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We have an Advocate

This week we will continue in the series that I started a couple of weeks ago on 1 John. This week we will look at chapter two. The title of my message today is "We have our advocate".

We saw in the last message that the Apostle John wrote the book of 1 John in the late first century. We saw that John was one of the 12 disciples and had a very special relationship with Jesus. We saw that John knew Jesus personally and that he was present for all that Jesus said and did. We also saw that the main reason he wrote was to keep people on track with all the false teachers around.

Bible Reading

1 John 2:1-29
1 My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the One who is truly righteous.
2 He Himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins--and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.
3 And we can be sure that we know Him if we obey His commandments.
4 If someone claims, "I know God," but doesn't obey God's commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth.
5 But those who obey God's word truly show how completely they love Him. That is how we know we are living in Him.
6 Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.
7 Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment--to love one another--is the same message you heard before.
8 Yet it is also new. Jesus lived the truth of this commandment, and you also are living it. For the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining.
9 If anyone claims, "I am living in the light," but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is still living in darkness.
10 Anyone who loves another brother or sister is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble.
11 But anyone who hates another brother or sister is still living and walking in darkness. Such a person does not know the way to go, having been blinded by the darkness.
12 I am writing to you who are God's children because your sins have been forgiven through Jesus.
13 I am writing to you who are mature in the faith because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning. I am writing to you who are young in the faith because you have won your battle with the evil one.
14 I have written to you who are God's children because you know the Father. I have written to you who are mature in the faith because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning. I have written to you who are young in the faith because you are strong. God's word lives in your hearts, and you have won your battle with the evil one.
15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.
16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.
17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.
18 Dear children, the last hour is here. You have heard that the Antichrist is coming, and already many such antichrists have appeared. From this we know that the last hour has come.
19 These people left our churches, but they never really belonged with us; otherwise they would have stayed with us. When they left, it proved that they did not belong with us.
20 But you are not like that, for the Holy One has given you His Spirit, and all of you know the truth.
21 So I am writing to you not because you don't know the truth but because you know the difference between truth and lies.
22 And who is a liar? Anyone who says that Jesus is not the Christ. Anyone who denies the Father and the Son is an antichrist.
23 Anyone who denies the Son doesn't have the Father, either. But anyone who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
24 So you must remain faithful to what you have been taught from the beginning. If you do, you will remain in fellowship with the Son and with the Father.
25 And in this fellowship we enjoy the eternal life He promised us.
26 I am writing these things to warn you about those who want to lead you astray.
27 But you have received the Holy Spirit, and He lives within you, so you don't need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what He teaches is true--it is not a lie. So just as He has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.
28 And now, dear children, remain in fellowship with Christ so that when He returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from Him in shame.
29 Since we know that Christ is righteous, we also know that all who do what is right are God's children.

Message Points

1. We have an Advocate

Verse one sets the scene"

"My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous."

My heart as a Christian is to live in Christ and not sin, but as I said recently, sometimes I do fall short and I need to confess. It helps me to know that I have an Advocate, a Defender, and a Supporter in heaven who pleads my case on my behalf.

It helps me to know that when I let myself down and ultimately let God down, that our Advocate is there for me. Over the years I have wondered what Jesus says in my defence. We can never know, but it might be something like this"

Father, Dave loves Me and I love Him. He knows Me and I know him. He tries really hard to live in Me and he does really well most of the time, but sometimes he falls short. Father, I died on the cross for Dave's sin. I took it on Myself. I paid the price. Dave is forgiven because of My efforts on his behalf. Please restore Him and help him to live right.

We can never really know what is said, but it helps me to imagine something like the above. It helps me to know the One who is truly righteous is on my side and pleading my case.

Here are some questions for personal reflection and application"

  • Do you find it hard to confess your sin when you fall short? Does it take some time to approach God?
  • Does it help you to know Jesus is your advocate, defender and supporter in heaven?

2. A new and an old commandment

The first verse in this section sets the scene again.

Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment "” to love one another "”is the same message you heard before.

I like the old/new commandment idea to love one another. John reminds us that God has always wanted us to love on another. This goes back to Leviticus 19:18 where God says, "Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbour as yourself. I am the LORD".

Jesus also gave us this command in John 13:34-35, "So now I am giving you a new commandment" Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples."

John reminds us the importance of loving one another. In the last section we saw that living in the light meant to follow God's commands. In this section it shows that by loving our Christian brothers and sisters we walk in the light and we even make the darkness disappear!

So it is important for us to purpose in our hearts today to love one another. Let us love one another the way Jesus loved us. Let us also think of ways we can do this practically.

Here are some questions for personal reflection and application"

  • Since coming to know Christ, do you find it is easier to love others? Has your love for others grown the longer you walk with Christ?
  • What are some practical ways you can show your love for others today?

3. Do not love the world

The next section of the text tells us plainly "Do not love this world".

Verse 15 says, "Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you".

This is a strong statement about loving the world that we live in. At the heart of this verse is a reminder that this world is not all there is "“ it is not our eternal home "“ it is only temporary.

Verse 17 reminds us that this world has a use by date. It says, "And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave"".

In a sense verse 16 has bookends. Verse 15 says do not love this world and verse 17 reminds us to remember it is passing away. A day will come when God calls time.

In the meantime, we live in this world as God's children and live in light of eternity. We live as members of God's eternal Kingdom and seek to serve Him in all we do. We cannot get caught up in the shallow things of this world. The things of verse 16 "“

  • a craving for physical pleasure,
  • a craving for everything we see,
  • and pride in our achievements and possessions.

John reminds us that these are not from the Father, but are from this world. So let us keep our hearts and minds focused on God and His eternal realities and live in light of our awaiting eternal home.

Here are some questions for personal reflection and application"

  • Do you find it easy to get caught up in the things of this world mentioned in verse 16?
  • Does knowing this world has a use by date help you to keep your mind on this above? (Colossians 3:1-2)

4. A warning against antichrists

In the last section the title is a warning against antichrists. Verse 18 says"¦

"18 Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour."

In verse 18 it uses the term antichrist twice. One is used with a capital A and one with a lower case a. The lower case version is referring to false teachers that infiltrated the church and denied the Deity of Christ. The one using the capital A is about the Antichrist who is talked about in Revelation 13, 19:20, and 20:10. It is a figure empowered by Satan who functions as an enemy of Jesus Christ and the Church. In the context of end time literature, this figure performs false miracles, deceives many in order to discourage people from worshiping the true God, and persecutes God's people.

In verse 26 we see that John is writing this section to warn against being led astray by these false teachers. As we have seen before they would deny key things about Christ's being the Messiah and how we should live.

John says there are two keys to help us from being led astray. The first is to remember we have the Holy Spirit as our helper and teacher. In verse 27 he says, "But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don't need anyone to teach you what is true".

The second is to remember the foundation teachings they were taught. That Christ is from the Father in heaven, that He is eternal, that He is the promised Messiah and He is the only way to find salvation.

This is why it is so important for us as Christ followers to walk closely with Him, to pray, to study our Bibles, to come to church and to rely on the Holy Spirit's teaching and promptings. When we do this we can stand firm in Christ.

Here are some questions for personal reflection and application"

  • Have you had a time when you have been led astray by false teachings? What did you do?
  • What things have you got in place now to minimise the chances of being led astray?

Closing Summary

John wants his readers to remember 4 things from 1 John 2

  • We have an Advocate and Defender (Jesus) in heaven pleading our case when sin.
  • There is a new/old commandment to love one another. It goes all the way back to Leviticus!
  • We are to not love the world and the things in it more than we love God and His Kingdom.
  • We need to be aware there are false teachers (antichrists) in the world trying to lead us astray.


By Dave Quinn
Founder of PASSIONAustralia.org

 

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