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The Basis Of Obedience & Forgiveness

Lighting Your Way / Lighthouse Baptist
The Truth Network Radio
March 30, 2023 1:46 pm

The Basis Of Obedience & Forgiveness

Lighting Your Way / Lighthouse Baptist

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March 30, 2023 1:46 pm

March 29, 2023 – Message from Assistant Pastor Braydon Teach

            Main Scripture Passage:    1 John 2:1 -6

            Topic: Obedience, Forgiveness


            Download SCRIPTURE REFERENCE

The Daily Platform
Bob Jones University
Sound of Faith
Sharon Hardy Knotts and R. G. Hardy

If you have your Bibles tonight, be in 1 John chapter 2 tonight, and when you find your place there, if you would stand to honor the reading of God's Word.

I had this message prepared prior to finding out the news, and oftentimes you wonder why you wish you could change the message. But John chapter 2, we'll read verse 1 down to 6, and we'll pray, and then we'll get into God's Word tonight. The word of the Lord says, 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, but not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments, and he that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar. And the truth is not in him, but whosoever keepeth his words, in him verily is the love of God perfected.

Hereby we know that we are in him, and he that saith he abideth in him ought himself also to walk, even as he walked. Let's pray. Heavenly Father, we come before your throne of grace tonight, Lord, and hearts are heavy, Lord, to the loss of our brother. Lord, we just want to lift up the family again to you in this time of need. Lord, we just pray through the teaching and preaching of your Word that we could find comfort in our great shepherd and our advocate, the Son of God, Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God. And, Lord, help hearts to be calm. Lord, may your Word land where it needs to tonight, and may we find peace and comfort through it. Lord, hide me behind the cross. Give me the words to speak, clarity of thought. And, Lord, just if there's anyone in the building tonight that doesn't know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, whether it's with the kids' ministry or the teens or perhaps an adult in here tonight, that tonight would be the night of salvation for them. There would be great rejoicing in heaven over one sinner that is saved. And we ask this tonight in Christ's name. Amen.

You may be seated. So the title of tonight's message, I've titled it The Basis for Obedience and Forgiveness. And as anyone knows, 1 John, the purpose of John's writing in 1 John is that you may know that you have eternal life. And I know, as we heard earlier, our brother Charles, he's in heaven tonight. He had eternal life.

And God isn't a God to deceive us. He gives us a clear plan of salvation. And as 1 John, as John chapter 2 here, 1 John, it's not necessarily a beginning of a new section of Scripture, per se, but it's a natural progression in the thoughts of John, the Apostle John. And he has taken believers and those that read this text, the first chapter to develop the thoughts and basically to know that conduct is important.

Conduct is especially important for the believer in that conduct matters. And having revealed that we have sinned in our lives daily, John goes on to point out that God's remedy for sin here is to exhort the believer to obedience. The believer who craves to grow more Christ-like must go on and seek Christ to live in the Spirit and not in the flesh. And through Jesus Christ's sacrifice, to find the cleansing and conviction necessary to leave the horror of sin behind.

Those who have done so will abide in Him, will abide in God's Word, and they will walk in Christ-likeness daily. Which brings us to our first point tonight, our advocates' sacrifice for sin. And we see that in the first two verses. The fact that Christ's blood restores the repentant sinner to salvation, the fellowship, doesn't make sin any less serious. To protect us from understanding, from underestimating the impact of this sin, John tells us the following. 1 John 2 verse 1, he says, My little children, these things write I unto you that you sin not.

And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And so this aged apostle who had walked with Christ as he's aged in many years, and he's writing to perhaps some of his own converts as he's writing 1 John. And he's referring to them as my little children, which is a term of endearment.

It could be translatable as dear or my beloved. And John cherished the family of faith, just like we've heard tonight. We've cherished our family of faith. We cherish our brothers and sisters in Christ.

And again, many of these people, he perhaps led to the Lord. Sin translates from the Greek word harmardia. In this context here, it's from Martano, the most common use in the New Testament for the word for sin, which literally means to miss the mark. And anybody that shot archery or shot a gun at a shooting range, the center mark is the bull's eye. And every ring that you miss out from that is sin.

It's the degree from which you've missed the mark. And God's holiness is what sets the standard in our life. It is God's standard that determines our behavior.

1 Samuel chapter 2 verse 2 says, There is none holy as the Lord, for there is none besides thee, neither is there any rock like our God. Humanity has missed that supreme benchmark that's been set by God as the supreme lawgiver, utterly violating God's requirements of perfection and perfect obedience. We know this as Adam and Eve fell into sin in the garden, that sin has passed upon all men, for all have sinned. Romans 5 12, Wherefore is by one man's sin entered into the world, and death by sin. So death has passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. And Galatians 3 22 says, But the scripture hath concluded all under sin.

And so this Greek grammar here in the phrasing, if you go back to the Greek, and if any man sin is, it's basically it's an instructive phrase. It could be stated as if anyone sins, and it will happen, is basic terminology here when you go back to the Greek. If anyone sins, and it will happen.

It's not a matter of if, it's just a matter of when. And we know that sitting here tonight that no one in this room is without sin. We're all guilty before God, right? Romans 3 23, For all have sinned and come short of God's glory. 1 John 1 8, If we say we have no sin in us, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1 10, If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar.

We make God a liar if we say we do not have sin in our lives, and his word is not in us. Out of his love, the Apostle John turns to face the problem of sin head on in our lives, and in the believers' lives. And he states that the only answer to this deadly disease of sin is the cure as Jesus Christ, the work, the completed work of Jesus Christ. Christ died for us. He bore the penalty of sin on the cross. Now he has risen from the dead, and he's seated at the right hand of the throne of God, and he intercedes on our behalf. Hebrews 7 25 tells us, Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing that he ever liveth to make intercession for them. And so the guilty, the guilt of falling into sin, can weigh heavy on our hearts at times. Anybody ever do that, you get to that point, you think, man, I've got this sin down, I'm not struggling with it, and then it just pops, it resurfaces right up, and you're like, man, I thought I had that under control, I thought that was taken care of, and then it rares its ugly head again because that person cut you off in traffic or whatever it may be.

And you're like, ah, there it is. But we can get down on ourselves at times when we fall into sin. But he gives us hope, he gives us a cheerful heart here, to not lose heart over our condition. 1 John 2 1, he says, We have an Advocate, Jesus Christ the righteous. And as I think of that, Advocate is the Greek word parakaletos, and basically which it means to be called to one's side.

In a legal sense, it means one who undertakes and champions your cause, or one who speaks in your defense. And several years back, my wife and I had a distant relative in the family that we took in foster care, and this young child, she was two years old, and she really couldn't obviously speak for herself, but she had a guardian ad litem that was her representative. She was her advocate, and she would go to the judge or the magistrate, and she would go to them and basically partition on that child's behalf. She was the advocate for that child.

She would have the best interest of that child and speak of that to the judge. In a historical literature standpoint here in John's day, it was used of a friend of the accused person. So if there was an accused person that was accused of a crime, their friend would come and basically be a witness for them to their character.

And so as we're looking at this tonight, basically this person was coming to give sympathy to the judge, or had the judge come forward with some sympathy in regards to this person. And so the Bible makes it clear, though, that we have a real adversary. We have an accuser, Satan, who's accusing us day and night before God. And the good news is one day, Revelation 12, verse 10, he will finally be thrown out of heaven. He will no longer be allowed to accuse us, and basically Satan is demanding condemnation because of our sins. And we see that in Zechariah, chapter 3, verse 1 through 5.

And then Revelation 12, 10b, it says, For the accuser of our brethren is cast down which accused them before our God day and night. But Jesus stands up for us in court. He's our advocate. He's going before the Heavenly Father to be our advocate. And can I say that if He is our advocate, we have the best defense attorney that you could ever have? Who better would you want in your corner than Jesus Christ? As He goes to the Father, He is our best defense attorney.

And there's several reasons for this. He is the only one who's qualified to plead our case. He's the only one that can plead our case. Hebrews 2, 18 says, For in that He Himself hath suffered, being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted.

And that word, succor them, basically means to help them or to bring aid to them. Think of Revelation 5, 8, and the saints are before the throne room of God and say, Who is worthy to open the scroll? In Revelation 5, 9, it says, And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book and to open the seal thereof, for thou was slain and hast redeemed us to God by the blood out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation.

Amen. And so, not only is He the only one who's qualified to plead our case, but secondly, the judges, His Father, they're always there, and so they're always in perfect communion. God the Father and God the Son and the Holy Spirit are always in perfect communion. So, what better person to have pleading our case than God the Son? Thirdly, Jesus completely understands what we go through as humans.

He lived on earth. He went through the same temptations we went through, yet without sin. And so, He knows our human weakness. Hebrews 4, verse 14 and 15 says this, Seeing then that we have a great high priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with our feelings of infirmities, but was in all points tempted like we were, yet without sin. And Galatians 4, verse 4 says, But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law. And so, again, He's went through all those temptation points that we did, but without sin. So, another interesting point, when you think of this Greek word, parakaletos, it is also used in the scripture four other times, but the other four uses are of the Holy Spirit. So, when you think of the Holy Spirit, He is our advocate here on earth. He basically, the Holy Spirit, He's there because He is, in a real sense, acts as Christ's substitute on earth while Christ is seated at the heavenly throne.

And so, yes, Jesus acknowledges our sins, but His appeal is to His death on the cross, that the sin is nailed to the cross, that sin has already been paid for, and it can no longer be held against the sinner who comes before their advocate in humble repentance for their crimes against the laws of God and turn to Him. There's a great story of Abraham Lincoln and his son, Robert, had a close friend during the Civil War that enlisted in the army as a private. And so, his son, Robert Lincoln, wrote to his friend and he said this, write to me and I will intercede with my father and get you something better. A few years went by, Robert Lincoln never heard from his friend. Obviously, he was in the midst of the heat and the battle of the Civil War, and he didn't know if his friend was still living or not.

A few years went by and he finally caught up with his friend, and his friend said, I never took advantage of your offer, but you don't know what a comfort it was to me. Often, after a weary march, I would throw myself on the ground and say, if it becomes too much beyond human endurance, I can write Robert Lincoln and get relief. And I would rather have his intercession than that of the president's cabinet because he is the president's son. Can I say this tonight, Christian? Can I tell you, friends, that we have an even greater comfort to know that we have an advocate in Christ Jesus, the Son of God, that is pleading our case before our Heavenly Father? We dare not trust in our own righteousness in such a courtroom.

We will fall short every time. Jesus' righteousness is the only righteousness that will stand up to God's holy standard. His imputed righteousness will only cleanse the guilty, but it will also not only cleanse them, but it will set us free. It sets us free from the bondage of sin. In verse 2, we learn that Jesus' sacrifice on the cross is the payment for all sin. 1 John 2, 2, and he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And so we know that mankind is guilty before God sitting here tonight, and sin has separated us from our God. The method of our defense, the advocate, is not to manipulate the evidence. Jesus isn't trying to manipulate the evidence to God the Father.

No, he is saying that it's already been paid for. It's already been excused because of his completed work on the cross. And Jesus, our advocate, bases it solely on the fact that he is the propitiation. He is the payment for our sins. Jesus' death and shed blood on the cross is the atonement for sin, and he has removed this cause of alienation, or what has separated us from God. Psalms 103 verse 12 tells us this. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgression from us. In Romans 3.25, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith and his blood to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are passed through the forbearance of God. And so Christ here, he's done that. He's completed the work for us. The term propitiation is translated from a Greek word halamas, which means to appease, or to satisfy, or to have complete satisfaction.

And when you go back to the Greek, it literally reads this. He himself is satisfaction. Jesus Christ himself, he himself is satisfaction. He's satisfied the Father's wrath upon sin. Christ both satisfies God's punishment, and he also removes our sins. Jesus is the sanctification, not for only our sins, but for the sins of the whole world.

And how refreshing is that, that we can go to someone we meet on the streets, as we heard that testimony of Charles wearing his pants so he could tell somebody about God. And he could say, because Jesus Christ died for your sins. Not just an elect few, but for the sins of the whole world, the Bible tells us. If anyone does not experience this forgiveness, this salvation of our sins from Jesus' death on the cross, it's because of their own willingness to reject the gospel.

It's freely, for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. And so God's justice must be satisfied. God would be an unjust judge if he let sin go. Every sin ever committed by every person who has lived, or who will live potentially in the future, must be punished in one of two ways. Either God's wrath will be satisfied when all unrepentant sinners and unbelieving sinners suffer eternally in hell, or by nailing it to the cross.

By the regeneration of the Holy Spirit, the repentant believer, believing in Christ, God's wrath is satisfied by the punishment of Christ himself on the cross. And so God's design is pictured in the law's requirement of a lamb. He said that it must be a lamb without spot, without blemish. Number 6, verse 14, and he shall offer his offering unto the Lord one you lamb of the first year without blemish for a burnt offering, and one you lamb of the first year without blemish for the sin offering. And so we know that Jesus is the sinless son of God.

He is the lamb without spot or blemish. John 1 29, the next day John seeing Jesus coming unto him and said, Behold, the lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world. And so the father's love for unworthy and undeserving sinners through his divine plan of salvation has always been his son. Romans 5 8, but God commended his love towards us, and while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. And I love 1 John 4 10, here in his love, not that we love God, but that he loved us and sent forth his son to be a propitiation for our sins. He indeed is the savior of the world. He is the only way to salvation. I think of the woman at the well, and she went to town and she told them of the man that told them everything that she had told her of everything she had ever did.

And she said, Come see, and the city comes out. And then I love this verse at the end of John Chapter four in verse 42 says and said unto the woman, the woman that was at the well. Now we believe not because of thy sayings, but we have heard him ourselves and know that this indeed is the Christ, the savior of the world. So not only is he our advocate, he's the propitiation for our sins.

He is how we get forgiveness of our sins. But secondly, our second point tonight is truly knowing Christ or following in obedience. And we see that in the following verses of John Chapter two, verse three through six. And so next, John provides a test to know if we truly are in Christ.

We need it's not to make us doubt our salvation, but it's to make sure that we have an assurance of our salvation, that we truly are rooted in Christ. And that was the whole purpose of John writing first. John was that we may know that we have eternal life. And so John provides this test to those to see if we are genuinely in Christ. First, John two, verse three says, and hereby we do know that we know him if we keep his commandments.

And so a true living relationship with Christ will be evidenced by the believer putting into practice the commandments that God has given us. I was thinking about this as I was preparing it like it'd be like saying, hey, I'm a basketball player for an NBA team. What, do you go to practice? No. Are you on the games? No. Do you participate in any of these things?

No. The only way we put into practice Christ's commandments will come when we know him better. And we have a personal relationship with him or have a better daily relationship with him, I should say. A changed life results in a changed behavior. And his commandments are not burdensome to the believer. Right. But they are freeing. They set us free from the bondage of sin, yet many struggle to keep his commandments.

We all fall fall into that at times. What is interesting is the verb to keep comes from a Greek word, which means to attend to carefully or to guard or to observe. And it's a present tense verb that means we're to continue to do it.

It's basically like we would say keeping in our English vernacular today. It was often used of a centurion soldier as he was walking his post. He was to keep his post secure.

And so this is the idea and the mindset of someone who is keeping post, who's keeping guard. And so an interesting thing I looked at this week was there was an art auction in 1997. A Van Gogh painting of Dr. Gachette sold for $82.5 million. And one of the French painters, Raynor's paintings, sold for $78.1 million in 1997 at this auction. Both of these paintings, most of us in this room, probably all of us in this room, could not bid on that, right? We're not going to hang that in our living room. But many of us can buy copies or replicas of these paintings and hang them up.

Both of these paintings are available as reproductions, and you can buy them, place them in your home or your office. But they are not collector's items, though, because they are not the original copies. They are not true. They are not genuine.

They have little value to them. And can I say that there's a parallel to the spiritual realm as well today? There are many people in our world that are filled with religion, many of whom claim Christianity. Many talk about Jesus when it suits them, but they do not have an authentic personal relationship with the Lord.

Nor do they listen to him or keep his commandments or read his word. They are not the real thing. They are not the genuine thing. They are pretenders. And the sculptors back in the day, when they would sculpt the Greek sculptors that we see from past years, what they would do is if they chipped a wrong piece out of that, they would actually fill it with wax. So you could not tell that they had messed up.

But as the light continued to shine on, the wax would melt and it would reveal that there was imperfections in this masterpiece. So this second chapter of 1 John, the apostle gives three marks of a genuine believer. And so these are the tests for us to see, are we genuinely in Christ? Now the first thing that we see in verse 3 there was that it's an obedience to Christ. You can't say that you're in Christ and you do not follow his commandments. It's like being in the military and not following charge or following rank.

You're not going to be in there long or you're going to be getting some punishment, right? And secondly, genuine love for the fellow Christians is seen in verse 10 of this chapter. And it says that the love for God and not a love for the world in verses 15 through 17. If these qualities are consistently seen in our lives, or not consistently seen in our lives, we may need to examine our faith to see if it's genuine. The question tonight, are we true followers of Christ? Those of us that are here tonight, are we genuine followers of Christ?

Is there someone here tonight that might be willing to say, I've been faking it. I've been imitating it, but I don't have a genuine salvation. Whose commandments are you living by? Are you living by Jesus's commandments or by your own? I can remember asking Brett a few years back after church on a Sunday.

We're heading home. I said, what'd you learn at church today? And he's like, ah, obedience again.

You know, you could ask any kid that and no matter what it was, that's how they respond sometimes. He's like, obedience again. And I must agree, sometimes I too need to be reminded time and time again. It's about obedience.

I love what Oswald Chambers said. The Lord does not give me rules, but he makes his standards very clear. And my relationship to him is that of love. I will do what he says.

If I hesitate, it is because I love someone I have placed in competition with him, namely myself. So God requires the obedience of his followers and Jesus placed grace, great importance on this as well. Luke chapter 6 verse 46 says, why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? John 14, 15, he tells us, if you love me, keep my commandments. And so the test of true faith is found in verse 3 is further emphasized by expanding upon that in verse 4.

It's a contrast. He contrasts what he says in verse 3 with what he says in verse 4. And verse 4 says, and he that sayeth I know him and keepeth not his commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him. And so the obvious point here is that one cannot say that they are saved and genuinely in Christ, then do as they please and go about living just like the world.

Obedience determines authenticity of our profession. John's writings is that of action and these actions must back up their words of profession. In other words, these people were professing, but they were not possessing. Anybody ever maybe run across somebody that as you're going about and they say, hey, I'm a Christian, but their life does not line up with anything in the scriptures. I would say that they're professing it, but they're not possessing true salvation. He may have had in mind those who have an intellectual knowledge of God. He may have met somebody who has a general understanding intellectually of the things of God, but their lives do not match up. They are not living it out.

They do not have an inward heart transformation. God labels those as liars who claim to know Jesus, but are not following his teachings. God says that profession must match up with practice to be real. Indifference to God's words means that we are not living the truth. Therefore, our claims to know that... Let me say that again. The indifference to God's words means we are not living the truth. Therefore, our claims to know God, the God of truth, are false.

And they are bearing false witness and they are fabricated. So how does this play out in our daily lives? What does this look like in our daily lives? Let's say you're going on vacation down to Florida and you're going down the highway and you got cruise control set and you're going 85, maybe 90, I don't know, speed limit 70. You got an app on your phone and it chimes and there's a speed trap ahead and you're like, oh, hit the brake, cruise, like you just slow down. Just as you get to that state trooper in the median and you're passing him going 70. You're thinking, man, I'm sitting pretty good.

Then out of the back seat, you hear your 10 year old say, nice going, dad. You sure got one by on him. The state trooper wasn't the only one that was duped that day. So was your 10 year old son. He's just been fooled into thinking that it's okay to break the law if your phone helps you not get caught. He has just been given an object lesson and disrespect for authority. Now he knows where you stand on obedience. It's the small things in life sometimes that are reminders that we all have a lot of room to grow.

That was a real one for me. Kids, they just have the most acute sense, like even when you think they're not paying attention, they catch on it. And I mean, I've got a quick witted 10 year old son and he does, he's 11 now, but he does not let anything slide.

I mean, keeps me on my toes. So we live in a day and an age, right, where wrong is right and right is wrong. And it used to be that right, that wrong is right, if you could get away with it.

Now they don't even care. It's blatantly in our face. It's a world that is not limited to moms and dads who have an app on their phone to tell them when a patrol officer is up ahead.

It includes those of us that watch perhaps maybe immoral TV programs in the privacy of our homes. Or perhaps the cashier gives us too much money back and we say, well, if they couldn't count any better than that, then they deserve to lose the money. There's this saying that goes like this, what you are speaks so loudly, I can hear what you are saying. In other words, actions speak louder than words, don't they?

I love D.L. Moody. He said, out of 100 non-believers, one will read the Bible, 99 will read the Christian. And so it doesn't do any good to tell our children to be honest and have integrity if we're not willing to demonstrate those traits ourselves. If we are hypocrites, our kids know that. No matter what age they are, they pick up on it.

They're very astute. Don't do as I say. Do as I say, not as I do. If it is such a good idea for our kids to follow the rules, to be honest, to respect authority. Why do some of them, why do we then in their perfect view, and I'm guilty of this as much as anyone else has shared with the speeding thing. Why do some of us break the speed limit? Speak evil of their bosses and watch immoral shows all in the presence of their children. Yet we act astonished sometimes when they come home and they badmouth the teacher, they badmouth the student at school.

When they get older and go to work that they don't have a work ethic or they're dishonest in their work ethic. Verse five again builds upon this contrast from verse four and reveals those who truly have come to Jesus. And John first John chapter two, verse five, it says, But whosoever keepeth his words in him verily is the love of God perfected.

Hereby, we know that we are in him. And a psalmist said in 119 Psalms 119, 105, Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Psalms 119, 130 says that order my entrance, order the entrance into my word.

It basically orders my steps in the and how I walk and how I live my life. I think of Psalms 119, 11. Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee. Psalms 119, 18. Open thou mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. And so to keep going or to keep God's word, we must abide in God's word. We must spend time daily in his word to discover his will and obey his instructions. I know as guys we get that instruction manual and typically it's the first thing gone, right? And then we have like a package of screws left over and it's like those are extra parts.

They send extra parts, you know, but this is God's instruction manual. This is his instruction manual for us and we must be in it daily to understand his will for our lives and to obey his instructions. One of the reasons we don't want to abide in his word is because some have adopted the standard of the world. And what I mean by that is that the world is fluctuating in its standards, right?

We see that it is rapidly deteriorating in the standard. There is no standard anymore, but God's standard is true. Psalms 119 89, forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalms 119 160, thy word is true from the beginning and every one of thy righteous judgments will endure forever. And so it's his word is what abides, it keeps, it doesn't change. But sometimes as rebellious sinners, we try to fluctuate and maybe go to what the world has to say.

And so our rebellious nature prefers this flexible standard that the world has to offer to us. Yet only through obedience to God's word can we live and have fellowship with him. Obedience to God's word is proof that our love is to him, that we are devoted to him. And can I say tonight that there's three motives for obedience? What I mean by that is, one, because we have to, secondly, because we need to, and thirdly, because we want to.

There's a difference in all three of those, and I'll explain that real briefly. A slave obeys because he has to. If he doesn't obey, he will be punished for that. And so there's the first one, because that person has to. The second cause is because they need to, and that may look like an employer and an employee relationship. The employee obeys because he needs a paycheck, right? He may not enjoy his job, but he does know that he enjoys getting a paycheck.

Because he needs that paycheck to provide for his family for food and clothing and whatever else may come up. So there's the second difference. The third difference is for the Christian is to obey our Heavenly Father because we want to.

For the relationship that we have with him through his son, and it's purely out of love, and for what he's done for us. And think about this, we all have grown up learning this. We've gone, everybody in this room, for the most part, as I'm scanning across here, grew up under these sorts of things. And what I mean by that, this is how we learn. First we obeyed because we had to, and if we didn't, we got spanked. I'm thinking, I didn't grow up in the generation to go stand in the corner and think about it.

No, you either had a paddle or grandma got a switch, and you hoped it was not one of those really green ones, right? But we started out learning that way, and then we matured and we grew. But as we grew up, we discovered that obedience meant enjoyment and a reward. So if I obeyed, there was a reward behind that. Oh, if I clean my room, I'm not grounded, I have privileges, I have all these things.

Okay, it's like a rewards-based system. So we start obeying because it met a certain need in our lives. The third way that we learn is it's truly a mark of real maturity. When we start obeying because we love, and I don't think I ever got to that point as a teenager living under mom and dad's roof.

But once I got out on my own, I didn't know as much as I thought I knew, right? And so I appreciated them far greater at that moment, and it was out of love then that I wanted to start doing things for them. And so we've all grown up in these ways, and we've learned this. And can I say baby Christians must be constantly warned and rewarded? As a baby Christian, they don't know any different.

They're newborn babes in Christ, and so they have to be warned, they have to be rewarded. Those of us here tonight that are mature Christians though, it should just come from love. Love of God, love of his word, love for Christ. And so this basically proves that people truly know and love God. And it is found in submitting to his authority and his word.

It's not grievous for us. We find great joy in that. And so here in verse 6, we counter another test, the last test we're going to look at tonight, of real versus false relationships with Christ. And so it's a true relationship versus a false relationship here in verse 6. It says, he that saith he abideth in him ought himself also to walk even as he walked. And so we cultivate this agape type of love for Christ. We get to know Christ, and when we know Christ and abide in his word, we will become like him. We will then to be Christ-like. And I think of John chapter 3 verse 30, and John the Baptist said that he must decrease so that Christ could increase in his life. And so that's the type of goal that we should have as we submit to the word, as we submit in a loving relationship for what he has done.

It should make us grow. It should conform us to the image of Christ, the word of God should. And Jesus himself taught this to his disciples that, in John chapter 15, the true vine and the branches, right? You must abide in him, because without that you can do what?

You can do nothing. And so Jesus explained this to his disciples. He explained that illustration there. Just as a branch gets its life by remaining connected to the vine, so believers receive their strength by maintaining fellowship with Christ. It is the life of the vine and the branches that enables it to produce the fruit of the vine. Christ-likeness flows in his people when we remain attached to his word, through his spirit. I love Galatians 2-20. I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. No longer is my life Braden's life. I am crucified in the flesh, and I have to die to self daily.

We all do. We have those temptations and those urges to maybe give into the flesh, but we have to deny ourselves daily, take up our cross, and follow after him. And so to abide in Christ means to depend completely upon him. It's just like that branch.

It has to be attached to the vine. And if we detach ourselves from Christ, we detach ourselves from the word, we dry up, we wither up, and his life is not in us. And you can see that in the storms of life when people are away from the Lord. And sometimes God does that to bring them closer to him. But you can see those that have been connected to the vine, that have been in his word, they can face the trials of life and shine through it. Like we heard in the testimonies tonight. We cannot be what God wants us to be without abiding in Christ.

I'll say it again, we cannot be what God wants us to be without abiding in Christ. Many adults in this room can remember when the four-minute mile was the barrier. Nobody could break a four-minute mile. It was for a hundred years that this record had stood, and people thought it was impossible to break a four-minute mile. Now the current record for the mile is less than three minutes and 44 seconds. I don't think I could ride my bike that fast in a mile, but the quickest right now for the mile is three minutes and 44 seconds. That four-minute barrier has been broken countless times since 1954 when Roger Bannister set the record at three minutes, 59 seconds, and four-tenths of a second. He beat the four-minute barrier by six-tenths of a second. So what made the difference, you say?

Perhaps it was just six-tenths of a difference, six-tenths of a second's difference at first glance. But perhaps more than that, it was a barrier of the mind that had to be overcome. You see, someone had to do it. Someone had to break that point. And now that someone had broke through that barrier, they knew that, hey, I can do that too. He broke that goal.

I can break that goal. And really, that's what John's point in this passage is, is an effect that he is saying it is possible to live out our beliefs because Christ has gone before us, and we have his example. I think if Hebrews chapter 12 verse 2, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher for our faith, who was set for the joy that was set before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame. He sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. And so he is our example. We're to look under Christ. He's the author.

He's the beginner. He's the finisher of our faith. And we have this great hope, and it's because of what Christ has done. Our hope in Christ can and should lead to an active, vibrant Christian life. It should not be a complacent life. We should have an active, vibrant life. We shouldn't live with defeat. We should live with anticipation of just being able to fail falling forward. But we continue to get up.

We continue to move forward because he has set that example for us. So tonight, as we get ready to close out, what is your spiritual four-minute mile? In other words, what is holding you back? What do you want to do better or in a better way for Christ?

Whatever it is, you can trust that Christ has and will help you get beyond that barrier that's holding you back. Many times we don't realize it, but the non-Christian world is watching us. Our neighbors and others that we encounter in our day-to-day life, our co-workers, our family, our friends, they notice our behavior. They know that if we claim to be followers of Christ, that there should be certain things that mark a Christian, being kind and compassionate. They know that our lives should reflect Christ-like behavior. So let us make sure that the people that we have in our lives that are watching us and watching our example want to get to know our Savior by our actions. Let's become more like Him, and I can say this tonight, that nothing is more Christ-like, more attractive to a world in need of something different than Christ-likeness. So in conclusion tonight, to walk as Jesus did or live as Jesus did doesn't mean choosing 12 disciples to follow you around and none of us can perform great miracles.

None of us want to be crucified. We cannot merely copy Christ's life. However, much of what Jesus did had to do with His identity as God's Son, the fulfillment of His special role in dying for our sins. To walk daily as Christ did, we must obey His teachings and follow His example of complete obedience to God and loving service to people. True Christian faith results in a love for Jesus, a love for God, and a behavior that causes us to abide in Him and to become like Him. Perhaps tonight, is there that Christ-likeness in your daily demeanor?

If you were to ask the 10 closest people in your life, if I was to ask them, would they say that, yeah, they reflect Christ-likeness in their daily conduct and the workplace or at home? Is there a daily willingness to be obedient to the Word of God because of your love for Christ? If not, note tonight that we're here for you and we'll have men and women up at the front that you can come and know how to have a true saving faith and a true relationship with Jesus Christ. If you would, stand with me this evening, bow your heads and close your eyes and the altars are open.

I know it's a heavy day for many. Perhaps you're here tonight and you say, Braden, I don't know that Jesus is my Lord and Savior. I don't know that I've truly placed my trust and faith in Him. There's areas of my life that I don't reflect Christ-likeness. If you were to ask the 10 closest people in my life, they wouldn't say that I know Jesus Christ is my personal Lord and Savior. If that's you tonight with heads bowed and eyes closed, would you just give an uplifted hand that, hey, I'm not sure that heaven would be my home? I don't know that I've trusted in Christ.

I see that hand in anyone else. Maybe you're here tonight and you say, Braden, I've got a lot of heavy things on my plate. Just with the news today or maybe just not walking closely with the Lord.

I have not been abiding as I should. I just want to pray for you. If you give an uplifted hand to that, hey, I've not been walking like I should.

I see those hands all around. Thank you. Father, we come before you. Lord, we thank you for the advocate for the Son, the sinless Son of God that takes away the sins of the world. We thank you for the hope and we place our trust in you that we have eternal life. Lord, I pray for the hands that went up that do not know that heaven would be their home. Lord, I pray that tonight would be the night of salvation for them, that they would come and seek someone out so they could get any answers that they may have in regards to their salvation. Lord, I pray for the many hands that went up, maybe just struggles of life or not abiding in your word. Lord, you know our hearts.

Lord, you know we're prone to wander. Lord, I pray that you would draw those close to you that are far away. Lord, may it not be a pain of a punishment or sin, Lord, a tragedy of life that would shake us up to get us right. But Lord, out of loving obedience, that we would fall in line with your holy word and your holy spirit. Lord, that you would continue to draw men to you. We ask this tonight in Christ's name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-02 08:58:08 / 2023-04-02 09:17:02 / 19

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