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The Lord Your Healer: 

Discover Him and Find His Healing Touch by Paul J. Bucknell

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Overcoming Anxiety: Finding Peace, Discovering God


Optimized for Growth
1 John 2:3-11

Optimized for Spiritual Growth

– Spiritual Foundations of Growth –

Paul J. Bucknell

The Profession Based on Relationship
1 John 2:6-8 

Optimized for Growth (1 John 2:3)
A. The Profession Based on Confession (1 John 2:4-5)
B. The Profession Based on Relationship (1 John 2:6-8)
C. The Profession Based on Spirituality (1 John 2:9-11) 
Study Questions on 1 John 2:3-11

This is part '3/4' to a study entitled 'Optimized for Growth' on 1 John 2:3-11.

B.) The Profession Based on Relationship (1 John 2:6-8)    

"I abide in Him"

Problem: traditionalists

Confidence: Professed to be a Christian without any application to their life. “I’m a Christian.” “I belong.”

Fault: They are willing to favor relationship and belonging over obedience.

Danger: Those who don’t like talking about rules.

Affirmation: Obedience to Him will produce a strong Christian life.

6 The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. 7 ¶ Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. 8 On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.

Outline of 1 John 2:3-11These people have a tendency to over-focus on their professed relationship with the Lord.  You might hear people say, “I always have been a Christian.” They assume their association with the church is the same thing with knowing God. 

It is for this reason they can live the way they were before.  For these traditionalists, their hopes of salvation rests on their presence in church. They are going to church. They don’t belong to any other. Some figure that they aren’t an atheist and not a Buddhist nor a Moslem. They are a Christian. It just doesn't work like this.

They only do not have any true inclination on living like Christ. God is a figure. Christianity is a religion for them. Obedience is only for those few people. In fact, they might even suggest that it is not good to be too excessive in their faith.  As long as they have been baptized and take communion all is well.  I can remember several people who were so faithful attending baptism classes and then once baptized, they left the fellowship.  Their faith is used more as an insurance policy in case God is real. But they don’t see the connect with their own life. Somehow they think of baptism as a magic practice which God is forced to bless.

The key is to live as Christ lived.

In verses 4-5 John speaks of the importance of living by the commandments.  But here in these verses, he steps up his expectations and tells them to live as Christ lived - in a loving way. Verses 7-8 can be a bit confusing at first, but with a closer look we find he is very clear. His major point is found in verse 8 where he says that because Christ’s disciples are to be like Christ, they are to live like Christ. 

This is indicated by the statement “which is true in Him and in you...” The Spirit’s great work in Christ is the same work in the life of His disciples.  Where before you had one great light, now we have many significant lights all around the world.  Satan is getting worried as the number of Christians proliferate in every part of the world.  The light represents the new life in Christ and issues forth a new lifestyle.

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Confidence in tradition: I belong

Now you might be wondering about the connection between the old and new commandments.  Christ didn’t change the law but fulfilled and intensified it.  Leviticus 19:18 from the Old Covenant says,

     “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.”

How does the New commandment go?  Jesus said in  John 13:34,

     “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

What is the difference?  The difference is not whether we should love one another but the intensity with which you and I must love those around you.  We have the objective life of Christ and His presence in our live through the Holy Spirit that brings about a higher portrait of love. Nowhere is this so clearly seen as on the cross.

True growth will always give evidence of love. Instead of creating new interpretations of Christian expression, the church needs to go back and focus on the unchanging moral given long ago in the beginning.  The old is newly expressed but certainly not contradictory to the old.  The essential meaning and message never changes.  “The test for the reality of the experience of union with God in Christ is the imitation of Christ” (Dodd, 32). By examining the life of Jesus Christ, we understand whether we are only professors or also imitators of Christ.  The difference is between heaven and hell.

Application    One sister I know says she no longer calls herself a Christian. She went on and said that it is because the term ‘Christian’ can mean so many different things today. May we through our lives like Christ begin to bring back the real connotation of a Christian–one who has been with Jesus Christ.

Some professing Christian groups have remolded the law so that it is totally different than what was originally said.  When they change the laws, they make it so that the world becomes the focus rather than Christ. Did you ever wonder how denomination after denomination, generation after generation, can argue about the reliability of the scriptures, denial of Christ’s deity, sexual standards, homosexual marriage? We should simply go back to live “in the same manner as He walked” and let everybody else leave. We can see there are other issues that like in John’s day are at stake. People who profess to know Christ but really do not know Him. If they did, then they would live like Him. This desire to be like Christ is the essence of the life in Christian.

This love was manifested and modeled in Him and must be modeled in us.  Why else would we take His title Christ to distinguish our lives as Christians? This is the basis of our koinonia fellowship. Some people want fellowship without Christ’s presence. We need to insist that there is no fellowship without Christ. John goes further and states quite clearly that those who do not live like Christ are not in the fellowship called the church. Praise God that though the evil one has his spots of darkness, the true light is already shining and will eventually cover the world.

Next=> C. The Profession based on Spirituality (1 John 1:9-11)

Optimized for Growth 1 John 2:3-11

Introduction to 1 John 2:3-11
Premise (1 John 2:3)

A. The Profession Based on Confession (1 John 2:4-5)
B. The Profession Based on Relationship (1 John 2:6-8)
C. The Profession Based on Spirituality (1 John 2:9-11) 
Study Questions on 1 John 2:3-11

Scriptures typically quoted from the New American Standard Bible unless noted: (C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1988

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