************ Sermon on 1 John 2:6 ************

By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman

This sermon was preached on April 15, 2018

1 John 2:1-14
1 John 2:6
"In His Steps"
GEMS Sunday

GEMS, let's test your Bible knowledge. Can you tell me who is: Methuselah (969 years), Lot, Hagar, Deborah, Jesse, Elizabeth, Timothy. Here is a name you may not know: who is Demas? Demas is mentioned three times in the Bible:
(Col 4:14) Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings.

(Phile 1:23-24) Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. (24) And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers.

(2 Tim 4:10) Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica.
Demas started as a friend and fellow believer. Then he became a fellow worker. And he ended as a deserter. Do you hear the hurt and pain in Paul's words?

Every church has people like Demas. They look Christian, they sound Christian, they get baptized, they profess their faith, they lead a Bible Study, they become an elder, but eventually you find out they are not Christian.

Do you girls remember Jesus' Parable of the Sower (Mt 13; Mk 4; Lk 8)? "A farmer went out to sow his seed." The seed is what? The Word of God, the News of the Kingdom, the Gospel. And, what are the four kinds of soil on which the seed falls? The path, rocky places, thorns, good soil:
1. What happens to the seed on the path? The birds came and ate it up. Meaning what? When someone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path.
2. What happens to the seed on rocky places? It sprang up quickly, but when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Meaning what? The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the Word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the Word, he quickly falls away.
3. What happens to the seed among the thorns? The thorns choke out the plants. Meaning what? The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.
4. What happens to seed on good soil? It produced a good crop. Meaning what? The one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

What kind of soil was Demas? He wasn't good soil! He sounds like the seed in the thorns because we are told "he loved this world."

Now why am I telling you about Demas and the Parable of the Sower? Because Demas was not a true believer. Or, to use the GEMS theme, Demas did not walk in the steps of Jesus.

I Who Jesus Is
A Our text says, "Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did" (1 Jn 2:6). We must understand Who Jesus is before we can walk as He did.

So who is Jesus? He is the "Righteous One." He is the Righteous One since conception and birth already. What was He born without? Since He was conceived by the Holy Spirit He was born without a human father. And, He was born without Original Sin. You know, the sin and guilt and corruption with which we are all born. He was the only person Who was born pure, holy, and perfect in every way. And, He remained pure, holy, and perfect. Even though He was tempted in every way, just as we are, yet He was without sin.

B What did He do as the Righteous One? He loved His friends and treated them perfectly. He spent time and energy on unpopular people: like tax collectors, lepers, prostitutes, and Samaritans. He went out of His way to heal the sick, raise the dead, cure the lame and blind and deaf.

What else did He do as the Righteous One? He humbled Himself. He gave His life as a ransom for many. He was obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross. Or, as our passage puts it, "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins ..." (1 Jn 2:2).

Now, you and I are sinners. We deserve God's judgment and eternal condemnation. But Jesus doesn't deserve God's judgment and condemnation. Jesus doesn't because He is the Righteous One. Yet, Jesus suffered and died. Do you know why? He took our place. He suffered in our place. He was judged and condemned in our place.

And do you know what He does now? He "speaks to the Father in our defense" (1 Jn 2:1). When we sin, when we are guilty, though we are guilty, He speaks to the Father in our defense. Do you know what He says? He says,
"I took their place. I took their guilt and their shame and their sin. I took their judgment and their condemnation. I took their place so don't judge them and condemn them and punish them."
He speaks to the Father in our defense. Isn't this absolutely wonderful?!

II You Are in Jesus
Our text says, "Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did" (1 Jn 2:6). We must understand who we are before we can walk as He did.

So what can we say about ourselves? What can I say about you girls? Our text says we "live in him." We live in Jesus. What does this mean?

According to the Bible, our sinful, natural state is that we are in someone else. Any idea who that may be? Our sinful, natural state is that we are "in Adam." Meaning we are sinners in Adam. Meaning we are spiritually dead, separated from God, self- centered, rebellious, condemned, and destined for hell.

But now we are "in him." That is, we are "in Christ." With Christ. Of Christ. Part of Christ. Joined to Christ. The little phrase "in Christ" is one of the most important things I can say about you, me, and any other believer. Consider:
-"In Christ" we have "REDEMPTION, THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS" (Col1:14)
-"In Christ" we are "REUNITED" to God (Eph 2:13).
-"In Christ" we have "ETERNAL LIFE" (1 Jn 5:1,13).
-"In Christ" we are "FREE" (Jn 8:36).
-"In Christ" we are declared to be "RIGHTEOUS" (2 Cor 5:21).
-"In Christ" we are "SANCTIFIED" (1 Cor 1:2).
-"In Christ" we have "FULLNESS" (Col 2:9-10).
Do you see how important it is to be "in Christ"? In fact, it is the most important thing in life.

Are you girls "in Christ"? If you believe in Jesus then you are "in Christ." If you have faith then you are "in Christ."

III Walk as Jesus Did
A We looked at Jesus the "Righteous One." We looked at how believers are "in Christ." Now, let's look at the results. Our text says, "Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did" (1 Jn 2:6). You girls are to walk as Jesus did. Another word for "walk" is "live." You girls are called to live as Jesus did, to imitate Him.

Did you hear the word "must." "Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did." Must. It is NOT an option. Because of Who Jesus is, because we "live in him," we MUST walk as Jesus did.

How do we do that? Let's start with how we don't do this. Our Bible reading mentions the man -- or woman, girl, boy -- who says "I know him." To walk as Jesus did, is it simply enough to know Him?

I want to teach you girls a Greek word. The Greek word is "gnosis." Can you repeat the word after me? GNOSIS. Gnosis is the Greek word for knowledge.

One of the greatest heresies that the Apostle John faced in the early church was Gnosticism. Do you hear the word "gnosis" in their name? Gnosis. Gnosticism. The Gnostics thought that knowledge was enough; knowledge was all they needed. The Gnostics believe salvation and a relationship with God comes through a secret, special, mystical knowledge. To get this knowledge all you need do is get in touch with an inner spark put in you by God.

Is this what Jesus wants? That we know Him? That we know God? Is this what it means to walk as Jesus did? Of course not. To walk as Jesus did means to live a certain way and not just know a certain thing. So, it is not enough to simply know Jesus.

Here is another way we don't walk with Jesus. By being hypocrites. Do you girls know what a hypocrite is? A hypocrite says one thing but does another. A hypocrite says you should share but then eats the biggest piece of cake. A hypocrite says honor your parents but then talks bad about them. A hypocrite says be friendly, but picks on the new girl in school and mocks her and pokes fun of her and leaves her sitting alone at lunch time.

Unbelievers are really quick to see our hypocrisy. They are really quick to see when we don't do as we say. This morning I said we Christians live in glass houses. By that, I mean that the world is watching us. The world is watching to see if we walk as Jesus did.

B "Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did" (1 Jn 2:6). So how do we walk as Jesus did? In Jesus' day, when disciples followed a Rabbi, they would spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with their Teacher. They lived with their Teacher. When He sat, they sat. When He walked, they walked. They watched everything He did. They were consumed with knowing Him, being with Him, and being like Him! Because when Jesus said, "Come, follow Me" He was really saying, "Come, be like Me."

So, what does it mean to walk as Jesus did? What does it mean to be like Jesus? Jesus shows us. Remember the time just before the Passover Feast when Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. "I have set you an example," said Jesus, "that you should do as I have done for you" (Jn 13:15). This means that, like Jesus, we should be willing to do the work of a servant. We should be willing to humble ourselves. That's what it means to walk as Jesus did.

C "Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did" (1 Jn 2:6). You girls don't only have the example of Jesus. You also have the example of your parents, your grand-parents, your teachers, the GEMS counselors. They all show you how to walk as Jesus did.

For example, some Christians visit prisoners once a week. It isn't easy work. After all, some prisoners are dangerous people and often use four letter words. Other Christians reach out by visiting lonely seniors in nursing homes. Still others visit the sick in the hospital. Every day across the world Christians teach peasants to farm, adults to read, beginners to pray. Wise and strong Christians assist pregnant teenagers or drug abusers. GEMS, as you grow and mature, follow these examples.

GEMS, these examples also teach you to read the Bible and pray, to attend worship and Bible Study, to give generously to the church and kingdom. To imitate Christ, to walk as Jesus did, you would be wise to follow the example of these fellow believers.

D "Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did" (1 Jn 2:6). Let me tell you girls 10 ways you should walk like Jesus:
1. Be righteous and holy. Jesus is the Righteous One. In Him, He calls us to also strive for righteousness, to be obedient, to obey His commands (1 Jn 2:3).
2. Do NOT conform to this world (Rom 12:2).
3. Be crucified with Christ (Gal 2:20) -- that is, put to death the man of sin.
4. Live according to the new man -- that is, be filled with the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5).
5. Endure persecution. Those who hate Jesus also hate those who follow Jesus (Jn 15:18-20).
6. Do good works. In His parable of the Sheep and the Goats, Jesus tells us what is expected of us: like Him we are to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, befriend the stranger, clothe the naked, look after the sick, visit the prisoner (Mt 25:31ff).
7. Set yourself apart for God's work (Jn 17:18).
8. Walk in the light (1 Jn 1:7).
9. Endure hardship (James 1:2).
10. Resist temptation (Mt 4).

Remember the name of the man at the start of this sermon? Demas. Demas claimed to be a believer. He looked like a believer. He sounded like a believer. But he did not walk as Jesus did.

GEMS, are you like Demas? Or, do you walk as Jesus did?
You can e-mail our pastor at: Pastor, Trinity United Reformed Church
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