Sermon #18 1 John Series
Title: Don’t Sell it!
Text: 1 John 2:21-27
Subject: Perseverance in the Truth
Date: Tuesday Evening—September 18, 2012
Tape # 1 John #18
Readings: Lindsay Campbell and Bobbie Estes
Open your Bibles with me to 1st John 2. Our text will be 1 John 2:21-27. The title of my message is — Don’t sell it! — (1 John 2:21-27)
Many things distinguish the believer from the unbeliever. But our text sets before us one specific distinction, which I trust the Holy Spirit will enable us to grasp. — All true believers know the Truth and unbelievers do not know the Truth. The unregenerate may know the Truth academically, intellectually, in his head; but the unbeliever has no heart knowledge of the Truth. He does not know Christ, who is the Truth or the Gospel of Christ which is the Revelation of the Truth.
This distinction is clearly drawn in the Scriptures. The wicked and unbelieving men of this world and in the visible church, the professed kingdom of Christ, do not know the Truth. The Lord’s controversy with the children of Israel was plainly stated by Hosea. Though they professed to know the Truth, though they had the symbols of the Truth, though they had the Scriptures of Truth, yet they did not know the Truth. — “There is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land” (Hosea4:1).
Pilate asked our Lord Jesus, “What is truth?” Here was a mighty ruler. But he was a ruler whose wicked heart had no knowledge of the Truth. His ignorance was excuseless. Our Lord had plainly told the Truth. Any of our Lord’s disciples could have told him the Truth. Those holy women, those lowly fishermen, who followed the Lord Jesus, could have told him the Truth. But not only are the wicked destitute of truth; in their hearts there is no desire for the knowledge of the Truth.
Still, there some in this world who know the Truth. They are so firmly persuaded in their hearts of the Truth that many have died for it. Every man, woman, and child who is truly born again knows the Truth. Every soul that has a living union of faith with Jesus Christ knows the Truth, because all truth is in Christ. More than that, Christ himself is the Truth!
“What is truth?” I will tell you, — the Gospel of Christ is the Truth. The Truth is the revelation of God in Christ by the Gospel. — “Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” There is no such thing as salvation apart from a firm persuasion in the heart of the Truth. Gospel truth is essential. Those who know the Truth in their hearts are saved. Those who know it not are lost. The wicked turn away from the Truth. The believer loves the Truth. The wicked receive not the Truth. The believer is sanctified by the Truth. The children of God receive the Truth as the fruit of the Spirit; they meditate upon the Truth, talk of the Truth, rejoice in the Truth, obey the Truth, and walk in the Truth.
The Gospel of God’s free-grace in Christ is the Truth which we bind around our necks and is written upon the tables of our hearts. Gospel truth is a girdle to give us strength, a breastplate to give us protection, and a fountain to purify our souls.
Never was there a wiser and more needful word of wisdom than this: — “Buy the truth, and sell it not” (Proverbs 23:23). Like wise merchants we must secure the genuine article — The Truth, not something that resembles the Truth, not a part of the Truth, but the Truth. It is not enough to gaze at the Truth, admire the Truth, and talk about the Truth. We must buy the Truth. Far too many make a bid for the Truth, but are unwilling to pay the price of it.
· Herod heard the Truth, but bought it not, loving pleasure more.
· The rich young ruler made a bid for the Truth, but bought it not, loving his riches more.
· Agrippa was convinced of the Truth, but bought it not, loving fame and popularity more.
But, blessed by God, there are many who are convinced of the value of the Truth, so much so that they consider nothing too valuable to give for it.
· Moses gave up all “the treasures of Egypt,” that he might buy the Truth.
· Paul gave up all his Jewish privileges and his high reputation, that he might buy the Truth.
· The believing Hebrews “took joyfully the spoiling of their goods” that they might buy the Truth.
· The ancient martyrs “loved not their lives unto death,” that they might buy the Truth.
And not one of those who bought the truth esteemed its price too great; not one repented of his costly purchase.
Most of you, I am persuaded, have bought the Truth. We have bought it without money and without price; though we would gladly give all things for it. It is ours by the simple obedience of faith in Jesus Christ. Now, my admonition to you in this message is simply this: — Don’t Sell It!
Perhaps you will ask, “Is such a thing possible?” Well, be assured, no one who has really bought the Truth of the Gospel will ever be willing to sell it. But many, who appear to have bought it, do sell it. And those who sell the truth sell their own souls with it. And “what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” To all outward appearance, Lot’s wife, Esau, Judas, and Demas had the Truth. They had it in name, in profession, and in outward conduct. But they sold it for nought! Who can read the histories of such people and not tremble? Yet, their apostasy clearly proved that they had never received the love of the Truth. With them, it was only a speculative notion. It was never engrafted into their hearts.
Having never felt the power of the Truth, and having never truly known its value, they could sell it for the pleasure of the world and the flattering delusions of their own hearts. My dear friends, settle this question in your own hearts: — Do I know Divine Truth? Do I esteem the Truth of the Gospel more highly than life itself? If you do not know the Truth, I pray that God the Holy Spirit will give you a heart to buy it by simply trusting the Lord Jesus Christ, our crucified and exalted Redeemer. If you do have the Truth, I say to you, my brother, my sister — “Sell it not.”
Proposition: Those who are the true children of God know the Truth, they know that Jesus is the Christ, and they will not depart from him.
Divisions: I want to set before you three lessons from this passage Holy Scripture, and then draw from them some practical inferences.
1. If we are truly born again, we know the Truth (vv. 21-23).
2. As the children of God, we must steadfastly hold the Truth (vv. 24-25).
3. All of God’s elect shall be kept in the Truth (vv. 26-27).
Know the Truth
First of all, my friends, we see that — if we are truly born again, we know the truth (vv. 21-23).
“21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. 23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: [(but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also].” (1 John 2:21-23)
If a person has received the Spirit of Christ, if he has been renewed by the grace of God, if he is indeed born of God, he knows the truth of God. In his heart he is firmly persuaded of Gospel Truth. The Truth which we know is living, personal, and powerful. It is Jesus Christ himself. With Paul, we can say, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12).
John comforts his brethren by expressing his confidence in their knowledge of the truth (v. 21). — “I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.”
After reading this epistle, many might be ready to think that their beloved pastor was doubtful concerning the genuineness of their profession. Therefore, John reaffirms his confidence in them. He asserts his persuasion that they know the Truth, both to comfort them and to strengthen them against those antichrists who denied the Truth. This Apostle knew that those who are well acquainted with Gospel Truth are well fortified against the errors of false teachers. Here John asserts that there are two things that all believers know.
1. They know the Truth.
· We know God, who is the Father of Truth.
· We know Christ, who is the embodiment of Truth.
· We know the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Truth.
· We know the Gospel, which is the Word of Truth.
· And we know the Word of God, which is the revelation of Truth.
2. For another thing, those who are born again know that there is no mixture of Truth and error in the Gospel.
· Everyone knows that any flagrant contradiction of the Gospel is not in agreement with it.
· But the children of God are given the mind of Christ so that they discern the most well polished lies.
Frequently, a lie is so mixed with an element of truth that it is difficult to identify. But we know that nothing false or deceptive is of the Truth. Any compromise, or part gospel is not of Christ — The Truth!
Look at the next verse — “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son” (v. 22). We are plainly told that anyone who denies the person and work of Jesus Christ is a liar. Mark these words. It is time we quit trying to be charitable toward men who rob Christ of his glory. If Jesus is the Christ and we compromise, deny, or take away any aspect of his total deity, humanity, office, work, or glory, then we are imposters! Liars! Antichrists!
Jesus of Nazareth is God’s anointed — The Messiah. — He is that One spoken of by all the prophets of the Old Testament, promised of God, and set forth in the types and shadows of the Old Testament. He is our God-man Mediator, our sin-atoning High Priest, our Royal Prophet, and our Priestly King. This is a clear and indisputable fact which rests upon irrefutable testimony.
· Our Lord claimed to be the Christ.
· Everything spoken of in the prophets was fulfilled in him.
· His constant miracles testified that he is the Christ.
· John the Baptist came as Elijah, testifying that Jesus is the Christ.
· The angels declared that he is the Christ.
· God the Father asserted publicly that Jesus is the Christ on three different occasions: — His Baptism — The Mount — His Resurrection.
· Even the Devil himself affirmed that Jesus is the Christ.
Yet, there were many who had already crept into that early church who denied this. And it is a sad fact that many today, who bear the name Christian, also deny that Jesus is the Christ. No, they do not openly deny it; but with subtle, deceiving craftiness, they deny him.
· Many deny his absolute deity.
· Most deny his sovereign kingship.
· Multitudes deny the perfection and efficacy of his substitutionary redemption.
Let men speak highly as they will of Christ in other areas, if they deny his Godhead, Lordship, or Substitution, they are antichrists!
To deny Christ in any of his offices or work is to deny the Father also. — The Father and the Son are one. Yet, they are distinct persons. To deny the one is to deny the other. As John Gill put it — “If Christ is not truly and properly the Son of God, the Father is not truly and properly the Father of Christ.”
Next we are told that — The difference between a true believer and an unbelieving hypocrite is in their heart attitude with regard to Christ (v. 23). — “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: [but] he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.”
The chief characteristic of every unbeliever is just this: — He denies Christ. — He may with his lips profess Christ. But in his heart there is a base denial of Jesus Christ. How?
· He denies his need of Christ.
· He denies his responsibility to Christ.
· He denies Christ’s right to be his Lord.
· He denies the power and saving efficacy of Christ’s sin-atoning sacrifice.
In his heart, every rebelling sinner continually cries out — “No God! No God!”
Here is the essential character of every true believer, in his heart he acknowledges and confesses that Jesus is the Christ. — We confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord, because we believe and know in our hearts that it is so.
· We acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the sovereign King of heaven and earth.
· We acknowledge that we are sinners, deserving of the King’s wrath.
· We acknowledge that Christ alone can save us by the merits of his blood and righteousness.
I press this question upon one and all. — Do you know the Truth? Are you firmly persuaded in your heart that Jesus is the Christ? Those who are truly the children of God know and acknowledge the Truth, because their hearts are firmly persuaded that Christ is the Truth. All others are antichrists, adversaries of Christ.
Hold to the Truth
In the second place, we have this word of admonition. — If we are truly the children of God, we must steadfastly hold to the Truth (vv. 24-25).
“24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, [even] eternal life.” (1 John 2:24-25)
We know that the doctrine of eternal security is true. All of God’s people shall be preserved in Christ unto eternal glory. Not one true sheep of Christ shall ever perish. We will see that in a moment. But here, as in many other passages of Inspiration, we are taught that only those who persevere in the faith of the Gospel will enter glory.
Those who have received the Gospel must hold it fast and never depart from it. — “Let that therefore abide in you which ye have heard from the beginning” (v. 24).
(Hebrews 2:1-4) “1 ¶ Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let [them] slip. 2 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; 3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard [him]; 4 God also bearing [them] witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?” (Hebrews 2:1-4)
(1 Corinthians 15:1-3) “1 ¶ Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;” (1 Corinthians 15:1-3)
We must hold to the old paths and abide in the Truth of the Gospel. These were the things that were preached in the beginning of the Gospel Age by the Apostles. They are the “old paths” of the prophets (Jeremiah 6:16).
“Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where [is] the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk [therein].” (Jeremiah 6:16)
Everywhere the Apostles went, they preached the eternal deity, Divine Sonship, sovereign Lordship, and saving power of the crucified, risen Christ.
· Peter preached this Gospel, declaring that Jesus is Lord on the day of Pentecost. — “Therefore, let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36).
· Philip preached this Gospel to the Ethiopian Eunuch, who later confessed — “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Acts 8:37).
· The Apostle Paul began, immediately after his conversion, to preach this Gospel. — “Straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God” (Acts 9:20).
Today, men preach the crucifixion, but deny the Lordship of Christ. But the Apostles preached Christ’s Lordship as the grounds of his saving power. This is the thing that we must hold fast, that Jesus Christ is our only Lord and Savior.
Only those who remain in the Gospel and in whom the Gospel remains are truly in Christ (v. 24). — “If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.”
Our perseverance is not the cause of our union with Christ and our acceptance with the Father, but it is the sure result of that blessed union and that everlasting acceptance.
If you and I have ever truly received the Gospel, we will, most assuredly, abide in it. Do not take my word for it. Hear what God says in his Word. Those who depart from the Gospel never knew the Gospel. — “Christ is a Son over his own house; whose house are we, if we holdfast the confidence and the rejoicing… firm unto the end” (Hebrews 3:6). — “We are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end” (Hebrews 3:14). — We are saved by the Gospel — “If ye keep in memory (holdfast) what I have preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:2). — Here is our assurance before God; we go on trusting Christ alone for all things. We are not moved away from the hope of the Gospel (Colossians 1:21-23)
“21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in [your] mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: 23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and [be] not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, [and] which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister.” (Colossians 1:21-23)
What does it mean to continue in the Truth?
· We continue to submit to Christ our Lord.
· We continue to acknowledge and confess our sin.
· We continue to trust Christ’s blood as our only cleansing.
· We continue to trust his righteousness as our only righteousness.
· We continue to rely upon Christ alone as our only acceptance before God.
· We continue to believe and confess that Jesus is the Christ.
Those who depart from these things “draw back unto perdition.” But we believe unto the saving of our souls.
If the incorruptible Truth of the Gospel abides in us, then we continue in both the Father and the Son. We are in union with God the Father through the mediation of Christ. We are in a true and living union with Christ.
· We are in his heart.
· We are in his arms.
· We are in his hands.
· We are in Him!
It is promised to those who continue in the Gospel that they have eternal life (v. 25). — “And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.” The promise of eternal life is ours only as we have Christ, and live in union with him. To have Christ is to have eternal life. To be without Christ is to have the wrath of God.
God the Father promised us eternal life in Christ.
· This promise was made before the world began.
· This promise was made in the Old Testament.
· This promise is made in the Gospel.
· This promise is in Christ Jesus yea and amen.
Christ himself is Life; and the sum of the Gospel is that all who believe on him have eternal life!
· The beginning of eternal life is in Christ.
· The continuation of eternal life is in Christ.
· The ultimate perfection of eternal life is in Christ.
Kept in the Truth
In the last place, we see that all of God’s elect shall be kept in the Truth (vv. 26-27).
“26 These [things] have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. 27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” (1 John 2:26-27)
We have been admonished to persevere in the Truth. Now, we are assured that all of God’s true children shall be preserved in the Truth of the Gospel. Not one of the elect family shall be deceived. Blessed be God, the Good Shepherd keeps his sheep. Not one of them shall perish. We persevere because we are preserved in Christ. — “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one” (John 10:27-30).
Regrettably, we must always beware of religious deceivers. As they abounded in the days of the Apostles, they abound in our day. — “These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you” (v. 26). Like a tender father, a faithful shepherd, and a loving pastor, John points out those who would ruin the souls of men, so that they might be marked and avoided. — God’s elect may be staggered, tossed to and fro, and become the subjects of doubts and fears by these subtle foes to their souls; but none of them shall ever be totally and finally deceived, so as to part with Christ and the Gospel. — Yet, we must ever be aware of the presence of those who would seduce us. They are crafty and subtle, lying in wait to deceive.
· They handle the Word of God deceitfully, pretending to be preachers of the Gospel.
· They use Gospel terms and phrases; but they strip away their true meaning.
· They preach and extol the name of Christ; but they deny the mystery of the Gospel, the wonders of effectual, substitutionary redemption, the glory of Christ as Lord, and his omnipotent saving power and grace.
John concludes this paragraph with this word of comfort. — In spite of the fact that many depart from the truth, we may be assured that all of God’s true children shall be preserved in the truth. — “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him” (v. 27).
Here is our sure preservation; the Spirit of God abides in us. — We have received the Holy Spirit into our hearts as the result of Christ’s death and intercession in our behalf. We have the received the anointing of the Christ (Daniel 9:24) by which all the blessings of covenant mercy, love, and grace are sealed to us (Romans 5:1-5; Ephesians 1:13-14).
(Daniel 9:24) “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.”
(Romans 5:1-5) “1 ¶ Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only [so], but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
(Ephesians 1:13-14) “13 In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”
· The Holy Spirit is that anointing which is given to us by the merits of Christ. He comes to us in regeneration, giving us life.
· He is an internal gift which abides in us forever and can never be taken from us.
· Having the Spirit of Christ, we know that we are the sons of God. — “Hereby we know that he abideth in us, by his Spirit which he hath given us” (1 John 3:24).
The Holy Spirit is our Life-giver, our Comforter, our Teacher, our Sanctifier, and our Preserver. All of this testifies and assures us that God is our Father and Christ is our Redeemer.
Since we have this anointing (God the Holy Ghost), we are not dependent upon human authority for our knowledge of the Gospel. — John is not here saying that the children of God have no need of pastors and teachers. John was at this time instructing them as a pastor. He is simply telling us that no human authority is to be trusted and depended upon. The Holy Spirit alone is our authority. We examine every man’s teaching by the Word of God which he has given.
God the Holy Ghost our Instructor and he teaches us all Truth.
· He teaches us the Truth concerning ourselves (John 16:8).
· He teaches us the Truth about Christ (John 16:13-15).
· He teaches us the Truth about salvation.
This is the blessed promise to God’s elect in the Gospel age. — Every saved sinner is all taught of God; and it is by the teaching of God that we have been saved.
· God teaches us by his Spirit.
· God teaches us through the ministry of the Word.
· God teaches us according to the Scriptures.
Everyone who is taught of God abides in Christ. — “Even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” Every man that has heard and learned of the Father comes to Christ and abides in him.
1. Be sure, my friends, that you have received and believe the Truth of the Gospel.
2. Let me make some suggestions to assist you in steadfastly adhering to the Gospel. — Love it. — Meditate upon it. — Obey it. — And declare it.
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