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My Heart, Christ's Home (1 John 3:24)
Sermon Notes
Sunday, 29 September 2013 00:00

We considered 1 John 3:24 on Sunday. One interesting feature of John’s style of writing is that his units of thought are marked off at their commencement by the introduction of new subject matter. They may be concluded by what is called an inclusio (the repetition at the end of a unit of a word, phrase or idea found at the beginning). An inclusio marks the unit as complete. It is an element of Greek style that is frequently found outside of John and of which this author makes good use.

Therefore, in 2:28, the thematic statement introduces the idea of “manifestation” which runs through 2:28-3:10a, where the word “manifest” is the inclusio marking the unit as complete.
Then the theme of love for one’s brother emerges in 3:10b (only previously referred to in 2:10) and concludes with the restatement of the Savior’s command to “love one another,” again an inclusio (3:23). The new theme that now emerges is the theme of God “abiding” in believers: “… abides in Him, and He in him” (3:24). The inclusio that signals an end to this unit will be found in the words of 4:16, “… abides in God, and God in him.”

The notes from Sunday’s handout found in the attachment serve as a summary of 1 John 3:24.



Review: John has made it plain that the one and only way in which a child of God can, or does, manifest himself is by doing righteousness. Indeed, righteousness is the only possible way for the child of God to truly and accurately express himself, since he (in his inward, regenerated self) cannot sin (2:29-3:10a). John has also been careful to define love sufficiently so that when we see it in action it can be recognized as such (3:10b-18). In its essence, it is the direct opposite of the murderous hatred of Cain. It finds its true Model in God’s Son, Jesus Christ, who laid down His life for us,” and it leads to boldness before God in prayer (3:19-23).

Preview: As we come to the climactic section (3:24-4:19) of the Body of his letter (2:28-4:19), John will proceed to tell us precisely how we may reach the goal of living a life that leads to boldness at the Judgment Seat of Christ. This goal is reachable because the believer is indwelt by God Himself (3:24)! With this discussion of the subject of God abiding within the obedient believer we reach the pinnacle of the mountain up which John has been leading us.

John has just told us (3:22) that the key to boldness before God in prayer is obedience to His commandments. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. But something else is true of the believer who keeps these commandments ~ such a person abides in Him (i.e., in God or Christ), and in addition, He (God or Christ) abides in him (the obedient believer).

Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

Prior to this verse, the word for abide (meno) has occurred in the Greek text no less than fifteen times, yet surprisingly, John has not yet spoken directly of God, or Christ, “abiding” in believers.

The closest he has come to speaking of God “abiding” in us occurs when he tells his readers that “the anointing … abides in you (2:27) and when he affirms of the one who hates his Christian brother that “no murderer has eternal life abiding in him (3:15). No doubt John knew that his readers could identify “the anointing” as the Holy Spirit and “eternal life” as Christ (5:20).

So here again we meet the reciprocal relationship which is an integral part of our Lord’s doctrine of abiding (John 15:4-5).

If a Christian is abiding in Christ (or God) then Christ (or God) is abiding in that Christian.

Although John has not said so directly until this point in his letter, now this truth becomes a central fact in the progression of his thought, namely, that the obedient believer has God making “His home” within him. Such an experience fulfills Jesus’ words in John 14:23 ~ Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. Note that the word “home” or “abode” (Greek, mone, belongs to the same word group as meno ~ to abide, live, dwell). Obviously such an experience with God is the ultimate form of fellowship with God, which John declared from the beginning was the goal of his epistle (1:3). So now here in this climactic section of John’s letter, the theme set forth in the prologue (fellowship) and the one presented in 1 John 2:28 (abiding in Him) merge as John will develop the concept of the indwelling God. Notice also that along with the first direct mention of God abiding in us, there is also the first direct mention of the Holy Spirit. If God indeed abides in us, we can know this by the Spirit He has given us. Since all Christians possess the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9), they have the means by which they can discern the reality of God abiding within them. As we move on in this letter, we will learn to discern God’s Spirit (4:1-6) and God’s indwelling (4:7-16).







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