Our Advocate: Meditation for the Lord’s Table
This is an exposition of 1 John 2:1-2. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, March 26 2017.
We are a “Gospel People.” A people born of the Gospel, rooted in the Gospel, identified by the Gospel. The Gospel is not just good news for the lost. It is good news for the saved. We never move beyond the Gospel. We never outgrow it. We grow into it. We mature in it. It becomes the joy of our lives. It grows sweeter with each passing day as we plumb the depths Gospel truth. The great tragedy in the church is so many folks “get saved” and them seem to get over it. I checked the box, said the prayer got dunked in water, I’m good now let’s move on. No, we don’t move on. We spend eternity exploring the wonders of God’s salvation. The Gospel is not something I need for when I die, it is what I need in order to live. Thus from time to time we come together around this table. We come to remember and to reflect. We gather to rejoice in the life that is ours because of Christ. The life that is ours because of the cross. Tonight I want to reflect on a brief word from John, the beloved apostle.
Text: 1 John 2:1-2
John the beloved is writing to his “little children”.
The aged apostle is writing, pastorally, to a group of folks he dearly loves.
He is writing to encourage and strengthen them in difficult days.
Yes, they live in a world that is in the hands of the Evil One – but they belong to God!
The two verses of our text remind us of an important truth. A truth that ought to inform, instruct and guide the church in ministry. This truth not only sets the agenda but reminds us of what ought to characterize our work and worship. As we consider the great truths set forth in our text I remind you that:
Thesis: The hope of the world and the joy of the church is found in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus.
Having challenged us to holiness (2:1a) : My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin… – John realistically knows that we will fail. What then? John says, “Don’t despair.” When you stumble and fall don’t lay there. We are to come to God, confess our sin, own it and seek his gracious forgiveness and cleansing. John’s point in this section is that we are to come in absolute assurance because of the work of Christ.
“If anyone does (when we) sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins…”
The work of Christ is the basis on which the Christian approaches God with full assurance of forgiveness and cleansing. John uses three terms to describe the work of Christ on our behalf. Images guaranteeing our deliverance and resulting in abounding joy.
Christ our advocate
We are not to think of our Lord’s ministry as living the perfect life, satisfying God’s demands; giving his life in sacrifice on the cross; rising from the grave and that is it –
He promised Peter he would intercede for him – Luke 22:32
He prayed for his disciples and us – John 17
He promised to acknowledge those who acknowledge him – Luke 12:8
He has ascended to the right hand of the Father where he ever lives to intercede for his own! – Romans 8:34
Understand the distinction between biblical advocate and defense attorney.
A defense attorney pleads his client’s case.
Defending the accused largely upon the merits of his case.
That would be a huge mistake with God!
From John’s perspective – the accused has no merit!
The merit is found in his advocate.
We have an advocate that advocate is…
Jesus Christ the Righteous
Our advocate is heard on the basis of his character/nature.
He is the propitiation for our sins
This is a good word that we do not hear often anymore.
Propitiation = atoning sacrifice
Our advocate does not plead our innocence but rather our guilt!
Then he offers his vicarious suffering on our behalf.
Our advocate, Jesus Christ the Righteous drank the cup of God’s wrath as our propitiation. This is the glory of the Gospel. We have been reconciled through his blood shed on the cross.