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?”
- They believed that they could have fellowship with God while standing on a platform of hate.
Here in chapter 3, John says that love has everything to do with it!
- In vs. 10, John says, “The one who does not love his brother is of the devil.”
- 11, John says that “Love is foundational; it was the message that these brethren heard from the beginning.” They couldn’t hear about Christ without hearing about love.
- 12, John says that they were not to love like Cain; they were not to have a self-love or a self-centered love.
- And look at vs. 14: “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.
- And in vs. 15 John says, “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer” and does not have eternal life.
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;”
- The only way we can know love or “agape” is by looking at the cross.
- “He laid down His life for us” – Jesus’ love was totally unselfish; it was deliberate; it was sacrificial; it was His choice; He gave 100%. And we didn’t deserve any of it.
And look at what our response should be to His love; vs. 16: …and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
- The word “ought” in the Greek speaks of a moral obligation. This is how we manifest our love for Jesus by loving our brothers and sisters like He loved us.
- In the day that John wrote this, when Christians were arrested and imprisoned by the Romans; and the Jews; many followers actually lost their lives to protect their brethren.
- The Gnostics sure weren’t going to do this.
And most of us will, more than likely, never find ourselves literally laying down our lives for our brethren. .
- But, there are ways other than dying to “lay down your life for a brother or sister” and John mentions those in vs. 17.
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?
- The answer is, “It doesn’t!”
- The Gnostics thought it did but John says otherwise.
Now, vs. 18: Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.
- You cannot carry out this assignment to “love those in need” simply by lip service.
- Genuine, Christ-like love is manifested by action and it is sincere.
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?
- The flesh is weak and as hard as we try we can no more love like Christ than we can live sinless lives like Christ.
- And when we don’t live up to the standard we feel bad. We feel like we have failed.
- We feel like we should have done more?
- We feel guilty and we condemn ourselves.
- Does God? Does God condemn us when we condemn ourselves?
- Look at vs. 19.
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;
- Why would our heart condemn us?
Because we feel like we have failed to live up to the standard.
- I think we have all probably done that. We have a brother or sister in need and we want to help; but we don’t know what they need; or how much they need.
- So we do what we can.
And later we fill bad thinking perhaps that we “Didn’t do enough”; we “wish we could have done more.”
- We feel like we haven’t even come close to manifesting the amount of love that Jesus has shown toward us, and so we feel bad.
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.
- Your heart or your conscience may condemn you; but God is greater than your conscience; and He overrules your condemning conscience and He gives you assurance.
- He reverses the sentence of the conscience that says we failed to love like He did.
And notice that little phrase at the end of vs. 20: …for God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.
- God knows our hearts; He knows our desire; and He knows our faith.
- He knows that we care; He knows that the flesh is weak; and He knows that we did what we could.
- But, He also knows when we could have helped and selfishly or unlovingly didn’t.
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.
- Even though our heart or conscience tells us that we are guilty and have failed to love like we should, God overrules the sentence of our heart and we can still ask Him and know we will receive it.
- Our perceived failure and short coming does not condition His response to us.
Vs. 19-22 tells us that a Christian can live without guilt complexes even in the midst of failure.
- This passage gets rid of guilt.
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.
- How can God command us to believe?
- Because God has given sufficient evidence that Jesus is His Son.
- The man who does not believe is without excuse.
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.
- How do I know I know that God abides in me?
- Because His Spirit abides in me.
- How do I know that His Spirit abides in me?
- Because I keep His commands.
So, “What’s love got to do with it?”
- You can “believe in Christ; you can confess Him as Lord, you can repent of your sins; be baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of sins; you can give all of your possession to the poor, and you can surrender your body to be burned (1 Cor. 13:3) but if you do not have love, you have nothing.”
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.
- And when we help our brother or sister in need, we know that we are of the truth and our hearts are assured before God; even when we feel like we may not have done enough.
- “Little Children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”
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.
- And the fact is, even if you have what John mentions here…it must be the right kind.
- Let’s begin in verse 10.
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…
- The Gnostics had come along and they said, “Even though we live a lawless life…even though we practice sin…we still have fellowship with God.”
- And John says, “No you don’t!”
- You can not practice sin and have a righteous standing with God.
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.
- These Gnostics were practicing sin and claiming to have fellowship with God but John says the only fellowship they have is with the devil.
- So you cannot live a life of sin…you cannot practices lawlessness and have a right standing with God.
- Your practices identifies your fellowship.
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)
- This was a foundational truth…they heard this from the very beginning…in fact, they couldn’t hear about Christ without hearing about love…and the love He had for others.
- If they wanted to be right with God they had to love one another.
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 their self-proclaimed intellect bred jealousy and envy…and as a result they sometimes despised each other…and yet they claimed to have fellowship with God.
- John says here it does work that way…if there is no love for your brothers there is no fellowship with God.
And, it must be the right kind of love! Look at vs. 11.
John says that we “should love one another…not as Cain, who was of the evil one.”
- If you are going to have fellowship with God you have to have the right kind of love.
- What kind of love did Cain have?
John says, “We are not to love like Cain, who was of the evil one!”
- Now, look at vs. 8: “The one who practices sin is of the devil.”
- Cain’s killing of Abel wasn’t the result of an isolated instant of rage…it was the result of a lifestyle…a practice.
- Cain was a self-lover…He loved himself so much that he killed Abel.
- Cain was always an egotist…Cain was always self-seeking.
- Cain didn’t care what happened as long as Cain was satisfied.
John says, “Don’t love like Cain, who was of the evil one…”
- Don’t have a selfish, self-seeking love.
- That kind of love is from 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.
- Cain killing his brother wasn’t the result of an instant of anger…
- Cain was a self-lover…and he killed Cain as a result of his lifestyle…a “think only of self” lifestyle.
What about Abel’s walk and status? He was righteous as God is righteous.
- If you are going to have fellowship with God you must have the right kind of love!
- You cannot have a love that thinks only of self.
Now look at verse 13: “Do not marvel, brethren, if the world hates (detests, hateful) you.”
- Just like Cain…who was of the evil one…hated Abel who was righteous…people in the world are going to hate us too.
- And if they hate you…according to vs. 12…who are they of? The evil one.
- From Genesis 3:15 on…there has always been animosity between good and evil…so if they hate you don’t be surprised…don’t marvel at it.
Now, if the world loves us what does that mean?
- It means we are not doing what we should be doing.
- IF we do nothing we are no threat…so there is no reason to hate us.
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…
- People often ask “How can I know that I am right with God?” Here it is:
“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.
- You cannot get the “new birth” on a platform of sin and lawlessness.
- You cannot get the “new birth” on a platform of hate.
- There has to be love…an ongoing love for the brethren.
Now, look at verse 15: Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer;
- You don’t have to commit the physical act…all you have to do is hate.
And look at what John says next: …and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
- These Gnostics despised one another and they still claimed to be right with God…John says we as Christians know better…don’t be fooled by their false teachings.
Vs. 16: We know love (agape) by this, that He laid down His life for us (the church).
- The only way you can know “agape” love is by looking at the cross.
- It has never be expressed or defined prior to the cross.
John says, “He laid down His life for us.”
- It was a deliberate act…it was His choice.
; and we ought (Ophelay – speaks of a moral obligation: we are indebted, bound) to lay down our lives for the brethren.
- How did the Christians lay down their lives for others?
- Romans would kill Christians if they caught them…some laid down their lives to keep Romans from finding their 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?
- The answer is simple…it doesn’t.
- Now, if God’s love doesn’t abide then what does?
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.
- You cannot simply carry out this assignment verbally.
- There is no “I love you brother but….”
- It is “I love you brother therefore…”
He says we are to love “in deed and truth.”
- Love manifests itself in action…and it is not hypocritical.
- Anyone can say, “I love you”…even the Gnostics…but real love requires more than that.
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.
- It is up to us, his church, to manifest the love that Christ has for them, to them so they can have fellowship with God too.
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…”
- If you are like me you don’t like to be deceived or lied to…and that is especially true when it comes to spiritual matters and our eternal salvation.
- And John doesn’t want us to be lied to either.
- So, he writes the 6 verses that were read.
So, what is the deception; what is the lie?
Well, we must remember John’s purpose for writing this letter.
- John is writing to refute the teachings and influence of the Gnostics…individuals who believed they had special knowledge…and what they did is, as the “gospel of Christ”, spread throughout the different regions, the Gnostics synchronized their pagan beliefs and practices with the teaching of Christ and the apostles so they could continue to practice their ungodly practices.
The specific Gnostic teaching that John deals with here in this passage is the teaching that said, “Sin doesn’t matter.”
- The Libertines especially said that “The body and the spirit were completely separate and unrelated and therefore the body could do anything it wanted with no affect on the spirit.”
- So basically they said, “Eat, drink, and be merry because what you do in this fleshly body has no bearing on what happens to the spirit after you die.”
- You can live a sinful, rebellious, immoral life…and still have fellowship with God…and still go to heaven.
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…
- This is present tense…an on going practice.
- This isn’t talking about the Christian who is trying to walk in the light and stumbles.
- This is talking about “practice”…and everyone knows what it means to practice…if you have piano or baseball practice you do it over and over again…it speaks of repetition.
- This is talking about the individual who claims to be in fellowship with God and yet continues to live a life of sins.
And John says, “Everyone who does that, who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.”
- “Lawlessness” is the refusal to be governed by law…
- And John says, “That is what sin is…sin is lawlessness…it is a refusal to be governed by God’s law.
- And John’s point is, if you refuse to be governed by God’s law and commands, there is not fellowship with God!
- Sin does matter!
Now verse 5: And you know that He (Jesus) appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.
- If “sin doesn’t matter” why did Jesus “appear to take away sins?”
And notice the end of the verse where it says, “…and in Him there is no sin.”
- This verse is not saying that Jesus “had no sin”…that is true but that is not what John is saying here.
- See the word “IN”…that word is locative voice in the Greek…it speaks of location…the arena…and what John is saying is, “Those who are IN Him do not practice sin; they do not practice lawlessness.”
These Gnostics were saying, “Sin doesn’t matter. We practice sin and we have fellowship with God.”
- John says, “No you don’t!”
- An individual can claim fellowship all they want but as long as live a life of sin, as long as they practice lawlessness and refuse to obey God’s commands, they are still separated from 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.)
- You cannot have a “present practice of sin” and have a present abiding relationship with Jesus!
- “No one!”
And look at what John says next: …no one who sins(present tense…on going action) has seen Him or knows Him.
- People can claim they have fellowship with God.
- Preachers can even preach them into heaven.
- But the truth is, if a person “practices sin”…has an on going practice of lawlessness…there is no fellowship with God!
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;
- Christians are going to practice the same thing Christ practiced.
- And John says, “Let no one deceive you”…don’t let anyone drive you away from this conviction!
Vs. 7 “The one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is”; how righteous is God?
- 100% pure and clean.
- We are not pure and perfect and never will be.
- But if we make righteousness our aim…then God imputes righteousness to us. .
- Our practice is not perfect but our status is.
- Some times we do not feel righteous…let your knowledge over ride your feelings.
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.
- Do you see who the man who practices sin has fellowship with?
- These Gnostics were telling these Christians that you could live a life of sin and still have fellowship with God. No you can’t!
- If you could…why did Christ come?
- Your practice identifies your fellowship.
9 No one who “is” (punctiliar present active) born of God (born in the past and stays born) practices sin,
- If you have a present standing birth in Christ there is one thing that is certain…you do not have a present standing practice of sin.
- You cannot have a “new birth” and practice sin.
- Anyone who has a “new birth” and starts practicing sin now belongs to Satan.
- If you have a “presently born again status with God” it is because you do not have a standing practice of 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.
- If God’s “seed” or word abides in you, you do not practice sin.
- And notice where John says, “He cannot sin”…He cannot practice sin because when you do the word that abides in you says, “Stop it!”
- If the word abides in you…if you are born of God…you cannot practice sin.
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.”
- They said that you could practice a life of sin and still have fellowship with God.
- John says, “No, you can’t.”
- It makes no difference who you are, if you are a Gnostic or if you call yourself a Christian…or if you are a Christian who has gone back to practicing sin…if you practice sin…there is no fellowship with God.
- Christianity requires a sanctified life.
But regardless of what John says here…people still believe today what these Gnostics taught…and sadly…many preachers teach this same thing.
- Listen some time when you go to a funeral.
- Preachers, and it is not only preachers, it is common for people to do this, they don’t want to hurt the family…don’t want to cause them to grieve…so instead of telling them the truth in a loving way…they tell the family that their family member who has died is in the “arms of God…or He is in heaven.”
In those situations I am saying that we shouldn’t be caring and sensitive.
- But at the same time we must be careful about giving people the idea that they can live a sinful life and still be in fellowship with God.
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?
- Do you think it would change some people?
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?
- Perhaps you have stood and looked out over a field and as far as you can see it is covered with bluebonnets and you said, “Oh my, look at this!”
- Or maybe you stood looking at a sunset that only God Himself can design and you thought, “Oh wow, what a sight.”
- Or maybe you have held a new born child in your hand and said, “Oh my…”
- That is what language of amazement is.
Well, that is how John begins this chapter. Look at verse 1. John says: “See how great a love…”
- The NKJ and the KJV and the American Standard say, “Behold what manner of love…”
- And that word “see, or behold” doesn’t just mean “look at it”…it is more than that…it is the idea of “give deep consideration to…contemplate…that which is remarkable or impressive.”
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.”
- And so what John is saying here is “Give some consideration to…contemplate…do some deep reflection on the Father’s love…and how amazing it is!
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…
- This is amazing in itself!
- This “great amazing love” was a gift from the Father!
And look at the next phrase…this great love was “bestowed” by the Father…upon us!
- Who is the “us” here? In the context it is the Christians that John is writing to…but this also includes us today…”the Father has bestowed His great love on us…it is a gift.”
In and of ourselves we aren’t righteous people…we were sinners and we still are sinners…and yet Christ died for us.
- We were enemies…and yet we were reconciled to God through the death of Christ.
- We were dead in our transgressions…and yet He made us alive together with Christ…
- He did all of that because He loves us!
- We can’t earn it; we don’t deserve it.
- And there is no other way to describe that other than “amazing!”
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;
- That is amazing status!
- I think my children are proud to say, “I am a child of Virgil Webb”, I hope they are.
- And most of you are probably proud to say, “I am the son or daughter of….”
- But give some deep consideration to this statement…”I am a child of God!”
- That is amazing status!
So what you have here in this one verse is “amazing love…an amazing gift…and amazing status.”
- And John says, “Do some deep reflection on that.”
Now, I want you to look at that last statement where John says “that we should be called children of God.”
- Notice what he says next…”and such we are.”
- And look in verse 2: “Beloved, now we are children of God…”
- Three times here in two verses John tells us that we are God’s children.”
- Why does he do that?
Remember why John is writing this letter?
- The Gnostics had come along and they were saying, “We alone have fellowship with God…we alone are sons of God…they were claiming to be children of God exclusively.”
- And they didn’t acknowledge the “son-ship” that these Christians had.
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.
- The Gnostics were telling these Christians that as Christians they weren’t sons of God…and unfortunately some of these Christians were being influenced by that…and they were wavering.
- And John, to remind them…to rebuke them…says three times…”You are children of God!”
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 the truth of the matter is, a lot of people who claim to be children of God are not…and the reason they aren’t, is for the same reasons these Gnostics weren’t.
- They claim to be children of God…but they walk in the darkness.
- They claim to be children of God…but they don’t totally depend on the Father for the forgiveness of their sins.
- They claim to be children of God…but the love of God is not in them.
- They claim to be children of God…but they don’t keep His commandments.
- They claim to be children of God…but they don’t love one another.
- They claim to be children of God…but the word doesn’t abide in them.
- They claim to be children of God…but they love the things of the world.
- They claim to be children of God…but they deny the deity, the humanity, and the Messiah-ship of Christ.
- They claim to be children of God…but they deny the word.
- A lot of people claim to be a child of God…but they aren’t.
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 love…the 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.
- Everyone wants to know this.
- You talk to people and they want to know, “After we die…what kind of bodies are we going to have in heaven?”
- Well, John is going to answer that…but before he does let me ask you this…why do you suppose John brings this up here?
- Why does he say, “…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.
- Some thought that you would have a body with all of its fleshly desires and when you got to heaven all of your fleshly desires will be satisfied. (Muslims-70 virgins).
- Some said that “if you were poor in this life…in the next you would rich…again…the indication is you will have a body with fleshly desires.
- However, the most common idea was when you die…you die and it is all over…there will be no resurrection.
But John refutes that. He says, “We are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be.”
- Obviously from what John says this life is not all there is!
- We don’t know for sure “what we will be” but we “will 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.”
- He says, “It has not appeared as yet what we shall be.”
- It is not clear what we will be when He comes.
- We can know some things perhaps from 1 Cor. 15: 35ff.
- But the truth is, “If John doesn’t know…we don’t either.”
What we do know, because of the word of God…we will be like Him.
- Look at verse 2: We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.
- What He now is we will be.
- What we will be has not been seen by man.
- That means we will not be what Jesus was after His resurrection because that has been made manifest.
- How do we know we are going to be like Him? Because “we are going to see Him like He is…”
Scripture does not attempt to define “what we shall be.”
- What we do know is a change will take place.
- In fact, look at Phil. 3:20: For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21 who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.
- No one knows what we will be like…but we will see Him.
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.
- “purifies himself”- is present tense…continuous action.
- This is talking about sanctification.
- Our sanctification is not going to be perfect…we will still need the cleansing blood of Christ.
- But we do commit ourselves to holiness of life.
Why do you think John says this?
- Because the Gnostics said they could live an impure life and still have fellowship with God.
- John says, “If you live an impure life not only will you not have fellowship with God…but you will not be transformed from this body to a more glorious body when He comes.
What has John taught us?
- He has taught us about an amazing love, that is extended to us as an amazing gift, and that amazing love grants to us an amazing status, and an amazing future.
- May we each one be determined to hold fast to the hope we have in Him.
1 John 2:18-29
This past week I got a notice in the mail and on the envelop it said, “Urgent!”
- What does that mean? 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.
- And that is what the situation is here in the verses that were read.
- There is a sense of “urgency” here in what John writes and it requires our immediate attention.
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.
- First of all notice that John speaks to the “Children.”
- Back up in verses 12-14 John wrote to three different groups; the children, the young men, and the fathers…and he isn’t referring to their age.
- He is referring to their spiritual maturity…the fathers being first generation Christians “who have known Christ from the beginning”…the young men “who have overcome the evil one” being second generation Christians…and the children “whose sins are forgiven” being new converts.
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.”
- “This is urgent! There are no hours after this!”
Now initially when you look at this statement it sounds like an “end of time statement.”
- But that is not the way that John uses the term “”
- John uses the term “hour” to speak of a transition…a change.
- For example look at John 2:4:
And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what do I have to do with you? My hour has not yet come.”
- Jesus says, “A transition or change will take place but not yet.”
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 John doesn’t say, “It is going to take place.”
- Instead, 2 times He says, “It is the last hour.” “It is happening now!”
- It is an urgent situation! And it requires your immediate attention now.!
And why is this so “urgent?” Because “even now many antichrists have risen.”
- Some today say that the “antichrist” have yet to come.
- That is not what John says. John says they are already here!
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.”
- Up until the time John wrote this the people were eager to hear the good news of Jesus, but now these “anti-Christ”, these people who were opposed to Christ have “arisen”, and they will pervert the “good news of Christ” and confuse these new converts and turn them from the sound teachings of Christ.
- And that is what is so “urgent” about this!.
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.”
- What John is doing is, he is sounding a warning here to try and keep these new converts from a present danger that could and would cost them their salvation in Christ.
- This is an “urgent” situation. It requires their immediate attention.
- And this situation still exists today for us.
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.
- And when he speaks of “many” he isn’t talking so much about numbers.
- No doubt there were many of them just as there is today.
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).
- And John has already mentioned a few of their teachings; teachings that still exist today.
In chapter 1:7 some of these false teachers were teaching that you could “walk in the darkness and still have fellowship with God.”
- Later in chapter 1:8 and 10 they said they “were without sin” which in essence made God a liar and which meant they didn’t need Christ.
- In chapter 2:4 they were teaching that “you didn’t have to keep God’s commands.”
- In chapter 2:12 they were claiming to have fellowship with God while standing on a platform of hate.
- And in vs. 15 of chapter 2 they said you could have a divided devotion; that you could serve two masters; you could “love the world and all the allurements of the world and still love 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.
- You can almost hear their argument…in fact, we often hear it today.
- “We believe in God too! We believe in Christ! We believe in heaven we just have different ideas on how to get there.”
John says, “These antichrist went out from us” but were not really a part of us.”
- They looked and sounded so good; they were very impressive; but they never really accepted the truth…and they never had fellowship with God. They only claimed to be Christians….
- “Because”, look what John says, ”If they would have been of us, they would have “ have remained with us.”
- “But they went out in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us.”
The church didn’t lose anything when these people left because the church never had them in the first place.
- These deceivers came in secretly as though they were spies…they were false brethren.
- They were sectarian…they only wanted to teach and promote their way of thinking…they came in to cause confusion and division.
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.
- These false teachers, these deceivers, these perverters of the word of God they denied that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah…they wanted to deny His O.T. roots.
- They wanted to deny His deity; His Father and Son relationship.
- And John says, “They are liars.”
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.
- These false teachers; these liars; these perverters of the word of God were on a mission to deceive these Christians.
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.
- And John is urgently warning these new Christians as well as all of us of the danger we face.
- The situation is “urgent” requiring our immediate attention!
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?
- Well, John tells us. Look at vs. 26 again.
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…
- These brethren that John is writing to have “received this anointing.”
- And they received it from “Him”; 20 says they received this “anointing from the Holy One.”
- And the “anointing” abides in them. In vs. 24 “what they had heard” abides in them.
- So the anointing is what they had “heard from the beginning” and since it does, “they abide in the Son and in the Father.”
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.
- It is true and is not a lie.
- It is totally adequate. We don’t need any one else to teach us; especially the antichrist; those who pervert the word of God.
- And since “it” is an “it” we know “it” is not a person.
- And when we let “it” teach us we abide with Him; we have fellowship with Christ.
- What is it? WORD OF GOD or the BIBLE.
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.
- And to keep us from being deceived we must make sure that the word of God abides in us. (Study it; learn it; spend time in it_
- If what someone teaches us, including me,(Don’t need to be baptized; live a sinful life and still be saved; don’t have to keep His commands; you can hate your brother; Jesus is not the Son of God; you can save yourself; Jesus isn’t enough, you need more) if what they teach you does not agree with the word of God, they are false teachers and liars.
- Ignore what they say.
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!
- That doesn’t make much sense because he already has the watch…it is his!
- Why should he give it up regardless of what number I have?
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.”
- Let me ask you this? Don’t you already have what you need for salvation?
- Why would you need something else?
- Why would you give up what is already yours for something else?
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?
- Look at the passage starting in verse 12.
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.
- There were several different Gnostic teachings such as “You can live any way you want and still have fellowship with God because what you do in the flesh has no bearing on the spiritual.”
- Or they said that “they had fellowship with God because they weren’t sinners.”
- Others said you didn’t have to keep the commandments of God and still others hated their brothers while claiming to have fellowship with God.
- And basically what they were doing is they were influencing these Christians to do the same thing they were.
- So John is writing to counter that influence.
So look at this passage…
- The first thing I want you to notice is the 3 different categories of people that John writes this to.
- They are all Christians…they are all IN Christ…but in verse 12 and 13 he is writing to “little children”…in verse 13 and 14 he is writing to “”
- And in verse 13-14 he is writing to “young men.”
Now, obviously, when he says he is writing to “little children” he isn’t referring to age.
- Little children can’t read little on comprehend what the Gnostics were teaching.
- So when John speaks of “little children, young men, and fathers” he is not referring to their ages.
Instead, he is referring to their spiritual chronology…their spiritual maturity.
- The “little children” are new converts.
- The “young men” are 2nd generation Christians…more mature.
- And “fathers” are those who have heard the message of Christ from the beginning…they are first generation Christians.
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.
- Do you understand what they already have?
- These “little children”…these new converts are the most vulnerable to the influence of the Gnostics…and John, to keep them from falling for the false teachings of the Gnostics says, “Your sins were forgiven in the past and they are still forgiven!”
- Because of their obedient faith in Christ…and because of their acknowledgement that they are sinners…for His name sake God, out of honor to Jesus, keeps forgiving their sins.
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).
- If they didn’t “know the father” their sins would not be forgiven.” Do you remember what John said about how you can tell who “knows” God?
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.
- Why would they give up what they already have for something else?
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).
- These “fathers”, these first generation Christians had obeyed the Lord’s commandments in the past and they were still keeping His commandments.
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.
- In both verses John says to these more mature Christians…these who are first generation Christians…that they “know Him…they know God!”
- They know His commands…they know His commands of love…and they know His commands of righteousness!
- Now if they know God, if they have fellowship with God…why would they need anything that these Gnostics would teach them?
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.
- Through Christ they had overcome “the evil one” and they were still over coming him.
- Why would they need or want anything the Gnostics had to offer?
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.
- If they are strong…if the word of God abides in them…if they have already heard the Gnostics’ teachings and rejected it…
- If they know the truth and have fellowship with God…then they do not need to even listen to what the Gnostics have to say.
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.”
- John’s past correspondence either refers to the Gospel of John or the Book of Revelation; probably the book of Revelation because those who are faithful have “overcome, they are strong, and they are victorious.”
But regardless, because of John’s past correspondence and his present writing, these “little children, young men, and fathers” are in fellowship with God.
- Why would they even listen to what the Gnostics have to say?
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.
- God has given us everything we need to know for salvation…
- Through His Son we have the forgiveness of sins…we have the full revelation…we have fellowship with God, the Son and the apostles…
- If we already have that…why then would we want to listen to anything they have to say?
- If it is already ours…it wouldn’t make much sense to give it up no matter what they have to offer.
Now, why do you suppose that John writes to all three categories of people here: little children, young men, and fathers?
- Why write these reminders of what they already knew and have?
- Because every one is vulnerable.
- The “little children”…the new converts…without a doubt were the most vulnerable.
- But the young men and the fathers were not without vulnerability.
- We have all seen a new Christian be led astray by some silver tongued preacher.
- But it happens to the more mature as well.
- We need to all take heed lest we fall.
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.
- The word “love” is the Greek word “agapao.”
- That speaks of a “sacrificial love.”
- John says here that the world and the things of the world do not deserve sacrificial devotion.
- A lot of people “sacrifice” what is important for what the world has to offer.
Look what John says next: “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
- It’s not hard to discern what the Gnostic teaching was.
- They taught that you could do both…love the world and all its sinful pleasures…and love the Father.
- Split devotion.
- John says, “You cannot serve to Masters…you cannot fellowship darkness and be devoted to the light.”
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.
- These things can only give us temporary gratification of our fleshly appetites.
- So John is saying, “Don’t just love those things which satisfy the less noble side of man.
- Instead, love the Father…and look at why in verse 17:
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.
- And a lot of people sacrifice the eternal for the things of the world.
- The question is: is it a good trade?
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.
- One of those groups of people were the Gnostics (Libertines, Antinomians, Docetists, Monastics, Denialists, the Cerenthians, Ascetics, Ebionites, and the Essenes).
- These people all claimed to have special insights into the mysteries of the spiritual realm…in fact, the term “Gnostic” comes from the Greek word “gnosis” which means “to know.”
- And even though all these different sects of Gnostics had different ideas and philosophies, they all claimed to have fellowship with God.
- And their claims were confusing those who were followers of Christ, just as they do today.
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.
- In chapter 1:6 some of the Gnostics were saying that even though they walked in darkness they still had fellowship with God…and John says, “No you don’t!”
- In God there is no darkness and you cannot walk in darkness…you cannot live a life of sin and 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.
- And John points out the error of that kind of thinking when he says, “If you say have no sin you deceive yourself and the truth is not in you…and not only that, if you say you have no sin you make God a liar and His word is not in you.”
- And, if you make God a liar there is no fellowship.
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.”
- But John says, “Any one who does not keep God’s commandments is a liar and therefore, there is no fellowship with God.
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.
- So let’s look at this…and as we do let’s each one ask ourselves if we have fellowship with God…and if not what do we need to do to restore that fellowship.
- Let’s look at this starting in verse 7.
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,
- This is kind of confusing; John says that he is not writing a “new” commandment…but an “old” commandment…but then on the other hand he is writing a “new” commandment…what is he talking about?
Notice the words “new”…in the Greek that is the word “Kainos” and that speaks of something “new in time…and new in kind.”
- So John is saying, “I am not giving you a brand new…something you never heard before commandment…I am giving you an old commandment which you have heard from the beginning.”
- But now even though it is “old”…even though you have heard this before…John says, “I am writing a new…new in time and new in kind…commandment.”
What is he talking about?
Well, first of all look at the commandment in verse 10:”The one who loves his brother…”
- That is the command…we are to “love our brother.”
- But what is “old and new” about that?
Well, look with me at John 13: 34.
- Jesus is speaking here to His disciples and He says: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
- Here is the “new” commandment that John said was “old.”
Now, what makes this commandment so “new.” Let me show you.
- Look at Lev. 19: 18: ‘You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.
- Notice how they were to “love their neighbor?”
- They were to “love their neighbor as they loved themselves.”
- This was the standard for the Law of Moses… it was based on self… and it was an inadequate standard for Christianity.
Go back now and look at the standard that Jesus sets forth in John 13:34.
- How are we to “love one another?” (As He loved us.) I am afraid that I sometimes leave this part out of it! “As He loved us”…that is a lot of love!
- Loving your neighbor in Lev. 19:18 is based on a “self” love…it was “self-centered, exploitive” but the new standard of love commanded by Christ is based on how He loves us.
The word for “love” is “agape” in the Greek and there is no “self” in it.
- Agape love is sacrificial. Just as Jesus put Himself on the altar for us, we are to do the same for each other.
- Agape love seeks the highest good of another person; regardless of what it costs you; and whether he deserves it or not; appreciates it or not; or accepts it or not. (That is how Christ loved us.)
The old love found in Lev. 19:18 was incomplete and faulty while the love found in John 13:34 is complete and perfect.
- This is why Jesus calls this a “new commandment.”
But John now says that he is writing an “old commandment which you have had from the beginning.”
- John is writing this 60-65 years after Christ gave this “new” commandment.
- So, the new commandment is old.
In fact, John says that they have had it from the “beginning”: from the beginning of what?
- The beginning of Christianity…they have had this from the time Christianity was born and they have heard it.
- So by the time John writes this, the “new” commandment that Jesus gave is old.
- But, in verse 8 it is still “new”…it is “new” compared to what the Law of Moses gave.
- And here we are 2000 years later and this commandment is still “new.”
- We are to “love each other just as Christ loves us.”
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 not only ordered “love”, He lived it! It was manifested in Him.
- And it was also found in these Christians; Acts 4:32ff.
Jesus was and is the standard of love…and it is to be our standard also.
- Loving each other like Jesus loves us is our home base…
Now, look at the next part of the verse. John says, “…because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.
- Where ever this “love”…the standard of love that loves like Jesus”…wherever that standard of love is being practiced the “darkness will pass away”…the selfish love will recede…and “true light (or the sacrificial love that Jesus manifested) will shine forth.”
- As one advances the other retreats.
- These brethren have been loving the way they are supposed to!
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…
- It is not your talk that counts, it is your walk.
Vs. 9: The one who says he is in the light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now.
- See the “until now?” The one who says he is in the light…who says he has fellowship with God and yet hates his brother…he has never been in the light!
- He has been in the darkness and still is!
- The man who hates is not a saved man.
- You cannot be “born again” on the platform of hatred!
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.
- The one who “loves his brother just as the Lord loves us”…that one is in fellowship with God.
And do you see that phrase “there is no cause for stumbling in him?”
- If I love as I should…if I do what Jesus wants me to do…say the things that Jesus wants me to say…and be what Jesus wants me to be…
- If I am “walking in the light”…His principles guiding me…I will not stumble and I will not cause others to stumble either.
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, based off of what John says in verses 10 and 11, what was it the Gnostics said they could do and still have fellowship with God? (Hate each other).
Now, why would a Gnostic hate his brother?
- We could go into that. But the most important question is, why would anyone who is a follower of Christ hate his brother?
- Suggestions: Skin Color; political preference; differences in personality; social standing.
- Jealousy is always a big factor in hatred (knowledge, success, wealth, influence (the reason some hated Jesus).
- Done wrong or a perceived wrong?
The Gnostics had two different categories of people: the Psukoi or soul people and the Pneumatoi or spirit people.
- They called themselves this because they claimed to have been illuminated…they claimed esoteric knowledge…some things were revealed to them that wasn’t revealed to others…they were visionaries…they had a special knowledge.
- And they were proud of their knowledge…in fact, they were so proud of their knowledge that they put themselves over and above others.
- As Paul says in the Corinthian letter…”their knowledge had puffed them up.”
But then there was another category of people…this was the Sarkoi…the flesh people…people without this special illumination…this special knowledge…
- The ignorant…the stupid.
- Anyone who would reject Gnostic illumination is a clod.
- Therefore, in their stupidity the Sarkoi would be hard to love.
- So the Gnostics didn’t.
- They hated others…and they often hated each other…because “I know so much…and I know this…and that guy over there just thinks he knows…”
- And so the jealousy…and the arrogance…caused these Gnostics to hate each other…and yet they claimed they had fellowship with God.
- And the problem was…they had influenced some of these Christians to perhaps believe the same thing…
- And John says, “IF you don’t love your brother…just as Christ loves you…there is no fellowship with God.”
So, how is our fellowship with God?
- Do you or I have a brother or sister in Christ that we hate…or don’t love like we should?
- I have heard some of my brothers and sisters in Christ say, ”I just can’t stand so and so…”
- Like Christ, toward each of us, we may not like what they do sometime…but again, like Christ, we must love them.
We are not going to love as perfectly as He loved.
- We each will have occasions of selfishness.
- But we get credit for our direction of walk.
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.
- And there are many.
- I suppose the primary one has to do with baptism…and its necessity for salvation.
- Then there is the use of instruments of music in worship.
- And there is the communion…and taking it on the first day of every week.
- And there is “the church” and its design…a plurality of elders…
- There are many differences between the practices and doctrines of the “church of Christ” and other 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.)
- And the influence of the Libertines is very real today…so real that it has penetrated into most of the Christian religions today.
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.”
- It is not unusual to go to the cemetery and a headstone will have person’s name and date of birth and death on it…and inscribed on the headstone it will say something like…”in the arms of God”…but then stacked on or around the headstone will be beer bottles left there by “his beer drinking friends.”
- How many country and western singers will put songs about drinking and cheating on their albums…and then the next song will be “Amazing Grace” or “How Great Thou Art?”
- I went to a funeral a few years ago and the preacher talked about the man’s life…and when he started mentioning the man’s surviving relatives he mentioned the man’s wife, children, and his significant other…or the woman he was having an affair with…and yet…in spite of all of his wild living, his gambling and drinking and foul language…the guy was “at rest in heaven.”
- People, even some who claim to be Christians, do not come right out and call themselves “Libertines”…but what they say and do indicates that they are.
- It is a very common ideology today: “I can live an ungodly lifestyle and still be in fellowship with God.”
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.
- Antinomianism basically says: Since faith alone is sufficient to attain salvation, adherence to religious commands is not necessary and religious laws themselves are set aside as inessential.
- So, basically they were saying, “I believe in Jesus…therefore I am saved…and there is nothing I can do to lose that salvation…I can live any way I want.
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.”
- And he said, “I don’t have to go to church. Jesus has saved me…salvation is a gift from Him…I am saved by grace…and Jesus is not an Indian Giver…He is not going to take His gift back…so I don’t have to go to church.”
- And with that kind of thinking he was able to justify a lot of things he did.
Antinomianism is basically the doctrine that says, “Once you are saved you are always saved.”
- It doesn’t matter that that you have lived and immoral life…Jesus saved you at some time in the past and you are still saved no matter what.
- You hear this all the time at funerals.
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.”
- Now, there are two things here.
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.
- In chapter 1:7 John says “if we walk in the light we have fellowship.
- In chapter 1:8 and 10 he says we have fellowship with God if we agree with what God says about us, that we are sinners, and that we depend on God to forgive us of those sins.
- And then here, in chapter 2:3 John says that we “know God, if we keep His commandments.”
Now, will you be perfect? No! Will you at times violate what He commands? Yes, chapter 1 vs. 8 and 10 tell us that.
- Does that mean you do not “know God”; that your fellowship with God is broken?
- No! Vs. 7 of chapter 1 tells us that “ if you/I are continually making an effort to keep what He commands…if you are continuously striving to obey His will…you can know that you are walking in the light., that fellowship has not been broken; and your striving to keep His commands show that “you know God.”
Now, second, can you save yourself by commandment keeping? No! Romans 3:20 tells us that “no one is justified by law-keeping!”
- John is writing this letter to Christians, people who have already been justified by their faith in the blood of Christ…and because they have already been justified they need to keep His commandments.
The third thing out of this verse is really very plain.
- These Libertines…and the Antinomian Gnostics were saying, “We know God…we have fellowship with God” while at the same time disobeying the commands of God….and John says, “You don’t know Him.”
- “You cannot know God…you cannot have fellowship with God…and ignore or reject what He commands.”
- If you know God it will show up in your commandment keeping.
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…
- And notice where it says “who does not keep His commandments”…that to is present indicative.
- And there where it says he “is a liar”…that is present indicative also.
- So what John is saying is, “The one who claims to have a present knowledge of God but is not presently keeping His commandments is therefore presently a liar.
Now, how does God feel about a liar?
- That is just another way of saying that there is no fellowship with God.
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?”
- In verse 3 he says “We know Him if we keep His commandments.”
- And here in verse 5 John says “our love for God is perfected” when we keep His commandments…
- And then he says that we “know” we are IN Him if we keep His commandments.
But what if we ignore His commandments…if we reject His commandments?
- But what if I am a nice guy…and I have done some really nice things for people?
- Everyone does some nice things from time to time…these Gnostics did.
- And some of these Gnostics were pretty nice people.
- But still, they denied the word of God and they rejected His commandments…and as a result there was no fellowship with God…the love of God was not perfected in them…and they were not “IN” Him.
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.
- There where it says “ought”…that word “ought” does not mean that this is a strong recommendation.
- This word actually has more of the meaning of “must”…this is something you should do if you claim to abide in God.
- It is an imperative.
If we claim to abide in Him we should walk in the same manner that He walked.
- How did Jesus walk?
- Did He walk ignoring the commandments of God…ignoring God’s word?
- We cannot walk as perfectly as He did…but we can try!
- God wants us to walk in the light and to help us He has given us His instruction book as well as a living model.
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.
- He tells us this so we don’t give in to the influence of the present day Libertines and Antinomians.
- And he also tells us this so we can go out and teach with the hope of helping others to obey His commands.
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.)
- Why do we do those things?
The answer is, we take commandment keeping serious.
- If God says it…we must strive to do it.
Some of you have heard remarks like: “You church of Christer’s need to lighten up a little…don’t be so serious.”
- “God doesn’t mind if you take a few liberties.”
- “What will it hurt to have a piano…or an organ…or a drum?”
- “What will it hurt to have women elders?”
A firm belief in what John says right here is what makes us different from many others.
- Because of our love for Him…and for the sake of fellowship with Him…we take His commandments seriously.
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.”
- There are a lot of “good” lawyers but I am not sure that there are a lot of “great” lawyers.
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!)
- But, how about this: Good lawyers know the law; great lawyers are the judge’s son!”
- Would you rather have a “good” lawyer or a “great” lawyer?
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.
- Here is the situation: In Romans 6:23 the apostle Paul tells us that the “wages of sin is death.” (That is not talking about physical death. It is talking about spiritual death. You can sin and still be alive physically. So Paul is talking about spiritual death.)
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.
- So in the legal sense when you sin, sin immediately makes its case against you.
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.”
- In chapter 1, specifically in vs. 7 John wrote and told these Christians that even though they had sinned their fellowship with God was not broken due to the “blood of Christ” and the forgiveness of sin through Christ.
- But, John didn’t want these Christians to go to far with “the cleansing of the blood of Christ.”
- Some of them may have the same idea that the people in Romans 6:1 had…they may be thinking, “If the blood of Christ cleanses us of our sins…let’s just go ahead and sin even more!”
- And John is saying here, “The blood of Christ does cleanse you of your sins…and fellowship with God is not broken…but don’t you take advantage of it! Don’t abuse it!
- The blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin but that is not license to sin.”
- If you do that then you are no longer walking in the light…you are walking in darkness.
- So John writes here to keep them from purposely sinning.
Look at the next sentence.
- John tells them not to purposely sin…don’t intentionally sin…but then he says, “And if any one sins…”
- See the “if”…that is not an “if” of doubt…that is an “if” of “when.”
- John is saying, “Don’t intentionally sin…don’t purposely sin…you walk in the light…but “when” you do sin…and they will…
- Look what he says:
…we have an Advocate with the Father…
- Do you see the word “Advocate”?
- In the Greek that is the word “parakaleo”…we get our word “paraclete” from it.
- A “Paraclete” is an intercessor…one who intercedes for us…one you call to your side…one who “pleads your case.”
And notice it says that “we have an Advocate with the Father…”
- Our Advocate…our intercessor…the one we “call to our side to plead our case” is with the Father…
But, the Father…sends our Advocate to our side…”to plead our case to the Father.”
- And look at who our Advocate or Paraclete is: Jesus Christ the righteous;
Let me see if I can explain this to you in simpler terms.
- You as a Christian are not going to live a life of sin…you repented, you were baptized into Christ washing away your sins…you are walking in the light.
- But as carefully as you walk you will still sin…and when you do you are guilty…and remember, sin demands its wages!
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!”
- And God…who is the Father…or the Judge…He is inclined toward us because we have called for His help…and because He is inclined toward us He appoints our counsel or our advocate for us to help us.
- And to our advantage our Advocate or “lawyer” if you will, is His Son, the Son of the Judge.
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!
- What this means is you, as a Christian, have sinned and you have pled guilty and your sin condemns you to die.
- But the Judge is inclined to you because you have acknowledged your sin and so He sends His own Son to plead your case for you.
- But not only is your Advocate the Son of the Judge, He is also your brother.
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?
- Because your Advocate, your Paraclete, your Counsel has already paid the penalty. He has already paid the price!
Do you see the word “is”?
- When you, as a Christian, sinned Jesus doesn’t have to go and make propitiation for your sin.
- He “is” propitiation. He is standing propitiation. As soon as you sin the wages of that sin is already paid, the debt is forgiven.
- And the redeeming power of His blood will never play out.
We, as Christians, often pray to God and we say, “Father, forgive us our sins.”
- Do you know what would be more correct to say?
- “Thank you Father for forgiving us our sins, or for continuing to forgive us of our sins.”
If you are not a child of God, then yes, you need to have your sins forgiven.
- But if you are a child of God, if you have been baptized into Christ and you are walking in the light as He Himself is in the light, and you sin, and you will, that sin is already forgiven, propitiation has already been made, and you have not lost fellowship with God.
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.
- And they are scared that if they die before they can ask for that forgiveness that they will be eternally lost.
- That thinking is not in agreement with what John says here in these verses.
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.
- And the primary question they asked was, “Do you have to be baptized every time you sin?”
- If the blood of Christ washes away your sin at baptism do you have to be baptized again every time you sin?
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.”
- If someone is dead how many times do you bury them? (One time).
- So, you are baptized, you bury the old man of sin and you are walking in “newness of life” and you sin? Do you have to “bury the old man of sin again?” Do you have to be baptized again? NO!
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.
- And we simply need to resume our walk with Christ.
When Jesus gets us off even when we are guilty it is not a frustration of justice because He has paid the penalty.
- He defends the guilty and never loses.
Now, let’s go back to the context that John is dealing with.
- Remember that John is dealing with the Gnostics.
- And look back in chapter 1 verse 8 and verse 10.
- Some of these Gnostics were denying that they had sinned.
- If you deny that you are a sinner what do you make God?
Now if you call the judge a liar how inclined toward you do you think He is going to be?
- And if He is not inclined towards you is He going to send His advocate to help you?
No, besides as far as you are concerned, “You don’t need an advocate” because you don’t think you are guilty!
- So you are standing before the Judge and denying what He has said about you.
- When the verdict is handed down what do you think it will be?
- And who will pay the fine? Who will bear the punishment?
- You will because there’s no one to be a propitiation for your sin.
Brethren, this is what Christ has done for you.
- At the cross He interceded on your behalf and made propitiation for you.
- And as a Christian who is walking in the light, when you sin your fellowship is not broken because you acknowledge to God the same thing He says about you, “God, I am a sinner.”
- And with that plea He sends his Son and your brother to be your Advocate, to plead your case before the Judge who is your Father.
- And even though you are guilty you will not pay the price because your brother, your Advocate already has and He continues to do so.
Do we sin so that grace might abound? God forbid!
- But when we do sin our fellowship with God is not broken.
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.
- That means you had to starve the body…couldn’t clean the body…couldn’t get married.
- By depriving and punishing the body you could be pleasing to God…and thus have fellowship with God.
But the Monastics believed the only way to stay pure and right with God was to withdraw from society.
- This is where we get the word “monastery” from.
- Again, it had the idea behind it of depriving the physical body in order to stay pure for God.
- Thus having fellowship with God.
But then the Libertines believed that the body and the spirit were completely separate and unrelated.
- Therefore, you could do whatever you wanted in the flesh and never stain the spirit.
- Their idea was, the physical has no bearing on the spirit…therefore, you could sin all you wanted and still go to heaven, because spiritually you are always in fellowship with God.
The Docetists, Cerenthians, Ebionites, and Denialists were different in that all, in some form or fashion denied Christ.
- They said that Christ was either all man and no deity at all.
- Or that he was all deity…and not man at all.
- Or if he was deity, he was only an emanation of the Father and could not possibly be equal to God.
- Therefore, the only way you could have fellowship with God was through some mystical ritual…or secret word…or some angel or spiritual being who gave you access to God.
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.
- “Maybe all of us are in fellowship with God.”
- ““Maybe I can sin all I want and have fellowship with God too.”
- “Maybe I need someone or something else other than Christ 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.
- Even though they all have different teachings and ideas on what it takes to be saved.
- Even though some deny Christ as being deity.
- Even though some deny Christ as ever being a man.
- Even though some deny Christ as the only one through which salvation has come.
- Even though some still practice a religion of law keeping.
- Even though some say that Jesus is not good enough.
- All of these 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.
- “It doesn’t matter what you believe.”
- “We are all going to heaven, just different ways of getting there.”
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.
- So how do we know? Can you and I know whether we have fellowship with God or not?
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.”
- John’s primary purpose for writing this letter is to tell us how to have fellowship with God, with Christ, and with John and the other apostles.
Listen, men can have a horizontal fellowship all they want…they can fellowship one another all they want.
- And these do.
- But if there is no vertical fellowship…no fellowship with the Father and His Son…then their fellowship is spiritually worthless.
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.
- But on the negative side, he tells us who doesn’t have fellowship with God.
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.
- It is not simply a matter of talk…it includes your walk!
And notice this, John is not talking here about how good a man walks…he isn’t saying that man has to walk perfectly.
- John is dealing with where a man walks…does he walk in the light?
- Are you walking according to God’s word…and God’s will…striving to do what is right?
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.
- If we are not walking with God and striving to do what He wants…there is no fellowship.
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.
- They do not deny the word of God.
- They do not make Him to be a liar.
If God says we are a sinner but we say “we are not”…then we make Him a liar.
- If God says there is a hell…and we say there isn’t…we make Him a liar.
- If God says He can save…and we say He can’t…we make Him a liar.
- If God says we must be baptized…and we say you don’t…we make Him a liar.
- When God says something…and we deny it and say something else either by our words, or actions…we make Him a liar.
- And when we do…there is no fellowship.
And the second thing in this passage…anyone who denies they are a sinner…has no fellowship with God. Let me show you why.
- Sin separates you from God.
- In verse 9, your sins can be forgiven if we will confess that we are a sinner.
- But the man who claims to have no sin is not going to confess that He is a sinner…because he claims not to have any…
- No acknowledgment of sin…no need for God or forgiveness…no forgiveness…no fellowship.
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.”
- If we are going to have fellowship with God…we must keep His commandments.
Can we choose a few we don’t want to obey?
- I mean, can we just look at some of His commandments in here and say, “I don’t want to do this one…or He doesn’t mean that one…or I don’t believe this one”…can I still have fellowship with God?
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.
- But if I willfully and continually disobey any of the Lord’s commands can I stay in fellowship?
- I cannot say, “I just refuse to do that”, because when I do guess who just got voted Lord?
- I did…I just voted myself Lord.
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.
- Listen, there is a brotherly way to deal with those who you do not agree with…or who have gone astray.
- To have fellowship with God…you must love your brother or sister in Christ…regardless.
- And anyone who does not love his brother…is not in fellowship with God.
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.”
- Do you see how John refers to Christ in this verse?
- He calls Him Jesus…the Christ…and the Son.
- That is not accidental.
- Time and time again John uses these three names to refer to Jesus.
Why? Because Jesus is His human name…that says He is man.
- “Christ” means “Messiah” which means He is “God’s anointed” or “the one sent from God.”
- And “Son” means He is like nature with God…He is deity.
- Anyone who denies that Jesus was a man…that He is the Messiah…and that He is deity…that person is the anti-Christ.
- And He has no fellowship with God.
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.”
- Listen, the fellowship with God, the Son and the apostles…is not a wide open fellowship.
- It does not just accept anyone with wide open arms.
- They may be as nice as they can be…and as sincere in what they believe as they can be.
- And they can give the appearance of being very religious and spiritual.
- And they can even claim a belief in Christ.
- But if they go beyond the teachings of Christ…if they go beyond what is written there is no fellowship.
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.
- It takes walking in the light, acknowledging that we are sinners, being in agreement with what God says, keeping the commandments of God, loving your brother, acknowledging Christ as a man, as the Messiah, and as deity, and abiding in the teachings of Jesus.
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.
- If we do not do these things…then there is no fellowship for us…or anyone else.
Now, how many of these have fellowship with God?
- And more important than that…Do you/I have fellowship with God?
- Are we walking in the light?
- Are we depending on Him for the forgiveness of our sins?
- Are we keeping His commands?
- Do we love our brothers and sisters in Christ?
- Do we believe that Jesus is truly the Messiah and the Son of God?
- Are we abiding in His word?
If not, repent, and come back into fellowship. Never been…then obey His command…
© Sunset Ridge Church of Christ 2023