little children, young men, and fathers?

Now, look at verse 15…again…remember that John is dealing with the influence of the Gnostic’s teaching. Look what he says:

15 Do not love the world, nor the things in the world.

Look what John says next: “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

Vs. 16: For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh (internal appetite for what you do not have) and the lust of the eyes (external appetite for what you do not have) and the boastful pride of life (wrong attitude concerning internal and external that we do have…the haughty display of possessions)  is not from the Father, but is from the world.

 17 And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.

 The world can build up your ego and satisfy your fleshly appetites…but that is all it can give you.

Brethren, what we have in Christ…is incomparably more valuable and precious…than all that the world can offer and give.

The Old And New Commandments

THE OLD AND NEW COMMANDMENT

1 John 2:7-11

Like many today, when John wrote this letter to these followers of Christ, there were a lot of people who claimed to be “in fellowship” with God.

So, John writes this letter to dispute their claims of fellowship; to clear up the confusion; and to tell us who really does have fellowship with God.

Some other Gnostics, the Ascetics and Monastics, said that they were in fellowship with God because “they had no sin”; 1:8, 10.

Then the Libertine Gnostics and the Antinomians said in chapter 2:4 that “You don’t have to keep God’s commandments to have fellowship with God…God doesn’t care about commandment keeping.”

Now, we come to the passage that was read; chapter 2: 7-11 and in these verses John is going to dispute another claim of fellowship by the Gnostics.

Now, John has just said that if you have fellowship with Him, you are going to keep His commandments.”

Vs. 7:  Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. 8 On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you,

Notice the words “new”…in the Greek that is the word “Kainos” and that speaks of something “new in time…and new in kind.”

What is he talking about?

Well, first of all look at the commandment in verse 10:”The one who loves his brother…”

Well, look with me at John 13: 34.

Now, what makes this commandment so “new.” Let me show you.

Go back now and look at the standard that Jesus sets forth in John 13:34.

The word for “love” is “agape” in the Greek and there is no “self” in it.

The old love found in Lev. 19:18 was incomplete and faulty while the love found in John 13:34 is complete and perfect.

But John now says that he is writing an “old commandment which you have had from the beginning.”

In fact, John says that they have had it from the “beginning”: from the beginning of what?

So let’s look at what John says again:  Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. 8 On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you,

Jesus was and is the standard of love…and it is to be our standard also.

Now, look at the next part of the verse. John says, “…because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.

But what were the Gnostics doing? Well, look at vs. 9.

These brethren really needed to understand this and so do we. John says, The one who says he is in the light…

Vs. 9: The one who says he is in the light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now.

Now verse 10: The one who loves (present indicative) his brother abides(present indicative) in the light and there is no cause for stumbling in him.

And do you see that phrase “there is no cause for stumbling in him?”

Vs. 11: But the one who 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.

Now, why would a Gnostic hate his brother?

The Gnostics had two different categories of people: the Psukoi or soul people and the Pneumatoi or spirit people.

But then there was another category of people…this was the Sarkoi…the flesh people…people without this special illumination…this special knowledge…

So, how is our fellowship with God?

We are not going to love as perfectly as He loved.

Let’s show the world that we are all disciples of Christ by loving each other the way our Lord loves us.

 

 

 

If We Keep His Commandments

IF WE KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS

1 John 2:3-6

At different times I have had people ask me what the difference is doctrinally and practically between the “church of Christ” and all the other churches and religious groups.

Why? Why are there so many differences? Why do we individually as well  as a congregation of the Lord’s church, do what we do?

Well, the answer to those questions can be found in the passage that was read. Let me explain.

If you remember John writes this letter to Christians who were being influenced by the Gnostics…and in verses 3-6 he is specifically dealing with the influence of the Libertines and the Antinomians.

The Libertines basically said that “what you do in the flesh has no bearing on the spirit…that the flesh and the spirit are two completely different entities…so you can do whatever you want in the flesh and still have fellowship with God…or you can still have salvation. (What you do in this world will have no effect on the world to come.)

Recently a man was asked why he was a member of a certain religious group here in Brady and he said, “Because they allow me to do whatever I want and still be saved.”

The Antinomians were a little different but just like the Libertines their ideology and influence is very common today…in fact it is one of the most common ideologies in the realm of Christianity today.

Not long ago I was visiting with a man and I asked him  where he attended church. His reply was, “I am a member at (and he named the group) but I don’t go to church.”

Antinomianism is basically the doctrine that says, “Once you are saved you are always saved.”

Well, here in these verses John counters that kind of thinking. Look what he says starting in verse 3:

“And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.”

John wrote this letter to tell Christians that we can have “fellowship” with God, Jesus, the apostles, and others who are faithful; 1:3-4.

Now, will you be perfect? No!  Will you at times violate what He commands? Yes, chapter 1 vs. 8 and 10 tell us that.

Now, second, can you save yourself by commandment keeping? No! Romans 3:20 tells us that “no one is justified by law-keeping!”

The third thing out of this verse is really very plain.

In fact, look at the next verse: “The one who says”…this is what they say…people say a lot of things that are contrary to what God says…

“The one who says (this is the same guy as the one back in 1:6), “I have come to know Him,” and who does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

I want you to notice something here in this verse…notice the “I have”…that is present indicative…

Now, how does God feel about a liar?

Now look at verse 5:

…but whoever keeps His word (that is present indicative), in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him.

In these three verses did you pick up on the three things that are connected to “keeping His commandments…or keeping His word?”

But what if we ignore His commandments…if we reject His commandments?

Look at verse 6: …the one who says…there again it is not what “they” say that counts…it is what God says that counts…

…the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.

If we claim to abide in Him we should walk in the same manner that He walked.

Now let me ask you this: Is the man who does not keep God’s commandments…who does not know God…who does not love God…who does not abide in God…does that man have fellowship with God?

Listen, John doesn’t tell us this so we can have a self-righteous, pious attitude.

Now just a little bit ago I mentioned some things that we, as a body of the Lord’s church do that sets us apart from many other groups. (baptism; communion each Sunday; a plurality of elders; no instruments of music in or worship; etc.)

The answer is, we take commandment keeping serious.

Some of you have heard remarks like: “You church of Christer’s need to lighten up a little…don’t be so serious.”

A firm belief in what John says right here is what makes us different from many others.

 

Jesus For The Defense

JESUS FOR THE DEFENSE

 1 John 2:1-2

 About 2 weeks ago a friend called and asked if I knew a good lawyer. I did but there is a difference between a “good lawyer” and a “great” lawyer and here is the difference.

Good lawyers know the law; great lawyers know the judge.”

But, now I want to change the sign to this: “Good lawyers know the law; great lawyers are related to the judge.” (That could be helpful!)

Did you know that is what you and I have? When it comes to spiritual matters…when it comes to eternal life or death our lawyer is the Judge’s Son, but there is something even more amazing than that about our lawyer, something that you will never see a lawyer do today.

 Here in these first 2 verses of chapter 2 John takes us into the courtroom verbally…he uses courtroom language here and what he is going to do is he is going to deal with the legal nature of sin.

So, when you sin, sin demands that it gets paid. You sin and you are to die spiritually… you are condemned to be lost eternally.

Now, John is going to deal with that.

John says, “My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin.”

Look at the next sentence.

…we have an Advocate with the Father…

And notice it says that “we have an Advocate with the Father…”

But, the Father…sends our Advocate to our side…”to plead our case to the Father.”

 Let me see if I can explain this to you in simpler terms.

So we make our plea to God for help, chapter 1:9: “Confess.”  “God, I am a sinner…I am guilty…and I am doomed to die!”

But that is not all. Your Advocate or counselor is your brother. (Gal. 4:7)

And in chapter 1 and verse 9 because we did not deny that we are sinners, He, our Advocate,  is “faithful and righteous” to defend us!

But there is more; look at verse 2. Listen, a lot of lawyers or Advocates will defend you…they will plead your case for you…but you will not find any who will do what our Advocate with the Father will do.

And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins:

 Do you know what this means? You won’t find any other Advocate, Paraclete, lawyer that will do this!

And now it is time for you to be sentenced for your sin and you are guilty as charged and deserving of what sin demands… but you won’t be punished, you won’t pay sins demands, and do you know why?

Do you see the word “is”?

We, as Christians, often pray to God and we say, “Father, forgive us our sins.”

If you are not a child of God, then yes, you need to have your sins forgiven.

Many who have been baptized into Christ, and who are walking in the light, who sin think they are lost until they can run home and ask God to forgive them.

Years ago I was asked to teach a class at the Baptist church in Monument, NM. It was a class where they were studying the different religious groups.

In Romans 6 the apostle Paul says that at baptism you “bury the old man of sin” and you are raised up to walk in “newness of life”, no longer “presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but presenting yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”

Jesus “is the propitiation for our sin”…He is standing propitiation…and as soon as you sin the wages of that sin has already been paid.

When Jesus gets us off even when we are guilty it is not a frustration of justice because He has paid the penalty.

Now, let’s go back to the context that John is dealing with.

Now if you call the judge a liar how inclined toward you do you think He is going to be?

No, besides as far as you are concerned, “You don’t need an advocate” because you don’t think you are guilty!

Brethren, this is what Christ has done for you.

Do we sin so that grace might abound? God forbid!

Most people do not feel favorably about lawyers. A man asked one time, “Do you know what is black and brown and looks good on a lawyer? A Doberman.

The majority of the members of congress are lawyers. And yet congress has a less than 10% approval rating with the American people.

Lawyers are expensive and many of them are ruthless. Consequently many people don’t have much good to say about lawyers.

But, when we understand what our lawyer or our Advocate has done for us, how He has pled our case for us before the Judge, and then suffered the penalty of our sin for us, how can we verbally, or by our actions do anything that could possibly speak poorly of Him?

He is worthy of all our praise and devotion. Let’s do that at this time.

 

 

Who Has Fellowship With God

WHO HAS FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD?

1 John 1: 1-4

I want to show you a list here and I want to tell you what is significant about this list:

Docetists, Cerenthians, Ebionites, Denialists, Ascetics, Monastics, Essenes, Libertines, Judaizers.

These are just a few of the philosophical groups that existed at the time John wrote this letter…and even though each group had different ideas and teachings…they all claimed to have fellowship with God.

For instance, the Ascetics believed that the human spirit was totally good and this physical body was totally evil…therefore, to be in fellowship with God…to be pleasing to God…you had to deprive the body of any and all pleasures and desires.

 

But the Monastics believed the only way to stay pure and right with God was to withdraw from society.

But then the Libertines believed that the body and the spirit were completely separate and unrelated.

The Docetists, Cerenthians, Ebionites, and Denialists were different in that all, in some form or fashion denied Christ.

The Judaizers said that Jesus was good…but he wasn’t good enough…so they wanted to combine him with a system of laws and rituals that had to be kept…and only through those could you have fellowship with God.

So, all of these groups, as different as they were, claimed to have fellowship with God…and claimed to have special insights on how to maintain that fellowship.

And all of these claims of fellowship were confusing the Christians that John was writing too.

Some of these Christians were so confused that they were tempted to do what some of these people were doing.

Now, look at this list: Baptist, Methodists, Catholic, Jehovah’s Witness, Mormon, Lutheran, Muslim, Episcopal, Church of Christ, First Christian, Assembly of God, Presbyterian, Apostolic, Jewish, 7th Day Adventist, Greek Othodox, Baha u’ llah

Now, all of these groups today claim to have fellowship with God.

And just like when John wrote this letter, their claims of fellowship or partnership with God is causing confusion today too.

People are so confused about what it takes to be in fellowship with God that everyone claims fellowship even if they seldom or never assemble to worship God.

Well, look at verse 3 again.  John says: “What we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.”

And now notice verse 4: “And these things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.”

Listen, men can have a horizontal fellowship all they want…they can fellowship one another all they want.

John says here that you can have fellowship with the Father, and the Son and others who are in fellowship with them…and in this letter he tells us who has that fellowship with them.

So, let’s go through this and look at some requirements for fellowship…and as we do, let’s each ask ourselves, “Am I in fellowship with God, His Son, and the apostles?”

Look at verse 5 and 6:  “And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with Him, and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

 You/I can claim fellowship all we want but fellowship is not simply a matter of saying we have it.

And notice this, John is not talking here about how good a man walks…he isn’t saying that man has to walk perfectly.

You/I can claim fellowship with God but if we are living a life of sin…if we are deliberately ignoring the truth of God’s word.

Now, look at verse 8. “If we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

First, people who have fellowship with God agree with what He says.

If God says we are a sinner but we say “we are not”…then we make Him a liar.

And the second thing in this passage…anyone who denies they are a sinner…has no fellowship with God. Let me show you why.

Now, look at chapter 2:3. John starts with some practical matters concerning fellowship. He says: “And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.”

 Can we choose a few we don’t want to obey?

Now, whenever I violate his command out of human weakness…or even out of rebellion and am sorry for that…and repent of that…and turn to Christ to forgive me and strive from then on to keep His commands…I can have fellowship.

Keeping the commands of God is necessary for keeping fellowship. In fact, look at verse 4: “The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him.”

 To have fellowship with God, the Son, and the apostles…you must obey His commands.

Now, look at verse 9. “The one who says he is in the light  (this is where fellowship is; 1:6) and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded him.”

 Some people write and say hate-filled things about other brothers who they do not agree with…or the brother that has gone astray.

Now, look at verse 22. “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.”

Why? Because Jesus is His human name…that says He is man.

If you want to know if someone has fellowship with God…watch what they say about Christ.

One last mark of fellowship. Look at 2 John verse 9.

“Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.”

You see, it is more than just claiming a faith in God and Christ that gives one fellowship with God, the Son, the apostles, and the rest who have fellowship with them.

This is what it takes to have fellowship with God, the Son, and the apostles. If you/I do these things, then we can know that we have fellowship.

Now, how many of these have fellowship with God?

If not, repent, and come back into fellowship.  Never been…then obey His command…