Shine – ALREADY SHINING – 1 John 2:8-10 ESV, John Cautero, Teaching Team

SHINE OCTOBER 29, 2023

GOOD MORNING!  

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Speaking of standing, the song that inspired me this month is 

Firm Foundation by Cody Carnes

That is such an encouragement.  He won’t fail.  He never has and He is not going to start now.  He will see you through.  HAPPY MOMENTS-PRAISE GOD; DIFFICULT MOMENTS- SEEK GOD; QUIET MOMENTS-WORSHIP GOD; PAINFUL MOMENTS-TRUST GOD; EVERY MOMENT-THANK GOD! Whatever is happening in your life today, the Lord is with you!  He is pursuing you!  He loves you more than you can every possibly know.  Please, be encouraged today.  You are here today, and that is a gift. God wanted me to tell you that He loves you.  He is with you.  He is mindful of you.  He cares for you.  You can trust Him in every situation. AMEN! 

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KEEP IN MIND THAT IF OFTEN TAKES THE DARKNESS OF A STORM TO SHOW US THE LIGHT OF GOD’S PRESENCE-TONY EVANS

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Speaking of the light of God, today’s message is simply titled Already Shining; 

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TODAY’S TEXT IS 1 John 2:1-11

PLEASE STAND AS WE SHOW HONOR TO OUR CREATOR FOR HIS PRECIOUS WORD.  

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My little children, I am 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 the 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.

Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. 

At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 

Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 

10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. 

11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

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THIS IS THE WORD OF THE LORD!

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Let’s Pray.

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This is the message based on our SHINE theme, and it is titled Already Shining. In the past, the Shine message addressed believers living amongst non-believers and trusting God to handle to harvest.  Our call is to Shine the light of Jesus. Today, as we end October, we will see that John was speaking to believers about the light of love.

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Well, as the days of 2023 come to a close, let me encourage to continue to intentionally seek time with the Lord. To abide with Him in prayer and meditation on His Word. Let us also heed the words of the Apostle Paul.

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Ephesians 5:15-17

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

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The will of God?  How can we know?  Remain in prayer.  Abide in Him and His Holy Word.  Today we are going to talk about how we can live out God’s will.  It is more clear to me than ever before.  I’ll give you a hint.  Love.  Let’s begin then.

CONTEXT-

John is addressing the false teachings and doctrines at that time.  This is a letter of encouragement to believers. Gnosticism was a religious movement claiming salvation could be gained through a special form of secret knowledge. The term Gnosticism is derived from the Greek word gnosis, meaning “to know” or “knowledge.” The belief was that this special knowledge comes only through a special revelation by Jesus Christ or possibly through his apostles. This secret knowledge provides what is necessary for salvation. Gnostics believed that the world was divided into the physical and spiritual realms. They believed that the created or material world is evil. This naturally opposes the world of the spirit, and to Gnostics only the spirit is good. Gnostic writings often describe God as incomprehensible and unknowable. This principle directly conflicts with the truth of Christianity which provides for a relationship with a personal God who desires that relationship with His created beings. Gnostics also separated out the inferior god of creation (matter) from the superior god of redemption. Salvation only comes to those who have the hidden knowledge. Gnostics believed that this secret revelation ignites humans’ souls which allows them to return to the divine spiritual realm of light where they belong. Gnostics divided Christians into two categories with one group being physical (inferior) and the other being spiritual (superior). Only the superior, divinely enlightened persons could comprehend the secret teachings and obtain true salvation. 

John was teaching against this and demonstrating that salvation is available to everyone, not just a special few. Salvation comes from grace through faith in Jesus Christ and not from study or works. The only source of truth is the Bible. 

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Let’s begin in our text in Chapter 2.  To begin, we can see that John is addressing sin. 

v. 1 – My little children, I am 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.

John is clear that he is writing to address the struggle for believers with sin, but his encouragement is also clear.  We have an advocate.  

How much better is our advocate?  The Son of God!

This advocacy is illustrated elsewhere.

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2 Peter 1:3 – His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

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God has made provisions when we do sin!  We have an advocate which in Greek translates to “paracletos” – helper, one called to the aid for another.  Another legal system reference: one who speaks for another on accused to gain favor for the judge.

You and I have been given an advocate in Jesus.  In other points of scripture we can read the reference to the advocate which is referring to the Holy Spirit.  This chapter is speaking of Jesus Christ.  

This advocacy from Jesus is constant.  We are under that advocacy by the blood Jesus shed on the cross.  It is a perpetual advocacy.  It is such an encouragement to recognize this.  Keep in mind, this is not as if Jesus has to continuously return to God, the Father, and plead for us. It is constant.  It is not flip-flopping where we are in the club.  Then, out of the club.  Then, Jesus advocates on our behalf, and then, we’re back in.  Jesus is Our Savior and that is everything to us, and He stands up for us.

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Remember: There is nothing new under the sun.  God knew we would sin.  Yet He chose to love us anyway.  He loves us that much!  That He would send His one and only Son to earth to take our sin.  That His Son would come willingly and take the wrath we deserve.  Then, if that wasn’t enough, He continuously advocates on our behalf that we can stand in His righteousness before our Heavenly Father.  

Application: Do you recognize that Jesus is your advocate?  

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Think about that for a moment….. How can we not be moved by that? How can this not be humbling yet so worthy of celebration and joy!  

V. 2.  He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

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Verse 2 explains that Jesus, our advocate who perpetually advocates for us, is the propitiation for sins.  In the NIV the term “atoning sacrifice” is used.  It means that Jesus is causing the wrath we deserve to be averted.  Jesus has done that for us.  You see, the wrath of God is an appropriate response to sin for a Holy God whose standard is holiness.  God hates sin, yet Jesus caused the wrath of God meant us to be poured out onto Himself.  Again, think about that.  The wrath of God.  The wrath of the Creator of the Heavens and Earth and all life.  Jesus has removed wrath out of this painful equation for us as believers.  Now, as we trust our lives to Jesus, we can trust that there is no longer condemnation. 

ROMANS 8:1-2

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 

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No more wrath because Jesus took it for us.  John is reminding us of this today.  

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Listen, this is a challenge for many, for me.  Never forget the enemy’s motive.

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John 10:10 -The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 

Application: Are we listening to the Gospel message or the evil one’s whispering? 

What message are we listening to?  What are we standing on?  Because Jesus’ motive is to give us the abundant life.

We must prepare ourselves every day.  Apostle Paul provides us with incredible guidance in Ephesians 6.  We must put on the full armor of God.  Specifically, the Shield of Faith which extinguishes the fiery darts of the enemy.  

One other point here is that this is an offer for the whole world.  However, it is for believers only. This is not a universalism claim where they believe all are saved regardless of whether they put their faith in Christ or not.  Scripture explains that each person must engage the atoning sacrifice or propitiation directly.  We must come to grips with the fact that we are sinners and in desperate need of a Savior.  The advocate will go to bat for us perpetually when we receive His redemption.

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JOHN 1: 12-13 – But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. 

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This is not works based theology.  Yes, there is a condition. That condition is faith in the Messiah.  That condition is receiving and accepting what He did on the cross for us.  Jesus did the work. Not us!  So, by this we know Jesus died to make salvation available for the whole world, but we must receive it.  Accept it.  Believe and trust in Jesus. Only by faith. Amen!

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God desires that no one may perish.  

2 Peter 3:9 – The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

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Verse 3 – And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.

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John provides us with the way to know that we are in Christ.  We can know this by keeping His commandments.  This is about obedience to God’s Word, but it is also about us having confidence in our salvation.  Blessed assurance.

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We must keep His commandments.  To be clear, this is not an Old Testament reference to the 10 commandments. The Mosaic law is important.  However, what became clear and we know in perfect 20/20 hindsight is that we could never fulfill the law to God’s perfect standard.  No matter how hard we try, we cannot do it.  We cannot keep the law enough to be saved.  To be clear the 10 commandments cannot save you.  But now, when it comes the law, the law giver, Jesus, is now living in us. He is indwelt in you.  The law is no longer external in stone.  It is in our hearts.

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This is clear to the prophet Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 31:33- For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 

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The Holy Spirit is now inside us as believers.  Jesus, the Word that became flesh, is now written on our hearts.  We, as believers, are new creations.  We are different, we are changed inside and out.  We are born again. This is possible because of our faith in Jesus.  We can be assured that we have come to know Him when we obey His commandments. We know that we know Him if we are walking in obedience to the voice of the Holy Spirit.  

Our hearts are changed.  We want to live to please Jesus now.  We know we have come to know Him when we are inspired to know Him, to serve Him, to please Him.

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Now, John gets very real in the next few verses.

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v. 4-6 – 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.

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The love of God is perfected in us when we keep His Word.  Now, we are finally getting to the message title.  You see, the obedience is not perfected.  Can it ever be?  I would suggest, likely not.  However, the love of God is perfected in our obedience.  Our desire to please God is because we love Him.  We love Him because He loved us first. 

1 John 4:17-19 -By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.

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In verse 5, John writes that the love of God is perfected in our obedience.  This is how we may know and have confidence in our relationship with Our Creator.  We ought to be influenced and inspired by the Spirit of God living in us.  It is not as if we can really resist it once it has come upon us. 

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Verse 6 goes on to say the believers that abide, remain and obey are walking as Jesus did. Wow!  What is the implication there?  People are watching.  Believers and unbelievers alike are watching.

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You cannot change the world along, but with the power of the Holy Spirit and our Lord and Savior Jesus, we can cast a stone across the water that produces many ripples both on top and below the waters.

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“Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary, use words.”  Unknown author

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Our example matters. Of course, we should be ready, willing and able to proclaim the Gospel Message always.  However, the point of the quote means to live what you say.  Let your words and your actions be in line as they should be in line with the will of God.  Our lives should draw people to ask questions.  Hopefully, they will see Jesus in us regardless of our speech.  

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Acts 1:8 – But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth

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Application: Are you living in that assurance and confidence that you know Jesus and by virtue of obeying His commandments, He knows you?

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Now, we have assurance and confidence.  We know that obedience to God’s Word matters.  Our lives should reflect that.  Here is the foundation of the text.  We are called to be witnesses in love.

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Verse 7 – 8 – Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.

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John is not writing a new commandment.  He is referring to a time at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.  How do we know?  John points this for us.

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2 John 5-6 – And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it. 

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This is what John is talking about that we love one another.  This is the old commandment from the beginning of Jesus’s ministry.  It is not new at the time John is writing about it.  However, it is new because Jesus gave it as a new commandment at the beginning of His ministry.

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John 13:34 – A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 

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Jesus said it is new because the command to love God the Father and our neighbors is the law of God summed up.

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Matthew 22: 36-39 – “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

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The greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind and the second most important commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself.  These two commandments sum up the law and the prophets.  It is a statement that sums it all up for us. 

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If the life of God is real in our life, it will show by the presence of this love for God and others. 

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Application: What does it look like in your life to love God and others?  How will God’s real presence in your life be reflected?

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John 13:35 – By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” 

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Verse 8 – At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 

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ALREADY SHINING!  John writes about darkness and light often, For example, he refers to this in 1 John Chapter 1.  He points out that light points to our understanding that we are sinners.  He indicates that the darkness is walking in the denial that we are sinners. Here in Chapter 2, John illustrates the concept differently. The darkness here is our blindness to the notion that we are to love our brothers and sisters in Christ.  John is writing about walking in the light which is walking in the full understanding of that love.  

That’s the message.  The ability for us to shine the light of Jesus comes in the full understanding that we are called to love our brothers and sisters in Christ.  You see this message is not new because Jesus gave it early in His ministry.  The light is already shining.  Jesus showed us that He is the light of life.  The light of the world.  It is here for us already.  It is not hidden.  It is not in a secret place.

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We are called and inspired to love others as Christ did. Love God with everything we have and love our brothers and sisters in Christ. That is what we must obey.

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V 9-11 – Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. – 

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John writes that our relationship with God can and should be seen by our love for others in the body of Christ.  He writes that our love and our relationship with God can be seen by our relationships with the body of Christ.  This is also what Jesus taught and spoke of.

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As mentioned earlier in John 13:35 – By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

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John is pointing out that non-believers will know if we are walking in a close relationship with God based on how we are interacting with other believers.  

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Application: How is our relationship with other believers?  What does it look like?  

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A song lyric comes to mind from the essential words of NF.  He regularly writes about his struggles in life including his relationship with God and His son Jesus.  One point comes to mind where he writes:

“Church is where I found God but it’s also where I learned how to judge.”

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This is stands out to me. Many people have come to churches and have left because of what is happening in the church.  We must not walk in darkness related to our relationships with other believers.  We must set the example of love that Jesus and John are directing us to.  When we have strife within the church it conflicts with the unity Jesus prayer for in John 17.  Conflict within the church body gives the enemy a foothold, and this should not be. It does not reveal to the world the heart of love that Jesus calls us to.

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Ephesians 4:26-27 – Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.

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When we do have issues within the body, we must be agents of reconciliation.  No exceptions.  That is what we are also called to be.

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2 Corinthians 5: 17-19 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

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The light is already shining, and we have no excuse not to be ministers of reconciliation.  Yes, people are watching.  Not only outside the church, but inside.  We must seek to live in the love God calls us to.  To love him wholeheartedly and to love our brothers and sisters in Christ.  They will know we are followers of Christ because of our love. May we trust fully that the light that is Already Shining guides our path. 

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Lord bless you all!