1 John 2: 1-2. We just finished reading in 1 John 1 that we are to pursue righteousness (walking in the Light); and when we fail, we are to confess our sin and repent meaning to practice change into living God’s ways. Here in 1 John 2: 1-2, John says he is writing this leter so that people do not violate God’s laws, but rather are encouraged to pursue and practice them. BUT, he also says that should we sin, then go to Jessu through whom we receive forgiveness! Jesus is all righteous and totally conforms with the Father. He can be our Advocate and Intercessor before Holy God. Jesus is the Atoning Sacrifice for all sins. Those who come to and through Him can receive forgiveness and help to change. We are not left dead in darkness. Jesus is the Way to Life and Light!
Repentance is not negative condemnation but rather positive opportunity to change for the better!
1 John 2: 3-4 Are you discerning God daily by experience? Are you coming to perceive, recognize, understand, and know God better? How do you know if you are growing spiritually?
This is how you know…are you trying to keep in mind and then practice His commandments and ways?
Whoever says “I know God”, but does not seek Him and His ways, and then walk in His ways or obey His teachings is either a liar or deceived. Or he is ignorant and the Truth (Jesus) is not in him…and/or…the truth of God’s Word is not in him.
We find this same message throughout the Bible. The Old Testament continually instructs for obedience to God and warns that choosing evil always brings destructive consequences. Choosing to not follow God is unfaithfulness. In the New Testament, Jesus also teaches this. John 1: 15, “If you really love Me, you will keep (obey) My commandments.” Paul prays earnestly for new believers in Ephesus and Colossae that they would know God and His ways, with clear knowledge and discernment of His will, purposes, and ways…so that they might live and conduct themselves rightly (Colossians 1: 9-10, Ephesians 1: 17-19). This is the best prayer we can pray for anyone!
False teachers and leaders will say that if you just believe that Jesus exists and saves, then only grace is needed….how you choose to live is your own free choice. They teach a one time prayer of repentance and faith. They do not mention continued repentance, separating from the world, learning and growing in a new Living Way, or discipline and obedience to God. But in James 2: 14-17, we can learn that faith without corresponding works is dead. Faith is supposed to act on what is really believed and held dear. Faith has convictions. We behave and act on what we really believe. What do you really believe enough to apply it to your life and actions?
It makes sense that if I really believe Jesus is my Savior and Lord, and I have a real relationship of love with Him, then it will be my desire and effort to know Him, His thoughts, His ways, and to follow Him in order to be pleasing to Him. I am willing to be corrected by the Holy Spirit and change. I believe Him and that His ways are best. I trust Him. I love Him and want to see His smile! I want to know Him more and more. I want to get closer and closer. I want to grow to follow Him more and more closely and more consistently. He is the priority because my love for Him is deep.
We can and should examine ourselves and know if we are progressively growing to know Him more and live in His ways.
1 John 2: 5-6 Again, John points out…..How can you know and be assured that you really are in Christ? If you strive to know His Word, keep it in mind, and do what it says, then that shows that you really do love Him. That is love, faith, and trust working out in corresponding actions. A hypocrite is someone who says one thing, but acts another way.
If you really do follow Christ, your love for God is reaching maturity. Love is our motivation! If I say that I abide with Him as His beloved bride, and Jesus truly is my Savior and Lord (Head/Husband), then it should at least be my personal debt and obligation to live and same way He does. How does Jesus live…in what way? Jesus did everything in line with the Father’s will (John 5: 19, 5:30). Jesus also taught the great blessings in pursuing (hungering and thirsting after) righteousness (living in God’s right ways) in Matthew 5:6. Later in the same sermon on the mount, Jesus teaches the Lord’s prayer including the phrase, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We are to seek God’s Word to learn it and then apply it to our real life. At the end of this sermon, read what Jesus said,
“So everyone who HEARS these words of mine and ACTS on them (obeys), will be like a sensible (prudent, practical, wise) man who built his house upon a rock. And the rain fell and the flood came and the winds blew against that house, yet it did not fall, because that house had been founded upon the rock. And everyone who HEARS these words of mine and does NOT DO them will be like a foolish (stupid) man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell- and great and complete was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7: 24-27)
There is so much for us to apply today in these 2 verses in 1 John 2: 5-6 and correlating verses. How did my house stand in 2020? Do I need to examine my foundations? Do I need to make some corrections and repairs with God’s help?
What about the current foundations of America? America is far from desiring to know God’s Word or Ways, much less trying to live in and with Him. Are we looking at the great and complete fall of a house built on the sand? Also remember Jesus words, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Matthew 12:25. The rain, flood, and stormy winds are in the earth. Even if America falls, will your house stand? It is possible. Jesus lived under the governmental hand and control of the Roman Empire, yet, He was victorious!
Much to take to prayer…talking and fellowshipping with God.
He loves you so much that He will tell you the truth if you are willing to listne and do what He says.
1 John 2: 7-12. God’s Word, His commandment, is not a new thing. The whole Old Testament is God’s Word and commandments concerning the good news (gospel) of salvation through the Savior (His prophetic Word)! God also intended for people to strive to live with Him in righteousness in those days. God’s Word is always true, consistent, right, and eternal.
But, there is a new commandment emphasized in the revelation and realization of Jesus Chirst as the manifested Savior and Lord. He completed the work on the cross and made a way back into love relationship with the Father. The Light, the true revelation of God in Jesus, is already shining and dispelling the darkness and captivity. The foundation and motivation of the 10 commandments is love! In the past, they had largely been perceived as holy law. Jesus taught us the priority and motivation to love one antoher as He loves us.
If you say you are in the Light, yet you hate, despise, or detest one of God’s true children, then you are really not abiding in Jesus. If you despise one of your brothers and sisters in Christ, then you actually are still living in darkenss…you are straying and do not know where you are going….the darkness has blinded you. You are not to be a cause of stumbling or a cause to bring error to another. We are to be people who love God whole-heartedly and have His love flow through us to others. But remember, His love always stands in truth, knowing that it is to the person’s great advantage to live in truth.
And what if someone else is hurtful towards us? We are to forgive while standing in truth. We have been pardoned of our sin by being His family and taking His name. If God so forgives us such a great debt, how much more should we forgive our siblings and others of their smaller debt? Remember the parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18: 21-35? Also, remember the Lord’s prayer, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” In Matthew 22, Jesus teaches the 2 greatest commandments….to love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself. Walk in love, no bitterness or unforgiveness, even when you have been wronged. That is overcoming love.
Back to the main message….if we really love God, we will obey His commands…Jesus said…..
“The person who has My commands and keeps them is the one who really loves Me, and whoever really looves Me will be loved by My Father; and I too will love him and will show, reveal, manifest Myself to him. I will let Myself be clearly seen by him and make Myself real to him.” John 14:21
Do you see the commandment of love and now understand how it works?
1 John 2: 13-16. John addresses the fathers (those spiritually mature), the young men (those who are growing and now are experiencing spiritual battles), and the children (those newly or recently spiritually reborn into realtionship with Jesus). He wants them to know the message of this letter is for all of them.
He reminds the children that because they have taken on the name of Jesus in spiritual adoption, their sins are fogiven. They are starting a new life and way in Him. Pay attention so you stay on the right path with God.
He reminds the fathers who have come to know the Father and His ways through Jesus and the help of the Holy Spirit, that they should remember that this is holy God who has existed from the beginning in the Father, Son Jesus, and Holy Spirit. He is the real authority and the One to honor. They must “keep on keeping on” in what they know is Truth.
He reminds the young men that they have victory over sin, death, and the devil through their salvation in Jesus….not mighty works of their own. Jesus has made the way for them to be in relationship with and know the Almighty Father…and they should come to know Him and His Word so that they can abide and live in it always….victoriously. This message will equip them in their fight against evil.
Now that John makes it plain that all need to hear this message, he speaks to all beginning in verse 15.
Do not love, cherish, or prioritize the things in the world. If you are doing that, you are not really prioritizing your love for the Father. Where is your zeal for a strong loving relationship with Him?
Separate from the ways of the fallen world and live in God’s new Living Way. God is holy; the world is fallen in evil. The world promotes the lust of the flesh (craving for sensual gratification), the lust of the eyes (greed and longing for worldly stuff), and the pride of life (assurance of your own abilities and resources or the stability of the world by other human sources or organizations)
Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness with these same lusts and pride (Matthew 4). These 3 areas of temptation are against the Father and are intended to separate us from Him….they are temptations of the fallen world promoted and made to look desireable by Satan.
These are the same temptations Satan used on the Garden of Eden to cause Adam and Eve to fall…it looked good, would taste good, was desirable, and would make them like god).
These are the same tempations Jesus teaches us about in the parable of the sower and the seed. Check that out in Matthew 13.
How much more should we be alert and aware so that Satan does not catch us in the same traps??? He prowls around like a lion seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8.
Personally, I see many “Christians” today who claim they are followers of Jesus, yet continue to walk in the world’s ways. Sadly, I also see many “Christian” leaders, churches, and organizations who have also fallen into this trap. They enable immorality (unrighteousness) and sinful behavior and call it compassion and grace. Yet, true love would warn those headed for destruction so that they might repent, be saved, and change! True love does not tolerate evil!
Some false teachers promote a message of worldly prosperity, claiming it is God’s blessings….. for those who know how to follow their rules, methodology, and spiritual secrets.
On and individual level, it is easy to become proud of personal success and good works without recognizing God’s handiwork in our lives…thinking, “I earned it”, instead of having a thankful heart for God’s work in our lives.
Or what about those who are so busy in worldly endeavors that they have no time for fellowship with the Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit or in their Word.
What about “Christian” churches or organiztions who are more promoters of social events and entertainment than they are of the hard and true gospel of Jesus Christ that requires relationship, repentance, and obedience?
There are many such deceptions and temptations. Be alert! This message is important for everyone….fathers, young people, and children!