Lesson Two
1 John 2:1-11

Have you ever wanted another person to forgive you? We all have. Why? Why did we want forgiveness? Did we want forgiveness so that we could rebuild a relationship, get a new start, and restore love? Or, did we want forgiveness to create the opportunity to live as we pleased doing the things we selfishly wanted to do?

When we seek forgiveness from a person, is it because we want an opportunity to change our lives and put our mistakes behind us? Or, is it because we want to exploit someone else's love by using his or her forgiveness to create a selfish opportunity to do as we please?

Do we want and seek God's forgiveness? Why? Do we sincerely want an opportunity to redirect our lives? Or, do we want to exploit God's love by using forgiveness to continue to live as we please?

  1. Last Sunday evening John declared in 1 John 1 that a Christian cannot exploit God's goodness expressed in His forgiveness.
    1. For the Christian who makes a serious commitment to live in God's light, to honestly live for God, God's goodness expressed in forgiveness is given without measure.
      1. It cannot be exhausted.
      2. Because this Christian is serious about living for God, because he or she nurtures fellowship with Christians, because he or she accepts responsibility for mistakes and wrong doing, because he or she acknowledges mistakes and wrong doing to God, God uses Jesus' blood to continually cleanse his or her life.
        1. He or she is continually forgiven of all sin.
        2. He or she is continually cleansed of all unrighteousness.
    2. But the Christian who claims to be in fellowship with God while, by decision and choice, living an ungodly lifestyle, God does not extend His goodness to him or her.
      1. This Christian is so self-deceived that he or she does not even realize a need for forgiveness.
      2. This person lies, does not practice the truth, does not have the truth in him or her, makes God a liar, and does not have the word of Christ in him or her.
    3. The point of chapter 1:5-10 is this: the Christian who tries to exploit God's goodness will not benefit from God's goodness.

    Transition: it is extremely important for you to remember that we added the chapter divisions. We must see the continuity, the flow of John's thoughts from 1 John chapter 1 into chapter 2. The emphasis in chapter 1 and chapter 2 are directly connected, not disjointed and unrelated.

  2. John said understanding that God's goodness in His forgiveness is unlimited is the encouragement not to sin.
    1. If a Christian is serious in his or her commitment to live for God, if he or she accepts responsibility for his or her mistakes and wrongdoing, God's forgiveness is total and continuous.
      1. Understanding this does not encourage the serious Christian to sin.
      2. It powerfully encourages him or her not to sin.
    2. John urged the serious Christian to understand just how perfect and complete God's forgiveness is.
      1. When the committed Christian who seeks to live for God does something wrong, he or she is represented by an Advocate in God's personal presence.
      2. This Advocate does two things:
        1. The Advocate represents the Christian seeking God's mercy.
        2. The Advocate asks God to accept his pure sacrifice, his pure blood to satisfy divine judgment, divine anger, and divine wrath.
    3. In none of this does God expect a committed Christian to be perfect.
      1. As John said in 1:9, sin cannot destroy a Christian's relationship with God if he or she accepts responsibility for his or her mistakes and wrong doing.
      2. God's use of forgiveness to destroy a Christian's sin and unrighteousness is complete and perfect.
        1. It can and does forgive the committed Christian from all sin.
        2. It can and does cleanse the committed Christian from all unrighteousness.
      3. God's method of dealing with the committed Christian's mistakes and wrong doing is also perfect.
        1. The resurrected Jesus constantly serves as our Advocate before God.
          1. He is the perfect Advocate because he is the sinless one, the righteous.
          2. He is the only being who has had the experience of being divine and of being human.
        2. Our Advocate is also our propitiation.
          1. Each time we need forgiveness, he is our substitute.
          2. His sacrifice of himself pays for our mistakes.
          3. His sacrifice satisfies divine justice, divine anger, and divine wrath.

  3. Please pay close attention to verse 1:6 and verse 2:3.
    1. Each verse compliments the point of the other.
      1. 1:6--To claim to know God while choosing to live an evil lifestyle is to lie.
      2. 2:3--The one who knows God commits himself or herself to practicing God's instructions.
        1. The Christian who claims to know God but refuses to practice God's instructions is a liar and the truth is not in him.
        2. But, God brings His love to full maturity in the Christian who practices God's instructions
      3. This is the certain, undeniable evidence that we are in God: we live our daily lives just as Jesus lived his daily life.
        1. The way Jesus lived determines the way we live.
        2. The values and principles that determined Jesus' actions, choices, and decisions are the same values and principles that determine our actions, choices, and decisions.
    2. What commandments? What instructions are we to practice? If we live like Jesus lived, what will be obvious in our Christian life?
      1. It is an old commandment; it is certainly not a new principle or concept.
      2. But it is also a new commandment; living in Christ moves this principle, this understanding to a higher level and gives it a new significance.
      3. This old and new commandment is for Christians to love Christians.
        1. The Christian who says that he is living in God's light while at the same time he hates another Christian has never left evil's darkness.
        2. It is the Christian who loves his or her fellow Christian that exists each day in the light.
        3. The Christian who loves will not cause another Christian to stumble in his or her faith or in his or her relationship with God.
        4. But the Christian who hates a Christian exists in evil's darkness, lives in evil's darkness, and is so blind that he cannot see where he is going.
      4. When I see that the first commandment, the first instruction that John stressed as being essential for life in God's light is the love of Christians for Christians, I am overwhelmed and sobered at the importance and significance of love.

  4. Please let me give you something to take home with you and think about seriously.
    1. In my years as a Christian, the number one responsibility, the number one value, and the number one emphasis that we have stressed in the church was truth.
      1. Truth is the supreme measurement, the absolute essential, the one criteria by which everything stands or falls.
        1. Satan can defeat truth--he started defeating truth in the garden of Eden.
        2. He can defeat truth with deception, with ignorance, with distortion, with misplaced emphasis, with manipulation of the facts, and with half correct perceptions.
        3. Satan can defeat truth in me, in you, in any person--and does!
        4. No one understands the whole truth; no one possesses the whole truth; and that is clearly evident every time a person makes that claim.
      2. Satan cannot defeat love for God that surrenders to God and loves people.
        1. Love will always defeat evil.
        2. Why? Because love does what is good even to those who are evil.
        3. Paul said plainly in Romans 12:21 that the way that a Christian overcomes evil is by doing good.
        4. Love defeats evil because love practices good.
      3. Love for God and people will not allow you to oppose truth.
      4. Devotion only to truth will allow you to be unloving, and to justify horrible, ungodly attitudes, acts, and words that destroy love in the name of truth.

When God's forgiveness is coupled to our commitment to God, and both are bound together with the love that lives in us because we belong to Christ, we experience the ideal spiritual relationship. Our commitment will not exploit the forgiveness of God. The forgiveness extended by God's goodness will never be exhausted. In that is security. It is our faith in and commitment to the God of forgiveness that allows us to be preserved and protected by His power (1 Peter 1:3-5).

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 14 February 1999
previous next in series

This sermon is also available in French.

 Link to next sermon

 Link to other Writings of David Chadwell