Truth Must Abide in the Christian until the End
October 5, 2008
Pastor Sean Harris
Here at Berean we are doing a verse by verse study of 1 John, and the reason we do it that way is that we believe that all Scripture is inspired of God. Every bit of it is good for instruction. All of it is good for doctrine, and it can correct us and provide reproof. I, as a preacher, do not pick the topics every week. We let God’s Word determine what the topic is. And so we are going to work through two verses this morning and do our best to work through three sentences.
I John 2:24-25: Let that therefore (for that reason or consequently) abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.
Let me first call your attention to the word “therefore.” The word is there for a reason. It communicates a link between the previous verses. The “therefore” is there in reference to the verses that precede this passage (1st John 2:18-23), and it is referring to the message and spirit of the antichrists that would cause us to deny that Jesus is the Christ. He says that we are living in an age where many are antichrists. There are many that would cause us to question whether or not He is the Christ. They would encourage us to deny the exclusivity of Jesus Christ. These are the same antichrists who would question Fundamental Baptists’ belief that there is only one way to Jesus Christ. They would rather encourage us to adopt an ecumenical perspective. And yet, we are resolved to remain firm on the Word of God. The Word of God says in Acts 4:12 that there is “no other name given unto heaven whereby men may be saved.” Only Jesus Christ! The Apostle John is encouraging Christians in a day and age where many will encourage us to deny Christ, and many will question if Jesus is really the Son of God or not. “Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning.” I would encourage you to make marginal notes in your Bible.
Followed by the third person, “let” implies permission or command addressed to an inferior. Let him go, let them remain, are commands by God addressed to the second person. This implies two ideas. First, this is in fact a command I am receiving from God. Second, I must submit to this command.
What does the word “let” remind me of?
It is also important to note that this word “let” means that I am not a robot. I am a person. I can make choices. I can choose to believe or I can choose to reject the Gospel message. In this verse, I am being encouraged to let this happen. I must allow and cause whatever “that” is to abide in me.
What is the “that” of this verse?
It is important when you are reading a verse to understand what “that” is because it is supposed to abide in you. If you read this verse and you do not understand what the “that” means, then there is no point in reading this verse. If I am told to let something abide in me, then certainly I would need to know what “that” is. I want you to get a hold of this “that.” If you do not write it down there is a good chance that you will forget it. “That” is “Truth.” In the 21st century I would say “let the absolute Truth of the Word of God abide in you. Submit to it. Receive it. Take notes in your Bible. Write it down. Let Truth abide in you. Let the absolute Truth of the Word of God abide in you.
1 John 2:24 “Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning.” He is going to quantify this. It is not something like 2 + 2 = 4 because that truth is not truth that you heard from the beginning. This truth is going to relate to God. The truth that must remain or abide in me must directly and very specifically relate to: God “the Son and the Father” and eternal life (see vs. 25) and must be the words of Jesus or His Apostles.
John emphasizes “heard” in verse 24 because there was a lot of apostolic teaching, preaching, and oral reading of the gospels or the Apostle’s letters. Romans 10:7, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”
“From the Beginning”
First, we will look at the beginning with Pentecost with the 1st Church. Let’s look at Peter’s sermon in Acts 2:14. This is one of the most famous sermons. Certainly the Sermon on the Mount is the most famous, but this is also famous. Jesus has ascended to be with the Father and He told them to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit came in a tremendous way. Men were able to speak in tongues. There was a lot of confusion.
These men are full of a new wine. But Peter (the one who denied the Lord is now bold, confident and filled with the Holy Spirit), standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day (These men are not drunk is what he’s saying. It’s only 9:00 am). But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Are you sure you are saved? Are you sure you are in the faith? Have you examined yourself?)
Acts 2: 21-24, 36
Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should have beholden of it. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
What is the truth? It is that God Himself came to this earth, took on human flesh, was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, and was crucified by some Israelites and Romans that hated Him. He died on a bloody cross, rose again in three days, and spent 40 days appearing to a multitude of people. He did all that so that there could be no condemnation to any of us who are in Jesus Christ. The truth is that your sins and my sins can be forgiven. That God Almighty ordained before the foundation of the world that men and women, boys and girls can be saved by placing their faith in Jesus Christ. That is the truth that John wants you to have in your heart. John wants to make sure that you let that truth permeate into your mind. First you hear it with your ears, or read it with your eyes, and then let that truth soak down into your very being. Let that truth cement inside you. Fixate yourself in that truth. Wrap yourself around that truth. Don’t allow anyone to take that truth from you. Don’t let some college professor nut tell you otherwise. And don’t let Oprah Winfrey question the truth. I have a really hard time in this 21st century with a Christian that believes something for 20 minutes and then they are done believing. I will tell you right now that the Word of God says you believe and believe and believe. Your life is characterized by believing. Christianity is not a Sunday morning belief. You believe all the time. You live your life believing.
Second, we will look at the teaching and preaching ministry of Jesus. Let’s look at the beginning of Jesus’ preaching ministry in Mark 1:14-15. John the Baptist was in prison and Jesus Christ came out with this central message.
Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
This is what they heard from the beginning: the truth that saved your soul; the truth that encouraged you to receive Jesus Christ; and the truth that you heard that made you bow your knee and submit to Him was the necessity to repent and place your faith in Jesus Christ. That was the truth that saved your soul. This is the truth that you heard from the beginning of your spiritual life. You grab that truth and do not let it go. Don’t let any one take that out of your heart. Repent and believe keeps me saved. Repent and believe is a lifetime experience. Repent and believe is not something that I do on one day. I live in repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. I bury myself in that. I repent seven days a week. Yes, there is a turning point in your life. Yes, there was a time when you were going the wrong direction. You were a hell bound sinner. You were on your way. You were alienated from God. You needed to be turned around, and God Almighty turned you around. What a minute, we get distracted and go off way too easily. We get confused quickly. And so what do you do when that happens? You repent. Dear God, forgive me. I was wrong. I sinned. Then what do you do? You believe the Gospel. What’s the Gospel? It’s that forgiveness is possible. Don’t ever stop believing that. Here’s another truth that you don’t let anyone take from your heart, soul and mind. This truth is: You must be born again!
From Jesus to Nicodemus: You must be born again! (John 3) Let the truth that every man, woman and child on the planet (every single person who has a pulse) must be “born-again” abide in me. There is no other way. I need to let that truth remain in me and guard me from error and direct my very life.
I was so taken back this week by a report that a husband and wife were out walking and the wife got stabbed to death. You know the first thoughts that go through your mind are what kind of city are we living in? Is it safe to run anywhere or walk anywhere? What is going on? Then 24 hours later, the newspaper reported that the whole thing was a conspiracy, and that the husband had planned the whole thing planned. He took his wife to walk on a particular course. There was a young 18-year-old man waiting there that conspired with this Sergeant to jump out from behind some bushes and ambush this wife. It was all plotted ahead of time. What wicked and corrupt minds! These minds were influenced from Satan and the pit of hell. This is unbelievable stuff; can you imagine? It’s wicked! The husband stood by and watched his wife and scratched him self up a little bit. How wicked. Do you know what we ought to do? They ought to be hung; we ought to wrap a rope around their necks. That’s not my point. I’m not done. The 18-year-old had MySpace account, and on this account he talked about how his life had no purpose. No purpose. You see, when your life has no purpose and you are not converted, you can easily find yourself in that mess. You can find yourself rationalizing somehow that it is acceptable to jump out from behind a bush and knife an innocent woman to death as her husband stands by. You would think that even if he premeditated that and conspired that at some point and time his conscience would kick in and he would stop. But no, his conscience is so seared and alienated and wicked that he participates or allows it to happen and attempts to cover his sin. But be sure your sin will find you out. Do you know what this 18-year-old boy needed? He needed Jesus Christ. He needed to be born again. How do you wrap these two together? Let me tell you: there were Christians that knew him. There were Christians in his army battalion or squadron or whatever he was in. If you are not living with the truth that everyone needs to be born again, and you are not abiding, you might not be thinking about witnessing 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. If you live the truth that Jesus is Lord, and live with the truth that all must repent, and live the truth that everyone must be born again and let the truth abide in you. If you realize that all those outside of Christ are dying and going to hell, you’ll be conscience about witnessing. You’ll think about your neighbor outside of Jesus Christ. We have been dooped into the plurality and the ecumenical idea so much that we are caving on the Gospel. We’re letting the world doop us into thinking that there are multiple ways to the Father. We don’t really believe it because if we really believed it, we would be more soul conscience. Somebody knew that 18-year-old boy was hurting. Somebody knew his life was in shambles, and somebody needed to invite him to church. Somebody needed to invite him to come to Jesus.
From John the Baptist:
Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the World.
We have found the Messiah and He brought Peter to Jesus. Andrew took his friends and brought them to Jesus. There are people in your subdivision that are waiting to be brought to Jesus. What are you going to do this week to bring someone to Jesus? Who are you going to invite in your place of work or the place where you live? The reason we are not bringing them to Jesus is because we don’t let this truth fill our being and abide in us. Do you understand that you need this truth 24 hours a day 7 days a week and not just on Sundays and Wednesday nights?
Philippians 2:11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. You have two choices to make. Either you bow the knee today to Jesus or you bow the knee to Jesus in eternity. Let me tell you something right now: every Hindu, every Buddhist, every Muslim, every Atheist is going to bow the knee to King Jesus. They are all going to fall to their knees and say “we were wrong.”
An Act of the Will
Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have
heard from the beginning. (I John 2:24)
“Let” is an act of the will; The Apostle is NOT instructing Christians to intellectually assent to a known group of facts about the person and work of Jesus of Nazareth. He is telling them to let this truth permeate your very being. Let this truth effect how you run your marriage. What about forgiveness? What about the truth that Jesus is Lord. What about that truth? Could that affect your marriage? How would that affect your marriage? The Bible says, Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave His life for it. That’s how it can affect my marriage. The Word of God should impact your decision making.
In an age where there are many antichrists, DON’T let anything interfere with your remaining in a state where you believe Jesus is Lord!
Look at this next sentence very closely; this is a very important warning.
John 2:24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If (meaning not everyone is doing it) that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.
The Bible knows nothing of this Christianity where there is believing in Jesus and then walking away from Christianity and still being secure in Christ. Every single Christian is instructed to continue in the faith. Whether you are saved at 5 years old or 10 years old, from then on you continue in the faith! You grab a hold of these truths and secure them in your being and you believe and believe. We all doubt. We are not talking about periods of doubt. Read any journals of many of the great preachers and missionaries. They all have rough times. They all struggle with the faith, but when you look at their lives, they are characterized by staying in the faith. I expect that you will continue in the faith until death or Jesus returns. We will keep believing what we currently believe and we will believe it tomorrow and the next day, year, and decade. And there is nothing that is going to cause us to stop believing. Saved People Currently Believe! Why? They have an anointing from Christ. Genuine believers are characterized by continuing in the faith. Genuine believers are characterized by continuing in the faith which starts with a heart belief that God has made the resurrected Jesus of Nazareth whom Israel crucified both Lord and Christ. And in doing so He made eternal life possible for all who repent and believe the Gospel.
From the Lord Jesus:
If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed. John 8:31
Why is it so important for “truth” to abide in me? Jesus said after that in John 8:32:
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. The secular talk show host does not have the power to set your free. The counselor does not have the power to set you free. The only thing that can set you free is the truth of the Word of God. It’s the only thing that can set you free from bondage, from fear, anxiety; you pick your sin or issue. Jesus is Lord is another truth. You say I’m struggling because Wall Street is falling apart!! Don’t forget, Jesus is Lord!!! My son or daughter died. I’ve got cancer. My mom is dying of cancer. My husband left. My son did this. This happened to my daughter. Don’t forget Jesus is Lord!! He is in charge. He will always in charge. Wall Street can or cannot be bailed out, and Jesus is still Lord. The war can go on, or the war can end and Jesus is still Lord. The Democrats can win or the Republicans can win and Jesus is still Lord.
How many of you say you love the fact that your sins are forgiven through Jesus Christ? Man, that’s an awesome truth. So then what do you do when a brother or sister says “please forgive me.” I love the fact that Jesus forgives my sins, so then when? I don’t say no, I won’t forgive you. Because when the truth that Jesus has forgiven me grabs a hold of that and permeates my very being, I in turn forgive. You see these truths heal marriages. These truths bring husbands and wives back together. These truths help church members. These truths, if you apply them, can turn your life around.
Eternal life is a promise from God to all who abide in the truth or continue in the faith because He who began a good work in you will perform that good work until the end.
So I say to you, let Him perform it. He bought you with a price. He redeemed you; so now submit to Him. He is going to do a work in your life so let Him do it.
Listen to how Paul said it in Colossians 1:21-22:
And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works (Do you remember your life before Christ when you were wicked?), yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death (the death, burial and resurrection of Christ), to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: Are you born again or are you ignoring me? Do you know for sure? Because if you do, I want you to know that God sees you as holy. Why is that important? Because Satan loves to beat us up with our sin. He wants to defeat us with our sin and keep us defeated and he wants to remind us what we are not doing for God. In Jesus Christ you are holy.
vs 23: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard (notice the similarities between John’s message and Paul’s message), and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
I am trying to get you grounded in the faith. The storm is coming and if you are grounded and settled, no one could get to move. Wall Street could fall. Chaos could happen. You are saying I am firm in Jesus Christ, and I’m continuing in the faith. I’ll not let anything move me. What we need to be doing in our churches is building some firm foundations.