“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.” -1 John 2:28
The Apostle John, wrote this letter in old age. In his life he heard the Lord Jesus speak. Walked with Him. Talked with Him. He heard Jesus preach the sermon on the mount. He laid his head on Jesus bosom, and heard the divine heartbeat. Most incredibly, he saw Jesus risen from the dead.
Unlike the other Apostles, John lived to old age. He would’ve seen the eradication of his Christian brothers in the early first century. He must’ve experienced great sorrow, and great pain. He was also, a catalyst in establishing Christian doctrines. He saw some of the first heresies, and he knew how to identify them. As one inspired by the Holy Spirit to write authoritative, infallible Scriptures, it would be safe to say, that when he wrote this text in 1 John, he may have been the greatest theologian on the planet.
I say this because of a wonderful church history story about the Apostle John. Tradition tells us that as John was in old age, when he could no longer bring himself to the assembly under his own strength, his elders would carry him in. Once in the assembly he would simply raise his frail hand in the air and say, “Little children, love one another.”
This amazes me, because after all that John had seen, heard, witnessed, and learned, this term of endearment, followed by a simple imperative is what it’s all about. He says little children, like a grandfather speaks from the bottom of his heart to his grandchildren. He speaks like a father speaks from the depths of his soul to his children. Pleading, urging, from a disposition of great love. This desire for the church to love one another comes deep from within this patriarchs heart, and we should take note of this, and seek to obey it.
As a pastor, I have three great desires for those who hear me preach. I desire that they come to know Christ. I desire that they be in Christ. And I desire that they would abide in Christ. My aim in preaching is not to get someone’s hand to raise, or to get someone to walk the aisle. My aim is that heart’s cry out “Abba, Father!” I seek the regeneration of the heart above all else. For those with regenerated hearts, I desire that they seek a deeper communion with the Lord. I want those who know the Lord, to know that they know the Lord, and to be madly in love with Him, and His ways. Then I want those who are born-again, and are madly in love with Jesus, to remain there, and to abide in Him, all the days of their lives. This is my aim, and I believe it should be all pastor’s aim.
What does it mean to abide in Jesus, and how can we do that? The answer is not complicated, rather it is simply a simple trust.
- Trust His work:
It is only the perfect and finished work of Jesus that will get us into the heavens. Our work’s are filthy rags. It is by faith alone in His work, that we are accounted as righteous.
2. Trust His Word:
We must daily approach the Word of God like hungry children. Understanding that we truly do not live on bread alone. Each day, setting the Word of God before us, and simply trusting that it is just that, the very Words of the Almighty.
3. Trust His ways:
As the Word begins to take root in our lives, it should begin to bear fruit. Our trust in the Word, should manifest itself in the construction of our lives. If we truly trust the Word, our lives will reflect that. By faith, we build our lives upon the Rock, obeying what is written, so that when the wind and waves come (which they will) our house will not fall.
In conclusion, I want to talk about a simple trust. We are called to grow in knowledge, we are called to learn and grow. Yet, all of our learning and growing should never lead us into self-reliance. Knowledge has the potential to puff up, and cause us to self-exalt, and self-rely. All of the knowledge of God we acquire is of grace, therefore it should never promote us, but the Grace-giver. And as grace is given, and knowledge is acquired it should deepen our simply trust, and never complicate things.
Do you remember the days when you were first converted? It seemed like everything was bright, fresh, and new! You had no cares in the world! You loved the Word, and you had a simple approach, and a simple trust in God. Then over time you became self-reliant, and the skies seemed to become gray, and at times dark. Here is my call to you, don’t ever lose that simple trust. Come to the Lord as a little child each day, and simply trust your Father for your daily bread. As your knowledge deepens, and widens, also let your simple trust in him do the same. Trust the Lord, with all your heart. That’s why I love this hymn,
“Simply trusting every day,
Trusting through a stormy way,
Even when my faith is small,
Trusting Jesus, that is all”