MAKE YOURSELF AT HOME!
1 John 2:28
1. “Make yourself at home!” That’s what we’ve always said when we want to make someone feel welcome, or to put him at ease, or to invite him to stay.
2. It’s very close to the meaning of one of the apostle John’s favorite words: “abide.”
a. He uses this term about a dozen times in chapter 15 of his Gospel, and he employs the same word a dozen and a half more times in his first Letter.
b. “Abide” means to settle down and remain, as in one’s permanent home (Woods, 263). It means to remain, to continue, or to dwell somewhere.
c. The thought it presents is lovely!
3. “Abide” is inspiration’s best one-word summary of Christian living.
a. It invites us to settle down and make ourselves at home in Christ.
b. 1 John 2:28 – “And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.”
c. In fact, the “abide in him” is repeated from the end of the previous verse as if to emphasize that we are to make abiding in him our first concern.
1. John: Why We Must Abide In Him
a. John’s attention to “abiding” was likely suggested to him by a familiar and impressive statement made by the Lord.
i. It was the night when he was being betrayed, and he was trying to encourage his disciples to take heart (14:1; 16:33).
ii. He pictured himself as the true vine and his disciples as branches.
iii. John 15:4, 5
b. The Lord was telling them the truth about how life works: a branch cannot live apart from the vine.
i. The branch we snipped off our tree
ii. The fact is that the branch can neither live nor bear fruit apart from the vine; the vine is its life.
iii. All the theories and arguments about whether a person who has been saved can fall away cannot this obvious truth about how life works – if a branch is separated from the vine it will perish.
c. The Lord was reassuring them in a very meaningful way.
i. What if he had just told them to “go and produce fruit”? That would only have added another note of inadequacy to the overwhelming circumstances they already faced.
ii. But what he told them was to make abiding in him their first job. He said that he would abide in them and they would bear much fruit.
iii. John 15:11
2. I John: How We Can Abide In Him
a. Acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God in every corner of your life.
i. 1 John 4:15
ii. The apostle didn’t mean to indicate, of course, that everyone who gives lip-service to the deity of Christ abides in him.
iii. Guy N. Woods offered this explanation of the context: “The Ebionites declared that Jesus was a mere man; the Cerenthians maintained that his body was, for a time, occupied by an aeon (or demon) called Christ; the Docetae argued that he only appeared to possess a body, but was, in reality, only a shadowy phantom. The confession ‘Jesus is the Son of God’ was a repudiation of each of these heretical positions, and those who thus acknowledged him confessed (a)his humanity, (b)his deity, (c)his reality.” (Woods, 302)
iv. If anybody really believed that, the complete surrender of his will would surely follow.
v. The same disposition that makes such a confession recognizes the Lord’s right to rule over all of life.
b. Let doing right be your lifestyle.
i. 1 John 2:6
ii. If our claim to abide in him is genuine, we ought to at least be headed in the same direction he went.
iii. 1 John 3:6
iv. It’s not that a person who abides in Christ is not capable of committing a single sin; it’s that sin is not characteristic of his way of life.
v. We all may still be works in progress, but a person who abides in the Lord does not engage in habitual, persistent sin.
c. Continue in the truth that brought you into Christ to start with.
i. 1 John 2:24
(1) The original message which had been preached to them had not changed, and it would not change.
(2) They needed to let it abide in them. It wouldn’t do so automatically; they had to let it.
(3) The faith which has been delivered to us is anchored not only in certain historical events that culminated in what Jesus did for us, but also to the authoritative teaching of the apostles about what these events mean. Christians are never free to weigh anchor and launch out into the deep of speculative thought and new experiences.
ii. 1 John 2:14b
iii. 1 John 3:24
d. Love the brothers you know, and do so in the most practical ways.
i. 1 John 4:16, 12
ii. 1 John 3:16, 17
(1) The switch from the plural (the brothers, v. 16) to the singular (his brother, v. 17) is deliberate and significant.
(2) C. S. Lewis observed, “It is easier to be enthusiastic about Humanity with a capital ‘H’ than it is to love individual men and women, especially those who are uninteresting, exasperating, depraved, or otherwise unattractive. Loving everybody in general may be an excuse for loving nobody in particular.”
(3) And notice that John makes it so practical: my brother is in need, I can see it well enough to know what would really help him, and it is something I am able to do. The question left is whether my heart is open.
iii. 1 John 3:14, 15
iv. 1 John 2:10
1. We can do what we should do – abide in Christ Jesus.
2. James Burton Coffman, commenting on the sayings of the Lord in John 15, observed: “Salvation for every man ever born turns upon just two questions: (1)is he ‘in Christ’? And (2)does he remain ‘in Christ’?”
a. A person takes up his abode in the Lord by obeying the gospel through repentance and baptism. (Gal. 3:26, 27; 1 Cor. 12:13)
b. And he remains in Christ by continuing what he has begun through faithful, devoted Christian living. (1 John 1:7-10)
3. I hope each of us will determine to make ourselves at home!