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Sermon #31 — 1st John Series
Title: “Hereby we know…”
Text: 1 John 3:24
Subject: The Law of Faith
Date: Tuesday Evening — April 9, 2013
Tape# 1st John #31
Readings: Allen Kibby and Merle Hart
If you will open your Bibles with me to 1st John chapter three, you will find my text in verse twenty-four. — 1st John 3:24.
1 John 3:24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
In the first sentence of this 24th verse the Apostle John was inspired by God the Holy Spirit to tell us, — “And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him.” Remember, John is addressing believers. He is writing to God’s elect, Christ’s redeemed ones, those who have been born again by God the Holy Spirit, irresistibly called to life and faith in Christ. His purpose is to give us the blessed comfort of the gospel. His purpose is to show us that, trusting Christ, we have every reason for assurance. Now, watch this. — “He that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him.” Obviously John is referring to what he has just said in verse 23. — “And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.” — “And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him.” John is saying, — If we trust Christ, if we love our brethren, this is the reason: — We dwell in Christ and Christ dwells in us. — We have been born of God. — We live in union with the Son of God our Savior.
Now, look at the next line. — 1st John 3:24. — “And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.”
“Hereby we know…” — That is my subject. “Hereby we know…” — “And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.”
Union with Christ
The first thing our text speaks of is our union with Christ. There is a mutual indwelling of Christ and believers. There is between the Lord Jesus Christ and his people a living, vital, eternal union of life (John 15:1-5). He does not exist apart from us; and we do not exist apart from him (Ephesians 1:15-23).
Ephesians 1:15-23 15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
Believers enjoy the most intimate union, communion, and fellowship with Christ. As the Father and Son are one, we are one with the Son and one in the Son (John 17:23). What he has, we have; and where he is, we are! Christ is the Habitation, Dwelling Place, Abiding Place of his people. We dwell (abide) in him; and he dwells (abides) in us. Let me show you four things about this union of our souls with the Lord Jesus and his union with our souls.
1st — We have been dwelling (abiding) in Christ secretly from eternity.
Ephesians 1:3-6 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
We were in him representatively from everlasting, as the Surety and Mediator of the covenant. We secretly and safely dwelt in him…
2nd — All who are in Christ secretly from everlasting shall be made manifest in time by an open manifest abiding (dwelling) in him. God’s elect, are like all others in their natural state: fallen and depraved, without God, without Christ, and without the Spirit, without life, and alienated from God.
By the irresistible call and omnipotent grace of God the Holy Spirit, convinced of our lost estate and our need of Christ, we flee to him, our City of Refuge. We find in him a Stronghold, a Place of Defence, a Hiding Place, a Covert from the tempest, and a Dwelling for our souls. In him we abide and dwell safely, peaceably, comfortably, and pleasantly.
3rd — From this dwelling place we shall never be turned out or expelled for any reason. Though often our carnal hearts condemn us, what a blessed relief it us to a soul under the reproach of his own heart to look away from self to Christ! There is more in Christ to uphold, more to bless, more to justify, than there is in all our sin to condemn. Being born again, the life that is ours in Christ sin cannot destroy, death cannot end, and Satan reach. Our life is hid with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). While lying low in the dust before God, still we see more in Christ to save than in sin to condemn, and have confidence toward God. It is not our strength of faith which gives us confidence, but the full and finished salvation of Christ, which gives strength to our faith! The foundation of our confidence and assurance is not our faith, or the exercise of faith, or any other of the graces and gifts of God the Holy Spirit. Our hope is not in these, not in any of them, nor in all of them put together, but in Christ alone, in his finished, complete, perfect, and full salvation.
‘Twixt Jesus and the chosen race
Subsists a bond of sovereign grace,
That hell, with its infernal train,
Shall ne’er dissolve nor rend in vain
This sacred bond shall never break,
Though earth should to her center shake;
Rest, doubting saint, assured of this,
For God has pledged His holiness.
[He swore but once the deed was done;
‘Twas settled by the great Three One;
Christ was appointed to redeem
All that the Father loved in Him.]
Hail! sacred union, firm and strong,
How great the grace, how sweet the song,
That worms of earth should ever be
One with incarnate Deity!
[One in the tomb, one when He rose,
One when He triumphed o’er His foes,
One when in heaven He took His seat,
While seraphs sang all hell’s defeat.]
This sacred tie forbids their fears,
For all He is or has is theirs;
With Him, their Head, they stand or fall,
Their Life, their Surety, and their All.”
[The sinner’s Peace, the Daysman He,
Whose blood should set His people free;
On them His fond affections ran,
Before creation’s work began]
Blest be the wisdom and the grace,
Th’ eternal love and faithfulness,
That’s in the gospel scheme revealed,
And is by God the Spirit sealed.
— John Kent
4th — And God’s saints are the habitation, the dwelling place of Christ, the abode of Christ. He dwells not in our heads, but in our hearts. He dwells in us by faith, as we eat his flesh and drink his blood (John 6:56; Ephesians 3:15-19; Colossians 1:25-28).
John 6:56 56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
Ephesians 3:15-19 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Colossians 1:25-28 25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; 26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.
Christ dwells in us by his Spirit; and we receive him and dwell (abide) in him by faith. And this is the gift of God in the gift of life in the new birth.
“Christ in you” is the hope of glory. The basis of hope is altogether outside ourselves; but the hope is in you, — “Christ in you the Hope of glory!”
That is the first part of our text. It speaks about that union God’s elect have with Christ which is our salvation.
The second sentence of 1st John 3:24 speaks of the assurance of that union. How can I know that I am in Christ? How can I know that Christ is in me? Read the text again. Here is our assurance.
1 John 3:24 24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
So here is the second thing God the Holy Spirit tells us in our text. — The assurance of salvation, the assurance of life in and with and by Christ is the gift of God the Holy Spirit, the Seal of the covenant. — “And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.”
I do not want to be guilty of presumption about my relationship with the living God. God deliver us from presumption! But I fear for many. I fear that many preachers hide in the ministry, church officers hide in their offices, teachers and people who have attended church and have been faithful to the covenant of their church or to the standards of their church for years hide in these outward deeds. I fear many do. I don’t want to be guilty of presumption by laying claim to something that in reality I do not have, to a hope that I do not have. I want to guard against this. The Word of God is filled with warnings to false professors. It says…
Hebrews 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
Hebrews 4:1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
2 Peter 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.
The Bible is full of warnings. And our Lord Jesus said, “Many,” many, many, not a few but “many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and cast out devils in thy name? and in thy name have done many wonderful works?” But to those many deluded souls who are full of a presumption assurance, he will say, “Depart from me, ye cursed. I never knew you!”
God keep us from careless indifference and presumption! Yet I don’t want to rob myself or you of the joy and the peace and the rest that comes from knowing Christ. Yes, the Word of God is filled with warnings to false professors, but it is also filled with precious promises to believers. It is filled with comfort and hope for believers.
How could those men, with the full knowledge of their sin have assurance before God? They found assurance, not in themselves, but in Christ! And if you and I would have assurance, assurance, not presumption, we will find it not in ourselves, but in Christ, not in our work, but in his work.
And here in book of 1st John, inspired by God the Holy Spirit, John uses the word “know” 26 times. Why? So that we might “know” that we have eternal life, that we might “know” that we dwell in Christ and Christ dwells in us. —— “Hereby we know the abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us!” What Spirit is this? Who is this Spirit? He is referring to God the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Holy Trinity, whose office work and great delight it is to take the things of Christ and show them to chosen, redeemed, blood-bought sinners.
John 16:7-14 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. 12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you (he will bow you) into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
Romans 8:1-17 1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. 12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
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.
This is that glorious better part,
Most dear to each believer’s heart;
Christ Jesus dwelling in the soul,
The sovereign Monarch of the whole.
He comes in mercy from above,
And enters by almighty grace,
The hearts of all His chosen race.
His Spirit plants His grace within,
There He subdues the power of sin,
Renews, transforms, and stores it well! —
And there He shall for ever dwell.
Does Christ the Savior dwell in me? —
Then I shall endless glory see!
He is my Hope, in Him I rest,
In Christ I am for ever blest.
The hope of glory! Oh, how bright!
Christ is Salvation, Life, and Light,
The fulness of the Triune God!
Revealed and promised in His Word!
1 John 3:24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.