Damariscotta Baptist Church
Friday, July 20, 2018
Growing personal relationships with God and community

08/27/17 Sermon - Abide in Him

“Abide in Him”

1 John 2:15-29


We are back to studying the book of 1 John. Today’s Scripture is at the end of chapter 2, since it has been a couple of weeks, I thought I would give a quick synopsis of the first chapter and the beginning of chapter 2 to recap what we have already studied.


The books of 1st, 2nd and 3rd John do not identify any particular author. The author of 1 John has long been understood to have been John the Apostle, the same man who had written the Gospel of John and the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Interestingly, upon further study, some theologians have considered Lazarus, to have been the author. We will leave the determination of authorship up to the experts.



It is also important to note, that 1 John was not written as a letter, but rather it was written as a homily or sermon, which was intended to be read aloud before the churches in the area. There was a concern for the Christians in the church to remain firm in their belief in Jesus Christ and not to be swayed by the gnostic propaganda that was arising. At the time of the writing of this paper, one of the responses to the development of the Christian church was the upsurge of gnosticism, which taught that in order to really know God, one had to have a special knowledge that was given to only a few. The author of this message wants the listeners to understand that Jesus Christ is the center of their faith, and knowing Jesus as one’s Savior is all the “special” knowledge one needed.  


In Chapter 1, the author reminds the churches that God desires to have a personal relationship with them, one in which they may call God “Daddy” and be as one of His children.

This intimate relationship is gained by accepting the blood of Jesus, as the perfect sacrifice, which takes away all their sin and allows them to be seen as holy and able to be in the presence of God.


In the beginning of Chapter 2, the author reminds those in the church that when they are in a personal relationship with Jesus, their relationship with sin, changes. When they choose to walk in the light, darkness does not fit in. The author then compares their walk with God, with the stages of life. We begin our relationship as children, where it is enough just to know that our sins are forgiven. But as our relationship develops and we grow in our faith we become adults. We find ourselves on the front line, serving, seeking, toughing it out. Until, we become an elder, one who has maintained a deep relationship, through ups and downs, and continues in prayer and strength in our faith.


Today’s Scripture begins with a warning. The relationship we have the our Father will be attacked and one of the biggest forces used to bombard our faith in God is “worldliness.”  Verse 15 reads,


“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.”


The world, in this context is not the physical planet, nor is it the humans that inhabit the planet. The world the author is referring to is:

the community of sinful humanity that has no regard for and is against God.


You may be thinking, “Well what good Christian would love something that has no regard for and is against God?”

Hopefully, none,

but if you think for one moment that a

“community of sinful humanity that has no regard for and is against God”


is going to go around proclaiming such things,

you are crazy.


That is the problem the author is addressing.


The world goes around stating they are doing “good” things, and expecting everyone to agree and join in.


The definition of “good” is the questionable part.


“Good” for whom?


The world’s progress may, in deed, make humans

“better off,” but not necessarily “better.”


And what human doesn’t want to be “better off?”

The author wants us to be “better” in our relationship with God and other Christians.


When we buy into what the world is doing, we need to distinguish to what expense. Ultimately, the love for the world will pass away, the things of God will endure.


You have all seen the movies or read the books about the character who chooses earthly passions over Godly ideals. Money over time with family,

prestige over honesty and integrity.

Only to discover at the end of the movie or book,

that the world system,

as impressive and winning as it may have seemed,

is worthless.

And relationships and the things of God, are priceless.


Here are a couple of questions to test your sense of worldliness?


  1. What is your standard for success?  

Is it worldly? Is it Godly?

What are the standards for worldly success?

Are they similar to what God deems successful?


2) What is your standard for spirituality?

Is it worldly? Is it Godly?

Do you know the difference?


As we continue to read on in chapter two, in verse 18 and 19 the author warns his listeners about another attack on their relationship with God, the dangers of false religion, that of the antichrist. I like the manner in which verse 18 begins…


“Dear children, this is the last hour”

The person who wrote this lived expecting Christ to return at any moment.

He was ready.

Based on what we read in the news and what the Bible says about the end times, I think it wouldn’t hurt for us to be living the same way……………….expectantly.

The author gives proof that the end is near because the Antichrist is coming, which is referred to here as an individual who will capture the imagination of many people, including those who don’t have a clue about the Bible. Many have taken the word “antichrist” to mean “opposite” or “anti” - Christ. And have taken on Hollywood’s version of the antichrist as someone who is evil, repulsive, and ugly, opposite of what Christ is like. When in fact, “anti” can also mean “instead of.” The Antichrist referred to in this context will look and seem to be much like Jesus, and yet be deceitful, Paul puts it this way to the Corinthians in his second letter, chapter 11, beginning with verse 13,

13 For such people are false apostles,deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

Some think the Antichrist may not be a human but may be a political system. Either way, the results are the same. When we think back to WW2 and we think of Germany, the individual Hitler and Nazi Germany as a state, were virtually one in the same.

The author continues with the concept of the Antichrist by explaining that many antichrists, small ‘a’, have come. There is a distinction between the big “A” antichrist and the small ‘a’ antichrist or many antichrists. There is a “spirit” of antichrist, those that walk and talk much like Christ, but are in reality far from it. The author wants us to realize these antichrists when we encounter one.

They will provide previews of what is to come when the big “A,” Antichrist appears. The actual word “antichrist” occurs only five times in four verses found only in 1 John and 2 John. But the concept of deception and worldliness embodied in the antichrist is found throughout the Old and New Testament. In Daniel there is reference to

- The little horn (Daniel 7:8)

- The king of fierce countenance (Daniel 8:23)

- The Prince that shall come (Daniel 9:26)

- The willful king (Daniel 11:36-45)

In the New Testament we read in John 5:43

- The one who comes in his own name

And in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 and 2:8 there is

- The son of perdition, the man of sin, and the lawless one

The author goes on to explain that many of the antichrists will be someone who once identified themselves with a body of believers. They once associated with an established Christian church but left the body of Christ. Mainly because an antichrist will not feel comfortable in a healthy church.

The author continues by encouraging the listeners to be able to identify the spirit of antichrist when they encounter one. The author reminds us that we have an anointing from the Holy One. This does not refer to a “special” anointing but the promise that once you believe, the Holy Spirit comes to reside within you and be your guide. This general anointing belongs to everyone who claims Christ as their Savior. Even those believers who may not be walking in their anointing that God has given them, the ability to discern is still available.

Oftentimes worldliness has become louder and drowns out the ability to discern. But that does not mean the discernment is gone.

The anointing of the Spirit is a gift to all Christians and something we all can and should learn to submit to and respond to more readily. This anointing of the Holy Spirit allows us to possess the resources necessary to know the truth. It’s what we chose to do with those resources that determines the level to which we obtain the wisdom and truth. The author then goes on to explain how to use this anointing, to determine who is an antichrist, by asking the question whether they deny that Jesus is the Christ.

You don’t have to go too far to encounter individuals who believe that we all worship the same God. We may have different names for this God but that doesn’t matter. We all just have different roads that lead to the same God.


Here’s the discerning question this author is encouraging us to ask, “Was your God perfectly revealed in Jesus Christ?” If they answer in the affirmative, you both have the same God, if their God was not perfectly revealed in Jesus, well, you don’t have the same God, as it is proclaimed in this Bible.

There may also be people we know who seem spiritual and religious, yet when asked the same question, “Is your God perfectly revealed in Jesus Christ?” Their answer may have more to do with their morality and good behavior, which may make them look good here on earth, but before God, gets them nothing. Because if we reject Jesus we reject God.

The author has just warned his listeners against attacks against their relationship with God that they will experience. Now he offers a way in which we may preserve our relationship with God.

We are to “abide in Him.”

The word “abide” seems rather antiquated. Some translations have written the word “continue.” A clearer translation may be the word “preserve.” This is the time of year farmers and their families make preserves. They put their vegetables or fruits through a preservation process, place it in a jar and seal the lid. That is the concept the author is trying to get across. He reminds us that we have this relationship that needs preservation. In order for it to remain fresh and alive, it needs to be protected from attacks. And the preservation process for our relationship with God is two fold.

We need to let the Word abide in us

And

We need to abide in the Spirit.  


In Ephesians 6, the Word is called “the sword of the Spirit.” When we let the Word abide in us, we have a sword that allows us to fight the battles of life correctly. Because these battles are not of flesh and blood, but are of principalities. We just got done reading about the antichrist and the taking over of our spiritual life. The only defense is a good offense. We need to be reading God’s Word daily and soaking it in, abiding in it, preserving it, so that we have it when we need it.

While we allow the Word to abide in us, we need to abide in the Spirit.

Oh dear, that means we don’t get to be in control.

That means we allow the Spirit to lead us, guide us, make the decisions for us. That may be difficult for some of us. However, the consequences for not abiding in the Spirit, means an unprotected relationship with God.

We may gain control, but we lose so much more.

By not abiding in the Spirit, we lose peace of mind, anxiety takes over; we lose joy, depression rears its ugly head.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The product of abiding in the Spirit, the very things that need preserving.

Not much has changed since the author sent this message out to the new Christian churches. Each of us will encounter attacks on our relationship with God. Worldliness will strike us as soon as we walk out this door, if not before.

False religions come at us through the media, neighbors, and sometimes our own thoughts. But today we have been given a way to protect our relationship with God, by living out the Word of God, and continuing to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us.

Christ is the Hope of Glory.

Let’s pray.