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1 John 2:1-14 "A New-Old Commandment"

1 John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction

Recap last week’s message and how John can be broken up:
John can be broken up this way:
Prologue (1:1–4),
Two part message: 1:5–3:10 and 3:11–5:12. The opening statement of each part starts with similar wording:
Part 1, “This is the message … God is light” (1:5);
Part 2, “This is the message … love one another” (3:11).
An epilogue (5:13–21)."

We Have an Advocate!

The Propitiation for Our Sins

1 John 2:1–2 (ESV)
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
“My little children”
Who is John writing this letter to? A bunch of kids?
“Little children” comes from the Greek word “teknion” and it only appears 8 times in the NT
The first time it was used by Jesus in John 13:33 where He used the term toward His disciples
The rest are used by John here in this letter
Louw-Nida makes this observation: In this context, [it’s] not age, but the connotation of affection and endearment is in focus
This is different from the word down in verse 13 (“paidion”), which literally means - a child
So with that in mind, who is John writing to?
Believers. Us!
What is John’s purpose for writing here?
I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin
Does this mean that John expects his readers to never sin again?
“You may not sin” comes from a single Greek verb. The mood of the verb (subjunctive mood) indicates that John is hoping they may not sin
What happens if we do sin?
We have an advocate!
What is an advocate?
An advocate is someone who pleads another’s case. Much like an intercessor (someone who intercedes)
What kind of person does that sound like?
Like a lawyer
Sort of, but no. Lawyers defend you and try to prove your innocents, but when you lose, they still get paid
In this case, the person interceding for you and your debt is the same person who paid your debt
It comes from the Greek word “Parakletos” and the only other time it is used is to describe the Holy Spirit as “The Helper” who was sent by the Father after Jesus ascended (Jn 14:16, 26, 16:7)
This means that the question of our guilt was already established
We are guilty!
Verse 2 says: He is the propitiation for our sins
What does that mean?
“Propitiation” is a funny word. Merriam-Webster says it is the act of gaining or regaining the favor or goodwill of someone
It comes from the Greek word “hil-as-mos”. Interestingly, 1 John is the only place in the entire NT where this word is used
There is much debate among Greek scholars as to whether “propitiation” is the correct translation for “hil-as-mos”
In the OT Septuagint (the Greek translation of the OT), it is used to describe atonement:
The act of atoning for a crime; the act of making satisfaction for an offense, by which the guilt is done away, and the obligation of the offended person to punish the crime is canceled; atonement; satisfaction - from the def. of Expiation - Webster 1828 online
The NLT translates hilasmos this way: "sacrifice that atones".
Illustration:
You are in court and the lawyer, instead of trying to prove your innocents, pays the debt you owe instead and makes the case that you are now free and clear

Are We in Him?

1 John 2:3–6 (ESV)
And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.
What does John mean by this statement?
It is a test. It is a test to know if your experience with The Lord has led you to know Him in a personal way
There are two sides to this:
First - Whoever says “I know Him” but does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him
Can a person profess fellowship with God and be lying?
sure! How would they know?
They do not obey His commandments
But what if they obey all the rules on the outside? Is that proof?
As we may see, not necessarily
Second - but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected
Does this mean that if we obey all the rules that we become perfect?
That is not what that means
John said: “the love of God is perfected”
What does it mean to be perfected?
Perfect in this sense does not mean flawless
The word in Greek actually gives more of a sense of “completion”, or “brought to an end”
And, what is brought to completion here?
The Love of God in us
What does that mean?
Jesus told us in John 14:21-23 “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”
It means that we will know the FULLNESS God’s love in our life
John finished this by saying: By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
In other words, if we say we abide (or hang out with Jesus), we ought to walk the same way He did
So what are these commandments we are suppose to keep? What are these rules we are supposed to follow??
John is going to lay that out for us right now:

A New-Old Commandment

1 John 2:7 (ESV)
Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard.
Sooo, its an old commandment!
So is it something we should already know?
John said, we’ve heard it from beginning
1 John 2:8 (ESV)
At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.
At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you
Wait! What?! I thought this was an old commandment
Which is it?
because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining - seems to indicate that the commandment he is about to remind them of belongs to the new time of righteousness which has begun to dawn
We call this “The Church Age”
So what are these commandments we are suppose to keep?

The Commandment

1 John 2:9–11 (ESV)
Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever 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.
There is a whole lot packed into these three verses:
First, who is this brother we are supposed to love and not hate?
Fellow believers
Second, John is comparing and contrasting two types people. Who is being contrasted?
Those who hate their brother and those who love their brother
What is the word used most to describe our hating friend?
Darkness. If he claims to walk in the light, he’s wrong, he still stuck in darkness
What does this indicate to us?
Hating our brother or sister can be powerfully blinding to someone who desires to follow Christ
Next we have those who love their brother. What are we told about these guys?
He abides in the light - Tell me what that means:
The more you let go of grievances, the more you choose to respond in love to the unlovable, the more You will know God
...in him there is no cause for stumbling - How do we not stumble by choosing love our brother?
Hatred can be a HUGE stumbling block
It can occupy way too much headspace when we get caught up hating someone
Personally, I can start to obsess over everything I want to say to a person if I have to confront them
I call it “holding court in my own head”
You literally play out the entire argument in your head
What you assume they will say
How you will respond to what you are assume they are thinking and saying
It really disrupts peace, it causes anxiety and stress and it draws us away from The Lord
How can we know the Love of God if we are not willing to love the same way He loves? *open discussion
What do we do if we are caught up in hating a brother or sister?
Recognize it. Confess it to the Lord and Repent
Why does John call this the OLD/NEW Commandment?
Because it came directly from Jesus
John 13:34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
Also, it kind of fits with Matthew 22:37-39 “And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Children, Fathers and Young Men

1 John 2:12–14 (ESV)
I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.
I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, children, because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
So John states that he is writing to us (I am writing to you little children)
When ever you see a “because”, what does that tell you?
The writer is going to give us their reason for why
Who is John addressing in these verses?
Little children (teknion), Children (paidion), Fathers and Young men
Is he literally talking to these age groups?
He could be, however it is likely that he is addressing believers at various stages in their spiritual walk
How is each group addressed differently from the others?
Children – your sins are forgiven for His name sake
Fathers – you know Him who is from the beginning
Young men – you have overcome the evil one
Children – your sins are forgiven for His name sake
Young men – you have overcome the evil one
Fathers – you know Him who is from the beginning
What is the key point?
We can know Jesus more intimately when our sins are forgiven, we have overcome evil, and His word abides in us

Conclusion

Discussion Questions:
What does God want to make known about Himself to me in this passage?
What does this passage tell me about how God deals with me/us?
What is God asking of me in this passage?
How are you going to apply that?
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