Spiritual Growth and Assurance
Book of 1 John Chapter 2:1-14
Have you noticed how many lessons we see about spiritual growth? If we are not growing spiritually every day, we are not just at a standstill, we are actually going backwards.
Last week our lesson was about being cleansed from sin and once we are cleansed from sin, then we need to grow spiritually in our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ!
Remember because of Adam and Eve we had lost fellowship with God! That fellowship can be restored because of the work of Christ Jesus!
As long as we are in these bodies of flesh made from the dust of this sinful world, we will remain sinners. God knows this and through the Cross, when Jesus died the veil of the Temple was rent in to and Jesus made a way for us to enter into the throne room of God, where we can humbly go before the Lord and ask Him to forgive us of our daily sins.
We are to do our best to refrain from sin, but this is impossible while we are in this sinful flesh!
What else has the Lord done for us? He went back to Heaven to be our advocate!
*1Jn 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
We know that the Holy Spirit is our Comforter while we live on this earth, but in Heaven while we are still alive, we have an Advocate and this Advocate is the Lord Jesus Christ!
The Holy Spirit is here pleading our case to God while we are still in these bodies of flesh and in Heaven’s courtroom the Lord Jesus Christ is doing the exact same thing!
As an Advocate, the Lord Jesus pleads our cause to God the Father, defending us when we do things out of ignorance to God’s Laws.
Sometimes we may intentionally do foolish things and we can be forgiven of those also, but we will still suffer for those sins!
Jesus is our Owner and He stands in our place before God the Father when we fail Him!
Remember God is not a mean and hateful God, His name is Love.
Jesus is not guilty of anything, yet He stands in our place because when we are washed in His blood then we are also innocent of sin and pardoned of our past life and Born Again into new Life!
Jesus is the only person who can represent us before God the Father, there is no other in Heaven and certainly no one upon this earth!
For whom does Jesus plead? He pleads for His children. All those who have accepted Him as their personal Savior.
We are the little children because compared to all the people in the world, the true Christian is among the smaller group!
Jesus does not plead our innocence.
Jesus does not plead our good works.
Jesus does not plead our goodness.
Jesus does not plead our righteousness.
Jesus pleads His own righteousness as our Owner!
Rom 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
Rom 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Rom 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
How is this possible?
*1Jn 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
It is because of the shed blood of Jesus that we are at peace with God, and that peace can never be changed to wrath because of the sacrifice of God’s Dear Son!
Heb 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
Heb 2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
Propitiation means the death of the Lord Jesus Christ was the payment that satisfied God the Father and made appeasement for all our sins. Not just those who accept this truth but the sin of this entire world past, present, and future!
It is the “Blood of Jesus that has reconciled us to our Holy God!
The Lord Jesus Christ has removed every barrier that was once between us and God the Father!
The Lord Jesus Christ is the beginning of every promise of God!
God the Father required blood to be sacrificed for all our sin!
Heb 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
Not just any blood would do! It took the pure, undefiled, sinless, blood of the Lamb of God to wash away our sins!
Gen 22:8 And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide himself a lamb” for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
God provided Himself to be the Lamb that was to wash us from all our sin!
By the sin of Adam, we were cut off from God!
God sacrificed Himself so that we could be saved!
This is the meaning of propitiation. A debt that none of us had the ability to pay, had to be paid by God Himself!
It was God the Father who had to be appeased.
It was God the Son who provided that appeasement.
Jesus Christ covered our sins with His own blood so our sin would be forever out of sight of God the Father.
The only “type” of propitiation in the Bible is the “Mercy Seat of God.
Heb 9:8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:
Heb 9:9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;
Because of the work of Jesus Christ, we can now go before the Lord and claim that “Mercy”!
Luk 18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
If we know all these things, we should be keeping the commandments of God!
*1Jn 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
1Jn 2:4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
How do we know we love God? We keep His commandments without questioning them!
How do we show God that we love Him, by being obedient to the things He has said!
We must walk in this world as true believers, being obedient to the Word of God.
We must go before the Lord everyday as sinners, to be washed from the sin and filth of this world that we are in contact with every day.
We are justified when we truthfully ask Jesus to come into our heart, but we are still sinners saved only by His “Grace” until He comes to take us home!
Our lives must be centered around the fact that we know the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior.
God lives in the Spiritual world that surrounds us.
We live in the physical world separated from our Holy God.
God the Father sent God the Son into this physical world, so that we to can one day be a part of that Spiritual world with Him!
There is no one upon this earth that has ever crossed over into the world of God except the Lord Jesus Christ!
Joh 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
To know the Lord in truth is to have fellowship with Him and His Father!
To not keep His commandments is to still walk in the darkness of this world!
Joh 8:42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
Joh 8:43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
Joh 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Joh 8:45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
In order to know God we must accept His Son and keep His commandments!
We must believe what Jesus says!
As far as God the Father is concerned, if we reject His Son then we have rejected Him and continue to hold onto the lies of the Devil who has lied from the beginning of his existence!
So how do we know if we love the Lord? We keep His commandments. It’s just that simple!
The more we walk with the Lord the more we show God that we love Him!
It is impossible to say we love God and then reject His commandments.
America is full of those people today reject the truth of God, but say they are one of His children.
The Holy Spirit says they are all liars!
Mar 7:6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
Mar 7:7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
We must be obedient to “all” the Word of God if we say we love Him!
*1Jn 2:5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
1Jn 2:6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
Some would say from the last passage that all we need do is just keep the 10 commandments and that would be a great start, but the Holy Ghost says, do not be mistaken we must keep all the Word of God!
Without this obedience then the act of love is not in us.
Most people always get the word love wrong. Love is an action word!
The only way to love God is to get nearer to Him!
We must study Him.
We must learn all about Him.
We must know His will for us.
We must know His nature.
We must know His desires.
We must know His wants.
We must know His thoughts.
We must know how He behaves.
These things should be the same for anyone who says they love someone!
God shows us all these things about Him, just so we can get up close and personal with Him!
In the end this is the most important decision we will ever make!
Rev 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
When we declare that we are a child of God, then we need to be measured by God’s standards! That standard is Jesus Christ!
That word “ought” says, every child of God is obligated to live according to the written Word of God!
That word “ought” says, we will willingly live as God says to live.
Rom 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Rom 6:5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Rom 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
These are things that we know and accept because we love the Lord!
God has had this same message since the time of Adam and Eve!
*1Jn 2:7 Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.
As the church, our salvation is not bound up in the laws of Moses or we would say the 613 commandments given to the Jews.
The Word of God does teach us that all the Word of God is to be used for our instructions on living, rightly divided!
2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
What we should know is that all the Word of God is our love letter, and this is where the Apostle John is leading us.
There are some Old Testament laws that that never change even in the New Testament and this what John is talking about.
Lev 19:17 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.
Lev 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.
The Lord Jesus Christ simplified all those old laws and any new law!
Mat 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Mat 22:38 This is the first and great commandment.
Mat 22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Mat 22:40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
It is this love that will allow us to grow in “Grace” and “Knowledge” of our God!
*1Jn 2:8 Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.
What we need to understand is that, Jesus gave that word “love” a new meaning:
Jesus said not only love your brothers and sisters in Christ and in family, but also love your enemies!
Jesus said to not only love good people, but also bad people!
Jesus said not just love the righteous, but also to love the sinner!
Jesus said not only love those you accept, but also those you reject!
Jesus said if we are striving for perfection then this is the meaning of love we should understand!
Mat 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
Mat 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Mat 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
Mat 5:46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
Mat 5:47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
Mat 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
It is hatred that will lead us back into darkness!
*1Jn 2:9 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.
1Jn 2:10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.
1Jn 2:11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.
How do we grow in Christ?
It takes faith, so we must believe in His works for our salvation!
We follow Christ in believer’s baptism.
We join a Bible believing Church.
We join Christ in the Lord’s Supper.
We study the Words of Christ.
We pray with Christ.
We live for Christ.
We tell others about Christ.
But then, if for some reason we allow hate to reenter into our heart for someone then once again we are walking in darkness!
We must not allow this to happen!
We must walk in the love of God every day!
God is love, the more we interact with God, the more our love will grow.
The more our love grows, the more we will object to hatred.
1Th 3:12 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:
1Th 3:13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
So if we want to be unblameable when the Lord returns, then we need to be walking in the love of Jesus Christ!
When we walk in hatred we are walking in blindness, and in reality, we do not know where we are going.
Whenever we walk into a group of people, that hatred will walk in front of us and immediately cause division. This walk is not of God!
Eph 4:17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
Eph 4:18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
We must never walk like the world walks, in blind hatred!
*1Jn 2:12 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.
1Jn 2:13 I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.
The Holy Ghost begins His caution by writing to everyone in the Church.
These little children are all the Saints of God, but here John means the Babes in Christ.
The first thing we realize upon our salvation our sins have been forgiven!
Rom 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
Rom 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
In the Church there should also be Spiritual Fathers not just the old saints of God, who are mature in the things of God. These are those who have known God and have been faithful to the Word of God since their salvation day.
In the Church we always have a need for the young men who will be the Church, when the old Saints have passed on to glory and they need to grow in the “Meat of the Word” because they have overcome that wicked Satan!
In the Church there are the little children and even they must be taught the truth of the Scriptures.
Do not ever be fooled, a small child can understand the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ and the truth of Creation!
Spiritual growth is required for all age groups and though these things mention males they are also writing for Spiritual mothers and the young ladies in the Church.
Not many Churches would survive without Christian ladies!
The intent is that we must all become rich in the knowledge of God!
2Pe_3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
*1Jn 2:14 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.
Joh 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
God is a Spirit and if we are created in God’s image, then we must be a spirit also!
If this were not so, we could have no communication with Him!
It is in our spiritual strength that we must grow!
Our flesh is only a tabernacle we will discard one day!
This is the difference between mankind and the animal world!
We must grow spiritually to get closer to God!
John is now reaching out to those who have grown in the Lord.
These fathers are those who have deep and rich knowledge of and have grown daily from the day of their salvation.
It is these who know that the best they can do to avoid sin and they will sometimes fail, but the Lord Jesus will still defend us before God, but they cannot use this as an excuse to sin more!
There is at no point in our lives that we can let our guard down!
We must know for sure where our strength comes from!
Php 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Our young men must become strong in the Lord and they must hold God’s Word above the things in the world!
Joh 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
Joh 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
We must not only overcome the wicked one (the Devil), we must live as overcomers!
We must listen to the Holy Spirit who is the power behind the Church!
Rev 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
Rev 2:17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
Rev 3:6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Rev 3:13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Rev 3:22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Mat 13:43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
If we are to grow in the “Grace” and “Knowledge” of the Lord, we must listen to what the Holy Spirit is teaching us, and use His information to grow in Christ!
We must love the Lord far above any love we have for this world!