Confidence When Christ Comes - 1 John 2f
1 John 2:28-3:3
Stephen Caswell © 2003
Ready for the Rapture
After church, where she had been taught about the Second Coming, a little girl was quizzing her mother.
" Mommy, do you believe Jesus will come back? " "Yes."
" Could he come this week? " "Yes."
" Could he come Today? " "Yes."
" Could he come in the next hour? " "Yes."
" Could he come in a few minutes? " "Yes, dear."
" Mommy, would you comb my hair?"
This little girl wanted to be ready to meet Jesus! Are you ready? Will you be confident or ashamed when Christ returns? Can we be confident at Christ's coming? Or is that being presumptuous? John gives believers three instructions to enable them to be confident at Christ's return. Appropriate Christ's Presence, Appreciate the Fathers Love, Anticipate Christ's return
Firstly Appropriate Christ's Presence
1 John 2:28 says this: And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.
a. The Command - Little children, abide in Him
John commands believers to abide in Him. God has made it possible for us to abide in Christ. In fact, He sent His Son to give us new life. We only need to appropriate His presence by faith. We walk by faith not by sight. The word abide menw means to remain, to continue, to indwell, to be in a close and settled union with. Probably, the greatest passage on the abiding life is John 15. Here Christ describes abiding in Him to a branch abiding in a vine. This illustration highlights the individual's responsibility to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Believers aren't connected to other branches, but to Christ Himself. We must have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ to receive His life and power. John 15:4-5 says: Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
High Divorce Rate - Poor Communication
In society today many marriages are failing. Why? The couples live together in the same house. So why do they get divorced? Because they don't share their lives with each other. They don't take the time needed to establish good communication. They don't build a strong relationship by sharing their lives, plans and dreams. They selfishly live for themselves.
Abiding in Christ is the secret to a fruitful Christian life. Basically it is sharing our lives with the Lord. It is accomplished through simple faith in Christ's promises. It is maintained by prayerful reliance upon God for grace and cleansing of sin. These simple, yet necessary steps allow us to abide in the vine. Christ alone brings forth fruit, because He is the vine. The command is to abide, not to bear fruit.
Having Internal Life
Dr. Walter Wilson shared the following story. He was visiting in a home and the members of the family were asked to quote Bible verses. A little girl quoted John 3:16 as follows: For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish but have INTERNAL LIFE. Needless to say, he didn't correct her, for it is internal life, as well as eternal life. It is internal life because we draw power to live from the Holy Spirit abiding in us. Before Christ can transform our lives we must give Him the keys to every room in our life. It would be crazy to ask a cleaning lady to clean our home and then lock half of the doors. She can't clean the rooms that she can’t access. In the same way we must allow Jesus to have access to all our life. We share everything with Him.
b. The Promise - That when He appears we may have confidence
Those who abide in Christ will rejoice at His coming. They will have a quiet assurance within that they will receive a reward. John promised those who abide in Christ that they will know that all is well. Do you desire to have confidence at Christ's return? If you do then you must abide in Him. 1 John 4:17-18 says: Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. If you love Christ, you will share your life with Him.
c. The Warning - And not be ashamed before Him at His coming.
John also gives a warning. Those who don't abide in Him will be ashamed at Christ's coming. The New American Standard Bible says, and will not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. Why will abiding in Christ give us confidence at His return? Because nothing spoils the fellowship of someone abiding in Christ! Tragically, some will be uncomfortable at His return because they're not sharing their lives with Christ. They’re living for themselves!
Are you abiding in Christ? Do you have a quiet time each day? Are you sharing your life with Him? Is He Lord of your life? Do you talk to Him throughout the day? Are you drawing power from Him to live the Christian life? Will you have confidence at Christ's coming or shrink away in shame? Let us choose to abide in Christ. Let us appropriate His presence!
Secondly Appreciate the Fathers Love
1 John 3:1: Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
John commands believers to - Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us. A literal reading might be, Take a good look at the out of this world kind of love that our Heavenly Father has freely given to us. The love God has shown us is not the type of love normally seen in this world. His love is unconditional and extravagant. Who in this world would adopt total strangers into their family and give them the family name and inheritance? And what is even more extravagant in this, is the fact that He has done this for His enemies.
We had rebelled against God and sold ourselves into slavery and sin. We have all shaken our fist at God and gone our own way. But in return God gave His only Son to die for us. Not only has God set us free from spiritual slavery, He has also given us spiritual riches in Christ. This includes an eternal inheritance. And we don't deserve any of it. God has done it all by His grace. So John commands us to appreciate the Father’s great love.
Firstly we appreciate our new birth. 1 John 2:29 says: If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.
After Sandy and I had been married for about seven years we received great news. We learnt from the doctor that Sandy was expecting our first baby. Well we were excited and gladly told our family and friends the good news. We planned and prepared for the arrival of our first baby. We loved the child so much even before it was born. Soon there would be a new member in our family. Soon there would be another person bearing our name. Soon there would be an heir to our belongings. She would be our own flesh and blood and would resemble us in some way. And that was exactly what happened when Lauren was born.
Well the same is true of believers. We have received a second birth, a spiritual birth. By believing in Jesus Christ we were born into God's family. 1 Peter 1:23 says: having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever. Through the new birth God becomes our Father and we His children. But as in any family it starts with the birth. God doesn't have grandchildren, He only has children. If you haven't been born again of the Spirit into God’s family you don’t belong to Him. You won't receive these wonderful blessings. Have you been born again? You can be! You only need to admit you are a sinner. To believe that Jesus died for your sins and rose again. Then confess Him as your Savior and Lord.
Secondly we appreciate our new nature. 1 John 2:29 says: If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.
Lauren's First Days at Home.
When Lauren first came home from the hospital she was so small and needed so much care. We had to change her nappies often and feed her at all hours of the night, or Sandy did. At first we fed her with milk. But as she grew a older we gave her mashed bananas and vegetables. Later on as she grew she began to eat solid food and then meat. In those first few weeks she didn't look much like either of us. But then she began to crawl and later to walk and talk. And as she has grown over the years there are things that she does and says that reflect her parent's characteristics. And at times we can see certain features that look like us.
This is also true of God's family. We begin as spiritual babes, and like all babies we need to feed on milk. At first we might not resemble or behave much like their Spiritual Father. But we do have His life and the process of growth now begins. As we fed on the simple truths of Scripture we grew and began to flex our spiritual muscles. Pretty soon we could walk with our Father, even though we fell over sometimes. We talked to others about our Lord and our actions glorify Him. Is this your testimony? Is God’s life seen in you? It should be.
Thirdly we appreciate our new name. 1 John 3:1 says: Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
Lauren's Family Name
Most of the time Lauren is obedient. But sometimes she disobeys us and we lovingly discipline her. But no matter what happens she is still our daughter. It doesn't matter if she disappoints us. We love her and always will; we gave her life. She will always be our daughter, and a member of our family. She bears our family name and will never lose that or her inheritance. So too, believers have become members of God's family and received His name. Even when we disobey God and know that we have let Him down, He will always remain faithful to His word. He loves us and remains faithful. Once we have been born into His family, we can never lose our position as His children or His name which we bear.
Ephesians 3:14-15 says this: For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.
Do you appreciate the wonderful out of this world kind of love that God has given to His children? Do you take time to think about your position as a child of God? Are you reflecting your Father's nature as a child of God? Do you bring shame on Christ, whose name you bear or do you works glorify your heavenly Father? Do you remember to thank Him for all that He has done for you? We are now the children of God, but the best is yet to come.
1. Thirdly Anticipate Christ's return
Firstly this anticipation gives us a new hope. 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
We anticipate seeing the Lord face to face. John says that we are God's children right now. Yet we walk by faith. We can’t see God at the present. However, the day is coming when we will see the Lord and spend eternity together with Him. We will see the God in all His glory. We will know Him in a way that we cannot at the present. God will remove all sin and sorrow and pain. He will do away with death and make everything new. The believer's hope is to be with God and Christ who have saved them. What a glorious expectation.
Longing To See Jesus
William M. Dyke was a young man who became blind at the young age of ten. Despite this handicap, he grew to be a very intelligent, witty and handsome young man. While attending graduate school in England, William met the daughter of an English admiral. The two soon became engaged. Though never having seen her, William loved her very much. Shortly before the wedding, at the insistence of the admiral, William submitted to special treatment for his loss of sight. Hoping against hope, William wanted the gauze from his eyes removed during the ceremony. He wanted the first thing he saw to be his wife’s face.
As the bride came down the aisle, William’s father started unwinding the gauze from around his head and eyes—still not knowing if the operation would be a success. With the unwrapping of the last circumference, William looked into the face of his new bride for the first time. “You are more beautiful than I ever imagined,” he said. Like the young groom, though we have never seen Jesus, it will be worth the years of darkness to “see him as he is.”
Secondly we anticipate that one day we will have a new body. 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
Our present bodies are weak and corrupt. They are not suitable for eternity in heaven.
1 Corinthians 15:50: Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. When Jesus comes back He will transform us. Christ will change us from mortal to immortal, from corruptible to incorruptible. We will be like Him. We will see Christ in all His glory because our sinful nature will be removed. We will receive glorious bodies, like Christ's resurrection body.
Philippians 3:20-21 say: For our citizenship is in heaven from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17: For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
Illustration of a Caterpillar that Becomes a Butterfly
When we were kids we liked to collect caterpillars and keep them in a box. We would feed them a certain kind of leaves each day and watch them grow. These little grubs would grow bigger and bigger. Then one day they would start to spin a cocoon. It would take them hours and hours to make it. Then nothing would happen for a while. But then at the right time the caterpillar would come out of the cocoon. However it was no longer a caterpillar but it had become the most beautiful butterfly. Then it flew away into the heavens.
Well believers are a lot like those caterpillars. Some of us are more grub like than others. But that's not the end of the story. One day Jesus Christ will come back and change us. He will transform us into glorious new people with sinless, perfect, glorified bodies like His own. Our appearance now is only a shadow of our future appearance.
Thirdly because our hope is in Christ's return and being glorified we have a new purpose.
1 John 3:3 says: And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
The believers hope lies in Christ’s return. Only in heaven will we lose these sinful corrupt bodies. Only in glory will we be reunited with our loved ones. Only in heaven can we see the Lord face to face. Only Christ’s return and kingly reign will bring in universal righteousness. Good will overcome evil. Only then, will we enjoy all that God has prepared for us. How should we respond to God’s grace? We should live godly lives now. Since we have an inheritance kept for us in heaven we shouldn't become consumed with earthly things. Since our hope rests in Christ's return we should live pure lives like Him. Since our hope lies in Christ's return we should lead others to Christ. Only these things will endure for eternity.
Do you have the blessed hope? Do you anticipate Christ's return? Are you watching and waiting for Him? Are you excited about going to heaven? Do you tell others about this hope? Are you sharing the Gospel with the lost? Are you keeping yourself pure for Jesus?
Are You Ready
A teacher told his class that he would be going away for several weeks, and he offered to give a prize to the student whose desk he found in the best order when he came back. But he didn't tell them what day he would return. Because the prize was big, each child was determined to get it, including a little girl whose desk was normally quite messy. Her classmates jeered, Mary, you'll never win. Your desk is never neat. Oh I plan to clean it the first of every week from now on. But, someone said suppose he comes at the end of the week? Then I'll clean it every morning. But, another classmate persisted, he may come at the end of the day. For a moment the child was silent in thought. Then she said decidedly, I know what I'll do. I'll just keep it clean! To gain approval at Christ's return we need to be ready, we must keep clean.
Today we have seen how to have confidence at Christ's return. John gives us three instructions.
Firstly Appropriate Christ's Presence
Are you appropriating the presence of Christ? Are you abiding in Him? Are you drawing life from Him through prayer? Let us abide in Christ and be fruitful for Him.
Secondly Appreciate the Fathers Love
Do you appreciate all that God has given His children? Have you entered God's family by being born again? Is the Father's nature within you transforming you into the image of Christ? Do you realize what God has given you? Let us appreciate our salvation!
1. Thirdly Anticipate Christ's return
Are you anticipating Christ's return? Are you excited about seeing Jesus face to face? Are you excited about the glorified body you will receive? Are you keeping yourself pure for Christ Are you telling others of the Blessed Hope? We don't know when the Lord will come back, it could be today, what a glorious thought! Are you ready? Let us anticipate Christ’s return and remain pure!
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24: Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.