We started our series entitled Radical Community - There word Radical is defined in the Dictionary as as something that sprouts from the root…For in Botany it means - “coming from the root or the stem of a plant.”
We talk about “grass roots” movements --- going back to the beginning of when something sprouted…
We have in history— Radical movements like the Civil Rights movement…We remember Martin Luther King Jr speech “I have dream” that inspired our nation… What from sprouted from his passion was message and a movement....
We have Radical movements such as the… Reformation —led by Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Huss, John Wycliffe… Luther saw corruption in the church and the problem of John Tansel.. selling indulgences…for the forgivesness of sins… Luther saw Romans 3 that righteousness is achieved through faith… the Just shall live by faith..
The Great Awakening - led by Jonathan Edwards, George Whitfield, Wesley.. caused wave of revival in this nation ---
Radical Movements begin when a powerful message or idea resonates with a group of people…and the idea spreads… and compounds and impact future generations.
The message of 1 John is a Radical message - it is a message that has resonated with one generation of Christians to the next… and here we stand 2000 years later and still talking about what John taught about - building a community that loves God and one another..
last Sunday and we began this series by talking Beautiful imperfection…True community begins with us coming to terms with our own imperfection…
If we don’t own our imperfections we will never be able do deal with each others imperfections.. In chapter 1 John laid out a foundation begining with God being light … God is the measure of perfection -
John tells us that God is light and in him is no darkness at all… In other words --- God is the great luminary in creation and anything next to God is going to be pail in comparison..
We live in a society that is obsessed with perfection and success… but Despite our near-phobic fear of failure, the facts suggest that Failure is actually a common, almost universal, experience:
Steven Bauman, in his book Break Open the Sky - gives us these Statistics
75 percent of venture-capital-backed start-ups fail, and 95 percent do not meet the initial expectations.
40 percent of CEOs don't last eighteen months.
70 to 90 percent of mergers and acquisitions fail to add shareholder value.
81 percent of new hires don't work out.
99 percent of new patents never earn a penny.
95 percent of new products introduced in a given year fail.
68 percent of information technology projects fail to meet their goals.
88 percent of New Year's resolutions end in failure.
100 percent of all human bodies fail.
It seems Alexander Pope the English poet was right when he said
“to err is human”… Alexander Pope
How do we handle Failure? There is this story of...
A man who had grown weary of the constant pressure to “keep up with the Joneses” decided to get away from it all, so he joined a mute monastery. It was a very demanding commitment.
Monks could only say two words every five years. For the first fifteen years, monks were on trial. If they were successful in meeting the requirements of the monastery during this fifteen-year trial period, then they could take final vows.
Perfect, the man thought. No phones to ring. No clients to call on. No credit cards to pay off. This is just what I need. So he joined and for the first five years didn’t say a word. At the end of that time, he was called into his superior’s office where he was told he could say two words.
“Bad food!” he complained.
“Thank you, I’ll make a note of your observation,” his superior said, rather stiffly.
The man went back to his duties and for another five years didn’t utter a word. At the end of that time, his superior asked him if he had anything he would like to say in two words.
The man replied, “Hard bed!”
For another five years he said not a word. His superior called him in and asked him if he had anything to say and if he were ready to take his final vows.
The man stood up and said, “I quit!”
His superior replied, “Well, I’m not surprised. You’ve done nothing but complain since you got here!”
We can’t just check out of life… because our imperfections follow us… rather than our failures making us feel inadequate (less than) --- Failure should drive us towards the knowing God.... Frank illustrated it in our mens group the other day… our righteousness is like carrying a flash light in comparison to the brilliance of the sun… 130 watt per square foot..
John tells us that the answer to failure is know I gotta Jesus— We not only need to know the Logos the eternal word… but as John says that we have been given the the “word (message) of life…
To know God, to abide in God and to have fellowship with God has always been the quest of the human spirit —
The African Theologian. St Augustine said that - “God had made us for himself and that our hearts were restless until they found their rest in him.”
T/S In Chapter 2 John gives us the Key to dealing with failure..
1 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. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
How do we deal with failure?
1.Know that his love greater than our ability to fail.
1.Know that his love greater than our ability to fail.
This Chapter begins with an affectionate tone “My children I am writing to you.” We get this sense that there is warm relationship that exists between John and the churches that are receiving this letter… Even though he is going to deal with failure… which is really a difficult subject to tackle… He does so with the motivation of parental love...
John desire that all us who read this letter might succeed in our walk with Christ.. We would find fellowship with Christ and the father… that we would find fellowship in community of faith.... and the outcome --- would be the best outcome and that is.....Complete joy.. In Chapter 2 John is going to deal with the issue of our failures.
John knows that our trespasses or our sins is the barrier that comes up between our relationship with God and with others...
1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin
John is not promoting a sinless life…there was only one person without sin...he is well aware of the reality of sin…But like a loving parent he pointing us in the right direction.
This verse reminded me of a toddler taking their first steps… You have one parent on the one side of the room holding the child ..and the other parent affectionately calling over their child… The one parent points the child in the right direction and say goto your mommy… As a parent you want them succeed… but at the same time you know that they may stumble and fall along the way.... its part of learning to walk…It is the same thing about learning how to walk in obedience..
He is not excusing sin… or like the gnostics saying that sin doesn’t matter.
but describing for us how to deal with failure and set us up for success…… It’s important that - He is not excusing sin…or promoting a life style of sin…
The theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in his book The Cost of Discipleship.. talks of this idea of cheap grace… Danger of using grace to excuse ourselves of our short coming..
“Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance… . Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate”
… .this is not what John is propossing.
Quite the opposite… grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ”
John says desire to walk in right relationship with God others..... “but as you walk you are going to sin and when you do sin … God has provided a way for them to be cleansed.”
How does one deal with our propensity to sin and failure??
John tells us that Knowing Jesus as our Advocate is key
vrs 1. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
a. We have representation.. We have an Advocate Parakletos - Often this word has been compared to a defense lawyer… but this is not quite the word used here… Rather it is more like an intercessor one who comes to our aid..
In the ancient world A Paraclete was normally a friend who was called in to plead one’s case… Someone who is a friend… has your best interest as hear rather “Advocate” in the sense of a defense lawyer a professional who does this for pay. “Helper,” “Counselor.
What is interesting about this word is that it often used of the Holy Spirit being our helper, comforter, counselor……When Jesus departed he said that he would sent another Comforter… implying that he himself is the original Paraclete… 1 John says that Jesus is our Advocate…
He’s the first one. Christ is the first advocate—or agent—of God, who comes to tell us the truth and change our lives.. John pictures Jesus now in the heavenly realm… which may mirror the advocacy of the Spirit on earth…
The resurrected and ascended Jesus now represents us from his position on God’s throne itself. He is no longer present on earth but brings us and our concerns directly to God. He is no longer physically present on earth but brings embodied humanity into heaven and makes us present before God on his throne.
We have an Advocate WITH THE FATHER.
The word With is PROS in the Greek and it… means “in regards to” or “between”....John is telling us that Jesus stands between us and the Father --- Jesus is standing before the the Father of light— the one who he described as perfect in the absolute sense of the word…that in God there is no darkness at all… If we stand before him who is perfect…
Here is the thing if we standing next to a Holy Perfect God… our failure is going to be exposed…We can’t stand before God but Christ can… because
Jesus Christ is the righteous --- This was a title for Jesus in the Righteous one was an early title for Jesus
Jesus the one who has right standing before God...
We have an idea what this mind look like by kind of advocacy offered by Jesus in his prayer for Peter…
31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
Jesus knew the temptation that Peter — that when was confronted by the authorities that Peter would cave in and deny knowing Jesus -
Jesus asked the Father to prevent Peter’s faith from collapsing. He also had in mind Peter’s future helpfulness in strengthening the brother..
He desires them to aim at Holiness.. or wholeness…He wants us to aim at having a right relationship… set our sight on that… but our failure and imperfection reminds us daily that our need for the cross is not over....
b. Knowing Jesus is the Propitiation for our sins
Propitiation has to do with the satisfying of God’s righteous or just demands in regard to sin being atoned for. God must be propitiated, and then the sin must be expiated (taken away)—that is, we must be cleansed of sin.
Robert Lowry, the pastor of the Park Avenue Baptist church of Plainfied, New Jersey in the late 19th Century wrote both the words and the music for the hymn. He based it upon Hebrews 9:22 “and without shedding of blood is no remission[of sins].” It asks the question, “What can wash away my sins?” The response: “Nothing but the blood of Jesus!“The question and the response illustrate the principle of expiation—Jesus takes our sins away from us
John believes that both that both propitiation and expiation
were achieved in the death of Christ — God is satisfied with the sacrifice Christ offers - The blood of Christ shed on the cross atones (or covers) sins and rectifies the situation between God and humankind. And in the meantime, we are purified by this sacrifice through the Spirit of God, who cleanses us of all sins and all unrighteousness.
Jesus is the (present continuous) Propitiation for our sins — Notice that
Christ’s death is sufficient to atone for the sins of the world—all sins, past, present, and future—but it’s only efficient for those who appropriate the benefits through faith in Jesus Christ
Knowing Jesus as our Advocate and our or Propitiation means that the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin...
God has reconciled us, dealing with the barrier of hostility between himself and humanity by means of Christ’s death
We don’t stand in our own perfection but rather in the light of his righteousness. God look on us He sees the righteousness of Jesus.... The way that God treats us as if we had perfectly obeyed the law, because Christ has obeyed it perfectly for us.
He is our righteousness. This is truly mind-boggling!
While Christ’s death is sufficient for every sin of every person who ever lived or ever will live, it becomes effectual only for those who confess their sin, accept the sacrifice, and embrace Christ as Lord and Savior.
John was not teaching universal salvation—that everyone was saved by Christ whether he or she believed or not..
Jesus death on the cross was sufficient for the forgiveness of the whole world but is only efficient to those who believe
The offer is for everyone… God has offered forgiveness and salvation is available for everyone… John 3:16 Jesus Christ the Righteous one stands before God....
T/S When we know Christ as our Advocate and the one who has atone for our sins… The result is that we do walk in the light through following his word.
3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him:
How do we deal with failure?
1.Know that his love greater than our ability to fail.
2. Know the difference between obedience and Rule keeping.
2. Know the difference between obedience and Rule keeping.
John tells us that this “we know that we have come to know Him.”
This is a claim that is wonderful, and at the same time it’s a great test of whether we understand Christianity. This is a claim that it’s possible to know you belong to God personally . John is saying that it is possible to have an inward certainty that you’re his, that you’re saved, that you know you’re accepted, that you know you’ll be with him if you would die, and so on.
What this is talking about is Doctrine of Assurance....that we can know that we saved.. (Tim Keller) The old Chorus “Because He lives” Because He lives I can face tomorrow..— because lives I can face my future — because I know w yes I know he holds my future and life is worth living because he lives..
Christianity is about having a Personal relationship with Jesus… knowing Jesus… We need to be careful with this word know… Greeks had two levels of knowing God… One is through Intellectual knowledge and the other was through the emotions… Christianity is really the balance of these two extremes.. Christianity is not all intellectual and its not all emotions..
So, John is careful when talking about experiential knowledge… The main reason is that their were false teachers called Gnostics who prided themselves in knowing God through mystical enlightenment - But this “kind of knowledge” --- had no bearing on their moral behavior.
They taught a New Morality - Gnostics claimed to have reached such an advanced stage in their spiritual experience that they were beyond good and bad… not in the sense of perfection.. but that they were above sin… What might be considered sin for some is no longer sin for them…
Their experience trumped any conviction or Ethics…
There was a disconnect between their Knowledge and understanding of God and what they actually practiced..
John set them straight about this claim: “If you know God, you keep his commandments, and if you make no effort to keep his commandments, but still claim to be a Christian, you are a liar.”
What John is talking about here is authenticity… This goes in line with what Jesus taught..… Jesus emphasized that it not merely what we profess but our actions…One of Jesus first declarations…
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
There is this call in the scripture to have our actions line up with our beliefs..
Tim Keller calls this verse the “Behavioral test.” Being a Christian has to be more than just intellectual or emotional experiences… or an internal experience…
There is such a thing as self-deception. So John comes and says just because you think you know God, just because you’re having this wonderful experience on the inside, doesn’t mean you really might not be deceived
The behavioral test means if you really know God, your character, your behavior, the way you live, will be changing. You’ll be becoming like
....What does it say? “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.
For John, a person cannot have an authentic relationship with Jesus and obstinately oppose His commandments with their actions...
Knowing God is tied to walking in obedience to New Covenant - Now we need to understand the difference between Obedience and rule keeping…
Rule keeping is often like boundary lines on a field… The reasons you stay in the lines is because you are fearful of the consequences… but obedience is not motivated by fear by motivated by love… It’s out of love for God… out of love for the fellowship that comes from walking with Christ and the Holy Spirit… that we desire to follow his word… It is living by the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law..
He expounds what that meaning of the New Commandment ---
7 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. 8 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. 9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. 11 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.
In some ways the New Covenant was similar to the old..
The commandment to love one another is both old and new. For the Jews, the command to love others was as old as the Pentateuch (Leviticus 19:18), and as new as Jesus’ words (John 13:34). Thus, John knew that he was not writing a new commandment because it is an old one you have always had. However, Jesus called the commandment “new” because he interpreted it in a radically new way. The newness of Jesus’ command focused on the practice of love...
Evidence of walking with God… is how well we love others.
5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him:
By Loving God and loving others.. “God love is perfected in us” and becomes evident to others
This is what Keller calls the Relational test...
A person who says, “I know God” but is harsh and crabby all the time, you’re deceived. As we’re going to see later on, it’s not just love in general, though that’s true. Christians are to love everyone, but this love for other Christians is especially telling as a test of whether or not you really believe and you’re really knowing God.
6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
3. know that Abiding in Christ means imitation.
3. know that Abiding in Christ means imitation.
The New Testament scholar B. F. Westcott points out, has two things about this portion of scripture the
First is Christians are people who have come to know God; and the inevitable accompaniment of knowledge must be obedience.
Second, those who claim that they abide in God and in Jesus Christ must live the same kind of life as Jesus lived.
That is to say, union with Christ necessarily involves imitation of Christ.
So, John lays down his two great ethical principles: knowledge involves obedience, and union involves imitation.
“ whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”
A number of year ago they came out with that bracelet… WWJD.. “What would Jesus Do?” Now that is not bad question… but Jesus lived in the first Century… with no cars, no rush hour traffic, no internet, different set of problems… How does that relate…to you and I in the 21st Century.
Dallas Willard adds to that question — If he were me? As pastor how would Jesus want me to be a shepherd to our congregation…Farmer or business owner — what kind of leader would I be...
Or as a parent --- If Jesus were a parent what kind of parent would he be --- How would he parent my kids…
What John is interest in is that you and I are growing in Christ… Now I want to illustrate this by Kyle Idleman gives this visual… to illustrate what
When we try to diagram a person's spiritual journey, we usually draw a horizontal line across the page. On one end we might write, "No God." A person on this end has no faith at all. On the other end we might write, "Know God." This person has a fully-formed faith and a personal relationship with God. We imagine a person making progress along this line, moving from one end to the other. At a certain point they come to believe in God, maybe, but they're still not sure about Jesus. Eventually they come to a decision point, here in the center, and they accept Christ as their Savior and Lord. We sometimes call that "crossing the line." At that point, we generally consider that person a Christian. But they still have a long way to go, don't they? They have a lot to learn about God and his ways. So they continue to grow in their faith—studying the Bible, worshiping every Sunday, etc. It's primarily a doctrinal journey. When we talk about "going deeper," we're usually thinking of moving along this continuum, toward knowing God.
But according to John, we have to draw another line, this one going up and down. If the horizontal line is the Doctrinal axis, then this vertical one is the Ethical axis. At the bottom we can put the word "Sinful," and at the top we might put the word "Holy." A person at the bottom of the line continuously breaks God's laws and does whatever he or she chooses. A person at the top of the line is fully conformed to the image of Christ. In the same way a person needs to travel across the doctrinal axis—growing in her knowledge of God and his Word—she also need to be traveling up the ethical axis—becoming more like Christ in her character and conduct.
According to John, a real Christian is located somewhere in this quadrant. It doesn't matter where in the quadrant, exactly. What's more important than where they are is the direction they are moving in. Real Christians are moving up and to the right. Going deeper doesn't just mean knowing more about Christ; it's becoming more like Christ.
Before weget too comfortable with this little diagram, I should warn you that John is going to add a third axis. He's already mentioned it the texts we looked at today—the axis if love. We'll call this one the Relational axis. It comes right out of the page toward us, making it a three-dimensional grid
Now, I have a couple of cautions here about this diagram. First, only God knows where a person is on this grid. You cannot capture the mystery of salvation on a flip chart. Only God knows when a person crosses the line of belief or behavior. It may not always be evident to us. Second, this test is meant to be used to evaluate yourself, not others. John didn't write this letter so his readers could point fingers and pass judgment on others. He wrote it so they would know whether or not they were really a Christian, and how they could experience a deeper walk with Christ. And that's John's big idea for this week: You know you're living deep when your belief and your behavior are taking you closer to Christ.
As we finish up this morning, I'd like you to consider where you might put yourself on that grid. Have you crossed the line and come to believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord? Are you moving upward on this ethical axis, becoming more like Christ every day?
What steps might the Lord want you to take that will get you moving up and to the right, toward the deep walk and abundant life God has in mind for you? Think about that for a minute, and then talk to God about it. He desires to show you your heart and then to change it. https://www.preachingtoday.com/sermons/sermons/2011/may/deepwalk.html