Abide in Christ
1 John 2:28-29
October 6, 2013
One of the hardest things in life is perseverance. Sticking with a project. Not quitting.
That’s true of the spiritual life as well. It’s easy to want to quit. Life circumstances pile up on us and we become heavy-hearted and weary. It’s not that we’re overtly objecting against God; we’re just tired. The physical ailments have worn us out, the demands of people have finally overwhelmed us, the disappointments of life and our circumstances have become too many, so we just want to walk away and quit. We want (and idolize?) rest. I told Raye Jeanne recently about some rest and quietness I had received, and said, “that’s not good for my inner hermit…” I simply meant that as good as the rest was, it tempted me to desire rest and quietness and aloneness more than obedience to and service of Christ. And that’s a danger.
…the danger is real that professing Christians will simply grow weary in well doing (Galatians 6:9); that we will fail to take heed to ourselves (1 Timothy 4:16) and each other (Hebrews 3:13; 10:24-25); and that we will just drift through life (Hebrews 2:1) and fail to see that there is a fight to be fought and a race to be won (1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7). [Piper, Roots of Endurance, 21.]
The message of the gospel is amazingly simple and astoundingly gracious. In one sense, it is exceedingly easy to believe in Jesus. I am a sinner destined for Hell (and rightly so); but Christ came and lived a perfect life that I could not live and died a death I could not die (because He absorbed and satisfied the infinite wrath of God against sin, He willed the moment He died, and willed the moment He came back to life). Scripture says that when He died, “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Pet 2:24). And so the salvation He offers is granted to us graciously through believing in faith that He died for us so that we can live for Him.
One of the first times I explained that truth to a co-worker, many years ago, he said, “That’s so simple.” Exactly. The gospel is profound and simple at the same time. And easy to believe.
And the gospel is hard to believe. It’s hard to believe not because it’s beyond our ability to understand but hard to believe because there are implications that arise from that belief that are sometimes hard to follow.
So in Asia Minor in the first century, some people decided that they wanted Jesus, but they didn’t want to give up their sin. And others said they wanted Jesus, but they didn’t want Him to be human. And others said they wanted Him, but not if He was deity. And they all said, “if we can’t have Him the way we want Him, we’re leaving.” They wouldn’t be the last to do that. It can be hard to believe in Jesus because He demands our allegiance and obedience. We cannot have fellowship and intimacy with Him without submitting to Him.
This morning we are only going to examine two verses. They really aren’t too complicated to understand, but their implications are gi-normous. Read 1 John 2:28-29 —
What John is saying in these verses is this:
If you are a believer in Christ, stay in and with Christ.
If you are a follower of Christ, don’t quit.
In these two verses, John informs his readers why and how believers should remain in and with Christ.