We are continuing our series on 1 John called Reality Check. Did you know that there is a difference between these terms waiting for Christ and watching for Christ? Let me illustrate this with the story of a fishing vessel returning home after many days at sea. As the crew neared the shore, the sailors gazed eagerly toward the dock where a group of their loved ones had gathered. The skipper looked through his binoculars began identifying some of them: “I see Bill’s wife Mary, and there is Tom’s wife Margaret and David’s wife Anne. Mike became concerned because his wife was not there. After gathering his belonging, he left the boat with a heavy heart and hurried home. As he opened the door, his wife ran to meet him, saying, “I have been waiting for you!” He replied with a gentle rebuke, “yes, but the other men’s wives were watching for them!” It’s one thing to know that Christ is coming back. It’s another thing to watch for His coming. I want to show what we as believers need to be doing until Christ comes back. We must abide in Christ so that you will have confidence when He returns. Remain in Christ 1 John 2:28, “and now, little children, abide in Him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from Him in shame at his coming.” The words “and now” mark the beginning of a new section. Remember that John uses the word children to refer to disciples of Christ. John commands the believers to abide in Christ. Abide is the word for remain, rest, or reside. What does abiding look like? Jesus explained in John 14:4, “abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” Abiding requires us to slow down and depend upon Christ. Abiding is not only a matter of correct belief but correct behavior. Be unashamed of your devotion to him. John offers us an incentive for abiding in Christ. The world is full of incentives: Moral incentives to do the right thing because it’s right. Natural incentives such as fear or pain. Financial incentives to receive a reward for completing a task. We bribe our children with incentives to do things. If you do this_____, I will get you a new toy, app, game, etc. John gives an eternal incentive. The word confidence is found 4 times in 1 John and refers to confidence at Christ’s coming and confidence in prayer. 1 John 4:17 is a perfect example of this: “by this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as He is so also are we in this world.” Believers can have confidence on the day of judgment if they abide. This is a sobering reminder of Jesus’ coming. When was the last time you thought of Christ’s return? The apostles lived with anticipation that Jesus could come any minute. Don’t let the gap of time from his death overshadow the importance of his return. Matt. 24:42, “ therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.” 1 Thess. 4:15, “for this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 for the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the lord. 18 therefore encourage one another with these words. 5:1, now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. 2 for you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 while people are saying, “there is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4 but you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief.” Jesus came the first time as a baby in a manger; he is coming the second time as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. His first coming was signaled by a star in the east; his second coming will be as bright and morning star. His splendor will envelope us all. He came the first time riding on a donkey into Jerusalem; he will come the second time riding a white horse on the clouds. Are you ready? When we were younger, my mom didn’t like answering the door with two small kids in the house while my dad was at work. Whether it was a kirby vacuum salesman, 2 mormons, or girl scouts selling cookies, we hid. My mom would see them coming and yell no one move. Turn out the lights. Ok. We answered the door for the girl scouts. Who could pass up the thin mints, samoas, or tagalongs. Nothing catches us off guard more than unexpected guests when you least expect them. It’s 9:00 at night, you have a t-shirt, shorts, and house slippers on. Your hair is a mess, you’ve already taken your makeup off, and the house is a wreck. It’s easy to shrink back from the door and hide. But there will be a knock that you must answer whether you want to or not. When Christ rings the doorbell, it will be an inopportune time. He will catch you off guard. Here’s the question: if he comes now, would you be ready to meet him? Prepare now for his arrival by being unashamed of your devotion to him and be unwavering in your relationship with him. Verse 29 “if you know that He is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.” John distinguishes between believers and unbelievers. Since God is righteous, everyone whom is born of him does right. This is the first of 10 times that John uses the verb “born” or “birth.” What does it mean to be born of God? John gives us 2 clues in his gospel.
- John 1:12–13, “but to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
- In John 3, Jesus explains to nicodemus the necessity of being “born again.” The new birth of the spirit was different than natural birth.