Related #2: Son
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A relationship with Jesus. That’s a loaded concept, yes? What does it mean to have a relationship with Jesus? Most people go to salvation and understandably. Someone might ask, “Do you have a relationship with Jesus , and you might say, “Yes, I do” really just thinking about your saving relationship with Jesus.
But have you considered that your relationship with Jesus doesn’t end after you repent and put your faith in Jesus?
Illustrate: You guys know that I’m married. Did my relationship with Amanda lessen after we got married? Nope. It got better. Way better. In much the same way, your relationship with Jesus isn’t done now that you’re saved. In reality, it should get much better. Tonight we’re going to look at 1 John 2 as we look to find out why that is.
1 John 2:1–6 (ESV) — 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. 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: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
The greatest evidence of your heavenly Father’s love for you is found in Jesus.
God’s desire for His creation is and always has been what is laid out for us in the first part of 1 John 2:1: “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.” That’s been the target that the Father has placed before His creation from the very beginning.
Genesis 2:15–17 (ESV) — 15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Leviticus 19:2 (ESV) — 2 “Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.
Leviticus 20:26 (ESV) — 26 You shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.
Numbers 15:40 (ESV) — 40 So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God.
Ephesians 1:4 (ESV) — 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love
1 Peter 1:15 (ESV) — 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
We looked at this last week. Our sin proves a major obstacle to our relationship with the Father. The sin of the prodigal son had led him to a far country and created a distance between him and his father. And our sin does the same thing between us and our heavenly Father. That’s why His standard has always been holiness, perfection, because that is the only way He can have a relationship with us.
1 John 1:5–6 (ESV) — 5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
But our problem has been a universal problem from the outset, we. all. sin.
Romans 3:23 (ESV) — 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Ecclesiastes 7:20 (ESV) — 20 Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.
1 John 1:8 (ESV) — 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
So then, if the Father really wants that relationship with us, something had to be done about our sin. Enter Jesus.
1 John 2:2 (ESV) — 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
“the sins of the whole world”
John 1:29 (ESV) — 29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
1 John 4:14 (ESV) — 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
Not that all people’s sins are forgiven
Not that all people are or will be saved (c.f. 1 John 5:11-13)
Written during a time with continued uncertainty regarding Jew/Gentile relations
Jesus was not the sacrifice only for the Jewish people, but also for the whole world
Everyone needs Jesus, and Jesus came for all people
The absorption of God’s full and furious wrath against which is the only just response of a holy God toward our sins.
Romans 3:25 (ESV) — 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
1 John 4:10 (ESV) — 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Grudem: “God had not simply forgiven sin and forgotten about the punishment in generations past. He had forgiven sins and stored up his righteous anger against those sins. But at the cross the fury of all that stored-up wrath against sin was unleashed against God’s own Son.”
This is the foundation of your relationship with Jesus. He came first and foremost to deal with what is first and foremost the problem that we face, and that is our sin and God’s wrath.
P1: See the Love of Jesus’ in Your Standing Before the Father
Last week we looked intently at the love your heavenly Father has for you, and tonight I want you to see that same love in the sacrifice of Jesus for you.
It was a willing sacrifice
It was a necessary sacrifice
Romans 6:23 (ESV) — 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
It was a sufficient sacrifice
Hebrews 10:11–14 (ESV) — 11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
It was a substitutionary sacrifice
Galatians 3:10–14 (ESV) — 10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.
It was a love-driven sacrifice
Romans 5:6–8 (ESV) — 6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
There’s a hymn called “What Wondrous Love is This,” and the first two verses go like this:
What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul! What wondrous love is this, O my soul! What wondrous love is this that cause the Lord of bliss to bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul, to bear the dreadful curse for my soul.
When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down, when I was sinking down, sinking down, when I was sinking down beneath God’s righteous frown, Christ laid aside His crown for my soul, for my soul, Christ laid aside his crown for my soul.
What is your relationship with Jesus to you? First, it is your life because without Jesus you are still in your sins and still looking at the wrath of God.
But now, in Jesus, because of His loving sacrifice, you have a relationship with God not as judge but as Father. Your relationship with Jesus has forever changed your relationship to the Father. Without it you fear His wrath, but with it you experience His love.
Because of this great cost of our sin, because of what it took for us to be adopted by the Father, John writes that we should not sin.
1 John 2:1a (ESV) — 1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.
1 John 2:1b (ESV) — But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
“intercessor, helper, one who appears on another’s behalf”
Unique to John (1x here and 4x in the gospel)
In Greek literature the word = one who speaks in defense of another, specifically of the accused
John 16:7–11 (ESV) — 7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
He who is the advocate for Jesus with the world is the advocate for you and me before the Father.
P2: Thank God for the Defender You have in Jesus
Hebrews 12:22–24 (ESV) — 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
The blood of Abel called for judgment against his brother who had sinned against him by murdering him out of jealousy. The blood of Jesus though is better because it speaks for our deliverance rather than our judgment.
Hebrews 7:22–25 (ESV) — 22 This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant. 23 The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, 24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
Illustrate: A defense attorney has a tough job anytime. Even though it should be the opposite, the burden of proof is often on the accused to prove that they are not guilty. That is what the defense attorney is tasked with doing, and his job is made all the more difficult if his client is guilty. But Jesus isn’t before the Father pleading our innocence or our righteousness, but His own.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV) — 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
We mentioned that the Father isn’t the angry disappointed Father waiting to greet your repentance with an “I told you so.” John’s telling us the same thing about Jesus now.
Romans 8:31–39 (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.
Jesus is for you. Jesus is your advocate. You have an accuser who is always ready to point out your sins, but you have an advocate who has paid for those sins and who pleads your innocence forever before the Father. Again, it is the work of Jesus that secures your standing before the Father, and this work involves more than propitiation, it continues still today in the form of His intercession.
1 John 2:3 (ESV) — 3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.
Do you want to know this Jesus? Do you want to be sure that He is your advocate? John says, “obey Him.”
It’s important to get what John says here. It’s not, “And by this we know him, if we keep his commandments.” Instead it’s about our confidence that we do know him. “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.”
What commandments was John referring to?
No doubt he had in mind loving one another.
1 John 2:10 (ESV) — 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.
1 John 3:10 (ESV) — 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
1 John 3:14 (ESV) — 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.
1 John 3:17 (ESV) — 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?
1 John 3:23 (ESV) — 23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.
1 John 4:7 (ESV) — 7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.
1 John 4:8 (ESV) — 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
1 John 4:12 (ESV) — 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
1 John 4:19 (ESV) — 19 We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:20 (ESV) — 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
1 John 4:21 (ESV) — 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
Another thing John probably had in mind was keeping “the word of Christ”
John 8:51 (ESV) — 51 Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.”
John 14:23 (ESV) — 23 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.
Your relationship with Jesus is not a one-way street. Your relationship with Jesus isn’t all about His love for you, but it’s also about your love for Him. And realizing that, John wants you to have away to feel some security about your relationship with Jesus by looking at that love for Him.
P3: Find Security in Devotion to Your Jesus Your Friend
That sounds weird doesn’t it? That Jesus is your friend? When you talk about Jesus where does the word “friend” fall in your description? It probably doesn’t because maybe it feels squishy? But it is biblical.
John 15:14–15 (ESV) — 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
Friend = companion; someone you trust; someone you share everything with
Notice: “I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”
Jesus has kindly given us a blueprint for having confidence in our standing with our heavenly Father. It comes through faith in Him, and that faith, when working, shows up in a devotion that John says should give us a confidence in our relationship with the Father.
Your obedience to Jesus isn’t about your righteousness but your devotion to Him.
Devotion = love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person
Love and obedience meet in devotion.
Think of the person you love most in this world: maybe a parent, a grandparent, a friend, whoever. What does your love for them look like?
Doing things with them?
Do things for them?
Not doing what they don’t enjoy?
Telling them you love them?
Thinking about them often?
Defending them/their honor?
Telling other people about them?
Using that grid, do you love Jesus ?
Do you serve Him?
Do you avoid things that displease Him?
Do you tell Him that you love Him through worship/praise?
Do you think about Him during the day?
Do you defend Him/His honor in front of others?
Do you tell other people about Him?
I mentioned the commandments in view were most likely loving Jesus and loving others.
Illustrate: Part of my love for my wife involves how I love my children.
Part of our love for Jesus involves how we love our brothers and sisters.
If you love Jesus you’ll keep his word, you’ll want to do what he wants you to do, and one of the main things he wants you to do is to love others.
Would you say you do well in this?
Jesus wants you to have a love for one another.
John 13:34–35 (ESV) — 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. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Is Jesus your friend? If you want to be secure about your standing with the Father, make sure His Son is your friend? “How do I do that?” We just talked about it. What does friendship involve in your life? How much of that do you find in your relationship with Jesus?
Your relationship with Jesus should be on an upward trajectory. He’s not done with you just because you’ve repented and believed. In fact, He’s not going to be done with you, ever. Jesus wants to be more than your Savior. He is your advocate, and He is your Lord, and if you will lean into these roles, you will find that He’s also your friend.
How can a right understanding of Jesus as our propitiation be helpful in our battle against sin? How can you consistently keep this at the forefront of your mind this week?
Why don’t we often think of Jesus’ role as our advocate? What thoughts come to mind most regularly when you think about Jesus’ role in your life?
Talk through the following grid to evaluate how you’re doing with your devotion to Jesus:
Do you seek Him as your Advocate?
Do you serve Him?
Do you work hard to avoid the things that displease Him?
Do you tell Him that you love Him through worship/praise each day?
Do you think about Him regularly throughout the day?
Do you defend Him/His reputation when He is “attacked”?
Do you tell other people about Him?