10.1.2017 The ULTIMATE Advocate – 1 John 2:1-6
Introduction: Rich Nichols, director of the United Advocacy Group, talked about the work of an advocate. An advocate works on behalf of someone, to help with what is being required of them.
1 John -- Three themes in this letter – fellowship, truth and love. Touched on in Ch1; integrated in 2:1-6.
Here, in the first six verses of chapter two, John not only assures us that the demand of God's righteousness has been satisfied by the finished work of Jesus, but he also assures us that even when we sin, and we all do, God still loves us and has made provision to restore the fellowship that is hindered by sin.
Note 3 things John tells us about the work of Jesus, as an advocate, to make us righteous…
1.Jesus works to make us right with God – He is the advocate for our sin(s). (v1,2)
A.He clearly says in verse on that his purpose for writing is so that we will not sin. It is important to understand that he is not saying that we will live in sinless perfection.
The verb translated, "sin" is in the aorist tense. This tense speaks to a specific point and place in time. It is not ongoing action. The imperfect tense speaks of incomplete or ongoing action, but the aorist tense speaks of a one-time event or action.
John wants us to know… wants us to avoid even the smallest of things which would negatively impact the fellowship we have with God and with one another. So the grammatical clues clearly show us that he is not espousing a doctrine of sinless perfection, but then there is an instructional insight.
B.Look at the second part of verse one, "And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."
John realizes that as Christians there are going to be times when we stumble and fall, when we step back into sin. And when we do, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
This is the personal advocacy of Christ. When we sin, and folks we do sin, God has provided a way for us to reconcile that fellowship, it is through Jesus Christ, who is the atoning sacrifice/payment/propitiation for our sins.
C. (v2) The word, "atoning sacrifice/propitiation" means appeasement or satisfaction. It means the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross satisfied the demands of God's justice. We are probably more familiar with the term "atonement.". Sin cannot go unpunished; on the cross Jesus paid the price for our sins, and if we, by faith, place our trust in what Jesus did on the cross, He will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Remember, John is writing to assure us that we have an advocate with the Father, who is Jesus. Because Jesus was perfect and without sin, He was an acceptable sacrifice for our sins and His sacrifice was sufficient to pay the price, not only for our sins, but for the sins of the whole world.
This is a most interesting passage because it says that Christ died for the sins of the whole world. This is not a message of universalism (which says that everyone will be saved)..., which is not consistent with the rest of scripture.
John 3:17-18 says: "For God did not send the Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned; but anyone who does not believe has been condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the One and only Son of God."
2.Jesus works to make us right with one another -- He relates to us for faithfulness and obedience. (v3,4)
Verse three can be translated like this, "By this are we knowing that we have come to know Him."
Classical Greek used two words which are translated into the English word "know." One word, "oida" speaks of knowledge which was gained by abstract learning. The other word, "ginosko" speaks of knowledge attained through personal experience.
In both instances here in verse 3, the word used is "ginosko," knowledge gained through personal experience. But there is a difference in how the words are used.
In the first instance the verb is in the present tense, which speaks to ongoing action. Thus, we are continuing to know, or we are knowing. What are we knowing? That we know Him. This second usage of the word is in the perfect tense which speaks of completed action.
This is of extreme importance. Don't miss what is being said here, "By this are we knowing that we have (completed action) come to know Him." This speaks to the certainty and finality of our salvation experience. We have come to know Him, it is a completed action. It's not going to be undone or redone, it is already done.
So, says John, there is something that shows us or demonstrates for us the reality that we have come to know Him. What is it?
One thing and one thing alone measures our faithfulness: Obedience.
The word translated, "keep," simply means to observe, or in this case, to obey.
How hard is this: If we say we have come to know Him but do not keep His commandments, we are liars and the truth is not in us.
Again, not everyone who says Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he that does the will of the Father.
There were those then, as there are those today, who claimed to be Christians. Loudly and boldly they professed to be Christians; but there was an inconsistency, a discrepancy or a contradiction between what they said and the way they lived.
Listen folks, Jesus said it clearly, by their fruits you shall know them. Simply claiming to be a Christian won't cut it. The measure of our faithfulness is obedience. If we are truly part of the faithful, if we are truly part of the family, if we are truly in fellowship with God, it will be evident in the lives we live. We will walk in obedience to Christ.
What I love about 1st John is that you don't have to be a biblical scholar to get what it is saying. It's so very simple. If you love Jesus you will keep His commandments. If you say you love Him but don't keep His commandments, you are a liar and the truth is not in you.
But, in contrast to the hypocrite who professes one thing and practices another, John goes on to tell us what our lives will look like if we keep the commandments of our Lord.
3.Jesus works for our maturity – He loves us to grow us. (v5,6)
There are always those who claim to have spiritual maturity, but do not. There will always be those who pretend to be grown up in Christ, but are not. So John says, here are two clear evidences of a mature Christian life.
Two evidences of maturity in our walk with God :
A. Completion of His love
Mature love manifests itself in obedience.
The context of this passage suggests that John is talking about the love we have for God. No doubt John recalled what he recorded Jesus saying in his gospel.
In John 14:15 Jesus says, "If you love Me, you will keep my commandments."
And in John 14:23 Jesus says, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; My father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him."
What does it mean to love Jesus? I mean, do we love Him simply because He died to save us from our sins? Do we love Him simply because He is God? Or do we love Him because He first loved us and gave Himself for us? Do we love Him for who He is or because of what He has done?
The Greek employs the word "agape" here, which speaks of a selfless, others oriented kind of love. What this text is saying is that the person who loves Jesus like they should is no longer living for themselves, they have abandoned themselves, and they are living for Him and for Him alone.
How can we say that we love Him if we are not allowing Him to live His life through us? How can we claim to love Him with our lips if we demonstrate that we do not love Him with our lives?
Thus John says that if we really know Him, His love has been perfected in us. That is to say, it is lacking nothing, it has come full circle, accomplishing all it intended to accomplish and has changed us to the point that our lives are different than they were before.
And that's what He speaks about in verse 6…
B. Conduct of our life
This is how we know Him. The one who says he remains in Him should walk just as He walked. 1 John 2:6
That is to say, we will live the way He lived, we will bear the mark of Christ in our lives to the degree that others will see our Savior in us. To "Abide in Him" is another way of saying that we have exchanged our life for His, that we have died to self and that He is living His life through us. If that is the case, then our lives will look like His life.
You see, to be like Jesus means that you'll have to take up your cross and follow Him... It means you'll have to deny yourself and do the will of the Father, regardless of the personal price. It means you'll have to say, not my will but thy will Lord. Being like Jesus means you'll have to love your enemies, to forgive those who trespass against you, to return kindness for evil and to pray for those who spitefully use you.
Many people want the glory of heaven but not the burden of obedience here on earth. They want the benefit of what Jesus did without the burden of living like He lived.
John makes it very clear. This is the way that you know that you know Him, if you love Him enough that your life has been changed so that you walk like He walked.