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Accept No Substitutes (1 John 2:18-27)
Sermon Notes
Sunday, 28 July 2013 00:00

This week we considered 1 John 2:28, which is a thematic statement for the material that follows in 2:29 - 4:19. The previous section had stressed the idea of “abiding,” the Greek word (meno) being used seven times in 2:12-27. It is even used once of the antichrists who did not continue with the apostles in the Jerusalem church (2:19). The readers must allow the truth to “abide” in them and thereby will be able to “abide” in the Son and in the Father (2:24-27). The exhortation to “abide” (2:28) is the focal point of John’s deep concern for his readers to be abiding (2:12-27).

Even though eternal life is an entirely free gift which can never be lost, the New Testament plainly states that the believer must give an account of his or her Christian life in the presence of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; Romans 14:10-12). These passages show that this judgment is not merely a review of our good deeds, but a comprehensive review that embraces both “good and bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). Therefore, shame is decidedly possible at the Judgment Seat. Since Christians at that time will have their eternal bodies, sin will no longer inhibit appropriate regret and embarrassment about those things in one’s earthly life that did not please the Lord.

Rather than shame, John suggests that his readers can have confidence … before Him at His coming. Confidence translates a Greek word (parresia) that may also mean “boldness” as well as “outspokenness or frankness,” thereby reflecting the exactly opposite experience of shame.
A confident, outspoken person does not feel shame. Such an experience in the presence of our Lord at His review of our lives is an experience to be sought with earnest desire.
And this experience depends upon the believer “abiding.” But what is the abiding experience like? John has already pointed out that it involves a Christ-like walk (2:6) and involves obedience to the command to love one another (2:7-11). Beginning at this point in the epistle, love becomes a controlling and overriding theme. In the major exhortation section (2:28-4:19) the unit of thought is marked off as if by bookends with the literary device (an inclusio) in which an author would end a unit of thought by mentioning a word, phrase or idea that he had used at the beginning of that unit of thought. This alerted the reader that the unit of thought was complete. In this case, John uses “confidence” (parresia) at His coming (2:28) and “boldness” (parresia) in the day of judgment (4:17) as bookends to mark off his major section of exhortation.

In this section (2:18 - 4:19), John will maintain that it is the “abiding” life which alone can prepare the believer to stand before Christ at His Judgment Seat with “confidence” (2:28) / “boldness” (4:17) rather than with shame. John uses this major unit of his letter to elevate the significance of abiding in the Son and in the Father to the highest degree of spiritual significance, except for possessing the gift of eternal life itself. The “abiding life” is the life lived by a disciple of Jesus who keeps his Lord’s commandments and is marked by love for the brethren.
And it is this life of abiding in Him that leads to confidence before Christ’s Judgment Seat.






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