Jesus Wants His Church to Look Like Him | Wayne Massey
1 John 2
Love and Hatred for Fellow Believers
3 We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.
7 Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. 8 Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.
9 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. 10 Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. 11 But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.
Reasons for Writing
12 I am writing to you, dear children,
because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.
13 I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
14 I write to you, dear children,
because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong,
and the word of God lives in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.
On Not Loving the World
15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
Warnings Against Denying the Son
18 Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. 21 I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. 22 Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
24 As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is what he promised us—eternal life.
26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.
1 John 2
The tide is going out on secularism as a culture ie the idea that this life is all there is. Instead we are in a time of post-Christian spirituality. Many young people are aware of a spiritual dimension to life but the Christian faith is not part of it. So what sort of Church will be able to respond to this seeking? - it will be one that looks like Jesus.
In John’s letter we find 2 ‘dos’ and 2 ‘don’ts’ that can guide us in this.
-DO have a radical love for and commitment to fellow-Christians. Of course this is easy with those Christians that we ‘click’ with. But it’s a lot harder with those who seem to drain our energy or that we just don’t take to. We need to remember that we are all one in Jesus Christ, and as he loves us, so we are to love. If we can’t do it in church, how can we do it out in the world?
It’s good to take stock of who we open our homes to, or spend our time and energy with. Is it just the ones who we feel good around? Could it be time to start including people who it’s an effort to be with – who are broken or hurting?
-DO remember whose you are. The only way we can show that radical love is by knowing who we are in Jesus. We are all God’s children, all forgiven through grace: God’s undeserved gift. It’s not a matter of loving each other in order to be good Christians – it’s the other way round. We look like Jesus because we are loved as God’s children.
Bonhoeffer said that normal Christian life is a bunch of people thrown together in Jesus. If you start giving thanks for this, you’ll begin to find him changing your heart.
Do you know whose you are? Do you know that Jesus died for you, that he has rescued you and wants to fill you with his love for ever? If this truth is something you know, it’s good to remind yourself of it every day. The 1-2-3 pattern of praise, Bible and prayer is a good way to do this. (see ‘Stories’ page)
-DON’T love the stuff of the world, letting it feed your sense of identity. It’s so easy to look for others’ approval to make us feel OK, or to pour our energies into ambitions of success, aiming at a big car or a big bank account. But these are idols that will crush you. You can be the best sports person in your field – until someone beats you. We need to find and build our sense of identity on God’s love and grace.
How do you respond to disappointment? If your life was audited, what would it reveal about where you are storing your treasure?
-DON’T deny Jesus. John was writing about those whose teachings opposed the truth of Jesus as God’s Son. He called them the ‘anti-Christ’. The Church will hold fast to the truth of who Jesus is and what he did through his sacrifice on the Cross, and not give way to the claims that ‘there is no absolute truth’ or that one can come to the Father in any other way than through Jesus.
Everyone is invited. The Gospel is radically inclusive but also radically exclusive. Jesus said ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me.’ On that basis, it’s not for us to say who is in and who is out, or how people get to the Father through him – that’s for God, not for us to decide.
Do you get tempted to water down the truth of who Jesus is, often with the best of intentions: to win people over or draw them in? Jesus never watered down his messages – he delivered them with radical love.
Jesus has so much more for us as a church family, and from there for our city and the culture around us. Keeping in mind the ‘dos’ and the ‘don’ts’, and thereby looking like Jesus, our church can bring change to our city.