Summary: The difficulties associated with our modern day are reaching new levels of intensity. The majority is not interested in the Word or worship. As difficult as it may be, we remain obligated to serve the Lord and reach others. We can advance for Christ.
Advancing in the Midst of Adversity
1 John 2: 24-29
Take a moment to consider the great challenges John spoke of in our last study. He warned the spirit of antichrist was already among us, seeking to undermine the church and hinder her ministry. He reminds us that we are living in the last time, a time where society and humanity are not receptive to the Lord or supportive of the church.
This last time in which we live can be a daunting hour. We face increased opposition from the adversary through the world around us. The influence of the church has waned from what she used to enjoy. Skeptics and critics abound. It can be an overwhelming task if we approach it solely within our own strength and ability.
John knew that, and he understood many would be tempted to drop out of the race or abandon the fight. He knew we all face a difficult struggle, but he was confident of our ability to overcome as well. He knew the Lord was greater than any opposition we faced and that He was more than able to equip us to endure.
Hindrances will remain, but we do not have to give in to defeat. We are more than conquerors through Christ. Knowing we are enabled of the Lord, let’s consider the attributes we are to possess in Him as we think on: Advancing in the Midst of Adversity.
I. The Steadfastness of Believers (24-25) – Many had dropped out, abandoning their faith, refusing to remain committed unto the Lord. John knew if we were to advance for the Lord, we must remain in the fight. This isn’t easy, but it is certainly possible. Consider:
A. The Command (24a) – Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. Keep in mind the context of John’s exhortation. Many appeared to be in Christ, but abandoned the church and denied the faith. They never experienced salvation in the Lord; there was never a genuine relationship. The believer is different. We have received truth in salvation. At that moment we were indwelt with the Spirit.
We may grow weary, but we have no desire to abandon the body. In times of weakness and despair, we are to lay hold on the truth of the gospel. It is to dwell in us, abiding in our being. John declares truth has not and will not change. The same promises we received at salvation remain today. When we are tempted to abandon the race, lay hold on the truth in Christ!
B. The Commitment (24b) – If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. As long as we maintain truth, holding onto the work of Christ in us, we can remain committed to the Lord. In fact, our commitment will come as a byproduct of continual fellowship with Christ. As long as we remain in the truth, seeking the will and ways of God above the desires of the flesh and cares of the world, we will continue in Christ!
Really this should come as no surprise. Many wander from the Lord when they lose the awe and wonder of their salvation. As long as we remain close to the Lord, maintaining an intimate relationship with Him, we will desire to serve Him. Our focus will be on the Lord rather than the hindrances of life. Our commitment hinges upon the quality of our relationship! Col.2:6 – As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
C. The Comfort (25) – And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. Is it any wonder the world behaves as it does, seemingly grasping at straws, jumping from one doctrine or philosophy to another? They are searching for something to bring peace, something to provide answers to the questions of life. The believer does not have to live that way. We do not have to worry about the difficulties we endure or the obstacles we face. Life will have its share of burdens, but we have the promise of eternal life in Christ our Lord.
That ought to encourage and embolden us in the face of any difficulty or trial. We have no way of knowing what we will be called upon to endure. We have no way of knowing where the path of life will lead, but we do know how it will ultimately end. We are secure in Christ. The body we inhabit is just a tabernacle of flesh. It will one day be folded and laid aside. We will enter the presence of Christ our Lord and spend one eternal day with Him. In light of that, what could we possibly face that has the power or ability to defeat us?