The Test of a True Believer

September 14, 2018 Preacher: Gareth Franks Series: Letters of John - Knowing, Walking & Living the Truth

Topic: Foundations Scripture: 1 John 2:1–2

Home Group Study

Sermon Date: 14 September 2018

Text: 1 John 2:1-2

Opening Discussion: There are many crazy bumper stickers out there, with all sorts of philosophies and humour plastered on the back of vehicles. What are some of the weirdest or funniest bumper stickers you have seen?

What would you add or say about the theology behind this bumper sticker - “Christians are forgiven, not perfect”?

  • Observation - What does God’s word say?

Holiness is not an optional accessory that you may add to your Christian life at some point, if you so choose. Holiness is essential. If you are not striving to grow in holiness in the sight of God, you need to examine whether you know Christ as Savior at all. Every blood-bought child of God desires to please the Lord Jesus who gave Himself on the cross to save us from our sins.

What are your observations? Can legalism lead Christians to holiness?


  • 1 John 2:1-2
  • Mark 7:6-8
  • Colossians 2:23
  • Romans 6:14
  • Meaning - What does God’s word mean?

By calling them, “my little children,”(v1) the apostle John reflects both his pastoral heart for them and his longer experience as an old man. He cares for them as a father or grandfather does for his little ones. He has lived longer than they have and speaks with experience about how to live a holy life. So we should pay close attention to his message:

The key to holiness is to understand God’s grace as seen in Christ’s sacrifice for our sins.

John wants his readers to understand that the work of Christ is the basis upon which the Christian may approach God for full forgiveness and cleansing. John uses three terms to describe how Christ has made it possible for us to approach God. 1. - He is our Advocate 2. - He is the Righteous One; and 3.- He is the propitiation.

Read:  Romans 5:8-10; 1 John 4:9-10; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21

What are your observations from these verses?


  • Application - How must I change?


  •  Is there a Truth to be believed?

Do you ever wonder how God could accept you in spite of your sins? If someone came to you professing to be a believer, depressed and guilty over their sin to the point of suicide, what truth would you share with them to convince them that God accepts us in spite of our sinful failures?

Would your advice be different or similar to a believer who thinks they have blown it and lost their salvation?

  • Is there an Attitude to be fostered?

Can we as believers have victory over sin? Is it wise or unwise, necessary or unnecessary to hedge in God’s grace with manmade rules? How does this apply to churches and families?

  • Is there a Behavior to be changed?

“Do we prize the grace of God in the Atonement of Christ, or do we prostitute the grace

of God because of the Atonement of Christ?”        -  John Piper

How can a person know when he is turning the grace of God into licentiousness (wastefulness)? What warning signals are there?


The final word of the text is that we must not keep this consolation for ourselves alone. "And he is not the propitiation for our sins only, but for the sins of the whole world."

John does not mean that all God's wrath against the sins of every person in the world has been propitiated, because then every person in the world would be saved. "He who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him" (John 3:36). The wrath of God is propitiated only for those who obey the Son of God. (Cf. Romans 3:25.)

Closing Prayer: Lord, help us to understand the seriousness of sin, and what it cost your only Son to pay for our sins. Help us to hate our sin and overcome the temptation to sin!

Thank you Lord, when we do sin, we are not condemned and do not need to fall into despair because our attorney is the Son of the Judge, who is righteous and makes his case for us not on the basis of our perfection but his propitiation. Help us to be of good courage, and not to selfishly hide this good news away from others. Help us to prize the grace of God and share it with those lost in their sin without hope.

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