1 John 2: 24-27
“As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life. These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.”
This is the 15th session of the ‘1 John Lecture Series’.
In the last session, we learned that we have to stand firm on the gospel to defeat the temptations of the anti-Christ.
It was also explained that saying we believe in God is a lie if we deny God’s one and only Son Jesus Christ.
God the Father testified to the Son through signs and wonders, so that if then we still do not believe in the Son, it means we do not believe in the Father.
Also, if we say we believe in the Father and the Son, but do not obey God’s word, our profession of faith is a lie.
I sometimes give you an allegory of drinking water when talking about faith and deeds of obedience.
You are dying of thirst and somebody gave you a glass of water.
If you accept the glass but without drinking the contents, it will not give you any benefit.
Even though you say, “I believe that I can live when I drink the water,” your profession is a lie if you do not drink it.
You cannot quench your thirst either.
If you have faith, the deeds will follow.
Likewise, if you believe in the Father God and accept the Lord Jesus as your Savior, you will practice the word of God.
Not those who just say, “Lord, Lord” but only those who practice the word of God will go to the heavenly kingdom and receive blessings on this earth.
This is not the teaching of a man, but the words of Jesus, the Son of God.
Unless we obey these words, our confession of faith in God is also a lie.
Especially, if teachers teach others that we can be saved even if we do not practice the word, these teachers’ sins will be considered even greater.
This is not really different from the deeds of the anti-Christ who stands against God.
It’s because these acts will lead others to the way of death.
Today’s reading passage also emphasizes that we have to dwell in the truth, in the same context with the last session’s passage.
1 John 2:24 says, “As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.”
What is it that you heard from the beginning-
Now, you should be able to answer these questions.
What you heard from the beginning is the essence of the gospel.
It is that Jesus Christ the Son of God is the only Savior for us, and that those children of God who believe in the Lord must walk in the light.
To believe in Jesus Christ the Son of God as our Savior is to acknowledge the basic doctrines such as the Trinity of God; God the Creator who created the heavens and earth; the Incarnation, Resurrection, the Second Advent of Jesus Christ; the Judgment and the heavenly kingdom.
It is also to acknowledge that the 66 books of the Bible is the word of God written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Here, ‘to acknowledge’ does not only mean confessing with the lips, but the acknowledgement is followed by the deeds of practicing the truth.
Those who believe in the gospel and practice the word will dwell in God and the Lord.
On the other hand, the anti-Christ, the liars, will distort this gospel.
They somehow deny God the Trinity, or the incarnation or resurrection of Jesus, or Heaven and Hell.
They interpret the Bible as they see fit and deny that the Bible is the errorless word of God.
The Bible is written in the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, so we have to understand the meaning by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
If we try to interpret it with men’s thoughts and ideas, we cannot understand the will of God.
2 Peter 3:16-17 says, “as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness,”
If you do not interpret the Bible through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit but with fleshly thoughts, you will face destruction.
When men utilize their fleshly thoughts, it is actually Satan who controls those thoughts.
Of course, those who have fleshly thoughts might think it’s their own thinking, but in fact, they are thinking untruths following the radio-like waves sent by Satan.
Thoughts of hared and jealousy, thinking of other people’s faults and thoughts of complaints and resentment, doubts, and negative thoughts that discourage you, are all thoughts given by Satan.
The heretics will distort the word of God with their fleshly thoughts and teach the people in a wrong way.
Even though they do not corrupt to become heretical, some people distort the meaning of the Word to interpret it in their own favor.
They do not obey the truth as it is, but they distort it tactfully for their own benefit.
For example, to talk about prayer, we find good examples of the methods of praying in the Bible.
The fathers of faith had a certain time set apart for prayer and continually prayed.
They prayed with all their heart on their knees and crying out.
Of course, they had to pray in silence according to the time and space, but these are cases of exception.
But those who do not like crying out in prayer give unreasonable excuses.
For example, in an attempt to argue with the word, they say things like, “Can God not hear us unless we cry out- I feel more inspired when I pray quietly,” or “unbelievers will think it’s ungodly if we don’t pray silently, and it’s difficult to preach to them.”
Rather than trying to understand the true will of God about prayers, they insist on their own ways.
Also, there are people who say they know about goodness and service in the truth, but in their actual lives, they seek their own benefit first.
Then, they utilize some fleshly thoughts to give excuses.
For example, when others do something they don’t like, they speak piercing words and hurt their feelings and pride.
And yet, they think, “I didn’t try to hurt his feelings. I just told him the truth. If he thinks his feelings are hurt when I only tell him the truth, it means he is narrow-minded and he is not humble, so he should change.”
Even though they heard that they must not exchange any money, they use fleshly thoughts when they are tempted.
They think, “I have been sowing before God diligently, and God is now giving me blessings this way.”
Or, they disobey the word saying, “This is good for both parties, and I will give the income I get from this.”
Those who distort the word of God this way cannot dwell in God.
No matter how much truth they learn and know it, they cannot go into spirit.
I hope you will not distort the word of God according to your personal benefit, but seek the true will of God in the word.
1 John 2:25 says, “This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.”
The gospel we heard is the good news.
The good news is that we receive blessings of escaping from eternal death and receiving eternal life when we believe in the Lord.
It is the blessing to go to Heaven and not Hell.
Moreover, it is the blessing that we can prosper in all things and be in good health as our soul prospers.
This blessing is a promise of the Lord given to us, but it is also a mutual agreement.
The Lord can give us the promised blessings only when we believe in Him and walk in the truth.
And this promise will not be realized for those who do not walk in the truth.
Even though they have received the Holy Spirit and experienced spiritual things, the Holy Spirit can be quenched when they fall into the world and sins again.
They will have nothing to do with God.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
There is nothing eternal in this world, whether it is youth, honor and glory, wisdom and knowledge, beauty and health, or fame and power.
Nothing in this world can be compared with the promise of eternal life.
If you can feel the happiness of Heaven just a little bit, you can never look at the world.
Matthew 13:44 says, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
If you believe the treasure hidden in the field is really valuable, you will not feel it wasteful to give everything you have.
You will not care about skipping a meal or shivering one night, because you will be rich when you get the treasure.
Likewise, those who really found the treasure of Heaven can sacrifice everything to make the treasure their own.
The apostle Paul considered all precious things in the world a loss after he saw Paradise in Heaven.
He was faithful to the kingdom of God day and night without even getting married.
He rejoiced even though he suffered for the name of the Lord. He gave all his life and possessions.
Of course, many of you here have been dedicating your time, money, and youth.
But to go into better heavenly dwelling places, rather than giving something to God the most important thing is to cast off the evil from your heart.
You have to cast off your ‘self’, your own righteousness and frameworks, and the love for yourself.
If you have love for yourself, it is not easy to cast off sins and evil.
Because you want for yourself, rather than others, to be recognized and loved, you cannot easily cast off envy.
If you are not loved as much as you expected, you become disappointed and sad.
When you make a mistake fulfilling your duties, you will put the blame on others trying to avoid the responsibility, as long as you have love for your ‘self’.
The desire to boast, the greed to take more things, the bias leaning towards your family members and close friends, and other selfish desires can be cast off easily only when you give up on your ‘self’.
I hope you will cast off your self and ego and the desire to be recognized and loved, and to enjoy more things yourself.
This is the way to sell all your possessions and get the hidden treasure.
If you can sell all your possessions, you can enjoy the glory of the best heavenly dwelling place.
Hebrews 6:19 says, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil,”
If the ship is anchored firmly, it can stay at the port safely even in storms.
And I hope you will also firmly hold on to the hope of Heaven to enter into the promise of the Lord.
1 John 2:26-27 says, “These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.”
These two verses are closely related with verses 20-21 about which I explained in the last session.
It tells us that we have already learned the truth and received the Holy Spirit, and we have to dwell in the truth as the Holy Spirit guides us.
But you should not misunderstand the verse saying that ‘you have no need for anyone to teach you’ because you have received the Holy Spirit.
Even though you have received the Holy Spirit, you obviously have to be taught spiritual things and you need spiritual guidance and consultation according to your measure of faith.
But even though they teach you with eloquent words, you don’t have to listen to them if they are not in agreement with the gospel you know and read.
You can just hold fast to the truth you heard in the beginning, which is the gospel without any falsehood.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
In John 14:2-3, before He took the cross, Jesus spoke the following words to His disciples.
“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”
Jesus not only promised us eternal life but He is also preparing the dwelling places for the believers whom He will meet soon.
You also believe in this fact and long for a better heavenly dwelling place.
But some people march on towards heavenly kingdom but stop midway.
It’s because, for example, they get disappointed thinking, “I gave all my youth, time, money, and heart and strength, but I have so little compared with my friends.”
They also think, “Others enjoy this and that, and it seems like I am living a foolish life,” and thus, they look back at the fleshly things that they had once cut off.
Rather than the beautiful and holy things before God, they begin to follow what seems good in men’s eyes, the trend of the world, and the lustful and sensual things of the world.
They go back to taking the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life, which they have been trying to cast off.
Today, if you look at the world, there are so many temptations.
The flow of flesh that stains people with sins is changing so rapidly that it is different every year.
Just like the current of the stream will be much faster as it gets closer to the waterfall, the unrighteous things are spreading to all corners of the world so quickly.
Everywhere you look, there are things that stimulate the boastful pride of life, lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes.
And the standard of judgment to discern between the right and wrong is being corrupted so fast.
Why would I suggest to those who do not live in the truth that they cut off the TV, movies, and even cell phones and Internet-
I didn’t say such things until a few years ago.
Of course, we need these things to live in the society, and it is a good tool if you can use it for a good purpose.
But unless you are spiritually awake, the flow of the world can flood into your heart as if a dam has been broken.
Many of you repented of your sins for last several months, and I hope you will make up your mind not to take the worldly things ever again.
Going towards the end, the faster the current of flesh flows, the faster the current of spirit flows, too.
As you have the determination to change yourself, the Father will give you different grace than before.
He gives you increased grace so that you can stand up against the flow of flesh and overcome.
I hope you will make this grace and strength as your own and take the promise of eternal life.
I pray in the name of the Lord that, in doing so, you will all go into the heavenly houses that the Lord will have prepared for us.