Summary: Nine reasons that John gives why we should abide in Christ.
Series: 1 John
Sermon: Why Abide
Text: 1 John 2:28 – 3:10
March 25th, 2007
We’re on our 7th week of a series in which we are going through the book of 1 John. And throughout the book we have observed how John is concerned about those who had received the Gospel that he had written and that bears his name, but now were being threatened by false teachers who are about to mislead the church. John’s constant cry to those who are reading is to resist the forces that are at work to lead them astray, by remaining in Christ. In fact the Greek word used is “abide”.
He so wants to impress this one point on the readers that he uses this same word 10 times from verse 6 of chapter 2 to verse 27. Now it’s not always translated as abide, the NIV often translates it as live or remain. For instance verse 6 “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” And in verse 24 “See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father.”
John has great affection for this young church, that is why he often calls them dear children, or dear friends, and out of his great affection he writes to warn them, “There are false teachers, people who will attempt to confuse your minds and lead you astray, you need to abide, to remain, to live in Christ. And there will also be a cultural pressure that is brought to bear trying to sway your desires called worldliness, you need to abide, to remain, to live in Christ. And there is also a spirit at work that is actively working against Jesus and those who identify with Him an anti-Christ presence that is out to destroy you in any way it can, you need to abide, to remain, to live in Christ.”
And can’t you just imagine this young church – who is being intellectually challenged by false teachers, emotionally tempted by the lure of worldliness and physically and perhaps psychologically intimidated by an antichrist spirit at work to crush them – you can just imagine them thinking, “Why? Why should I abide? Why should I persevere and resist, and stand my ground and fight and find myself weary and drained and beat up by what appears to be the insurmountable odds and pressures that are exerted against me?” Have you ever felt like that? Like quitting, like giving in.
Don’t you get tired of standing for a morality that others label as intolerant or prejudicial? Don’t you grow weary and confused by trying to have to sort through the barrage of attacks against your faith written by those openly opposed and others who profess to be a member of the faith, arguments that deny the resurrection of Jesus, that claims to have found the bones, the question the veracity of the Bible’s account or asserts that its simply false. Don’t you find yourself wishing you could turn off a conscience that won’t allow you to stretch the truth or remain in an angry disposition against another. Don’t you wish you could just rent any movie and not have to care if its contents are offensive, don’t you wish you could live for yourself like everyone else seems to and stop being everybody’s doormat. Don’t you? Sometimes don’t you just get tired of pulling your thoughts back from the brink of surrendering to desires that you’re tired of resisting and long to indulge and commanding your mind to be conscious of God and calling your thoughts back to what’s wholesome? Isn’t the work of abiding difficult when the stream of society is pushing and rushing and moving against you and your forced to stand face into the crowd and remain in Christ. And at times, perhaps when you’ve had an especially rough day and your lonely, and fed up, and bored perhaps at those time you wonder, like sometimes I wonder, “Why should I abide?”
I think that John must have been aware that his constant reminder and urging to abide against the forces that were at work must have caused his readers to be asking the same question and so John writes in this next passage several reasons why they ought to abide. (READ 1 John 2:28 – 3:10)
Because you will see Him (2:28)
The first reason John uses to encourage the church to press on in their efforts to remain in Christ is because one day they are going to see him. In verse 28 he writes “And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.”