Summary: In these next verses in 1 John we are presented with a difficult truth that cuts home today and a wonderful hope that gives us courage for tomorrow.
A Difficult Truth and A Wonderful Hope - 1 John 2:18-29 - July 21, 2013
Series: That We May Know – Life With Jesus - #8
This morning we are continuing in our series from the book of 1 John so I’ll ask you to open your Bibles with me please, to 1 John, chapter 2, and we’ll begin reading in verse 18. Today’s message is going to be somewhat shorter than usual, not because there isn’t much to say, but rather because we are going to have the privilege of hearing a number of personal testimonies, and witnessing a number of baptisms today, as well.
Now in chapter 5, of this book, John says that he has written these things “to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13, NIV84) This is John’s purpose in writing this letter – he has done so that we might have the assurance of eternal life. What does that mean? What does that look like? He answers those questions, saying, “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:12, NIV84) If you want to cut straight to the essence of Christianity, it comes down to Jesus. You either have Him, or you don’t, – there is no middle ground. So let me ask you: Do you have the Son?
If you’re walking with Jesus, and loving on Jesus, and worshipping Jesus, and obeying Jesus and doing life with Him, as John has been talking about in the earlier verses of this book, then you have the assurance of knowing that your sins are forgiven, you’re a new creation, and you have eternal life. But if that’s not you, if you’re messing around in the darkness instead of walking in the light, if you’re living in rebellion to Jesus’ commands, if you’re just going through the motions of religion, then you are in a precarious position, because even though you may have the appearance of salvation to man’s eyes, in the eyes of God you are still dead in your sins and transgressions, and you do not have the eternal life that John is talking about. You need to get right with God. You need to repent of your sins, believe upon Jesus, and let God’s word become the guide for your life.
And maybe you’re here this morning and you’re not sure – you just don’t know if you have Jesus or not. If that’s you, you need to find out. When we’re done here today, go home and start reading in 1 John, verse 1. Go through it deliberately examining yourself against what John has written there. What he writes of isn’t the exception, it’s not just for the super-saint, it’s for each and every one of us who has the Son. And he’s going to tell you that you need to check three things: you need to check your attitude towards sin, to examine your response to God’s words, and to consider if you’re growing in love for God and for others.
If the things he writes of, are not true of you, then you don’t have Jesus, and you don’t have eternal life, and you need to get down on your knees in surrender before God, crying out for mercy, and forgiveness, and the new life that only He can give.
Why? Because the truth is this: not everyone who comes to church, or who calls Jesus, “Lord,” is a genuine Christian. Many are Christians in name only, but without the reality of new life. They are not saved; they do not have Jesus. I can say that because I used to be one of those. In my earlier years I would have called myself a Christian. I believed there was a God, I believed the stories I read in the Bible were true, but it turns out I didn’t have Jesus. I just knew a bit about Him, liked the idea of Him, but didn’t have Him in my life. Which brings us to 1 John, chapter 2, verse 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. 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.” (1 John 2:18–19, NIV84)
John is talking about, what he calls, “the last hour.” Now this was written some 2000 years ago, and here we are today, and we’re still waiting. How do we understand that? Does that mean that John was mistaken? That the Bible is unreliable? Not at all! The “last hour” refers, not to a literal hour, but to an indeterminate period of time, characterized by a particular opposition to God, and to His Kingdom.