Exploring 1 John Session 16: 1 John 2:28-29

 

Exploring 1 John Session 16: 1 John 2:28-29

 

We are stepping into Session 16 in our exploration of 1 John.  On line, you will find the previous sessions at www.hbcc.life and the hbcc life channel on YouTube. You can help promote these teachings by using the share button on Facebook and the Subscribe button on YouTube.

 

In this session, we are going to consider the second coming of Jesus and how we are to ready ourselves for this eventuality.  John will also remind us that a disciple of Jesus is well-practiced in his or her demonstrations of right living.

 

The Apostle John writes to the congregation:

1 John 2:28-29 (MSG)

And now, children, stay with Christ. Live deeply in Christ. Then we'll be ready for him when he appears, ready to receive him with open arms, with no cause for red-faced guilt or lame excuses when he arrives. Once you're convinced that he is right and righteous, you'll recognize that all who practice righteousness are God's true children.

 

To stay with Christ is to live deeply in the anointing we have received.  The anointing includes John’s teachings, the gospel he preached, the knowledge of Christ, the mentoring we received leading up to our baptism, the congregation, and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.  The anointing sets us apart to God for His purposes.

 

Please catch the significance of being set apart for God’s purposes.  This means you are to trade in your old agenda for God’s purposes, not your own, you’re now living for an agenda bigger than yourself.

 

We live deeply in Christ when our entire lives are set on loving God and loving others.  Your daily practice of the 7 habits of a disciple helps you in our task to love and to listen. It’s by love focused outwards that selfishness is overcome.  We become Christ minded, we do the things God reveals for us to do (John 5:19).  In this right action, we become the person God created us to become.  We live our lives to the full, creating communities in which love and being loved, acceptance and belonging are the norms.  Together we build communities where each member looks out for the interests of others (Philippians 2:4).  We build communities of equality where economic status, the color of your skin or the language you speak, does not hinder the fellowship of the congregation (James 2:3). A community united in the cause of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:10).  Christ matters.

 

Of course, to live deeply in Christ you have to be in Christ.  His is how you get into the light and the light gets into you.  Acknowledge your estrangement from God and the sins that have hindered a right relationship with others (1 John 1:9).  Believe that Jesus reconciles your relationship with God through the atonement for sins.  His death upon the cross made that possible.  (Acts 16:31). Commit yourself to be a Christ-follower, a disciple of Jesus, learning to live a Christ-filled life (Matthew 16:24-26).   Having acknowledged, believed, and committed ask God to accept your faith.  God accepts your faith and changes you on the inside, opens spiritual eyes, adopting you as His child, filling you with the Holy Spirit who empowers you to live a new life in Christ (Romans 8:15 & Galatians 4:6).  If you are not in Christ, and Christ is not in you, today you can ask God to accept your faith and this situation will be changed (2 Corinthians 6:2). Acknowledge, believe, commit—if you ask let me know so that I can encourage you in your new-found faith (Romans 10:9).

 

John writes:

“Live deeply in Christ. Then we'll be ready for him when he appears…”

 

The New Testament reveals that Jesus will one day return. 

 

Acts 1:6-11 (MSG)

When they were together for the last time they asked, "Master, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now? Is this the time?"

 

He told them, "You don't get to know the time. Timing is the Father's business. What you'll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world."

 

These were his last words. As they watched, he was taken up and disappeared in a cloud. They stood there, staring into the empty sky. Suddenly two men appeared—in white robes! They said, "You Galileans!—why do you just stand here looking up at an empty sky? This very Jesus who was taken up from among you to heaven will come as certainly—and mysteriously—as he left."

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The verses of scripture we just read are referred to as the Ascension. The event takes place 40 days after the resurrection, that first Easter Sunday.  In the company that witnessed this mystery are 11 of Jesus' inner circle: Peter, James, John, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, James—son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas –son of James.  Judas Iscariot committed suicide after realizing that his actions resulted in the Crucifixion, Jesus’ execution.  From that group of loyal followers, the question is asked:  “Is now the time?”

 

The prevailing expectation for the Messiah was that He would restore the Kingdom of Israel to the glory days of old.  The Roman occupiers would be vanquished.  Israel would take its place as the greatest nation in the world.  Peace and justice for all would become the norm. 

 

Isaiah 9:6-7 (MSG)

 

He'll take over

 the running of the world.

 

His names will be: Amazing Counselor,

Strong God,

Eternal Father,

Prince of Wholeness.

 

His ruling authority will grow,

and there'll be no limits to the wholeness he brings.

 

He'll rule from the historic David throne

over that promised kingdom.

 

He'll put that kingdom on a firm footing

and keep it going

 

With fair dealing and right living,

beginning now and lasting always.

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So the disciples asked: “Is it time?” We’ve been asking that same question ever since.  Come, Lord Jesus! 

 

The Consummation of the Kingdom and the Second Coming are intricately related. Jesus tells the disciples that the time for the consummation of the Kingdom will not be revealed to them (Mark 13:32).  Previously John has warned his congregation about false teachers.  Prevalent is the false teacher that proclaims when Jesus will return.  They look at scripture, they look at the headlines and say “can’t you see the signs?”  They set the date, gather a following, sell their books, and preach with great charisma whipping up the people into an End Times fervor.  Only to watch the seasons change, only to watch disheartened crowds fall away, and then only to set a new date.  We don’t get to know the time. 

 

Those that are really savvy won’t set a date.  They will spin the day’s headlines into signs from God that the time is rapidly approaching.  It seems to me, again, just one person’s opinion that 1 Thessalonians 5:3 might be a better indication of the Second Coming.

 

1 Thessalonians 5:3 (MSG)

About the time everybody's walking around complacently, congratulating each other—"We've sure got it made! Now we can take it easy!"—suddenly everything will fall apart. It's going to come as suddenly and inescapably as birth pangs to a pregnant woman.

 

When the times are good, when it looks like we made it, it is then, when least expected, like a thief in the night, Christ returns.

 

What is not opinion is that we don’t get to know the time.  What we do get is the Holy Spirit taking up residence within us, empowering us to love God and to love others.  It is through the presence of the Holy Spirit in your lives that you live deeply in Christ. For the Spirit transforms you, renews you in the image of God, as you choose to live a devout and holy life (Colossians 3:10).  The Spirit is the purveyor of sanctifying grace, the grace that changes you from the inside out, the grace that empowers righteousness living, the grace that makes it possible for you to live your life to the full (1 Thessalonians 5:23, John 10:10).

 

When you walk in the Spirit, which simply means listening and loving, doing as love directs, you are living deeply in Christ (Galatians 5:16).  Living deeply in Christ you will be doing all the things expected of a follower of Jesus.  You will be growing in love; obeying the commands of God; respecting people as out of your abundance you meet their needs (Matthew 22:36-40).  You’ll shine.  You will be a light-bringer and where ever you go the darkness will flee (Matthew 5:14 & Ephesians 5:8).  

 

When you first acknowledged, believed, committed, and asked God to reconcile you to Himself, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30).  The Holy Spirit indwells you in all fullness.  The question then becomes does the Spirit fully have you?  Child, Adolescent, Adult faith—do you recall that teaching from Session 9; 1 John 2:12-14.  When you are new to the faith you exercise a Child-like faith.  When you realize that you are battling with egoism you’ve entered Adolescent-like faith (Galatians 5:17).  The reason for the spiritual ups and downs, obedience and disobedience, the spiritual mountain tops, and the spiritual valleys is because the Holy Spirit doesn’t have all of you.   The path to an Adult-like faith is motivated by Godly sorrow (Psalm 51:10-12) you acknowledge your problem with egoism, you believe that God can and will and at this moment give you a new heart, another deeper change (Ezekiel 11:19), and consecrating yourself to God and God alone, presenting yourself as a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1), you ask God the Holy Spirit to receive you fully.  God will bring you glorious freedom from egoism. No longer will your best intentions be hijacked, now you will decide to obey, to overcome temptation, to do righteousness, or give in to the darkness, and what you decide is what you do (Ephesians 4:14).  God the Holy Spirit has empowered you to be a spiritual Adult, exercising Adult-like faith.  Then at the second coming of Jesus, you will be “ready to receive him with open arms” (1 John 2:28).  Does the Holy Spirit fully have you?  If not, today is the day, that you should make that decision to become a spiritual adult. If you do make that decision I want to explore it at length with you, let me know.

 

1 John 2:29 (MSG)

Once you're convinced that he is right and righteous, you'll recognize that all who practice righteousness are God's true children.

 

Again John reminds us of the ethical nature of our faith.  Christianity requires the right belief and right action and right words.  John points to our example.  Jesus lived a right and righteous life (Hebrews 4:15).  So we have a litmus test, the person who has the right belief, that belief will be demonstrated in the right action and right words.  The person who has experienced a spiritual rebirth is living a right and righteous life.  You will not find a person who is in the light that is immoral or unethical.  It is the person who demonstrates their love for God and love for others who are walking in the light, empowered by the Holy Spirit.  The person in the light encourages, the person in the light builds up, the person in the light contributes the mutual benefit of the congregation as they eagerly await the second coming and the consummation of the Kingdom.

 

Jesus will return.  He told His disciples:

Matthew 16:27 (NIV)

For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.

 

The Apostle Paul proclaimed:

Titus 2:11-13 (MSG)

God's readiness to give and forgive is now public. Salvation's available for everyone! 12 We're being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life. This new life is starting right now, 13 and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears.

 

1 Thessalonians 4:16 (MSG)

He'll come down from heaven…”

 

The Apostle Peter wrote:

2 Peter 3:3-4 (MSG)

First off, you need to know that in the last days, mockers are going to have a heyday. Reducing everything to the level of their puny feelings, they'll mock, "So what's happened to the promise of his Coming?

 

The way a person is ready for this mysterious and incredible event is to be in the light, living deeply in Christ by acknowledging, believing, committing, and asking God to bring you into the light.  As a believer, you live deeply in Christ by allowing the Holy Spirit to have you fully by consecrating yourself to God.

 

Get into the light. I want you in the light.  Shine as you wait for Jesus’ return.


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