1 JOHN 2:1-6
An expectation is a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future. An expectation is a belief that someone will or should achieve something. We can have expectations about An expectation is a supposition, an assumption, a presumption, a calculation, or a hope. We all have expectations in different parts of our lives.
… we expect that waiters and waitresses will be friendly and constantly fill our drinks
… we expect food to be freshly made and tasty and the way it is described on the menu
… we expect to be paid for hours and projects worked
… we expect a safe working environment where we can get the job done
… we expect other people to do their jobs so we can do our job and not ours and theirs
… we expect people to clean up messes and pick up clothes
… we expect when we flip the light switch that the light will come on
On the road…
… we expect people to go on green, stop on red, and hurry up on yellow
… we expect people to use turn signals when changing lanes
Our lives are full of expectations in every single relationship and in every single conversation. We have expectations of others. They have expectations of us! Today we are going to read a passage that explains Truth to us and we will uncover some great expectations in the process. We will discover expectations we have of God. We will discover expectations God has of us.
READ 1 John 2:1-6
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense-- 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 obey his commands. 4 The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.
I. OUR EXPECTATIONS OF GOD
This first part of 1 John 2 lays out some Truth for us that lends itself to some expectations we have of God based on what He has said to us.
First, we have expectations about an advocate based on what God says. John uses court room language in verses 1-2 which reminds us of many other passages which use the same language. This need for an advocate between us and God has been needed since the Garden of Eden. As Job is going through his ordeal of great suffering, he says about God, in Job 9:32-35 "He is not a man like me that I might answer Him, that we might confront each other in court. 33 If only there were someone to arbitrate between us, to lay his hand upon us both, 34 someone to remove God's rod from me, so that His terror would frighten me no more. 35 Then I would speak up without fear of Him, but as it now stands with me, I cannot.” God is mighty, powerful, too awesome for us to fathom, and is very much unlike us. We cannot hope to approach Him in any way shape or form. In Job’s life, he wished for an advocate who would speak on his behalf to the Almighty God. In a later passage in Job, God gives Job a future glimpse in which Job sees the answer in Job 16:19-21, “Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. 20 My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; 21 on behalf of a man he pleads with God as a man pleads for his friend.” You see Job in the midst of his ordeal of great suffering is given a glimpse of Jesus Christ who will one day be our advocate.
Jesus Christ is the advocate sinful people need to help us approach a holy God. Hebrews 7:24-26 says clearly on this subject, “but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. 26 Such a high priest meets our need-- one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.” Jesus occupies the role as our heavenly lawyer who speaks on our behalf to God for us.
What then is true for those of us who believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior? If you don’t believe in Jesus, then none of this applies to you.
We can expect that when we pray, God always hears our prayers.
We can expect that when we are hurting or life is twisting us in knots, that Jesus asks for help for us.
We can expect that when we sin and ask for forgiveness, that Jesus is there on our behalf before God.
Second, we have expectations about forgiveness of sins based on what God says. In verse 2, John speaks about atonement for sins. Consider what I am about to say as a completely universal law that applies to everyone at all times and in all places. Sin is a wrongdoing that creates a broken relationship between the sinner and God. Once sin occurs, a debt of death occurs because the payment of sin is always death. In order to avoid death, the sin has to be paid for in some other blood or some other death. Even with the first sin in the Garden of Eden, animals were killed to provide coverings for the nakedness of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21). God allows for substitutionary death to pay for sin because He is loving towards us. Proverbs 16:6 says, “Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for.” The Bible also teaches us, just a few verses before this chapter, in 1 John 1:9 that, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
What then is true for those of us who believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior? If you don’t believe in Jesus, then none of this applies to you.
We can expect that when we ask for forgiveness of what we consider small sins that Jesus pays our debt.
We can expect that when we ask for forgiveness of what we consider large sins that Jesus pays our debt.
We can expect that any person in the world can come to Jesus to have their sins forgiven.
We can expect that when we get to Heaven and are judged by God that our sins will not be held against us.
Third, we have expectations about God’s work in our lives based on what God says. In verse 5, John describes God’s work and His love in our lives as “complete.” The picture we get about God is that He never does anything half-way with half-effort or with half a plan. When God does something, he completely does it. When God loves, He completely loves. When God judges, He judges completely. When Jesus healed, He healed completely.
In the Gospel of John (1:16), John says, “From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.” Acts 3:16 records Peter’s words, “It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.” 1 John 4:12 says, “God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” In Philippians 1:6 the Apostle Paul says, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” When God does something, He does it completely.
To be honest, these things are true about God whether or not you are a believer or a non-believer. God’s character does not change. What can we expect of God?
A - We expect God to be all-powerful and all-knowing without any lapses.
E – We expect God to be fully eternal and not lacking anything.
F – We expect God to be completely faithful and true to Himself.
G – We expect full goodness from God all the time.
H – We expect God to be completely holy and perfect.
I – We expect God to be completely immutable which means He never changes.
J – We expect God’s sense of justice to be complete and without bias.
L - We expect complete boundless love from God.
M – We expect God to be full of mercy and complete in His compassion for us.
P – We expect God to completely keep His promises.
R – We expect God to be completely right in all His words, actions, and attitudes.
S – We expect God to be completely sovereign and to know exactly how our life should run.
W – We expect God to have perfect wisdom.
WHEN EXPECTATIONS ARE MET
In thinking about expectations, life is really good when all of our expectations are being met and we are meeting the expectations of others. Harmony is created at work when everyone from the CEO to the person sweeping the sidewalks and collecting the trash does their job. Money is made and production is high in a business setting when each employee does the expected job and customers act as they are expected. Joy and satisfaction is felt in a restaurant when food comes as expected, menu items are available as expected, and waiters and waitresses do their part. Respect is felt at home when children do as their parents expect of them and even more respect is felt when they meet expectations without being asked. Trust is levied out when teenagers do as their parents expect of them and even more trust is given when they meet expectations without being asked. Love is felt when husbands and wives treat each other as they expect.
Harmony. Productivity. Joy. Satisfaction. Respect. Trust. Love. All of these things happen and more when expectations are met.
ILLUSTRATION… Time When Expectations Were Met (p)
I recall a time when every expectation I had was met. I remember one of the first dates that Kelly and I went on. We courted rather than dated so it is all a little jumbled. I remember planning out the date to take her to the most expensive restaurant I could find. I was in St Louis at the time doing my ministry internship so it was the summer of 1997. I made reservations at the French Restaurant ‘Faust’s’ in the Adams Mark Hotel in downtown St Louis. It was around $100 a plate if I remember correctly. I got duck. She had pork. It was one of those meals where the plate was large and the meal was really small. Every expectation of mine was met including the phenomenal red dress Kelly wore. All expectations were met which gave us a sense of love, joy, and an entertaining time. Met expectations can do that!
II. GOD’S EXPECTATIONS OF US
This first part of 1 John 2 lays out some Truth for us that lends itself to some expectations God has of us based on what He has said to us. Expectations go both ways. As I was thinking about this passage and what 1 John says to us, I realized that God has some expectations of us that are either met or not met.
First, God has many expectations as He views Himself as our Father and us as His children. Verses 3, 5, and 6 all indicate that as God’s children, He expects obedience from us. Verse 3: “obey His commands.” Verse 5: “obeys His word.” “Verse 6: “walk as Jesus did.”
Obedience to God is not a new idea in 1 John 2. The Bible is full of verses about God’s expectation that those who claim to be His act and live as He commands. “Obey” is a word used 165x in the Old Testament and New Testament.
Exodus 19:5: “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession.”
Leviticus 18:4: “You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees. I am the LORD your God.”
Luke 6:46: “Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?”
Luke 11:28: “He replied, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it."
What does God expect of us who say that we believe in Him? Simply put, we are to do what He says at all times and in all situations. We are to love as He commands. We are to spend our money in response to our faith. We are to vote in accordance with His Word. We are to raise our children and grandchildren to love God. We are to mind our emotions in view of how we should act according to God. We should watch what comes out of our mouths. Every command in the Bible given for us as believers in Jesus Christ we are to obey and live by… that is what God expects.
Second, God has expectations of us as we deal with sin. We have already stated that for the believer in Jesus Christ, our sins are forgiven. God has two major expectations when it comes to believers and dealing with sin in our lives.
One, just because God has forgiven us does not mean we can go and do, say, be, or live the way we want and just ask for forgiveness after. The “do first and ask forgiveness later” attitude does not fly with God. Is there Scripture to back that up? Romans 6:1-4 says, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” 1 John 3:9 says, “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.” If you say you are a believer and you choose to live in sin or choose to sin recklessly, you are a liar. You are not a believer. Not my words. 1 John 1:10, 2:4, and 4:20 says this to be true.
Two, we should not make forgiveness something that is difficult for those that are coming to know God. 1 John 2:2 tells us plainly that the forgiveness that Jesus Christ offers for sins is offered to the whole world. All people can come to know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Black. White. Poor. Rich. Muslim. Buddhist. Murderers. Rapists. Alcoholics. Those addicted to shopping. People who like baseball over hockey. The divorced. The petty. The jealous. The gossiper. The selfish. Jesus Christ offers forgiveness to all and we as believers should not put barriers up for those who are coming to know Jesus Christ. Forgiveness in Jesus Christ was freely offered to us and it is freely offered to others. God expects us to believe that, explain that clearly to others, and act appropriately.
Third, God has expectations that we will live with truth as one of our guiding principles. In 1, 2, and 3, John the words “true” “truth” “truly” are mentioned 28 times in only 132 verses. 21% of the time in his letters John is talking about truth. That is quite an emphasis on truth. The Truth should be part of who we are.
The Truth of God guides our beliefs about life.
The Truth of God guides our actions and reactions.
The Truth of God dictates how we live, how we work, and how we play.
The Truth of God means we look honestly at ourselves and do not think of ourselves more highly than we ought.
WHEN EXPECTATIONS ARE NOT MET
In thinking about expectations, life is really bad when our expectations are not being met or we are not meeting the expectations of others. Frustration is created at work when anyone from the CEO to the person sweeping the sidewalks and collecting the trash does not their job. Money is lost and morale is low in a business setting when each employee fails to meet expectations and job descriptions. Dissatisfaction is felt in a restaurant when food comes out late, menu items are gone, and waiters and waitresses seem to struggle to do simple things. Disrespect and anger and frustration is felt at home when children disobey parental expectations and even more disrespect is felt when they fail to meet expectations that were clearly defined. Mistrust and suspicion is levied out when teenagers fail to meet expectations. Husbands and wives feel unloved or forgotten or like a roommate when they do not treat each other as they expect.
Frustration. Low morale. Dissatisfaction. Disrespect. Anger. Mistrust. Suspicion. Unloving feelings. Feeling forgotten. All of these things happen and more when expectations are not met.
ILLUSTRATION… When Expectations are Not Met (p)
I recall a time when my expectations I had were not met. When I was a freshman in college in 1995, I went without a car for my first semester. I went home after my first semester in college at Christmas and had a plan to buy a car. I ended up buying a brown 1987 Ford Taurus. The inside of the car was immaculate and had no wear and tear whatsoever. It was my first car. I was elated. After Christmas break, I headed back to Tennessee. I got 2 hours into the trip when the car began to overheat. I was driving down the highway with the windows rolled down and the heat on blowing air off the engine. The thermostat was broken. I got to campus after a day delay. The next month a hole developed in the power steering and it was impossible to drive without constantly putting power steering fluid in it. After that, two alternators and a new ignition switch. Then all the timing belt had to be replaced. Having a car was not all it was cracked up to be. It was supposed to mean freedom and a steady job and fun, but instead it was a headache and a money pit. That car was a constant frustration, a source of unexpected bills, and a drag. In 2003 when I bought a house, I had a similar experience. It is never a good thing when we have expectations that are not met.
As we think about this passage this morning, remember that we have expectations of God, but He also has expectations of us. We who call ourselves Christians expect Jesus to be our advocate for us with God, for God to forgive our sins, and for God to completely keep His Word in our lives. God meets His obligations and expectations perfectly.
What about you?