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Propitiation and A Great Promise (1 John 2:1-2)

1 John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Discover how you can press on in righteousness even when you feel like you can never do right and you are beaten up and burdened. Let this theological concept of propitiation come alive and encourage you like never before!

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Intro

Do you ever feel like you’re not good enough? You feel burdened, beaten up over failure or perceived failure—you can just never do anything right!!??
I want you to know that you are in good company, and that you will find your greatest hope in remembering what Jesus Christ has done for you.
You’re in good company because John is continuing his letter to “my little children...” Do you see the tone with which he writes? This is a tone of love and compassion. Look at how he views them.
Then he tells them he is writing “these things” for this the purpose that they might not sin. These things he has been teaching are genuine fellowship with God, what walking in the light is, revealing the condition and behavior of sin that plagues every person. He wants them to know all of this so that they might not sin.
But if anyone does sin… Here is a recognition of the spiritual warfare which with every person struggles. This is the reality. There might have been those who were hearing this letter who were in sin and feeling the guilt of their sin, they were wrestling with accepting the promise of God’s forgiveness that John just wrote about and now they are at that point where they are wondering if they are ever going to be able to live up to this calling in Christ.
Maybe you feel the same way.
What John reveals about Jesus’ ongoing work for you even right now at this moment should be the most encouraging work you’ll ever hear about. It will remind you that your faith in Christ is an ongoing relationship where He is faithfully completing that good work in you. God is active in your life daily even if you’re not thinking much about it.
Today I want to talk about propitiation, a word we probably don’t use much but is a robust theological word. And I want to talk about this great promise: Jesus Christ is your advocate!
An advocate is “a person who speaks or writes in support or defense of a person, cause, etc.” (dictionary.com). We have advocates for many things in life: health advocates, disabilities advocates, legal advocates. But little children, if anyone does sin, “we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
I want to tell you two facts this morning: why we need an advocate, and why Jesus can be our advocate.

WHY WE NEED AN ADVOCATE

At the end of verse 1, the advocate is named and ranked, so to speak. It is Jesus Christ the righteous, and He is with the Father.
He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” (, ESV)
But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.”” (, ESV)
(ESV)
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (, ESV)
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We know that Jesus Christ ascended back to heaven and is now at the right hand of the Father.
At the same time, tells us that Satan is the accuser of the brother. He is constantly coming against Christians. He is accusing us before God the father by holding our sins against us.
At the same time, tells us that Satan is the accuser of the brethren. He is constantly coming against Christians. He is accusing us before God the father by holding our sins against us.
Satan is unrolling his endless scroll of charges against us.  Maybe he’s talking about you right now.  Maybe he’s talking about me.  He’s reminding God of our past sins.  He’s highlighting our present sins. 
He’s questioning our motives.  He’s suggesting and speculating and slandering and accusing. 
He’s saying smooth, believable things like, “Does Job fear God for no reason?  Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side?  You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.  But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face” ().
We cannot defend ourselves.  Mainly because Satan is right — we have broken God’s law excessively and we deserve severe punishment.  And because even though there are some areas where Satan’s accusations are false (like he falsely accused Job of having selfish motives), we aren’t there to defend ourselves.
This is why we feel so beaten up, this constant warfare. This feeling that we are never enough. Because Satan is accusing us still of our sin, trying to hold it over us and paralyze us from being effective in the work of God.
Satan is unrolling his endless scroll of charges against us.  Maybe he’s talking about you right now.  Maybe he’s talking about me.  He’s reminding God of our past sins.  He’s highlighting our present sins.  He’s questioning our motives.  He’s suggesting and speculating and slandering and accusing.  He’s saying smooth, believable things like, “Does Job fear God for no reason?  Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side?  You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.  But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face” ().
And we aren't there to defend ourselves, but even if we were, we have nothing to stand on without our Advocate. This is why we need an advocate. Because we are constantly being accused by Satan and we need someone who is worthy enough to stand before God in our defense.
The Greek word for advocate is παράκλητος paráklētos (par-A-clate-ose), which you might recognize if you're familiar with the older language of the King James version. It's a form of the word Paraclete, which is used in by Jesus referring to the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that he would send another helper, and that word "another" means one of equal quality. The Holy Spirit is designated as equal with Jesus.
παράκλητος paráklētos (par-A-clate-ose), Which you might recognize if you're familiar with the older language of the King James version. It's A form of the word Paraclete, which is used in by Jesus referring to the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that he would send another helper, and that word "another" means one of equal quality. The Holy Spirit is designated as equal with Jesus.
The Holy Spirit is our comforter. And that's what advocate means here in first John chapter 2. It means to comfort, encourage, or exhort. This is what Jesus Christ is doing even through the accusations that might be coming against us from Satan. His work right now ought to be comforting to you.
So take comfort today--your advocate is Jesus Christ the righteous!
But we need to know what this theologically rich word means. Many of our English Bibles do not use the word propitiation because it is not often used in our language. You will see something like "atoning sacrifice", which is accurate. But there's another dimension to the meaning of the word propitiation.
It's the Greek word…
In being our high priest, Jesus was also able to fully satisfy the wrath of God. The Bible says that the wages of sin is death. We know that the wrath of God must be poured out on unrighteousness. God is righteous and he must do all things according to his character.
We cannot defend ourselves.  Mainly because Satan is right — we have broken God’s law excessively and we deserve severe punishment.  And because even though there are some areas where Satan’s accusations are false (like he falsely accused Job of having selfish motives), we aren’t there to defend ourselves.  Not that it would matter if we were present to give personal testimony.  For every defense we might give for ourselves, our mere presence would bring 10,000 more valid accusations.
Jesus didn't just step in our place, taking the wrath of God upon himself, but he also completely satisfied the wrath of God so there is no more wrath demanded to be poured out on us. He was the perfect sacrifice, but he didn't just die on the cross to get you out of a tough situation. He died on the cross and rose from the grave so that your life could forever be transformed. He died on the cross and rose from the grave so that you would never experience the wrath of God.
Only Jesus was able to take the weight of the sin of this world and bear the wrath of God on the cross. Only God could do that!
So when accused by Satan, we have Jesus, our advocate, who stands in our defense. Whatever Satan tries to bring up about you, it's almost as if Jesus stands there and says "my blood covered that."
says…
The work of Christ on the cross makes a permanent impact on your life now and an eternal impact when that day comes when you leave this world.
There may be days when you feel like there's nobody to fight for you. That everything is against you. Maybe that you have reached your lowest. This is no excuse or justification for your sin, because John is writing so that you would not sin.
But remember the great promise that Jesus Christ is your advocate, who is the propitiation for your sin.

WHY JESUS CAN BE OUR ADVOCATE

He is the propitiation

Jesus can be our advocate because verse two tells us that he is the propitiation for our sins. Propitiation is a word we don't use much anymore. In English, it means "to make favorably inclined; appease; conciliate."
Jesus can be our advocate because verse two tells us that he is the propitiation for our sins. Propitiation is a word we don't use much anymore. In English, it means "to make favorably inclined; appease; conciliate."
But we need to know what this theologically rich word means. Many of our English Bibles do not use the word propitiation because it is not often used in our language. You will see something like "atoning sacrifice", which is accurate. But there's another dimension to the meaning of the word propitiation.
It's the Greek word ἱλασμός hilasmós (heel-oz-mose). It is defined as “The benefit of Christ’s blood for the sinner in the acceptance by the Father. Hilasmós refers to Christ as the one who not only propitiates but offers Himself as the propitiatory sacrifice. He is both the sacrifice and the officiating High Priest (, ; ; ; ; ; , ). (Spiros Zodhiates, #2434. The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).)
(Spiros Zodhiates, #2434. The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).)
In being our high priest, Jesus was also able to fully satisfy the wrath of God, and render the believer as favorable to God.
Wrath is described as God’s anger (), as stored up (), and as great (). The believer’s deliverance from God’s wrath is through the atonement ():
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” (, ESV)
says, “For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,” (, ESV)
Jesus took the wrath of God upon himself. He stepped in our place to take the punishment we deserved, but he didn't just step in our place. In doing so, He also completely satisfied the wrath of God so there is no more wrath demanded to be poured out on us.
10,000 Sermon Illustrations He Must Punish Sin

Wrath is described as God’s anger (Num. 32:10–13), as stored up (Rom. 2:5–8), and as great (Zech. 7:12). The believer’s deliverance from God’s wrath is through the atonement (Rom. 5:8–10). “For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:9).

Jesus took the wrath of God upon himself. He stepped in our place to take the punishment we deserved, but he didn't just step in our place. In doing so, He also completely satisfied the wrath of God so there is no more wrath demanded to be poured out on us.
He was the perfect sacrifice, but he didn't just die on the cross to get you out of a tough situation.
He died on the cross and rose from the grave so that your life could forever be transformed.
He died on the cross and rose from the grave so that you would never experience the wrath of God.
Yet, the wrath of God is not a popular topic, and even some churches will shy away from it. Several years ago, the PCUSA denomination was developing a new hymnal, and a big ruffle came out when they rejected included the popular Getty hymn, In Christ Alone.
They were fine with all of the words of the song except this line in one of the verses:
“Till on that cross as Jesus died/the wrath of God was satisfied.”
For this they wanted to substitute: “Til on that cross as Jesus died/the love of God was magnified.”
They took issue with the wrath of God being satisfied on the cross.
Only Jesus was able to take the weight of the sin of this world and bear the wrath of God on the cross. Only God could do that! Remember that our advocate is named as “Jesus Christ the righteous.” He can speak to the Father on our behalf because He is the One who reconciles people to God.
So when accused by Satan, we have Jesus, our advocate, who stands in our defense. Whatever Satan tries to bring up about you, it's almost as if Jesus stands there and says "my blood covered that."
says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
The work of Christ on the cross makes a permanent impact on your life now and an eternal impact when that day comes when you leave this world.
There may be days when you feel like there's nobody to fight for you. That everything is against you. Maybe that you have reached your lowest. This is no excuse or justification for your sin, because John is writing so that you would not sin.
But remember the great promise that Jesus Christ is your advocate, who is the propitiation for your sin.
(Spiros Zodhiates, #2434. The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).)
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