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1st John 2 - Christ Is Our Advocate

By Jeri Young

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an [ a ]Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

3 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.

7 Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. 8 [ c ] On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining. 9 The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. 10 The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

12 I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake. 13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father. 14 I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

Do Not Love the World

15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

18 Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that [ d ]it would be shown that they all are not of us. 20 [ e ] But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and [ f ]because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the [ g ] Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.

The Promise Is Eternal Life

25 This is the promise which He Himself [ h ]made to us: eternal life.

26 These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. 27 As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.

28 Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not [ j ]shrink away from Him in shame [ k ]at His coming. 29 If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.

Last week, Susan gave a wonderful background on where the apostle John was when he wrote this epistle and that the church was already being affected by false teachers. Gnosticism is the belief that only certain spiritual people are given enlightenment and that believers should only concern themselves with the spiritual world and that physical matter was of no importance. If physical matter was not an issue, it then allowed the “gnostic” believers to take part in any worldly physical desire they wanted to.

Being the last living apostle to be an eye witness who had lived and walked with Jesus during his three years of ministry, John is beloved by all and considered to be much like a physical father in his teachings. John, since his younger days, has grown wiser and deeper than ever in his knowledge of God. He starts this part of his epistle calling believers, “Little children...” I think he used this term lovingly thinking back to the last night before Jesus died and Jesus talking to all of the apostles when he called them, “little children.” In the Gospel of John 13:33, John writes about Jesus speaking to the apostles at the last supper - the night he was about to die. Jesus said to the apostles, Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.” That is the only time that John writes “little children” in the gospel of John but in this epistle, he uses the term “little children” seven times. John knows he is at the end of his life. His tenderness, love and his concern in this epistle is incredibly moving. The first two times in this epistle that the term “little children” is used, the Greek word for “little children” is ‘teknion’ which is a term meaning the less mature or unperfected Christian in that they could be anywhere in their Christian walk. We will only be truly perfected when Christ takes us home.

1John 2:1,2 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”

John knows the temptations that are going to come to them. He knows they are going to stumble so first he wants to remind them how much Jesus loves them and that Jesus died for them and their sin and not only for them but for the sins of the whole world. He wanted to remind them that, Jesus, God in human form, is before the Father right now advocating and praying for us who believe in Him.

Once again we see how the threads of the Old Testament interweave with the New Testament. Under the old law given to Moses, the Jews were to once a year celebrate the Passover commemorating when the Jews being held captive in Egypt were spared by God in the plague that killed all of the first born in Egypt. The Jews were instructed to take a pure white innocent lamb and kill it and put the blood of the lamb on the door posts and then prepare and eat the Passover meal. So each year when remembering the Passover, the High Priest.....and there was only one High Priest at a time....would go into the Holy of Holies, the most holy part of the Temple, to bring the sacrifice before God which was for the atonement or propitiation of the sins of the people. This was done year after year after year preparing the Jews so that they might recognize the Son of God when He came to save mankind. Only the High Priest was allowed to go in because he was going in before God. Even though God is everywhere, God’s Shakinah Glory (2 Chronicles 7:1,2) dwelled in the Holy of Holies in the temple. If anyone other than the High Priest were to go in, it would mean death. They actually used to tie a rope around the ankle of the High Priest in case he didn’t come out after a lengthy time, so that they could pull him out without having to go into the Holy of Holies to get him. There was an enormous veil or curtain that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple. We’re told in the gospels that when Jesus gave up His Spirit and physically died, the veil which weighed hundreds of pounds, was ripped, torn without human hands, from the TOP of the veil to the bottom. The significance of this is that no longer did believers need a human high priest to go before God. By Jesus’ bodily sacrifice for our sins on the cross, He opened the veil so that we could come before the Father ourselves and pray.

2 Cor 5:21 says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” When we give our hearts to the Lord, we are literally living “IN” Jesus. When we come to the Father, because we are “IN” Jesus covered by His righteousness, the Father sees not our sins but the righteousness of His Son. When we come before the Father, we are on holy ground. We come wrapped in the Holiness of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. When we give our lives to the Lord, “our sins are removed from us as far as the east is from the west.” Psalm 103:12

What is propitiation? It means a “worthy sacrifice.” Jesus, dying in human form, was the ultimate and only worthy sacrifice. In Hebrews we are told that Jesus is our High Priest advocating for us. Hebrews 2:17 states, “Therefore in all things,He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” And in Hebrews 7:25: “Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”

1 JOHN 3-6: 3 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.

At first, John’s words sound sharp but when reading verses 3-6, we have to remember that John’s focus and intent is on heresy that has come into the church. Many were saying “I know the Lord,” but they didn’t. John uses the word “know” (meaning intimate knowledge) FORTY times in this epistle. This word “know” is more than a casual acquaintance. He’s trying to teach them how to recognize who truly knows Jesus. Jesus tells us in Matthew 7 to“beware of false prophets” stating, “You will know them by their fruit.” He goes on to say, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of Heaven but he who does the will of my Father in Heaven will enter.” John is giving two external tests that demonstrate salvation: 1) Confessing that Jesus is Lord, and 2) Keeping his commandments. The word “keep” is also as Pastor Steve often teaches in the present tense so it means the habit of keeping or not keeping His commandments. No one keeps the commandments all the time. We all slip and stumble but believers make a sincere effort to live in a way that is honoring to God and our lives should demonstrate that.

1 John 2:7-11: Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. 8 On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining. 9 The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. 10 The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

The old commandment is from Leviticus 19:18, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Although John doesn’t clearly state the new commandment, He does clarify what is the new commandment in 2 John: 6 “ And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.” Jesus personified the new law of “love” but was very clear about the old law as well. When He was asked by the Pharisee lawyer,36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 “...Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and [ a ] foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

When John says the “darkness is passing away and the ‘true Light’ is already shining, who is the True Light? It’s Jesus! If Jesus lives in us, His light will be evident. Notice though that John says the darkness is “passing away” meaning it is a process. He doesn’t say it’s completely gone but that God’s light should already be shining. If we are a new creation as Paul says in 2 Cor 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation,” there should be some evidence of the amazing love that is in Jesus also being in us. John then presents a test as to whether someone is truly a believer or not. “The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. 10 The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”

Again, we have to look at the tense of the word “hates.” It’s in the presence tense as someone who continually hates or practices hate towards his brother. The Greek word for brother here is “adelphos” meaning brethren. Here it is used as a fellow believer. John is again talking about the Gnostics inside the church. They were shunning the true believers, making them feel less and causing them to question their faith because they were supposedly not enlightened like the Gnostics were. After stirring up as much trouble as possible, they would leave the church or get kicked out and they would take as many believers as possible with them. This is a perfect example of the parable of the seeds being sown...some falling by the way side and quickly sprouting up but because they had no roots, they quickly withered. Basically all the Gnostics did was exactly what satan does....they twisted scripture. They took only parts of scripture and then twisted it to be what they wanted it to be. They completely left out what they didn’t want to believe. Sometimes people lie by twisting the truth and other times they lie by simply omitting or denying the truth. That is why we always have to take the whole of scripture. There are no contradictions in the Bible. The Bible is not a cafeteria plan where you choose what you want to believe and deny the rest of it as not being real. So John was saying this is the true test that if anyone hates his fellow believer and then claims to truly know Jesus, that person is a liar. I think we need to remember that there are going to be true believers that have differences of opinions on parts of scripture but it will not be on the basic doctrine that Jesus is the son of God, He is the second person in the Trinity of God and that He became human and died for our sins and then rose again from the dead and by doing so offered us eternal life if we believe in Him and accept Him into our heart.

1 John 2:12-14: I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake. 13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father. 14 I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

This is really interesting how John writes this. It’s important to him because he repeats twice but only slightly different the second time. He starts out again by using the term “little children,” and again he uses the term, ‘teknion’ meaning younger or less mature in their faith. He reassures them that their sins have been forgiven not because of any effort on their part but but by their sincere belief that Jesus was the Son of God and that He died for them and that God is faithful to keep His promises for His name’s sake. Believing in the name of Jesus(Acts 16:31), they could rest assured that their sins were forgiven.

“Fathers” In both cases, the Greek word is ‘pater.’ These are the mature believers in the church. The ones who stay in the Word and have a deep knowledge of the eternal God. The pinnacle of spiritual maturity is knowing the fulness of God. That is when on-going continual rest truly comes to the believer. This spiritual maturity can come at any age but is more often to those who have been through the different stages of life and have seen their trust in God validated over and over and over again. God is alway faithful. I’ve heard it said, “as we grow more mature in our faith, we sin less but ask forgiveness more.”

I don’t know of any of you that have listened to the teachings of Brent Yim that used to be the pastor at the Calvary Church in Temecula, CA. His teachings come on the Calvary Chapel radio station here at 2:30 on FM station, 88.1. He is one of the most phenomenal teachers I’ve listened to but sadly he passed away five years ago in May of 2012, of brain cancer. God called him home early in our minds. He was only 33 years old . He was married with two very small children. I don’t even know the man or his family and when I think of the loss I tear up because I know he was a dear brother in the Lord and it was such a loss to the world that he is no longer here but what he accomplished during his short life time was nothing short of incredible. And this is one of those situations that I’m thankful for the web and radio so that we can still learn from his teachings of scripture....so maturity can come at any age.

“Young men.” These are people who are not as strong as the more mature Christians and they sometimes falter but turn back to the Lord quickly. They truly live through God’s faithfulness and they know sound doctrine. They are strong against sin and error because God’s Word lives in them. The “young men” are those have have overcome the things that can wreak havoc with the newest of believers.

“Little children.” The second time John uses the term “little children, the Greek word he uses is “paidion.” It literally means “infant.” As an infant believer, you may know nothing else but that Jesus loves you and He died for you so that you could have eternal life. Some that John was writing to may have given their heart to the Lord the very day this letter would be read to them. Sadly, some people want to stay at this stage and remain “baby Christians.” These Christians will never know the rest or peace that Jesus promised them in this life. They will struggle with sin more and their spiritual life will be an unending effort to just maintain the little knowledge they have of God not because God isn’t calling them to know Him more but because they refuse to make the effort. Jesus talked about the parable of the merchant seeking great pearls and when he found a pearl of great price he went and sold everything he had to buy the pearl. Once you become a believer, the intimate knowledge of God is what you should hunger for. It is your pearl of great price. God’s promises are all there for each one of us....the love...the peace that passes understanding....the hope.....all of it is there for us on a 24/7 basis. Is there anything in the world that offers that or can compete with that?

1John 1:15, 16 : Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

Then why do we let the world come first before seeking God more and more in our lives and learning as much as we can about Him and His purpose for us in this life time? Yes, we have families and responsibilities but why do we allow the world to crowd God out. I’m guilty of this. We all are. We have so many distractions and our focus must be God first. If our focus is not God first, our growth will be stunted. Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of Heaven and then all else will follow.” Seek God first and the rest that we seek (love, peace, harmony, understanding) will follow. Hunger for the ‘solid food’ of God’s Word. Paul said to the “stunted carnal Christians” in Corinth, in 1 Cor 3:2 “I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly.” Let us always hunger for the solid food of the Word.

1 John 2:18-21 Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. 20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.

When John says the last hour, it is always the last hour. How many of us can guarantee the next five minutes of our lives? John understood that while we were to look for Jesus’ return, we should always be expecting to see Him at any moment. The term “anti-christ” is something that is thrown around a lot (even movies have been made about it) and one day the pinnacle of the antichrist will rule the world during the tribulation period but there have been many anti-christs. Anti-Christ simply means “against Christ.” The Gnostics who were trying to lead true believers away from the true faith were anti-christs. They were teaching that Jesus was not human - only spiritual. Jesus warned in the last days, false teachers and deceivers would be abundant. John was seeing the beginning of that even in the early church. Others have always wanted even to this day what Christians have....the peace and the joy of knowing the Lord. They just don’t want to commit their lives to the Lord so there have been many anti-christs and there will continue to be many anti-christs until the Lord, Himself, sets up His reign on this earth. The Gnostics came into the church and learned how to talk the talk but then not wanting to truly follow the teachings of Christ, twisted the doctrine of Christ, left the church and tried to take as many with them as possible. The ultimate test of true Christianity is enduring in the full doctrine of Christ until the end.

John reassures them that they are of God....that they have an “anointing from the Holy One” and that he writes to them because they know (have an intimate knowledge) of the truth. 2Cor 1:21,22 “21 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, 22 who also has sealed us and given us the Holy Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” We are labeled as His. Another word for anointed is chosen. Isaiah 43:1 “Do not fear for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.” That’s about as plain as it gets. Christ is the Holy One (Luke 4:34) He gives us the Holy Spirit to guard us against being deceived. The Holy Spirit gives us discernment. “No lie is of the truth” If the truth is twisted even in part, it is no longer the truth but a lie. The Holy Spirit will point out when something is a half-truth. We easily recognize when someone tells a complete lie but it’s the half truths we often have trouble with. The Holy Spirit guards us against that and gives us the wisdom of discernment.

1John 2: 24-27: “As for you, let that abide (live) in you which you heard from the beginning. (From when we first believed and were on fire for the Lord) If what you heard from the beginning abides (lives) in you, you also will abide (live) in the Son and in the Father. 25 This is the promise (and the hope) which He Himself made to us: eternal life. 26 These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. 27 As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides (continues to live) in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.

The words, “the beginning” means from the beginning of their Christian walk. “you have no need for anyone to teach you” John is not saying that Godly teaching is not beneficial. He’s saying that you do not need men to guide you. The Holy Spirit will guide you in the Word of God. Even if you only had a Bible and no human teacher, the Holy Spirit would teach you understanding. If you had no Bible but earnestly sought God, the Holy Spirit would teach you by the nature surrounding you that there is a Creator of all.

1John 2: 28,29: “ Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. 29 If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.

Now, John, again uses the Greek word “teknion” for little children, meaning all who are not perfected yet. God’s love is perfected in us but we, ourselves, won’t be made perfect until we see our Lord face to face. John urges us to live continually in Christ Jesus so that when we are before him, whether it is in the rapture of the church or He takes us home earlier, that we might have confidence in knowing that we endured in our faith to the end. We kept the faith. We finished our race. Let us live so as to look forward to His coming without shame. If we practice righteousness, we know that we live in Jesus and if we live in Jesus when our time comes, we can face Him in love without any fear or shame.

SCRIPTURE VERSES USED

1. John 13:33 “ Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.”

2. 2 Cor 5:21 “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

3. Psalm 103:12 “our sins are removed from us as far as the east is from the west.”

4. Hebrews 2:17 states, “Therefore in all things,He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”

5. Hebrews 7:25: “Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”

6. Matthew 7 to Jesus says to “beware of false prophets” stating, “You will know them by their fruit.” He goes on to say, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of Heaven but he who does the will of my Father in Heaven will enter.”

7. Leviticus 19:18, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

8. 2 John: 6 “ And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.”

9. Matthew 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 “...Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and [ a ] foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 0 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

10. 2 Cor 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation,”

11. Matthew 6:33 “Seek first the kingdom of Heaven and then all else will follow.”

12. 1 Cor 3:2 “I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly.”

13. 2Cor 1:21,22 “21 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, 22 who also has sealed us and given us the Holy Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”

14. Isaiah 43:1 “Do not fear for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.”

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