1 John 2:1-5 “ My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.  He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.  We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.  The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This is the fifth session of the 1 John Lecture series. The chapter 1 introduces God who is light and the Savior Jesus Christ, and it tells us that we have to dwell in the light as God’s children. It also says that the reason why John is writing this is to make us dwell in the light and have fellowshiop with God who is the light. But today’s reading passage 1 John 2:1 says, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.” In order for us to have fellowship with God who is the light, we have to dwell in the light as well and we must not commit sins. John is explaining once again that our faith must be more than just believing in the Lord and receiving salvation. We have to depart from sins completely. But many believers think that they cannot depart from sins completely. Matthew 26:41 says, “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Being unable to overcome their tiredness, Peter and other disciples fell asleep even after hearing these words spoken by Jesus. Some quote this verse and say that men who have flesh cannot practice all the words of God. But there is not a single verse in the Bible that says we may commit sins because our flesh is weak. When Jesus said the above verse, it was when the disciples had not yet received the Holy Spirit. But we can do the things that we are unable to do with the help of the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:26 says, “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” We might have been falling in sins, being unable to overcome the lust with our own strength, but we can surely overcome sins if we receive the power of the Holy Spirit. But to do this, we have to keep the fullness of the Holy Spirit by praying continually. Before he received the Holy Spirit, Peter could not overcome his tiredness and he even denied Jesus due to his fear. But after he received the Holy Spirit, he manifested the power of God and he boldly preached the gospel. In the end he was martryed by being crucified upside down. Of course, not everyone who has accepted Jesus Christ can cast away sins completely at once. They can’t go into spirit immediately, and it takes time until their faith grows up. Before we accomplish sanctification, we may sometimes commit sins in heart or in action. Fortunately, Jesus Christ redeemed us from all the sins that we had committed before we accepted the Lord as well as the sins that we committed when we had little faith after accepting the Lord. So, today’s reading passage 1 John 2:1 says, “And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” The advocate is like the lawyer who would speak for the person who committed a sin. In the court trial of this world, there are different roles for the judge, prosecutor, and advocate. The prosecutor will demand punishment to be given to the defendant according to the law. The defence lawyer will speak for the defendant trying to mitigate the punishment. In spiritual sense, we will stand before the judgment throne of God at the Great White Throne Judgment. Those souls who will have been cultivated will stand as defendants, and Moses will play the role of the prosecutor. John 5:45 says, “Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope.” But that does not mean the humble and gentle Moses will reveal the sins and iniquities of each one. Moses will accuse people in a sense that the Law, on which the Great Judgment is based, is the Law of Moses. In the Bible, the commandments of God including the Ten Commandments are also known as the Law of Moses. It is because Moses is the one who received the Law from God. Reflecting upon this Law of Moses, each one will be judged. At this moment, our Savior Jesus Christ will defend us. He will defend us saying, “I am innocent, but I shed my blood to redeem them from their sins. They believed in Me and repented, so the price of their sins is paid by Me.” Because the Lord will defend us before God’s throne, the believers can be freed from the condemnation. Also, Romans 8:34 says, “Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.” The Lord does not eat anything until the Final Judgment and is interceding for us. Before Jesus took the cross, at the Last Supper, He said, “I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” “Not drinking of the fruit of the vine” does not just mean He will not drink wine. It means, in spiritual sense, He will not either drink or eat anything that is created by Jesus Christ, the true and spiritual vine. While the believers are fighting the fight of faith on this earth where the enemy devil and Satan has the control, Jesus fasts and participates in their sufferings together with them. In the meantime, He prays with tears because of their sins. How embarrassed we must be that the precious Son of God took the sufferings of the cross for me and you! Yet, believing in this fact, if we do not become sanctified quickly but keep on committing sins again and again, thereby making Him intercede for us each time, it’s a great shame on us. I hope you will quickly accomplish holiness and depart from sins completely. I urge you not to make the Lord shed His tears for you again due to your sins. 1 John 2:2 says, “…and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” When men committed sins during the Old Testament times, they sacrificed animals to be forgiven of their sins and to have peace with God. In the New Testament, Jesus became the atoning Lamb and died for us to reconcile us with God. Romans 3:23-24 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” In 1 John 1:9 it says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” We were certainly sinners who committed sins, but we were justified through faith, and we were enabled to call God “Father”. This sacrifice of Jesus was for all mankind. It was for all regardless of their nationality, race, or whether rich or poor, or well-educated or less-educated, or men or women, or young or old. Anyone who believes in the Lord can be forgiven of their sins and be reconciled to God. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, through these verses 1 and 2, I want you to realize the love of God the Father once again. God already gave us the Law through Moses. If we keep the word of God, we will gain life, and if we don’t, we fall into death. This is the law of the truth that God clearly showed to us. But God foreknew that the human beings who live in the physical space will not be able to keep His words just by their own strength. In the physical space, they are apt to follow the fleshly natures and become stained with flesh. And as the days go by, the world is increasingly full of sins. They are druken with lust and pursue lewdness and dissipation, but they don’t know what sins are. To save these lives, God sent His only begotten Son Jesus who is the secret that was hidden since before the ages. The sinless Jesus saved the sinners by shedding His blood, and He became the advocate for the sinners. Here, we have to remember one thing. Even though Jesus died for all men, whether or not to accept that grace and enjoy it completely depends on the individual decision. They have to believe in Jesus Christ with their own free will. Also, that faith has to be true faith that shows the evidence of it with the deeds that follow. Those who truly believe that Jesus took the sufferings of the cross for their sins will naturally depart from sins. 1 John 3:8 says, “…the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” Even though people may say they believe, as long as they live in sins they still belong to the devil just like unbelievers. The Lord forgave us of our sins so that we will not do the things of the devil any more. Furthermore, to let us cast away sins from our heart, God sent to us the Holy Spirit, too. The Holy Spirit gives us joy and happiness when we practice the truth. If we practice untruth He tells us that we shouldn’t be doing it. Likewise, God gave us the Word, His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, and even the Holy Spirit. He has wide open all the ways for us to choose the truth and become sanctified. Now, you only have to obey. Keeping the commandments and becoming sanctified is not difficult at all. But even though our Lord has opened the way of salvation and the Holy Spirit tries to help us, we will not inherit the kingdom of God as long as we do not obey and continue to live in sins. The following verses 1 John 2:3-4 says, “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.  The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” If you really know the Lord, you must know His love with which He was crucified, and naturally you will love the Lord. Then, you will obviously keep His commandments. Even when unbelievers date each other, when their love is fervent, they try to do whatever the other person likes. They find out what types of clothes, what colors, or what kind of foods the other person like and try to do it that way. It is even more so in spiritual love. If we really love the Lord, we will know what He wants and obey it. Namely, it is to obey His commandments. We don’t do what He tells us not to do. We keep what He tells us to keep and cast away what He tells us to cast away. Even if we liked it so much before, once the Lord says He doesn’t like it, we dislike it from the heart too. But there are so many people who say they know God and love Him, but do not follow the desires of the Holy Spirit. They just follow their own desires and fleshly thoughts. And yet, they say, “Heavenly Father, I love you!” But God says they are telling a lie. Those who call God ‘Father’ must become holy as He is holy. They must not just pretend to be holy on the outside, but they have to cast away evil from their heart. This is the only way to prove that they love the Lord. Unless they change their heart this way, we cannot say their faith is genuine. Even if they attend church very well, they may violate the word of God seeking their own benefit. They may neglect their life in faith. If they face difficulties, they might complain against God or even stand against Him. Some people incline towards the formalities of faith just like the Pharisees at the time of Jesus. Even though they are in a position to teach the flock, they are trapped in the traditions of the elders and their own frameworks, so they do not experience the works of the Holy Spirit. And they rather pass judgment and condemnation if they heard some works of the Holy Spirit took place. About these peole, 2 Timothy 3:5 says, “holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; avoid such men as these.” Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, unless you keep the commandments and become sanctified, your spiritual faith does not grow up even if you attend church for a long time. So, in difficulties, you just follow the worldly methods, and even though you pray, you rely on men. Mark 11:24 says, “Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.” Even though there are so many verses like this in the Bible, they cannot be confident before God because they do not have the truth in them. They can not gain the faith to believe from the heart. So, if they get a disease, they do not rely on God but go to the hospital, take medicines, and have operations. Usually, they take so much health food and try to work out, seeking the things that are good for health. I am not saying you must not exercise or you must not eat good food. It is good to exercise from time to time and it is good to have food that is better for health than greasy and harmful food. But if you really love and rely on God, your first priority will be focused on the prosperity of your soul and pleasing God. If not, and if your mind is always at some fleshly things, what would God say to you? When Jesus did the works of the Father on this earth, where was His attention at each moment? Also, when the apostles and the prophets did their ministry, what do you think they thought everyday? “What is good health food nowadays? Where is a good gym? I heard there is a very good diet supplemental food, and I can get it at a cheaper price in this store. This particular exercise is very good for health!” Would they have been interested in these things? If God does not protect us, we cannot keep our health just by eating good food and doing good exercises. I hope you pastors and Levites will check your hearts. Where is your focus and what is your priority in life? When you say, “Father, I love you! Lord, I love you!” will God accept it with joy? Would He say, “Yes, I know your love, I love you, too!”? Of course, all church members should be able to hear such a remark, but pastors and Levites are those who dedicated their lives for God. Then, they have to focus on God’s kingdom and saving the souls with all their lives. They have to go into spirit and do their best with all their heart, mind, and soul to glorify God. They must not just do the work that is given to them and just follow flesh just like some secular employees do. You must not be hirelings who are paid to work but the true servants and workers of God. I hope you will check once again whether or not you are justfying yourself and giving excuses saying, “I am doing this much,” while you are actually just following your own benefit. I hope that your first priority will be to keep the commandments and to hold the truth in you.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, 1 John 2:5 says, “but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him.” Those who love God will try to keep and practice the word of God. As they try, they can finally become sanctified, and as they store up fervent prayers, they can also manifest the power of God. Then, many people will experience that power and become God’s children who love Him. This is the way to pay back the love of God: to accomplish sanctification and to bear a lot of fruit. This is the way that the love of God is perfected in you. I hope you will come forth as fruits of holiness and through you who are holy I hope many people will realize the love of God. I pray in the name of the Lord that you will all pay back the great love and grace of God.