"My little children, these things write I
unto you, that ye sin not.
And if any man sin,, we have an advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for
our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him,
if we keep his commandments.
He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments,
is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love
of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also
so to walk, even as he walked. Brethren, I write no new commandment unto
you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which
ye have heard from the beginning.
Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing
is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and
the true light now shineth. He that saith he is in the light, and
hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in
the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness,
and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth,
because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.
I write to you, little children, because your sins
are forgiven you for his name's sake.
I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him
that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye
have overcome the wicked one.
I write unto you, little children, because ye have
known the Father. I have written unto you, fathers, because
ye have known him that
is from the beginning.
I have written unto you, young men, because ye are
strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome
the wicked one. Love not the world, neither the things
that are in the
world. If any man love the world, the love of
the Father is not in him.
For all that is
in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes,
and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the
world. And the
world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth
the will of God abideth forever."
Keeping the Commandments
kind of finished with these last verses in chapter 1.
"If we say that we have no sin"-that's
singular, as a nature, is we say that we don't have that trait
or that dwells within.
You know, any one of us in the proper circumstances
could do anything that we think someone else looks horrible
doing. Ah, we're
human. We get
pushed into a circumstance, we might do something in anger,
we may do something out of hurt feelings, may do something.that
tendency is there in each of us. John's a 90 year-old apostle, the last
living witness to the ministry of Christ alive, the last eye-witness. And he's saying "If we" including himself "say we have not sin, we deceive ourselves
and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins,"-plural, our failings-"he is faithful and just to forgive us our
sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make
him a liar, and his word is not in us." (1 John 1:8-10)-the
One who died on the cross, we make him a liar.
Why, if good people go to heaven and bad people go
to hell, then Jesus died for nothing. "If we say we have not sinned, we make
him a liar, and his word is not in us."
Now, the mistake then that some were going to make
is, 'Well, if all of us have that sinful nature still there,
and if dealing with sin is easy as confessing and we're forgiven,
there's really no pressure. I can live fast and loose and, you know,
I'm in God's grace and that's the only way we get to heaven
anyhow, so I can do whatever I want.'
Well, John gives the second reason he wrote the letter.
He told us in the first chapter he wrote these thing
to us that our joy might be full, and he says that joy is
experienced by walking with Christ in the light, the fellowship
we have with the Lord should produce joy in our hearts, that
we don't have some empty religious form. We don't know a religion, we know a person.
And he says, we have joy.
Now the problem is, our course, "If
we walk in the light as he is in the light, then the blood
of Christ continually cleanses us"-in our failings-"If
we say we don't have sin, we deceive ourselves."
"If we confess our sins, he's faithful and just to
forgive us.If we say we haven't sinned, we make him a liar
and the truth is not in us." 'Now, just so then the church
doesn't go to the..then we can do whatever we want. You know, it's a fast and easy conclusion
here, we're all sinners then, and we just live however we
want and ask Christ to forgive us and everything's taken care
of.' [For those who fall into that misunderstanding]
He says now, "My little
children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not." In other words, 'I'm not writing unto
you so you can live fast and loose, the reason I'm writing
you is so that you don't sin, we don't have to live in sin.' Paul says this in Romans chapter 6, "What
shall we say then? Shall
we continue in sin that grace may about?"
He's making the same point.
[He had said just before that] "Where sin abounds,
grace more abounds."
[His answer to that is] Then he says, 'Well then what
shall we do, shall we live in sin so that God's grace shall
abound?' He says,
"God forbid, how shall we that are dead to sin live any longer
therein?" He says, that's not my point at all.
And then he tells us not to let sin reign in our mortal
bodies, because since we've been born again and God's Spirit
has moved into our hearts, the power of sin has been broken
in our lives, it doesn't rule over us anymore.
The tendency is still there, we can still fail, we
can still make mistakes, we can still sin.
But the truth is,
if I sin now it isn't because I have to, it's because
I want to [James 1:13-15 describes this].
It isn't because I have to act a certain way when someone
provokes me, it's because I just want to blow off my steam,
it isn't because I have to, it's because that tendency is
still there, and because I'm still maturing, I still fail. [If you're reading this before you have
read Romans chapters 6-8, you may wish to read through that
section first to understand this essential spiritual point.
Log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/romans/Romans6-1-5page1.htm
.] I don't want
you all to leave the church now, but I figure you all fail
too, so I keep coming. [laughter] He says "My little children", now no doubt, he's
thinking back to John, his own gospel, when he at the last
supper tells us that Jesus said "Little children, yet a little
while I am with you. You shall seek me, and as I said unto
the Jews, wither I go you cannot come, so now I say to you." Then he says "A new commandment I give
unto you, that you love one another.
As I have loved you, so also that you love one another
and by this shall all men know that you are my disciples by
the love you have for one another."
And he tells us there at that last supper, as we're
there, John was leaning on his breast, Jesus looked at these
guys and said "Little children", it's technia, techna, born-ones, those who
have experienced a new birth is the idea.
That includes all Christians, however mature we are,
we're all born-ones.
And here's Jesus, you know, Peter, burly, old, tradition
says he was huge, had big hands, white hair, white beard.
He was much older than John, and here's Jesus looking
at Peter and saying "Little children." And so much was John impressed with it,
that's the only time in the gospel that we find it because
he's recounting what happened at the last supper.
But in this short epistle he uses is at least seven
times. "Little children" now he says "I'm writing these things unto you that you
sin not." 'That's
my purpose, I don't want you to take these ideas that we've
spoken of and be abusive with them or take them for granted. I don't want you to sin.' "And if any man sin"-when we do fail-"we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus
Christ the righteous." (verse 1)
So he says 'I'm writing unto you that you don't
sin. So, there can be an error [in how we interpret
this] on either side of this.
Coming into it we can take for granted the grace of
God.or now if he's saying I'm writing unto you that you sin
not' there are going to be those who tend to the legalistic
side and say 'we got to be perfect.' No, he's saying, he's writing because
he wants maturity in our lives.
He doesn't want us to live in sin.
There should be a difference in the way we are now
and the way we were before we knew Christ, because we're telling
the world out there about God's love, that Jesus Christ can
change their life and set them free from drugs, from hatred,
from the things that are in this world. Not religion, but the living Christ can
come and move into their lives and take up residence in their
heart and cleanse them from their sin and set them free, give
them a new beginning. So there should be a difference in the
way we live. It
says "Let them who name the name of Christ depart from iniquity." So he's saying 'I'm writing unto you that
you don't just continue in sin as a lifestyle.' Now he says "if any man does sin, we have an advocate
with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." We have an advocate, it's taken from parocletos where Jesus said the Holy Spirit
would come, the Comforter, one who comes alongside to help. But the structure of it here is often
used of someone who would be your defense attorney in a court
in that day. We have an advocate. We have someone who takes our side. We have someone who comes alongside of
us when we do make mistakes and appeals to the Judge on our
behalf. Because he knows Satan is going to condemn
us. Satan always
when we make a mistake [break one of God's laws, i.e. "sin
is the transgression of the law" 1 John 3:4] we feel terrible
about it. You
know, I do certain things now, and you know it's not the same
as before you were saved.
You're thinking 'Oh man, Lord.'
You know, I lose my temper, I do something I never
do, I do something like that, you know, I'm on my knees saying
'Father, I am such a jerk, there's so much in me that's not
like Christ yet, there's so many un-Christ-like tendencies
in me that are still so self-centered and easily provoked
produce the fruit of your Spirit in my life. I'm so thankful you're going to continue
the good work you've begun in me.'
And I'm not condemned in those things, I feel bad because
I feel like I break my Father's heart sometimes.
But I'm not condemned, because I know I have an advocate
with the Father. As
Paul says in Romans "If God be for us, who can be against
at the same time, Satan's accusing. Revelation tells us he accuses us before the throne
of God day and night without ceasing.
'You call yourself a pastor!?'
And he's right there lettin' me have it. 'You call yourself a Christian!?-and you
don't live by it, da, da, da'.
And he presents his case.
But the great thing is, my defense attorney, you know,
Satan accuses me before the Judge, Almighty God, but then
Christ is our Advocate. And he walks up to the bench, and he looks
into the face of the Judge, he says 'Dad'-I love that-'and
everything the devil says is right, he is a jerk, and he does
make mistakes, BUT he's blood bought, paid in full.'
And the gavel comes down, and the case is thrown out. Clemency. It's a great thing. We have an advocate. And you know it tells us we have an advocate
here on earth, the Holy Spirit, that wonderfully works in
our hearts, because we don't know how to pray as we ought,
so the Spirit of God 'prays within us with groanings that
are too deep to be uttered.' It's wonderful that God's working in our
lives here. And
then it says, 'At the right hand of the Father Christ is there,
where he ever makes intercession for the saints.'
So, we have an advocate in heaven, One who comes alongside
to help here, that's what Jesus told us the Holy Spirit would
do. And we have
one in heaven who's our Advocate, in our failings, he's our
Advocate because the price has been paid.
And he says that here, and he makes a greater point
about it. He says "And he is the propitiation for our sins:
and not for ours only, but also for the
sins of the whole world." (verse 2) Now John uses this word, and he's the
only one who uses it in this form.
He uses it again in chapter 4 where he said "Herein
is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent
his Son to be the propitiation for our sins."
It's interesting, I have a book that's called "The
Apostolic Preaching of the Cross".
And it kind of goes into what the church has believed
from its foundation. And it covers words like sacrifice, covenant, propitiation, atonement, justification,
and the truths that were the seed-bed of the early church.
You read Peter's sermon in the 2nd chapter
of Acts, and the God of the Old Testament was a God who loved
his people, but he was a God who gave a Law, a divine Law. And when that Law was broken, there had
to be, in context with breaking the Law of a Holy God, judgment
and justice meted out.
If he didn't do that, he wasn't who he said he was.
He's completely Holy.
So the sacrificial system is given wherein an innocent
substitute then was offered in our place.
If we sinned, we would bring a sin offering to the
priest and the priest would examine the lamb, and then sacrifice
it and then burn it on the altar. You remember when Elijah stood on Mount
Carmel, and he repaired the altar of the Lord, and he said
"Oh Lord, let your people know I'm doing all of this at your
command, and that you are the one who'-and it's in the present
tense-'who is turning their hearts back to yourself.'
And when he said that the fire of God fell upon the
sacrifice and consumed it and the rocks, the water and everything,
the wood, the stone.
And Christ is our Advocate, and Christ is faithful
and just to forgive us because he is also the propitiation
for our sins, not ours only, but the sins of the whole world.
The propitiatory sacrifice, Paul uses I think the term,
it's a longer form of the term, that means Mercy Seat in Romans
chapter 3. It
isn't just the idea of expiating, of paying the price, there's
something else involved in the word, and it's 'the satisfying
of God's wrath.' There
is a sentence that has to be paid.
Paul tells us in 1st Thessalonians that
Christ has 'delivered us from the wrath to come.'
He tells us the same thing in Romans chapter 5, he
says "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we
shall be saved from wrath through him."
In other words, when the sacrifice was offered, he
was burned in the fire, it wasn't just that he was sacrificed
and left there to bleed to death, the fire was an integral
part of the process. When Christ died on the cross, he didn't
die of natural death or die of old age, he died eternally
somehow, he died in a great mystery, and there on the cross
the sin of the world came upon him. It says that. God laid upon him the iniquity of us all,
and it says 'It please the Father to bruise him', the word
means 'to crush him'.
Something happened that's unimaginable.
And the justice of God was meted out there, not in
anger, God takes no please in the death of the wicked, and
those that are lost will suffer the wrath of God, and he won't
do that with human selfish vindictive anger, but with pure
holy just anger that has to be meted out.
He upholds just weights and balances all through the
Scripture. And the remarkable thing is that is that
Christ, the reason he can be the just and the justifier of
the ungodly is because our sentence was meted out on Christ
on the cross. And the sin of our life, which includes
all of our sins, our sinful lives, there in some great mystery
came under the wrath of God so that Christ has saved us from
the wrath to come. Hell is a picture of God's wrath. [And the various parts of the body of
Christ are not in agreement on the subject of what hell
is. See http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm.] Those who refuse the forgiveness
of God end up there and God in the final analysis is just
in doing that. So he's just in forgiving us because Christ
was not only the sin-bearer, he was the wrath-bearer. In some way it's hard for us to understand.
I admit that. But what it's saying here is, 'Little
children, I'm writing unto you that you're not just supposed
to live in sin, you have to understand the stakes and what's
been accomplished. But if anyone sins we do have an advocate
with the Father, we have a defense attorney there, and not
only that, he's not only our counsel, our defense, but he
is the very satisfaction of the wrath of God.
He can be our advocate because not only is he the High
Priest, he's also the sacrifice. He
When you make a mistake and you sin, you see what we
tend to think is, 'Oh, now I gotta behave, if I wanta get
another star on the refrigerator I can't cuss this week and
I can't do this, this week.
And if I'm really good, by the end of the week, God
will love me again.' No, that's an impossibility. Because the price that was paid for our
sin is unimaginable, and it's beyond anything we could ever
produce on our own.
And when Christ died on the cross, he said "It is finished"
(John 19:20) teleo [Strongs 5055] paid in full. Somehow in those three hours of darkness
he died eternally, and took all of the wrath of God for all
of our sin-so that now he can be our advocate, he can rebuke
the devil, and God the Father is completely faithful and just
in forgiving us. Because all of that sin has come under
the just sentence of God in Christ.
And it need not be paid for twice.
So, not only that, he's the propitiation for our sins,
and he's saying, not our sins only, but the sins of the entire world. The sufficiency of the payment that he
made is sufficient for anyone, anyone.
And it doesn't matter what they've done. Remember, Paul, Saul murdered Christians,
Saul of Tarsus. He
caused Christians to blaspheme the name of Jesus at the point
of a sword, he did things that none of us would do.
And God forgave him and turned him into Paul the apostle,
the apostle of grace.
And he had that great message, and he talked openly
about the wrath of God, and how that it was satisfied in Christ
and that Christ saved us from the wrath to come. So he says, 'Not only is he our advocate,
but he is the propitiation, he himself is the propitiation
for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins
of the whole world. So, rejecting Jesus Christ [Yeshua haMeshiach
for our Jewish brothers] is rejecting your opportunity to
pass into eternity in heaven.
You have to understand that.
There's only one sin that sends people to hell.
Because I'm going to heaven, and I got lots of sin
[even though we live a life of overcoming sin, and as we grow
older we become more and more sinless, as Pastor Joe brings
out, my experience and his is this, that we come to see more
and more sin within ourselves, as we live in this world and
come to understand God more and more, just to put his statement
in context with spiritual reality.]
So do you. Don't look at me like you don't understand
what I'm talking about.
only unpardonable sin is rejecting Jesus Christ as your savior. Every other sin is forgivable as far as
God is concerned, every other sin.
The one unpardonable sin.Satan tries to convince people
'Oh I've committed the unpardonable sin.'
No you haven't.
If you're worried about it, you haven't done it.
Because the one sin that is absolutely unforgivable
is to pass into eternity not having accepted the forgiveness
of Christ. That's the unpardonable sin. Every other sin is pardonable because
when Christ died, the sufficiency of that was not only for
our sins but for the sins of the whole world.
And therein the Father takes no pleasure in the death
of the unrighteous, he's made it possible for all to come.
Verse 3 says,
"And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments." Now it's from the word "to know, experientially".
John says "Hereby do we know", you say 'Well, how do
I know I know?' Well he says, "Hereby do we know experientially, that we know him experientially.' And that's what we want. Nobody wants to play phony church games
or phony religious games.
This is how we know experientially in our own lives
that we know him experientially, if we keep, as in the tense
of we're constantly keeping his commandments. We keep the things he says to us. Well he said "A new commandment I give
unto you, that you love one another as I have loved you." And John, no doubt harking back to his
gospel, where Jesus says, "If a man love me, he will keep
my words, and my Father will love him, and we will come and
make our abode with him. He says "He that hath my commandments
and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me." [Now I have to interject here that all
those on the more Torah observant side of the body of Christ
feel John is talking about the 10 Commandments, or at least
the Law of Christ, which is 9 of the 10 commandments, which
are re-commanded throughout the New Testament in the epistles.
It is a fact that the last five commandments are summed
up in the law the lawyer quoted to Jesus "love thy neighbor
as thyself." A
slight modification of that law is Jesus and John's "new commandment"
"Love one another."
The whole OT law of God, and the whole "law of Christ"
in the NT are summed up in "Love God with all of your heart,
mind and soul, and the second, which is like unto it, Love
thy neighbor as thyself."
The grace oriented churches and denominations like
to dance all around what appear to be clear statements about
how we should be keeping God's law, even where it clearly
states so, and end up stating so in the end, albeit in a round-about
way. John even states in 1 John 3:4 that "sin
is the transgression of the law", and the whole NT tells us
to come out of sin, which means by John's definition that
we're supposed to come out of "transgression of God's law".
Now this may sound too "legalistic" to some.
It all goes back to "law and grace" again. Man couldn't keep the law on his own,
as the whole of OT history shows, but we're commanded to keep
the law nonetheless.
So how do we do that?
That's the difference between the Old Covenant and
the New Covenant. But
the new covenant says God's going to write his laws in our
hearts and minds. We
find under the new covenant the ability, responsibility and
power to obey has been radically shifted from man to God.
We just have to be willing partners with God as he
does the writing.] "And he that loveth me shall be loved
of my Father, and I will love him and will manifest myself
to him." So he says it again here. 'This is how we know him experientially,
and we know that, if we are in the habit of keeping his commandments.' And I assume that all of you are. If you're here tonight and you're saved,
and somebody provokes you, and an interesting thing happens. Before you were a Christian, you'd just
lash out. You'd
just take somebody's head off.
But now, it comes sometimes, it gets as far as the
tongue-doesn't it? And then you're thinking, 'Oh, I'd like
to do it, but I'm not because I'm a Christian.' Or even if it gets out [past your tongue],
you're thinking 'Oh man, I can't believe I said that, Oh Lord,
please don't ever give up on me, I'm just so slow to learn.' You know, there's this whole world of
conviction that we live in because we are now constantly in
the process of keeping his commandments, that's how we live,
we want to do those things, that are right before him.
He says, "He that saith," in verse 4, and it's
the person who's constantly saying 'Hey, I know him, I know
Christ.' "and keepeth not his commandments is a liar,
and the truth is not in him."
just speaking to us about obedience.
[and by obedience, in context with the whole letter,
and 1 John 3:4, it's obedience to God's law that is being
talked about here, plain and simple. Whether the believer's Christian conscience
leads one to follow the OT Ten Commandment version of God's
law (as the Torah observant side of the body of Christ believes
it should) or the NT Law of Christ version-minus the Sabbath
Command. In Matthew 5:17-48, Jesus said the law,
in all its forms, would not pass away until heaven and earth
pass-that's in Revelation 21:1 and the New Jerusalem's coming
down-and then he went on to command his followers, Messianic
Jewish and Gentile Christians, to adhere to the spirit-level
of the Ten Commandments, and gave examples from verses 20-48
of Matthew 5 of what that means.
It is the penalty of God's law which Paul in Romans
6 said was done away with for believers, not the law itself.
This penalty of God's law was done away with so believers
could enter into the lifelong
process of having God "write his laws upon their heart
and in their minds". We are supposed to be willing participants
in that process, and not thinking the Law of God, in either
form, is done away with, or evil, or any such thing. God's law is a law of love and outgoing
concern for others, and is the embodiment of the mind of Christ. It is that very law, the embodiment of
the wording of the new covenant (Jer. 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:6-13),
which the Lord seeks to write upon our very hearts and into
our very minds.] If Christ is our Lord, then our life is
characterized by obedience.
We obey him.
Look, there's three reasons for obedience.
One is, because you have to, one is because you need
to, and one is because you want to. Some people do what they do because they
have to (or they know they'll get locked up if they don't,
or they know they'll go to jail).
They stop at a red light because they know there's
a police officer sitting there, and they know that if they
don't stop at the red light.they stop at the red light because
they have to. Some
people do the things they do because they need to.
Like an employee.
A slave does what he does what he does because he has
to, an employee does what he does because he needs to.
If he doesn't do it, he doesn't get the check, the
whole process. But
someone who's in your family, someone who loves you, will
do the things they do because they want to.
Now, granted, in a family there's a process. When you have a little kid, they do what
they do because they have to.
And they should.
Because if they don't they get spanked.
So they do what they do because they have to.
And that's good for them.
They get a little older, and you start talking about
something like allowance, then they do what they do because
they need to (because I want to get this new pair of sneakers,
and of course these days that's about fifty years worth of
But you hope, with your own kids, as they become adults,
that they really start to do the things they do because they
want to. They
really start to look at you and realize all of the years you've
cared for them, and they really start to realize you're getting
older, they actually take out the trash because they want
to. Then they've
crossed an invisible indefinable line. When that trash-can goes out because they
want to, and not because they need to, when they clean that
room [laughter] not because they need to, you know there's
like these invisible lines that are crossed.
And he's saying that here, obedience is that way.
He doesn't want us obeying him because "we have to"
or because "we need to", but to obey Christ because we love
Christ, because we walk with Christ-because we believe that
if we do the things he tells us, it's better for us, it's
better for him. [cf.
Psalm 119:19-20, 23-24,30-36,39-40,45-48,59-60.
David was truly living under to terms of the new covenant
in Old Testament times (as were all of God's holy servants,
the Prophets). God was writing his laws within David's
very being (and the OT version at that), and look at what
David wrote about God's laws.
God's laws are the "family rules", the "rules of the
house for the family of God". The Jews revere David, and they revere
God's law, even though under the Old Covenant they were never
able to observe God's laws.
David, by the end of his life, was observing all of
God's laws, they'd been written into his very heart and mind,
the core of his being.
He was "taking out the trash and picking up his room"
because he wanted to, in and through the power of the indwelling
Holy Spirit.] The hard part about it is, it's somebody
else's will. The
reason that people fight in marriages is because you're dealing
with somebody else's will. The reason you have to spank a child is
because you're dealing with somebody else's will. And that lesson is important in all of
our lives, from the time we're little, because ultimately
for Christ to be our Lord, not just our Savior-you know, some
people turn to Christ because they have to, 'I don't want
to go to hell, OK, I'll turn to Christ.' 'All right, Lord, I'll do it your way,
because it'll get me out of this mess.'
But there is that growth with Christ where we do those
things because we love Christ.
[Read those Psalms I listed, read all of Psalm 119.
That was the heart of David, he obeyed because he loved
Yahweh, the very one who became Christ.
You sense a deep awe and respect for the things of
God, the laws of God, in David because of his deep love for
God.] And he's
the Lord of our life.
And we realize his will is more important than mine. That's a hard line to cross, taking the
trash out because we want to and not because we have to. We finally realize, 'Lord, you're wiser
than me. I don't
know how this is going to work out, but I see in your Word
you're commanding me to do this, to behave this certain way,
and that's not my will, that's your will. And that's really a struggle for me, Lord.
But I don't want to be a phony, and I know that you've
been poking at my heart all day, so alright. I love you Lord, you went to the cross,
you took the wrath for me.'
"But whoso keepeth his word"-down in
verse 5-"in him verily
is the love of God perfected"-"being brought
to maturity", it's in the tense
of, you see someone who's walking in the Word, seeking
God so they can live according to his Word, that the love
of God is coming to maturity in the life of that person-"hereby know we that we are in him." He says, here's how we know, verse 6, "He that he abideth in him ought
himself also so to walk, even as he walked." Now remember, John was there and told
us Jesus said "I am the vine, you're the branches. He that abideth in me." And he picks up that word, he knows how
important it is, to abide in Christ.
He says, "He
that abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as
he walked." How are we conformed into the image
of Christ? By
a "How To" book? By this many exercises? The Scripture tells us it's by "abiding
in him". If we
abide in him, we bring forth fruit.
If we don't, there's nothing we can do.
John understood, as a young man, fifteen, sixteen years
old when he listened to Christ when he was saying this.
Do you abide in Christ?
And what's abiding like?
You know, when I moved to the west coast in 1976, it
was interesting because it was a whole new group of people
out there. The
people I'd grown up with, my friends, were back here. The guys I had traveled with, we'd played
Rock & Roll all over the country, and ah, when you live
with somebody like that, you find out who hangs up the washcloth
after they take a shower and who just throws it in the corner
and doesn't care if it grows mould. You find out who wants the toilet paper
coming off the front of the roll and who wants the toilet
paper coming off the back of the roll, you find out who keeps
ketchup in the refrigerator and who thinks it survives fine
out on the counter. You know, there's just all these idiosyncrasies,
you're in there. And it was funny, because then when some
of the folks I had been involved in this ministry came back
and met some of the people I had traveled with, they see a
lot of them in you. Now that we saw them and met them and
we see a lot of similarities.
And that's because who we hang out with you become
a lot like. [Proverbs says that, "hang out with a
fool, become a fool; hang out with a wise man, become a wise
man." Often when you view a couple who've been
married for a long time, you often see that couple is a lot
alike if the marriage has bonded properly.
They often move, speak, think as one.]
And if you abide in Christ, it's not something you
can rush, it's not something you can huff and puff, and blow
the house down. OK? If you see an apple or you see a grape
hanging on the vine, it's not straining to get ripe, is it? A servant of the Lord shouldn't strive.
That grape's not going GRRRRR! I'm gonna get ripe! That's what Jesus is talking about,
the life comes from the vine itself.
I just hope it registers there.
It's by hanging out in Jesus, it's abiding in him that
we become like him, that we walk as he walked.
Don't tell me "I was coming home, and the Lord led
me to come into the bar."
I'm sorry, I don't believe that.
"I was coming home from work in traffic and the Lord
led me to do this or." You know, if we abide in him, then we
ought ourselves to walk even as he walked.
We're not saved by that, no one's saved by trying to
be like Jesus, we're saved by grace, through faith.
But there's Christian growth then.
What does it mean to walk?
Take your Webster's dictionary and look.
It says "it means to make progress by putting one foot
in front of the other." It's a process. And so is our walk. Or maybe you're here
tonight, again, you don't know Christ.
That walk begins with the first step. Maybe some of you tonight will make that
first step. Not
in Calvary Chapel, God forbid.
Not in religion, not in church, but in Jesus.
In Jesus, the one who lived and died for us, and rose
again. And he says here, "But whoso keepeth his word"-one who
constantly guards it and lives in it-"in
him truly is the love of God coming to maturity: and hereby
know we that we are in him.
He that sayeth he abideth in him ought himself also
so to walk, even as he walked." (verses 5-6) And it's not in keeping with my selfish
nature, with my will.
One of the first words a baby learns to say is "Mine!",
"Mine!". They're born that way. I know they're cute, but it says we're
born that way, sinners from the womb.
[And this all due to the fact that even babies, with
the spirit in man that gives them their intelligence and intellect
is subject to Satan's evil wavelength, broadcast of evil attitudes
all around the earth.] It's a good thing they're cute, or we
wouldn't keep them around.
Because if they were ugly and acted like that, they'd
be in trouble. [laughter] They're cute, babies, but they have that
nature. "Mine!" Well, we do that as adults too. We have it. And it's hard to relinquish our will to
his will, to walk as he walked.
You know, Paul says, "let this mind be in you." Let it, he asks you to be part of the
this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus, who being
in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with
God.but took upon himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man,
and he humbled himself."and so forth.
Let this mind be in you.
What rights do you really have?
If Christ is your Lord, we set aside our rights, and
we walk even as he walked.