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We have an Advocate

This week we will continue in the series that I started a couple of weeks ago on 1 John. This week we will look at chapter two.

We saw in the last message that the Apostle John wrote the book of 1 John in the late first century. We saw that John was one of the 12 disciples and had a very special relationship with Jesus. We saw that John knew Jesus personally and that he was present for all that Jesus said and did. We also saw that the main reason he wrote was to keep people on track with all the false teachers around.

The title of my message is “We have our advocate Jesus in heaven who calls us to love one another, not love the world and watch out for antichrists who would lead us astray”.

Bible Reading – 1 John 2

1 John 2:1-29 NIV – My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.  2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.  3 We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands.  4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.  5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him:  6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.  7 Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard.  8 Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.  9 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness.  10 Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.  11 But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.  12 I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.  13 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.  14 I write to you, dear 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 lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.  15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.  16 For everything in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–comes not from the Father but from the world.  17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.  18 Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.  19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.  20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.  21 I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth.  22 Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist–denying the Father and the Son.  23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.  24 As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father.  25 And this is what he promised us–eternal life.  26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray.  27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit–just as it has taught you, remain in him.  28 And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.  29 If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.

1. We have an Advocate

Verse one sets the scene:

“My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.”

My heart as a Christian is to live in Christ and not sin, but as I said recently, sometimes I do fall short and I need to confess. It helps me to know that I have an Advocate, a Defender, and a Supporter in heaven who pleads my case on my behalf.

It helps me to know that when I let myself down and ultimately let God down, that our Advocate is there for me. Over the years I have wondered what Jesus says in my defence. We can never know, but it might be something like this:

Father, Dave loves Me and I love Him. He knows Me and I know him. He tries really hard to live in Me and he does really well most of the time, but sometimes he falls short. Father, I died on the cross for Dave’s sin. I took it on Myself. I paid the price. Dave is forgiven because of My efforts on his behalf. Please restore Him and help him to live right.

We can never really know what is said, but it helps me to imagine something like the above. It helps me to know the One who is truly righteous is on my side and pleading my case.

Here are some questions for personal reflection and application:

  • Do you find it hard to confess your sin when you fall short? Does it take some time to approach God?
  • Does it help you to know Jesus is your advocate, defender and supporter in heaven?

2. A new and an old commandment

The first verse sets the scene again:

Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment — to love one another —is the same message you heard before.

I like the old/new commandment idea to love one another. John reminds us that God has always wanted us to love on another. This goes back to Leviticus 19:18 where God says, “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbour as yourself. I am the LORD”.

Jesus also gave us this command in John 13:34-35, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

John reminds us the importance of loving one another. In the last section we saw that living in the light meant to follow God’s commands. In this section it shows that by loving our Christian brothers and sisters we walk in the light and we even make the darkness disappear!

So it is important for us to purpose in our hearts today to love one another. Let us love one another the way Jesus loved us. Let us also think of ways we can do this practically.

Here are some questions for personal reflection and application:

  • Since coming to know Christ, do you find it is easier to love others? Has your love for others grown the longer you walk with Christ?
  • What are some practical ways you can show your love for others today?

3. Do not love the world

The next section of the text tells us plainly – “Do not love this world”.

Verse 15 says, “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you”.

This is a strong statement about loving the world that we live in. At the heart of this verse is a reminder that this world is not all there is – it is not our eternal home – it is only temporary.

Verse 17 reminds us that this world has a use by date. It says, “And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave:”.

In a sense verse 16 has bookends. Verse 15 says do not love this world and verse 17 reminds us to remember it is passing away. A day will come when God calls time.

In the meantime, we live in this world as God’s children and live in light of eternity. We live as members of God’s eternal Kingdom and seek to serve Him in all we do. We cannot get caught up in the shallow things of this world. The things of verse 16 –

  • a craving for physical pleasure,
  • a craving for everything we see,
  • and pride in our achievements and possessions.

John reminds us that these are not from the Father, but are from this world. So let us keep our hearts and minds focused on God and His eternal realities and live in light of our awaiting eternal home.

Here are some questions for personal reflection and application:

  • Do you find it easy to get caught up in the things of this world mentioned in verse 16?
  • Does knowing this world has a use by date help you to keep your mind on this above? (Colossians 3:1-2)

4. A warning against antichrists

In the last section the title is a warning against antichrists. Verse 18 says…

“18 Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.”

In verse 18 it uses the term antichrist twice. One is used with a capital A and one with a lower case a. The lower case version is referring to false teachers that infiltrated the church and denied the Deity of Christ. The one using the capital A is about the Antichrist who is talked about in Revelation 13, 19:20, and 20:10. It is a figure empowered by Satan who functions as an enemy of Jesus Christ and the Church. In the context of end time literature, this figure performs false miracles, deceives many in order to discourage people from worshiping the true God, and persecutes God’s people.

In verse 26 we see that John is writing this section to warn against being led astray by these false teachers. As we have seen before they would deny key things about Christ’s being the Messiah and how we should live.

John says there are two keys to help us from being led astray. The first is to remember we have the Holy Spirit as our helper and teacher. In verse 27 he says, “But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true”.

The second is to remember the foundation teachings they were taught. That Christ is from the Father in heaven, that He is eternal, that He is the promised Messiah and He is the only way to find salvation.

This is why it is so important for us as Christ followers to walk closely with Him, to pray, to study our Bibles, to come to church and to rely on the Holy Spirit’s teaching and promptings. When we do this we can stand firm in Christ.

Here are some questions for personal reflection and application:

  • Have you had a time when you have been led astray by false teachings? What did you do?
  • What things have you got in place now to minimise the chances of being led astray?

Closing Summary

John wants his readers to remember 4 things from 1 John 2

  • We have an Advocate and Defender (Jesus) in heaven pleading our case when sin.
  • There is a new/old commandment to love one another. It goes all the way back to Leviticus!
  • We are to not love the world and the things in it more than we love God and His Kingdom.
  • We need to be aware there are false teachers (antichrists) in the world trying to lead us astray.


By Dave Quinn
Founder of PASSIONAustralia.org

 

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