Sunday, 15 May 2011

Forsaken the World : Rooted in Christ

Sermon Notes on 1 John 2:15-27.

John has been going through some tests whereby Christians can see if their confession of faith is genuine and also see who is trying to lead them astray into a false gospel. Here are two more: 1. How you love the world, 2. How you discern and deal with the antichrist.

Do not love the world (v15-17)
Love of the world and love for God are mutually exclusive, (Luke 16:13): “No servant can serve two masters, but there’s more to it than that – if we love the world, the Father’s love is not in us. We’re not really saved.

When John talks here about the world, he’s talking about all of this life that is ruled by the devil (Eph.2:2): imprisoned by sin and cursed by death. Difficult to imagine on sunny days when life is good, but it’s true. John is urging his readers not to prop up/endorse either explicitly or implicitly the pagan status quo. Whose empire are you building? The empire sold to you by the spin doctors and dream weavers of this world or the empire of Jesus aka the Kingdom of God?

Clearly certain behaviours/lifestyles are off limits, but what about those hundreds of good things that can easily become idols in our lives e.g. sport, work, money, spouses, children... Here are three questions you can ask yourself to test if your attitude is good? 1. Is it forbidden/permitted in the Bible? 2. Is it a priority? 3. Can I give thanks in my heart to God with a clear conscience as I do it? If yes, carry on. If no, just stop it.

The Will of God is that we delight in his Son, (John 6:40). God loves the world (John 3:16) but his love is redemptive, saving it from itself and the pollution of sin. Christians should love the world like that – selflessly and redemptively, not selfishly and destructively.

Discerning and dealing with antichrist (v18-19)
Popular (Christian) culture thinks of antichrist as some world leader who will emerge at some point in the future and whilst that may happen, the reality is bigger and more subtle than that. It’s a term to define anyone who has refused to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and saviour, preferring to listen to something / someone else. Jesus talked about these people in his explanation of the parable of the sower, Matt. 13.

In this, the last hour (last phase of human history), God has poured out his Spirit for his people to take the gospel of Jesus to the ends of the earth. Therefore Satan, is upping his game also, to get as many people thrown off course as possible. This should not make us fearful, but it should keep us alert. To be antichrist is to have something on the throne of your heart that is not Jesus, or forcing Jesus to share the throne with something else. Are you dabbling in antichrist?

Staying Rooted to Jesus (v20-25)
The Spirit of God guides us into all truth - John 16:13-14. This is supremely through the Bible and secondly through supernatural impartation to the church. True supernatural impartations will always agree with the Bible, if not, they are not from God, but another spirit and must be ignored.

It doesn’t matter how religious you are or what your belief in God is – if you don’t have Jesus it is worthless. Many worship the gods of their own imagination be they the product of an individual (e.g. New Age), or a collective imagination that creates a famous religion like Islam or Hinduism, or Mormanism etc

You don’t need anything more to teach you. The seed of the Gospel sown in your heart, needs simply to be allowed to grow and develop. Don’t try and genetically modify it. Just let it grow. The seed will become a plant, the plant will bear the fruit of the Spirit. John 17:3 says that eternal life is knowing the Father and the Son – having them live in you, (John 14:23). So cultivate that relationship, knowing by faith that it will grow naturally. Don’t believe the lies that you have to supplement Jesus with … (fill in the blanks).

Living in the Anointing (v26-27)
1 Tim 5:17 says that those who teach in the church are worthy of a double honour (they are also judged more severely), so when John says that we have no need of any teachers he is not contradicting Paul, or suggesting we all become maverick lone ranger Christians, he’s saying that the Spirit who wrote the Bible and who lives in you will testify to the truth or falsehood of what you are hearing in the church, you don’t need to look for any other form of (worldly) authentication.

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