1 John 2:24-27 - Abide In What You Have Heard
Our text this morning is 1 John 2:24-27,
Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.
I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.
We All Need This Message...
There was a farmer who was raising pigs. Each day the farmer would go out to feed the pigs and call for them. However, because of an illness the farmer could no longer call out to the pigs so he began to hit two boards together and the pigs learned to come to eat at that sound.
However, over time the pigs began to look skinny and sickly. The farmer could not tell what was causing the pigs to be sick. His neighbors began to ask the farmer what was wrong with the pigs. He called the veterinarian to come out and look at the heard and even he could not diagnose the problem.
Over time, however, the farmer began to notice that the pigs would run from one end of the field to the other. The farmer eventually figured out that woodpeckers had moved into the area and the noises that they made while they were pecking at the trees were confusing the pigs and sent them running to wherever they heard the noises believing that they were going to be fed. The end result, was that these pigs were losing weight and becoming sick.
Similarly, many believers can be found running here and there to be fed spiritually. There are so many who scurry around from one speaker to another, from one event and conference to another expecting to receive some new life changing word. Instead of getting better, they actually get worse like that heard of pigs. These believers hear a similar word to that which they had heard in the beginning and they are sent scurrying off in all sorts of directions. John, however, says, “Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you.”
Biblical examples of this threat
In the letter to the Corinthians Paul addressed a problem that he had observed among them. Like the pig farmer, Paul had observed that the people in this church were scurrying around everywhere listening to things that they should not have. He says to them, “For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.” Paul knew that this is not a sign of health in believers when this done.
This also happened to the church in Galatia. When Paul hears about what is going on in that church he is astonished. He says, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ, But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.”
There is only one true gospel. Every other ‘gospel’ is a counterfeit. There is only one gospel that can provide reconciliation with the LORD and promise eternal life.
Let’s look at 1 John 2:24-25, “Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father.”
1 John 2:24-25 contains three things that we will consider.
First, the message we are to abide in.
Secondly, the command to let it abide in you.
Thirdly, abiding deepens intimacy with the Son and the Father and a believer grows in assurance of the promise given – eternal life.
First, let us consider the message that must abide in a believer
The truth concerning who Jesus is and what His message was should not be a mystery to believers. Yet there seems to be so much confusion about these very things (Mark 8:27-30).
There is a story in John 10:24-25 that might be helpful to consider. Jesus is in Jerusalem at the feast of Dedication when He is surrounded by the Jews. They ask, ’How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” They believe that Jesus has not been clear, that He has been beating around the bush, and that he has been letting these topics remain murky.
Jesus answered them, ‘I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.
The confusion around these things was not because Jesus’ had not been teaching plainly but because of their unbelief. The people were full of suspense when the answer had already been given to them. The evidence had already been presented and their unbelieving hearts could not receive it.
What is the message that a believer is to abide in (remain in, stay put in)?
His message is that eternal life is found only in Him. Jesus does not give us temporary life. Jesus gives believers eternal life that cannot be lost. It will not be given and then taken away. Those who are in Christ cannot be snatched away from His hand or the hand of His Father. A believer resides safely in their hands and they are also sealed there by the Holy Spirit.
Let’s consider just a few verses,
John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
John 3:34-35, “For He whom God has sent utters the words of God, for He gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”
John 4:41-42, “And many more believed because of His word. They said to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.’”
John 5:24-26, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son also to have life in Himself.”
John 6:40, “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life, and I will raise Him up on the last day.”
Secondly, we are to let this Word abide in us.
When John says, “Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you”, he is giving every believer a command. The word ‘abide’ is in the present imperative active tense. The believer is to continually and repeatedly let this word abide in this word.
This word is not to be set aside or replaced.
It is not to be neglected or discarded.
It is not to be choked out by persecution, the cares of this world, or by earthly riches.
Charles Spurgeon said, “While we search after evidences and additional comforts we must not leave our simple trust in Jesus. Whatever sweep our knowledge may take as we advance in years, we must retain most fixedly the one and only center which is worthy of a regenerated soul, namely, our Lord Jesus. If the circle of our energies should encompass all the world, still must the heart stay with delightful continuance with the Well-Beloved. Immovable and steadfast we be, our willing soul unswervingly loyal to its sole object of trust and love, the one and only Lord of our whole being, the chief among ten thousand, the altogether lovely.”
Like Peter we must continually say, even as the people are retreating from our LORD, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68-69)
Those who have believed upon Christ will abide with Christ no matter what may come. Matthew Mead describes the difference between a professor and a confessor in his book ‘The Almost Christian Discovered’, “To profess Christ is one thing; to confess Christ is another. Confession is a living testimony for Christ in a time when religion suffers. Profession may be only a lifeless formality in a time when religion prospers. To confess Christ is to choose His ways and own them. To profess Christ is to plead for His ways and yet live beside them. Profession may be from a feigned love to the ways of Christ, but confession is from a rooted love to the person of Christ. To profess Christ is to own Him when none deny Him; to confess Christ is to plead for Him and suffer for Him when others oppose Him.”
What Mathew Mead says, ‘To confess Christ is to choose His ways and own them...to confess Christ is to plead for Him and suffer for Him when others oppose Him’, captures what John says in our text.
Five times in our text John uses the word ‘abide’.
He uses it three times in verse 24, “Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father.”
He uses this word two times in verse 27, “But the anointing that you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie – just as it has taught you, abide in Him.”
The Word ‘abide’ means to stay put, remain, dwell. It speaks of a trust and a belief in Jesus and His Word that is enduring, it lasts, it perseveres, it remains steadfast, and it stands firm.
Different translations use different words but it is the same Greek word being used throughout our text. For example, the King James says, “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.”
Someone who merely professes Christ will fail to obtain the blessings that John speaks of in our text. It is true confessors who will experience fellowship with the LORD and grow in assurance of the promise of eternal life.
Thirdly, Abiding deepens fellowship (with God and others) and produces strong assurance in the promise given
1 John 2:24-25 gives every believer two very strong incentives for abiding in what they have heard. First, those who will abide will enjoy deep fellowship with Jesus and the Father and they will remain secure in the promise of eternal life.
John says, “...then you will abide in the Son and in the Father.”
John says, “And this is the promise that He made to us-eternal life.”
John has already given an imperative command to abide in what they have heard. The other two verbs for ‘abide’ 1 John 2:24 are in the aorist subjective tense. In most cases this tense usually forbids an action which is not in progress, and thus commands that it not be started. And in the subjunctive mood there is an assertion about which there is some doubt or uncertainty. (p.863 #21; p.870 #94; Zodhiates) In other words, if these believers continue to abide in the teachings that they’ve had from the beginning, and do not depart from them, they will be blessed. Yet, the choice is theirs to make. Therefore every day a believer needs to continually abide in these things to be fruitful. (2 John 7-8)
Let me give you a scripture that describes this in a beautiful way. Consider Colossians 1:3-8, “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing – as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.”
One has to then ask, ‘Can we abide on our own or has God given us some things to help us in this?’ No, we cannot do this alone. Therefore God has given us two wonderful gifts.
Lets look at 1 John 2:26-27. In this section believers are given two gifts which will help them abide: the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit. John says, “I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But His anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie – just as it has taught you, abide in Him.”
Notice first that John warns us about those who are seeking to deceive believers. A deceiver is an impostor who is able to lead astray many people through seduction. They appear to be a real teacher but they are false teachers. Their message appears to be true but it is false.
Many people have been deceived at one time or another by such people. And the road toward recovery can be long and difficult. Those who have been deceived by false teachers will have to deal with trust issues.
What is it then that can be trusted? John says that there are two things that we can trust.
We can trust the scriptures, “I have written these things to you…”.
We can trust the Holy Spirit. He says, “His anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie – just as it has taught you, abide in Him.”
Many people suggest that because of these verses we don’t need teachers in the body of Christ. They say that each individual can interpret the Scriptures without anyone’s help. However, this cannot be right because…
John is teaching these believers right now.
Jesus commanded in the Great Commission that we go out into the whole world and teach them to obey all that Jesus had commanded.
In Colossians 1:7 Paul commended a faithful minister named Epaphras. Paul said, “He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf”.
We can benefit greatly from those who faithfully minister from the Scriptures and who preach Christ. Such offices are gifts to the church given by God. (Ephesians 4:11-12).
Next week we will find that the primary pronoun that Paul uses is ‘we’. True believers need each other and we need the diverse gifting's that each of us is given. The emphasis of what John has previously spoken of was that they went out from us because they are not of us.
The context of what John is saying concerns those who are deceivers and they do not need to listen to their new teaching; rather they are to abide in what they have already heard from the beginning (24).
John is saying that you do not need anything beyond understanding the Scriptures to grow. The Holy Spirit will always lead you in the truth of the Scriptures. When you grow in your understanding of the Word of God you do not need anything else. (So many trust psychology, sociology, certain schools of thought, science)
Finally, there are three encouragements concerning the Holy Spirit that are worthy of noticing as we end today.
The Holy Spirit abides forever in a believer. ‘But the anointing that you received from Him abides in you…’
The Holy Spirit continually teaches the believer. ‘But His anointing teaches you about everything’
The Holy Spirit will always teach truth, not what is a lie. ‘But His anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie – just as it has taught you, abide in Him.’