Thank you for all the sharing. What a blessing it is to witness God working in all of your lives. Andre, it’s just been a privilege to see what God has done. He gets all the glory for what He did in your life. I’ve been just watching God doing His thing. I just praise Him. He’s been doing a marvelous thing.
Andre is a PhD in a very technical subject. When you listen to him, I hear a poet or a literature person. So I’m not sure how he ended up being a programmer. Thank you for all the testimonies.
Thank you, Matthew, for the praise. You confirmed the message. Thank you, Allison. It encourages me that while UC Santa Barbara may be a spiritually dark place, I see there’s little pockets of light. God is still working on our campuses.
Thank you for the testimony, Jim. There are many confirmations for today’s message.
So let’s turn our Bibles to 1 John. Okay, I will just read a section of chapter 2, the first few verses. My little children, I’m writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous.
He is a propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him if we keep his commandments. Whoever says I know him but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps his word in him truly, the love of God is perfected.
By this we may know that we are in him. Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
Okay, let’s pray.
Father, we ask for wisdom from above. We ask for revelation. These are verses that perhaps we’ve never read before, ever heard, preached before. But we know that it comes directly from your heart to ours.
Father, we pray that you would speak. We give you this time. I surrender my mouth. Speak, Lord. Meet us, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Does anybody have a, I know it’s a short time, but do you have a key verse, a theme, a title? Anything that sticks out to you from 1 John 1 or 2. Has anyone heard a sermon preached on this other than me preaching from this passage?
Anyone ever heard a sermon on 1 John 1 or 2? Anybody? Maybe Andre. It’s rare, maybe. I think it’s kind of rare. I don’t know why. Anything stick out to you from these two chapters? Others: Do not love the world. Yes. That is a prominent part.
Others: You can’t do any of this if you’re not in a body.
Others: Jesus is for us. Amen.
I have a key word, live. Live for Jesus. That’s number one, live for Jesus.
And then the verse that I ended with, 1 John chapter 2 verse 6, live in Jesus. And then lastly, live like Jesus.
Live for Jesus. Live in Jesus. Live like Jesus.
Do you see it in this text? Amen. I pray that you will by the end of this sermon. It says in the last part that we read, 1 John chapter 2 verse 15, do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world, the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life is not from the world, but is, but is from, is not from the Father, but is from the world and the world is passing away along with its desires. But whoever does the will of God abides forever.
When you met Jesus at some point in your life, for me it was in November 1993. I was a sophomore college and I met Jesus. Before that, I did not know anything about Him except for what I heard on a Sunday, but it was very abstract. It was very boring. It didn’t have any relevance for my life.
And so Jesus was just some fairy tale. He’s just some figure out there, impersonal force in the universe. And then I met Jesus November 1993. And my commitment to Jesus at that point is I am leaving this world, this world system. I’m not living for what everyone in this world lives for. I am forsaking that. Jesus, I’m all in. I’m living for you.
And I pray all of us, we had that moment at some point in our past or at some point in your future, you will have that moment. Before you lived for pleasure, you lived for fame, you lived for the praise of man, you lived for a dream vacation, a house on the cliff overlooking the ocean, you lived for certain cars, you lived for a large bank account.
You might have had something in this world you were living for. And it’s a lust of the flesh, a lust of the eyes and the pride of life. And that summarizes the world and the world’s temptations. You see it and something looks good. You want it, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes. You feel like you’re drawn to this thing.
Everybody wants this thing. Your emotions are kicking in and your hormones are kicking in. I want this thing. It’s a lust of the flesh, a lust of the eyes. Everyone in this world lives this way. And you at one point before you met Christ, you were a slave of this world, of sin, of Satan. And you did these things even though you didn’t want to do it.
And then afterward you felt miserable, but the next day you did it again because you’re a slave. You’re in the world system. You’re living for the world. And even in your better moments you didn’t want to do it, at some point you will find yourself back in the mud, in the mire. Because you’re a slave.
But when Jesus meets you, he sets you free. And you say, goodbye to this world. I’m no longer living for this world. I’m living for Jesus. And then the pride of life. It only occurs one other place in Scripture is James chapter 4. It’s the pride of somebody who says, I’m going to go to this city. I’m going to make this investment. I’m going to make money in this place.
And then I’m going to move to this city. I’m going to make some money in that city. And it’s somebody with a lot of resources who’s just making a lot of money and has a lot to show for it in this world. And you might have lived that way or had a picture of wanting that in the future.
And when you met Jesus, you said, I forsake it all. Even if I’m poor, I’m okay. If I have Jesus, I’m okay. And so we forsook the world and we said, we’re going to live for Jesus. And some of us in our past, we had that moment.
How has it been since that moment? If you’re really zealous, I would say the best of us who have that moment of saying, I want to live for Jesus, quickly that translates to, I will serve the church. The best of us in terms of how churches are set up and out of a goodness of your heart, you want to serve. And so you just end up serving the church. And that could be good. But at least in my experience, I had a moment with Jesus, an encounter with Jesus.
I said, I want to live for you, Jesus. And then a few years later, I’m looking back at my life and I’m just serving the church. A decade goes by, two decades go by. I actually lost touch with Jesus. And I was so busy in the church, but Jesus became a stranger to me. And I lost my way.
But Jesus, because He is a Good Shepherd, He came looking for me. He knocked on the door of my heart again. I recommitted my life to Him and said, Jesus, I’m going to live for you again.
Rather than saying, live for Jesus, then serve the church. What the church should have done is saying, if you want to live for Jesus, let us come alongside of you. And let us teach you how to live in Jesus. And if that was not taught to you, then shame on the church.
We should have taught better. I should have taught it better. Because for you to live for Jesus, you have to live in Him. You have to abide in Him. You have to trust Him. You have to grow in Him.
He has to become the sweetest person in your life. The Lord put a song on my heart last night as I was preparing for this sermon. If you know it, please sing it with me. Since I started for the kingdom, since my life He controls. Since I gave my heart to Jesus, the longer I serve him, the sweeter He grows.
The longer I serve Him, the sweeter He grows. The more that I love Him, more love He bestows. Each day is like heaven, my heart overflows. The longer I serve him, the sweeter He grows. Amen.
And as you’ve been serving Jesus and living for Jesus, is that your testimony? Is He becoming sweeter to you? That’s the motivation to live in Him. You want to abide in Him, not because it’s a chore, not because it’s a burden, because there’s sweetness in that relationship.
It’s our anniversary today, Jackie and I, 23 years of walking alongside of this woman who is the greatest blessing next to Jesus and my salvation. She is the greatest gift I’ve ever received. And after 23 years, I know Jackie very well.
Many times I think I know her better than she knows herself. I can order food better for her. I know what she likes. I can tell when she’s not in a good mood. I just know her really well.
And it got me thinking. I’m entering into the 30th year of my relationship with Jesus. I met Jesus November 1993, so I’ve entered my 30th year with Jesus. And so it’s a good time for me to ask, how well do I know Jesus? How well do I know Him? Is He sweet to me? Do I enjoy abiding in Him, fellowshipping with Him?
Maybe it’s a great question for all of us to ask ourselves, how are you living in Jesus? Is He sweet to you? Do you look forward to that time of just being with Jesus, enjoying Jesus, trusting in Jesus, giving your burdens to Jesus? Do you enjoy that fellowship? Is it sweet?
When we say we want to live for Jesus, how can you live for Jesus without Jesus? It’s a funny thing when you see people working really hard in the church, and they don’t look joyful. They look burdened. They look stressed. You have pastors burning out. You have pastors falling into scandals. You wonder how could this happen? How did they lose touch with Jesus? It’s because they were so busy.
If we want to live for Jesus, what should the next step be? We live in Jesus.
First John 2, the section there in verse 12, it says, I’m writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for His Name’s sake.
I’m writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I’m writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I’m writing to you, children, because you know the father. I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
The same way that we are watching the little ones grow up in our midst from Isaac and Joshua becoming like Lydia, and becoming like Tim and Sophia, and Elijah, John, and Ezra. We see them growing year by year, and that’s physical growth. Spiritual growth is no different. If you look at these verses, it’s showing what spiritual growth looks like.
You start off in the beginning, it says, little children. That’s just the term of endearment. We’re all little children. We’re all children of God. It’s just a general term. It says to all of us,you are forgiven for Jesus’ Name’s sake. We all know this. And then it mentions fathers, and then it shifts to young men, and then he says, children, and then he returns to fathers.
And when he uses the word children, it’s a different word than before. Before it was little children, it’s a term of endearment. This little children is a young infant to five, six, seven years old. There’s some progress, because when you met Jesus, in that moment, you were born again. It doesn’t matter how old you were, but in that morning, your age was zero.
You’ve just been born. As you live for Jesus, and as you live in Jesus, you start growing in this relationship, in a spiritual sense. And so at some point, you become a little child, you’re a kindergartner, infant to kindergarten. You’re growing up in the faith.
I remember when I was a college student, I was an infant, just born as a sophomore in college. And so do you put your infants to work in your home, or do you just love on them? Can a two-year-old wash the dishes? Maybe Lydia, Lydia is very precocious. Maybe Lydia can wash the dishes. But most two year olds can do much except to clean up after themselves (e.g. toys). There can’t expected to do a lot of chores.
They’re just growing up. They’re still in this season of receiving. By the time you’re five years old, maybe you do a little bit more. By the time you’re a teenager, you better get off the couch and start helping.
By the time you’re out of college, you got to start preparing yourself for the next season of your life, where you’ll be the provider. You’re going to be the one working. You’re going to be the one supporting others.
And so there’s just a natural growth that happens in physical life. Spiritual life is no different. So there’s a little child that’s mentioned in verse 13. I write to you, children, because you know the Father. That’s all that a little child, an infant, a kindergartner needs to know — you have a Heavenly Father because of Jesus, who’s opened the way to the Father for you.
And so you’re growing up as a child. You’re growing in your identity. You’re not doing much work. You’re not serving the church. You’re just in this season of receiving as a little infant growing up into a kindergartner who knows his Father.
By the time you’re a young man, that’s someone much older, teenage years, maybe in their 20s, there’s a massive jump in their growth. It says for these young men in verse 13, it says, I’m writing to you young men because you have overcome the evil one.
Is that your testimony? Brothers and sisters, if you’ve been walking with the Lord for 5, 10, 20, 30 years, is it your testimony that many times when the evil one came upon you, you stood your ground, you resisted and with the help of Jesus, you overcame the evil one?
Is that your testimony? That’s a sign of growth. We don’t expect a little child, a kindergartner, to stand up to a thief who’s breaking into your home. But by the time you’re someone in your 20s, you don’t just sit there and let the thief just ransack your house. You put up a fight. And so if you are growing up to become a young man, a young woman in the Lord, by then there’s some testimonies that you’re now overcoming sins.
I’d say in my late teens, 1993, so I’m 18, 19 years old, I’m still struggling with sinning. I’m still struggling with temptations. So when I hear testimonies from people in college, I know the struggle. I was there. We know, we remember back to those years. For me, I was a newborn. So of course the fight was fierce and there were times, of course, times I’m losing.
I didn’t have much spiritual strength back then. But it is my testimony. Now 30 years into this fight, I have overcome the evil one. That’s what you would expect. You wouldn’t want someone to preach to you on a Sunday with all these addictions. And I have a therapist and I have all these problems. You wouldn’t want someone like that to preach to you on a Sunday.
You want somebody who has grown up in the faith a little bit, who has some testimonies of overcoming the evil one. And then you grow up beyond young man, young woman in the faith. You become eventually a spiritual father, mother in the faith. And interestingly, you started with Jesus and what’s the testimony of the spiritually mature brother and sister, father or mother — you know him who was from the beginning.
It always comes back to Jesus. So you live for Jesus. You live in Jesus. And then you live like Jesus. Why is John writing the first portion of this letter? If you read chapter one, you might get comforted if you’re struggling with sin because we’re all sinful. First chapter of 1 John says we all fall into sin.
And if you say you’re not a sinner, then you’re calling God a liar. You’re lying to yourself. And many Christians stay there and they say, it’s okay to stay in your sin. Don’t worry. There’s grace for you. Don’t worry. Just stay in preschool for the rest of your life. Struggling with your sin. Just stay in this chapter.
I think many churches preach this way and they keep their congregation infantile because even the pastor, all they know is chapter one. Because they themselves are an infant and they’re preaching an infantile message to keep the rest in their care infantile.
But then we move on to chapter two. And then John, who to me is one of the closest apostles to Jesus. Apostle Paul is great in terms of faith. He’s great with theology. He’s great with planting churches. He’s a bold missionary. But if I look at John, his heart is very close to the heart of God. He loves Jesus.
Even Peter, who is like the leader among them, asks John, can you ask Jesus who’s going to betray you? Because Jesus seems to tell you secrets because you’re very close to Jesus. You’re always near him physically. So why don’t you ask on our behalf so we know who the betrayer is going to be?
John had that kind of relationship with Jesus. So when I read the Gospel of John, there’s a deeper layer of truth compared to the other three Gospels. John is deep. He has an awareness of spiritual reality that I think the other gospels don’t quite plumb the same level of spiritual depth. As Christians, what actually have we gotten ourselves into? John begins to bring draws out the answers in the Gospel of John.
And when you read 1 John, you don’t feel pressure to serve the church or to attend mission trips or to do homeless ministry. You don’t get that kind of pressure. He’s just laying out, here is the Christian life.
Don’t we all want to live for Jesus? Don’t we want to live in Jesus? And now let me show you a little more in chapter 2. It says in verse 1, My little children, I’m writing these things to you so that you may not sin.
Did you know that this verse is in the Bible and that we’re not supposed to keep sinning? Did you know that? The expectation for the Christian life is in the beginning, you’re an infant. The temptation is strong. You’re weak. You will fall in terms of your actions. You will fall because you’re just an infant. There’s a lot of grace for you.
As you grow up to a young man, there’s an expectation. By then you’re starting to overcome the evil one. You’re no longer sinning. This pattern of sinning has been broken. And so that’s why I appreciate all the praise. It’s about freedom in Christ. It’s not just a lofty goal. One day maybe I’ll be free. No, the reality is we’re moving more into our freedom day by day.
That is the Christian life. And he wrote this whole letter so that you and I may not keep sinning. But if you do slip up, because we all slip up, there is forgiveness for those who confess. We don’t wake up and say, I want to sin today. No, you just stumble into it sometime when your guard is down. Sometimes you let go of Jesus.
Sometimes the Satan is roaring and he’s going to and fro. He’s looking for someone to devour. That’s what it says in Job chapter one. Satan is prowling the earth. He’s looking for an opportune time to cause one of these little ones to fall. And it can happen to any of us, even the strongest of us.
But we’re not talking about occasionally slipping up. We’re talking abou a pattern of sin. Jesus says, no, this pattern of sin, if you grow in me, if you live in me, this pattern is broken. And you will learn and you will have a testimonies of overcoming the evil one as you grow into your adolescence of faith.
1 John chapter two, verse three.
And by this we know him. By this we know that we have come to know him if we keep his commandments. Whoever says, I know him, but does not keep his commandments as a liar and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps his word in him truly, the love of God is perfected by this. We may know that we are in him. Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
So we live for Jesus. We live in Jesus. And if you live in Jesus, as it says in verse six, you will live like Jesus. You will walk in the way in which Jesus walked.
And so if you’re reading the Bible or you have a Bible reading plan, I hope it includes a regular meditation throughout the years over and over on the life of Jesus. You just got to study Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. You got to study what Jesus said. You got to see how He lived. And you got to expect as I’m living in Jesus, your life will look more and more like Jesus.
Like Jesus doesn’t care about houses. He doesn’t have a place to lay his head. And he’s not trying to grow a mega church. He is going wherever the Father is leading Him. Sometimes it’s to a large crowd. Another time it’s to one person. He’s being led step by step. And as we grow in Jesus, we start living like Jesus the way He lived and the way He spoke. The way He did life. He says, I don’t say anything unless the Father tells me. Such restraint of His tongue. His compassion for the lost. His leading with grace, but also truth.
When He met a woman caught in adultery, He didn’t say, no, you’re fine living that way. Don’t worry. No, he says, you’re forgiven. You’re set free from this. Now sin no more. So there’s grace. There’s also truth. She is being set free from the bondage of sin.
So I pray that you and I, that we can live for Jesus. We can live in Jesus. Eventually we will live like Jesus.
Father, forgive us. Even the best among us. We said years ago, we want to live for you. And we ended up serving the church. And we lost touch with you. You Lord Jesus. While you are the Head of the Church, somehow we were a body without a Head. And we lived life like this for so many years. Forgive us Lord.
For those of us who want to live for you, we want to take the first baby step and say Lord Jesus, I want to live in you. I want to abide in you. I want to trust in you. I want to follow you. I want to be close to you. I want to remain with you. I want to have sweet fellowship with you.
That is the majority of our Christian life. Just abiding in Christ because apart from Him we can do nothing. I pray that as we live this way, you will change us. So that we don’t just talk to talk, but we walk the walk. We live the way Jesus lived. We are a mini Jesus walking this earth. May that be all of our testimonies.
We thank you Lord Jesus for dying on a cross for our sins. Thank you for Your Blood that was shed. You allowed Your Body to be broken. Thank you for that, Lord. Whenever we partake in the Lord’s Supper, we remember and proclaim the death, burial, resurrection of Jesus, and the return of our coming King.
Everything is about Jesus from beginning to end. You are the Alpha and Omega. It’s all Jesus. It’s all Jesus. Thank you Lord for speaking clearly. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
If you’d like to come forward, we’d love to pray for you as well.