The Fellowship of God 3: Walk In Truth
Walk In Truth - 1 John 2:18–29Video Link
MS Word Link
The epistle of First John is built around the repetition three themes of antagonism:
light vs. darkness, love vs. hatred, and truth vs. error. These three “battles” flow in and out of the letter.
In the letter, John gives the five reasons he is writing his first epistle:
1- That we might have fellowship (1:3). that ye also may have fellowship with us. This is the main theme of the first two chapters, which we will try to cover today.
2- That we might have joy (1:4). And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
3 - That we might not sin (2:1–2). My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
4 - That we might know truth and error (2:26). These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
5 - That we might have assurance (5:13). These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God
1st John was written at the end of the first century by the last living apostle John, the first cousin of Jesus who had died, rose from the grave and ascended to heaven about 60 years before the epistle was written.
The Person of Christ and the Purpose of the Letter 1:1-4
Walk In The Light, confess sin 1:5-2:2
Walk In Obedience, keep His commandments 2:3-6
Walk In Love, the superseding commandment 2:7-17
Fellowships Creed, Jesus is the Christ 2:18-19.
Fellowship’s Characteristics. 3:1-24.
Fellowship’s Cautions. 4:1-21.
Fellowship’s Cause. 5:1-21. - Modified from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.
John the Last Apostle and His Writings
John came late to the task of writing, his Gospel was written around 90 AD, the epistles between 92-94 and final the book of the Revelation around 95 AD. At the actual last supper that Jesus had with the apostles in John 21, Jesus called the disciples to a meal that he cooked for them on the shore of Galilee as they fished. After the meal he commissioned Peter to be the pastor of His church but of John, the beloved disciple, Jesus said nothing. This struck Peter as strange and as they walked along the shore, he turned and saw John following them and asked the Lord, John 21:21-22, “Lord, and what shall this man do?” Jesus answered, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.”
Some believed that this meant John would not die before the Lord returned, but it was not a prophesy as much as an insight. For in a sense John did tarry till Jesus came because he saw the return of the Lord in the vision that made the book of Revelation. Also his Gospel retold and recaptured the first coming of the Lord and his epistles kept the young churches and Christians focused on the reality of Jesus in the present.
Purpose of the Epistle
First criteria, Light - This first epistle written to define what fellowship in Christ was. In chapter 1 that fellowship was based on the light of God. 1 John 1:5–7 5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
Then in the 2nd Criteria, Love. 1 John 2:9–10, the last living apostles tells us that fellowship is also based on loving one another, 9 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. 10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.
Now in our message today we are going to see the third criteria for Christian fellowship, truth. 1 John 2:21 is our key verse, in it John says, “21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
Ordination of a red-neck preacher. The interrogator wanted to make sure that the county boy met the requirement of the Methodist Denomination for being a preacher
He asked the boy, "do you know the Bible?"
What part of the Bible do you know the best?"
"I reckons I knows the new Testeement the best."
"Good, good. Now what part of the New Testament do you know the best, son"
"Parson, I figure I know the story of the good Samaritan the bestest of all."
"Good, good. Could you tell us all that fine story?"
"There was a good Samaritan going down from Jerusalem to Jericho and he fell among thorns and they sprang up and choked him and left him half dead. And he said, "I will arise" and he arose and came to a tree and he got hung in the limb of the tree by the hair of his head and he hung there forty days and forty nights and the ravens fed him. Delilah, she cam along with a pair of shears and cut off his hair and he fell on stony ground. He said, "I will arise" and he arose and came to the Wall of Jericho and Jezebel was sitting on the wall and she mocked him, cause of all his hair being cut off, and he said, "Chunk her down." And they chunked her down and he said, "chunk her down again." And they chunked her down again. And he said, "Chunk her down seventy times seven times" and great was the fall thereof and of the fragments that remained they picked up twelve baskets full and now whose wife will she be in the Resurrection?"
The interrogator looked at the young man and said, "Son you have not just met the requirements of the Methodist Church, you have completely destroyed them. You are not fit to be a member of this association."
“Well, I guess that means the Lord done called me to be an Indeependent Baptist”
The message today is about the importance of what we believe, the importance of the truth and especially the truth of who Jesus is.
Fellowship is Determined By Truth – 1 John 2:18-21
18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. 20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. 21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
Truth Is The Basis of Fellowship
First John tells us that it is the last time and that the Antichrist will come. Then he tells us that there are already many antichrists and this is how we know it is the last time, the last days.
How did John understand the last days? Remember he was the last apostle and Jesus had made a statement about if He willed it John would remain alive until He returned. The understanding of the last days had changed very rapidly during John’s lifetime. From and expectation of an immediate return of the Lord, they had begun to understand that it was instead an imminent return.
That had gone from believing that Jesus would return in the next few moments to understanding that Jesus could return at any given moment. Immediate meant in a short time but imminent meant at any time.
I’m afraid that many Christians today no longer understand the distinction. We are to live believing that Jesus could come back at any time, but we are not to live, believing in any set time. Jesus warned on the Mount of Olives in Matthew 24:23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. And again on the same mount before his ascension in Acts 1:6-7 6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
They were looking for an immediate return instead of an imminent return. It may be a find distinction, but it is important we know that they are distinct. One day as the tribulation begins then the Lord’s return will be immediate, within 7 years but His return has been imminent for over 2000 years. This last epoch of time is all the “last days.” It is the time when God’s program for the ages reaches its last stage and it is also the time with the spirit of antichrist, the opposition of Christ, will rise to power, corrupting the church and the followers of Christ.
But John wants to make sure that the true followers of Christ know that those who went out were never really in. 1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
Now, John introduces the next aspect of Christian fellowship, truth. 1 John 2:20–21 20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. 21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
He tells them that they have an unction, that’s an old KJV word that means anointing. They have an anointing from the Holy One and that this anointing means they know what is true. When John says they know all things, he is saying you all know these things. The true things he has been talking about and especially the next true thing he will talk about, the person of Jesus Christ.
With this verse John has established that Christian fellowship is based on the light of salvation, the love of Jesus, and the truth of who Jesus is.
Fellowship In The Last Days
As Christians we are to love all people, we are to share the gospel with all people because of that love and though we are to love all, we do not have fellowship with all.
Fellowship as understood by a child of God means something very different from the world’s idea of fellowship. To a child of God, it is a precious thing, it is a wonderful gift of God’s love given to God’s family and as such we must guard and protect it, else it becomes worthless and no longer sacred.
John’s epistle shows us that you guard that fellowship in light, love and truth. Those are the three paths you must walk together if you are to enter in or remain in the fellowship of God’s family. Like a highway that combines three roads, you must stay on the highway of light, love and truth to be in fellowship with God and with God’s people. If you say I don’t care for this truth and try and only walk on in light and love then you forfeit fellowship.
This is what John is sharing at the end of his life when he has seen the terrible lies of Gnosticism corrupt the paths that Christians should be walking. They went out from us because they were not of us. Truth is the final element of fellowship perhaps because it is the defining and the refining aspect of fellowship.
Jesus told the woman at the well, when she began to say that worship was whereever or in a sense whatever you made it to be, John 4:23-24 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
Truth determines and defines fellowship. I don’t have a choice about who is a believer, a child of God or who I can fellowship with as a member of God’s family. That separation and that definition is made by the truth of God’s word.
Now John goes on to specifically state what truth above all others must be that which determines fellowship. It is the truth of the person of Jesus Christ.
Fellowship Determined By This Truth – 1 John 2:22-29
Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. Let that therefore 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. These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.
The Truth Of Jesus, The Vital Base of Fellowship
John gets personal in what he says next. Anyone that denies Jesus is a liar and an antichrist, an opposer, an enemy of Jesus. Anyone who denies the Son cannot have the fellowship of the Father. That the only way to have fellowship with the Father is to acknowledge the truth of the Son.
He tells them to abide, to dwell, to live in this truth that they heard from the beginning of the Gospel and the beginning of their salvation. If they are truly children of God, then this truth will remain in them. This truth is vital because only in it will they know the promise that the Son has given them, the promise of eternal life.
John tells them that this is the reason I wrote you because of those who were trying to seduce you, deceive you away from this paramount truth. Yet he trust in the guidance of the Holy Spirit that will lead them into the truth and not a lie.
He concludes this section by once again telling them to abide in him. Abide in Jesus Christ, abide in the true Jesus Christ and not a Gnostic fantasy that had no reality, no power and no hope. They needed to know the true Jesus and they needed to stay with the true Jesus and John believed those who were God’s family would stay true.
1 John 2:29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.
The Truth Of The Last Days
What John was warning those early Christian about, in so many ways has become the battle for Christianity in our much later days. The truth of “who is Jesus” is the battleground upon which we will show if we are “of them or we will go out from them.”
From the very beginning of Christianity and the Lord’s church it was the personhood of Christ that was attacked.
The Jews could accept Jesus as a prophet but not as God the Son. The Gnostics could accept Jesus as Divine but not as human. And so it has continue until our day in which there are pseudo-Christian cults, pseudo-churches, and pseudo-Christians who will all accept some part of the person of Jesus but not all.
The largest pseudo-Christian group state in their confessions that they believe in Jesus as the son of God but they have replaced Him in their practice with statues, saints and a belief in his earthly mother as the real advocate for their sins.
The Mormons believe Jesus was a man who became a god after a pre-existence in heaven where he was the brother of Lucifer.
The Jehovah Witnesses deny that Jesus was God.
Many Pentecostals and Charismatics believe in the Jesus only doctrine. That there is only Jesus in three aspects, but no Father or Holy Spirit.
Islam proclaims that Jesus was just another prophet but Mohamed is a better prophet.
Whenever a new cult or religion has appeared on the scene since the time of Jesus ministry it always has been defined by this vital truth, what do they believe about Jesus.
Here is our Baptist confession of faith about who Jesus is.
We believe that Jesus Christ was born of the virgin Mary, and is the only begotten Son of God, God the Son, very God of very God.
We believe that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.
We believe that Christ arose from the grave the third day after His death according to the Scriptures, and ascended to the right hand of the Father on high.
We believe that Christ, and Christ only, is the great High Priest and Mediator between God and Man, and we need not the intercession of any man on our behalf, but that Christ ever liveth to make intercession to God for us according to the will of God.
We believe that Christ will come again and after calling home the saints, will then physically return leading the host of heaven and establish His kingdom upon the earth, ruling from Jerusalem on the throne of David.
Crucial in all this confession is the statement that Jesus is God.
Does the Bible really teach that? Is Jesus truly God in the human flesh? Take just a moment and listen as God’s Word declares plainly and completely that yes, Jesus is God.
He is called God.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Romans 9:5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.,
Hebrews 1:8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom., also in Titus 2:13, John 20:28
He claims Deity.
John 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.,
John 10:30-33 I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
Also in Mark 2:7-12.
He is Equated with God
Philippians 1:2 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.; 2:5-6;
Matthew 28:18-19 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:,
Also in most of Paul's Greetings.
He is worshiped as God:
Matthew 2:11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
John 20:27-28 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
If we don’t come, as Thomas did, seeing Jesus through the eyes of faith as our Lord and our God, then we have no fellowship with God, we have no forgiveness of sin, we have no hope of heaven, we have nothing but a sad, weak philosophy that could save us no better than a belief in Darwin’s theory of evolution.
I used to work for a Mormon building contractor, whose mother-in-law also a Mormon, was dying from cancer. They moved his wife's mother into their guesthouse as a hospice. She lingered for a long time, after she died, I was working with my boss when he began to talk with me about his mother-in-laws death. "That was a woman who wasn’t ready to die." he said. I asked him what he meant. He thought for a moment and then said, “It was hard to watch. She didn’t want to die and at the end, she went out screaming.”
What will make the difference in our leaving this world from a horror to a homegoing?
You know the answer, the fellowship of God.
"There are far, far better think ahead than any we leave behind." – C. S. Lewis
"Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like gong back. All my life the God of the Mountain has been wooing me. Oh, look up once at least before the end and wish me joy. I am going to my lover. Do you not see now?" C. S. Lewis
John Jasper was perhaps the most famous black preacher of the post-Civil War years. He pastored the Sixth Baptist Church in Richmond Virginia. The once asked what happened to the first five churches and he said, Oh this the first one, we just liked the name.” Once when preaching on heaven he describe what it would be like to pass those pearly gates and when the angel asked him if he wanted to see the sights of the beautiful City of God, he reply would be, “O Angel! Just led me before the Great White Throne and let me gaze a thousand years into the face of my Jesus!” – John Jasper.
That is the difference in knowing Jesus as Lord, Savior and God or just seeing him as anything less. It is the difference of going home or the horror of an eternity with Him.