Summary: Who are we as the people of God? We are a people who are loved permanently, with a solid truth.
Permanent Love And Solid Truth: Series: The People Of God
1 John 2:15-27 Oct 2, 2005
The question, “who am I?”, is really about two things – it is about our own identity, make up, personality, temperament, and priorities; and it is also about where we fit in relationship to others. It is about identity and belonging. In that second part, belonging, the question grows from “who am I?”, which can degrade to individualism, to “who are we?”
That second question is one we are pursuing together: “Who are we?” In community, in church, in relationships together, “who are we?” Who are we as the people of God; more specifically, who are we as the people of God who have covenanted together at Laurier Heights Baptist Church?
The book of 1 John provides a lot of answers to that “who are we” question. In the first chapter, we saw that we are forgiven, and that we are a fellowship. Last Sunday, in the first half of chapter 2, we saw that we are a people whose actions of love demonstrate a transformed heart. Today we look at the last half of chapter 2, and we are going to see this: we have a love that is permanent, and we have a foundation of truth revealed by the Spirit.
1 John 2:15-27 (NRSV)
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; 16for all that is in the world—the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17And the world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God live for ever.
18 Children, it is the last hour! As you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. From this we know that it is the last hour. 19They went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. But by going out they made it plain that none of them belongs to us. 20But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and all of you have knowledge. 21I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and you know that no lie comes from the truth. 22Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 23No one who denies the Son has the Father; everyone who confesses the Son has the Father also. 24Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25And this is what he has promised us, eternal life.
26 I write these things to you concerning those who would deceive you. 27As for you, the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and so you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, abide in him.
Who Do You Love?
We can learn a lot about a person or a group of people by looking at what they love. Some people love sports, and so they read about them and talk about them and watch them. Some people love crafts, and spend lots of time making beautiful crafty type things. Some love cooking and eating. Some love music. In all of these simple things, you would expect that a person’s actions would follow their words – a music lover would constantly have their iPod with them; a craft lover would have their home or work space covered with crafty little knick-knacks; people who love to cook and eat might carry an little extra weight around (how many of you trust a skinny chef??).
John applies the same basic principle to faith, and does so by way of command: “Do not love the world or the things in the world.” This is pretty blunt, though John gets more blunt in the next half of that verse: “The love of the Father is not in those who love the world”. And it forces the question on us – do we love the things of the world? What things, you might ask? John gives us the answer, summarized in three phrases: “the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches.” Let’s look at these a little…
1. “the desire of the flesh”: the NIV calls this “the cravings of sinful man”. Both of these are fancy ways of saying “the things I want”. These are not the things we need, but rather the things we want. The things that make us happy – not the things that give us joy. The things we want not because they will make us stronger, better, more loving, more others-centered, more Christlike, but the things we want because we want them. Most of you are quite familiar with the two-year old temper-tantrum which occurs when a child does not get what they want, which will bring them immediate satisfaction. John is asking us the adult version of the same thing – do you “love… the desires of the flesh”? Most of us, myself included, have our own adult versions of the “temper tantrum” when we don’t get “the desires of the flesh”, and most of the time those end with a resolve to find a way to get what we want. These are the desires that rise up from within us.