Exploring 1 John Session 12 1 John 2:19-21
Exploring 1 John Session 12 1 John 2:19-21
In Session 12 of our exploration of 1 John disciples of Jesus are exhorted to practice what they already know. A famous football coach Vince Lombardi had his team practicing for the Big Game. Scouts, another word for spies, were watching. Their report back to the other team was disappointing, all Lombardi had his team doing was blocking and tackling. Green Bay won the game. The fundamentals, practicing what we know, the basics, that’s the way to victory.
If you’ve missed previous sessions you can catch up on our website www.hbcc.life or YouTube channel Hbcc life.
It may be impossible to understand how Jesus can be fully God and at the same time fully human. One group within the congregation to which John is writing decided that Christ could not be human. Unfortunately, if you remove either divinity or humanity from Jesus you invalidate the atonement (John 5:18). The atonement is how Jesus' sacrifice upon the cross makes it possible for your estrangement from God to be reconciled. Remove the divinity or humanity from Jesus and there is no salvation (John 5:23 b).
What is salvation? Salvation is knowing God (John 17:3), which empowers the Holy Spirit to transform you into the image of God, the image revealed to us in Jesus of Nazareth (2 Corinthians 3:18). We come to know God when we acknowledge that we don’t. Realizing our ignorance, we believe that Jesus reveals God the Father to us. We then commit ourselves to grow in personal knowledge of God through the imitation of Christ, that’s called discipleship. Acknowledging, believing, committing you then ask God to accept your faith. It is then that something mystical happens, something supernatural, something changes within you and you start your journey of knowing God. Knowing God is salvation, are you saved from ignorance, do you know God, are you walking in the light? I want you in the light. If you would like an introduction let me know, otherwise, the general path to enlightenment involves Acknowledging, believing, committing, and asking, which you can do this very moment.
There is a difference between false teaching and heretical teaching. False teaching is just having something wrong. Heretical teaching undermines the revelation of scripture resulting is separation from God and the fellowship. We would do well to be reminded that being part of the congregation is essential to holiness (1 John 1:7). Together in the community of faith we are transformed into the image of God and the blood of Jesus purifies us from all sin, all darkness, all wrong being and doing. Light and darkness never coexist; you are either in one or the other. You must be an active part of a faith community to thrive as a believer.
John tells us that those who adopted heretical teachings about Jesus could no longer tolerate what the faithful already knew, the basics of the faith. They accused those who remained of being ignorant, not saved, not knowing God.
1 John 2:19-21 (MSG)
They left us, but they were never really with us. If they had been, they would have stuck it out with us, loyal to the end. In leaving, they showed their true colors, showed they never did belong.
But you belong. The Holy One anointed you, and you all know it. I haven't been writing this to tell you something you don't know, but to confirm the truth you do know, and to remind you that the truth doesn't breed lies.
There are many reasons a person may leave the congregation. Not many are legitimate reasons. “God is calling me somewhere else” usually means I don’t like what is happening here. When brothers and sisters can’t iron out differences, can’t come together in love, and be honest with one another, they are shutting out the light and allowing the dark corners in their lives to grow. We cannot say such folks don’t know God, but they certainly are not acting as if they do. Our mandate is clear: Love God, Love Others.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (MSG)
4 Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
5 Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
6 Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
7 Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
When we refuse to love, the darkness grows.
One of the reasons that there are Catholics, Orthodox, and 30,000 Protestant denominations is because “if I don’t like it” “if they don’t agree with me” “if they don’t think like I think” “if they don’t do it as I want,” that is cause enough for me to leave the Church family. Even though the reasons for leaving are often illegitimate, that doesn’t mean that an individual has left the faith. Yet they often leave a lot of hurts and a lot of questions behind but they haven’t left orthodoxy. It’s most likely best to release them with a prayer for their spiritual prosperity. God will work on their immaturity.
It needs to be mentioned that there are legitimate reasons for leaving a congregation. For example, if leadership has lost integrity and is not being held accountable, that’s a good reason to leave a congregation. But not leaving the Church.
When a brother or sister comes to the point where they disagree with orthodoxy then they have slipped back into the darkness. These have left the fundamental teachings that John has laid out to this congregation to whom he is writing.
You will find the fundamentals of faith, what has been referred to as an orthodox understanding of Christianity summarized in 3 creeds of the Church. The Nicene Creed [http://anglicansonline.org/basics/nicene.html], the Apostle’s Creed [https://www.ccel.org/creeds/apostles.creed.html], and the Athanasian Creed [https://www.ccel.org/creeds/athanasian.creed.html]. These Creeds are from the early years of Christianity and proclaim the basic tenets of the faith. To dismiss one of these statements is to embrace heresy and become one who is anti-Christ.
John tells his readers to stay with the basics. Maybe John was repeating Jesus when Jesus said:
Matthew 24:24 (MSG)
Fake Messiahs and lying preachers are going to pop up everywhere. Their impressive credentials and dazzling performances will pull the wool over the eyes of even those who ought to know better.
Those who did not know better left the congregation deciding to follow a different Gospel than the one they had received from John. (Galatians 1:6-8). Those that stayed did so because they had an anointing. “The Holy One anointed you…” “We know what the Holy One does within us. He, the Spirit of truth, will guide you into all truth.” ( John 16:13 (NIV) We know that when we acknowledge, believe, commit, and ask, God’s affirmative answer results in our lives being sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13). When the Holy Spirit resides in you, the prophet Isaiah proclaims: “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’” (Isaiah 30:21 (NIV). Learn to listen, my friends, learn to hear the Spirit. If you are a believer the Holy Spirit has taken up residence within you, but you have to train yourself to hear His voice and follow His leading if not your own voice will speak in His name.
We do not yet know the full extent of the lies that those that left the congregation are spreading. This will be revealed to us in the next verses. A quick review reveals the lies we do know. First, those that left were indulging in some sort of immoral behavior demonstrating that they were walking in spiritual darkness. Second, those that left claimed that they had not sinned. Ironically sin is anything that destroys relationships and that is exactly what those that left did, mocking those who remained on the way out the door. Thirdly, those that left were not following God’s commands; they were failing in keeping the oldest commands: Love God, Love Others. Fourthly, those that left hated their former brothers and sisters in Christ. Hate is incompatible with love. Fifthly, those that left valued the things of this world over the things of God, following the dictates of egoism (1 John 2:16) Those that left were stumbling in the dark.
I want you in the light. If you sense any corner of darkness within, get rid of it. 1 John 1:9 it! There is no gray, it’s either light or darkness, there is no maybe, it’s either yes or no, there is no good enough, it’s Christ or anti-Christ, there is no twilight, no gray. I want you in the light. I want you to shine. I want you to be the light.
Those walking in the light know that Jesus is fully God and fully human. Those walking in the light know that Jesus has made atonement for their sin reconciling their relationship with God. Those walking in the light do not have to sin, they strive to live ethically, morally, but if they do sin they can confess and be restored. Those walking in the light walk with a congregation, they don’t go it alone. Those walking in the light love God and love Others. I want you in the light.
Once in the light, stay in the light. Yes, it is possible to fall back into darkness. You stay in the light by continually practicing the fundamentals of the faith, the basics. Keep loving God as demonstrated by your obedience to His commands. Keep loving others as demonstrated by giving them your respect and out of your abundance meet their needs. Strongly suggested is your practice of the 7 habits of a disciple, these are the basics: bible reading and study, prayer, fellowship, service, worship, obedience, and contemplation. Practice the basics, you will win.