As I worked on this sermon throughout this week the number of verses that I intended to cover gradually decreased from 5 to 4 to 3 to 2 to 1. This Sunday we're only going to look at one verse: 1 John 2:28. The reason for the focus on such a small number of words is that they cover an impossibly large pair of truths. Specifically, the truth that Jesus will return to earth and the truth that when he does those abiding in him will have no reason for fear or shame. Let's look then at this short text and consider its massive implications.
This Sunday morning we're going to look at several verses which speak the strategy and motivation of Christians who find themselves confronted by heretical doctrine (2:20-21 and 2:24-27). That is, we're going to hear from John (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) concerning how true believers ought to respond to the treachery of those who set themselves up against Christ. Let's pray that God would grant us a clear understanding of the passage in order that we would walk rightly in the face of the same opposition which is all around us.
In 1 John 2:18-27 John bounces back and forth between speaking truth about the dissidents (whom he refers to as 'antichrists') and contrasting truth about the true believers. This week we're going to focus on those verses where he speaks the truth about the antichrists (2:18-19 and 2:22-23). Next week we'll look at the verses which truth about the true believers (2:20-21 and 2:24-27). Please pray that God would make us aware of everything in our lives that is working to keep us from fully trusting in Christ, that God would grant us a clear understanding of who he truly is, and that we would act accordingly—in repentance and faith and for the glory of God.
In order to provide helpful contrast and avoid an unbiblical dichotomy, last week I pointed us to John's words in John 3:16 ("For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life"). In other words, before looking at the manner in which we must not love the world and the things of the world, I wanted us to see that there is a way in which God, through this same John, commands us to love the world; namely, by seeing the people and things of the world as instruments pointing us to God. This week, then, we are going to look at the explicit meaning of this text. Let's pray that God would be pleased to strike in us a healthy ballance between rightly and not wrongly loving the world and the things of the world.
In our passage this week, John continues to use contrast as means of helping the true believers understand what it means to walk as Jesus walked. Here he draws his reader's attention to the sharp distinction between love for the things of the world and the things of God. He is emphatic that the former is incompatible with the latter. However, we must be careful to understand what he is and isn't saying. Let's pray that God would grant us a right understanding of this passage in order that we might apply it rightly for our good and his glory.