Summary: This is the final message in a series of three on 1 John. this message examines the tests we need to apply to our life in Christ. Redemption and regeneration are essentially bound to sanctification. We are called to discipleship and to faith in Christ
The Tests of Life and Light
As seen from the previous two sermons Christians are called not only to redemption but to life in the light. It is a walk. It is the idea of journey that I would like to take up. Becoming a Christian is a call to discipleship – there is no choice – it is essential to faith in Christ to be an active follower of our Lord and Saviour. Since that is the case there has to be forward movement. The walk cannot be stationary - it has only two directions – forwards or backwards – we are either walking forwards or we are slipping backwards. Christianity is dynamic by its nature. The Holy Spirit is given to us for that very purpose.
I want to take up this analogy of journey and throw in a little bit of train imagery.
In looking at 1 John 2 we will note:
1. The Central Station of Life and Light 1 John 2:1-2
2. The Tests of Life and Light
1. The Central Station of Faith 1 John 2: 1,2
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
John writes to the church members ‘so that you will not sin’- ‘But if anyone does sin’ These two statements need to be held in balance. We can be too lenient and almost encourage ourselves to sin. Whereas, an exaggerated severity denies the possibility of sinning or refuses forgiveness and restoration if one falls.
God’s provision in spelt out in three:
Paraclete - verse 1a
Person – verse 1b
Propitiation - verse 2
All three relate specifically to Jesus Christ. He is the central Person / place we must always call in to when we sin or stumble. Our journey will have us call through this Central Station regularly – although our goal is to avoid sinning, it does not negate the glorious provision - the only provision - the central provision of Jesus Christ.
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father 1 John 2:1a
Our Advocate, our Paraclete (since the Greek word is ‘parakletos’. An ‘advocate’ was one that had favour with both parties. Jesus does exactly that. Jesus pleads our case before the Father. The double blessing is that the Father is also for us – it is sin that He opposes and this is where Jesus steps in. Think about the believer’s blessings – a Paraclete with us –in us and a Paraclete in heaven. The picture is not Love pleading with justice– it is more Justice pleading with Love for our release.
Jesus Christ the righteous 1 John 2:1b
The Person Jesus is also called the Righteous One – this refers to His person – He who is for us is Righteous by nature and has purchased righteousness for us by His work. He is also the One whom we need to imitate – follow in the way of righteousness – in the walk of righteousness – in the journey of righteousness.
He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:2
Lastly, Jesus is our propitiation – the sacrifice for our sin. The Father and the Son together have worked a wonder of love whereby Jesus Christ has paid the price to eliminate the barrier of sin. He has shattered it, He has taken the punishment and He has paid the price. As Aslan in Narnia, so Christ on the cross. His blood is presented in heaven – no one can dispute the solution for our sins. The Son is the Father’s provision for our acceptance.
We have Jesus’ heavenly advocacy; Jesus’ righteous character and Jesus’ propitiatory death.
2. The Tests of Life and Light 1 John 2:3-27
All Christian profession must be measured and judged in relation to the truths of Life and Light. Seven times in the letter John uses the expression ‘we know that’ 2: 3; 3: 14; 4: 13; 5: 2, 18, 19 20 - this repetition is for the purpose of supplying tests to discern genuine Christians from spurious professors.
In 5:13 ESB translates the verse ‘Here is the test by which we can make sure that we know him.’
The passage gives us three tests
I. The Moral Test of Obedience 3-6
3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.