Get Up!

Bible Book: 1 John  2 : 1-6
Subject: Discipleship; Christian Living; Walking for Jesus

There is a kind of love that just reaches out to you in the midst of your weary world and there is one who says, "I care about you; I want you to get all of me." That's what God's love is all about folks - Him reaching out to us and giving and giving and giving. The powerful thing about it is that so many of us have an opportunity today to receive and I trust that you will in every way possible.

Years ago back in the 1920's, a former president, Calvin Coolidge, was sitting on a pew. He went to church, as was his habit; and he came back. One of his presidential advisors came to him and said, "Mr. President, what did the preacher preach about today?" Coolidge, who was known for his choice of words... very few words... simply said, "He preached on sin." He said, "Well Mr. President surely he developed a theme; I mean he certainly had a text and it must have gotten to your heart and there must be something that you would want to express about how it really spoke to your life." Coolidge, in his typical fashion, responded and said, "Yep, he was agin it!" God is agin it also!

We find ourselves stumbling in sin and not sensing the love of God and wondering how we can ever get out of this mess. In our stumbling, God says, "I am providing for you a way to get up, a way to keep going, a way not to just sit down and be satisfied and sour in your sin, but a way by which you can get up and get going.

"Some of you hear the sound of an alarm clock that reminds you to get up in the morning. You reached over there and think, "How can I turn this thing off?" Finally you do or maybe you don't. That reminds us that now that God has a wake up call for us that's telling us we don't have to stay asleep in our sin and our laziness. We can become in love with Him as He loves us and we can become a vital part of a spiritual community that can really grow in the way of knowing Him and helping others to know Him also.

I'm inviting your attention to the love letter from God written by the hand of the apostle John, which is 1st John, located near the end of your Bible. As you look at chapter 2:1-6, it's John writing to the Christians, but the Holy Spirit writing to those who are gathered to worship Him: My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense - Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands. The man who says, "I know Him," but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys His word, God's love is truly made complete in Him. This is how we know we are in Him: Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.

This is a powerful passage and it reminds us that we really can get up and get going for God. Some of you may be frozen in fear and faithlessness, but God has a call for you and is asking you to follow Him.

I. Because Jesus is Committed to Speak Up (verse 1)

Now first of all, we can get up because Jesus is committed to speak up. Now that is good news. 1st John 2:1 reminds us that God still speaks. We know that He spoke in days gone by, we know that He spoke to the nation of Israel and gave to them a very special assignment as God's special people, we know that He spoke to the prophets of old as they became mouth pieces for the Lord, and we know that Jesus spoke on the earth, as we have His recorded Words that we read. But somehow or another, some of us today are not quite clear on whether or not God still speaks; but He does. He speaks in ways and volumes that are many times louder than the way that He has spoken in the past. You say, "Well I wish that I could hear His voice." You can! What we read from His Word is a part of what God is saying to your life. He speaks up, He calls us where we are, with who we are and whenever He needs to speak, He speaks to us.

The problem is that some of us are deaf or we've chosen not to listen. We've walked away from Him and we've decided that it's more comfortable to just sit down and not respond to His voice. The wonderful way about His speaking to us is that He addresses us as his "dear children." Those who have read this text before know that it's John who said, "My dear children." But you see it wasn't John's idea. It was God's idea in the very beginning. You see God is the Father, He's the father of those who come to claim Him as Savior and Lord. How do you come to be a part of God's family?

Trust. You become totally reliant upon the Savior's timetable and as He is speaking to some of our hearts today, His timetable is very accurate. The alarm is ringing and He's drawing some of us not only back to Him, but some of us to come to know Him and to love Him just like He loves us. What God is trying to say to us is, "I want you to become a part of my family."

A. For His Dear Children

Jesus said, "You must be born again," and people scratched their heads back then and said, "Wait a minute, we can't go back up into our mother's womb and be born again." Physically, yes that's an impossibility; but spiritually, it's God's command that every one of us come into His family by   claiming Christ, asking for the forgiveness of our sins and then we become partners with God as He is our Father and we are His dear children. Some of you think you are not very dear to God. You don't feel like a very dear child of His. If anything you feel more like a stepchild or a child who is out of step with God. I don't feel like a dear child at all! Maybe your lifestyle doesn't reflect the relationship you   feel you should have with Him, but nonetheless God has you marked as His child if you've trusted Christ as your Savior and it's a term of endearment, "My dear children." God's speaking to some of you today and reminding you of that relationship. Even when you're not loved on earth, you are loved  in heaven and He loves you enough to have brought you here today to be reminded of that.

B. To The Father

Now I want you to understand with me that Jesus is committed not only to speak up to His dear children, but He's speaking to the Father. God is speaking to the Father. This is a good word because you see some of us feel like our prayers don't go anywhere... no higher than the ceiling. It seems to us that every time we pray we don't get anything. But the prayers of Jesus are never silent.

He's constantly pleading on your behalf and on mine. How do I know this? The Bible teaches that.

Do you know right now Jesus is seated at the right hand of God the Father. It's in the position of promise and prominence and as He's seated there the scripture says that He is our advocate. In other words He's our lawyer. He is pleading on our behalf and what is He pleading? He's pleading for mercy because every one of us needs the mercy of Jesus Christ. The beautiful thing about it is that in every case that Jesus takes before the Lord as our Lawyer, as your advocate, He's never lost a case yet. And every one of us who feel like we don't have the words to say to God and we don't feel  like we're worthy to speak to Him, Jesus is speaking on your behalf and He's calling out even now to the Father who is listening and who longs to become a partner with you in a love relationship.

C. As The Righteous One

I want you to understand with me that as Jesus is committed to speak to the Father and that also as He is committed to speak to you as His dear children, He speaks from the position as "the Righteous One, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One." In other words this is not just anybody's voice, this is some voice that is far more powerful than whatever we could say to God.

Jesus Christ is a two-fold name describing the two-fold nature of God himself. Here are the two natures of Jesus Christ I'm trying to describe to you: First of all, God is fully God, one hundred percent God! You say well how could that be? He walked on the face of this globe for thirty-three plus     years. Wasn't He a part man? Yes, He was. He was one hundred percent man and one hundred percent God, something you and I can hardly phantom in our mind except to be able to express it. It is a doctrinal truth and in His eternal deity, 100% God, as the Christ, He is righteous by definition because He is God. Do you see what I'm trying to say here? So much of the world was waiting for the Christ to come, the Messiah to come; and there are many millions of people today who still don't believe that He has come!

There's a nation called Israel, God's chosen people, and they are still waiting and they are saying, "We need a military leader, we need someone and somebody who can get us out of this mess with the Palestinians, we need somebody who can bring peace to our land." Though it's such a small strip of land, only thirty-three miles wide and smaller than most of our states, it's still is a place of prominence and God's promise. God promised that He would send His Messiah, but He didn't send Him as a political leader and He didn't send Him as a military leader; He sent Him as a servant!

That's the reason that the world doesn't recognize Him, because He came as the Christ to serve mankind.

The second nature of Jesus Christ is the name Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth, a carpenter's son, one hundred percent man and it speaks to His earthly life because He is so righteous, in contrast to our sin. Here's a man who never sinned from the day of His birth to the day of His death, through the day of His resurrection, through the day of His eternal being with God. He never sinned in any day in between, before or after His earthly existence! What a contrast to the lifestyle in which you and I find ourselves because we stumble in sin every single day... our thought life, our actions, our attitudes. So much of what we do is so different from what God did through Jesus who was powerfully perfect in every single way.

Peter wrote about this in I Peter 3:18. He said, "For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous (that is Jesus) for the unrighteous (that is us), to bring you to God." Isn't that a wonderful picture? Jesus did something you and I couldn't do and the name Jesus Christ references His two natures and His activity in His righteousness to do something that we could never do ourselves.

II. Because Jesus was Commissioned to Give Up (v. 2)

I want you to notice, secondly, that we get up not only because Jesus was committed to speak up, but also because Jesus was commissioned to give up. Some of you are debating me about this point and saying, "Hey, my Savior never gave up! He didn't quit! He didn't back up on God!" That's not what I'm trying to say. I'm saying that Jesus gave up something that you and I could never give that would have the impact and the influence of what His action did at Calvary. According to the scripture in verse 2 it says, "He is the atoning sacrifice." He gave something that you and I could never give. I'm referring to Christ and His willingness to die on our behalf.

As we think of Jesus on the cross, our Savior making a sacrifice, it's something that you and I can't do for anybody else and something that you and I could never do entirely to touch the world for Him. He gave, my friend, His all so that we could gain from God and get more so that we could get up and get going and move out of the stumbling of our sin and the sourness of our unsaintliness and be sure that we move ahead with the Savior in every single way possible.

A. His Life

What did He give up? Well most of all, He gave up His life. Note that with me because as He gave His life for us, He said, "No greater love has any man than that which is willing to lay down his life for another." Some of us are recipients of life because of someone else's death. Some of you have received organ transplants and because of the death of someone else you have received life and in that life you are rejoicing because it extended your life.

But there are not many of us who are like that. In generations gone by there were those mothers who were giving birth to their children and there were complications, something that today would be solved easily with an uncomplicated caesarean birth. Surgically removing the child seems to be commonplace today. But in generations gone by it was the choice that was brought to the husband - either we can save the child and lose your wife or save your wife and lose your child. Decisions were made, sacrifices were given, it was one life for another life.

But today, regardless of what the circumstances may be medically, every one of us is given the opportunity to have new life spiritually because of the death, the atoning death, of Jesus Christ for us. You see, it's His life for our life. It's the great exchange that God has given for us in every single way.

B. For Our Sins

What's the purpose of it? It's for our sins. That's what it's all about - His life covering our life to cover our sins, and every one of us is born in sin. We didn't ask for it. We didn't invite that to be a part of our life. We were born with it. The Bible says, "For all have sinned and come short (or fall short) of the glory of God." "All," that's a big word isn't it? Everybody! It doesn't matter how well you're living, it doesn't matter what kind of social status or cultural background you come from, everybody is exposed to sin because we're born that way.

Everybody can follow the bridge that God gives us by coming to Christ and coming out of it. He died for our sins, my friend. That's speaking to the believers who've trusted Him. His death had meaning. Some of you are thinking, "My life doesn't have much meaning; I don't feel like there's much purpose in what I do or who I am." Maybe you are convinced that suicide is the only way out. Could I remind you that your life was bought with a price? Jesus gave you life not only in the beginning, but He wants to give you new life today and He wants to bring you to a life of meaning. His death had great, far- reaching meaning. Your death will not mean anything if you take it by your own hands. For Christ died for our sins and I'm asking and pleading with those who are struggling right now to let Christ die for you and not you for no meaning.

C. For The Sins of the World

It's not only for our sins, as believers, that Christ died. Did you notice the scripture also teaches it is not only for our sins that Christ died, but also for the sins of the whole world? That's what verse 2 says. Some have mishandled this verse as they've looked at it and said, "We're all safe. It says right here in the Bible that He died for our sins, the whole world; it means everybody is saved." Friends that is not what this verse means. This is not the doctrine of universalism. This does not mean that those who have never come to trust Christ are covered by Christ's blood. You must first make a choice and a decision as to what you will do and how you will do it based upon His death and your desire. So though Christ died for the whole world, the whole world has not chosen to receive Him.

All of our missionary movement and what we do through the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board and what we do as churches as we send people into the community and every single witness that we give for the glory and the gospel of God is so that people can truthfully come to meet the one who died for the sins of the world. But they've got to make a choice and so must you! He paid a debt He did not owe.

Let's do a little bit of word study with what I'm trying to express here. As I read from the New International Version it was the phrase atoning sacrifice, speaking to Christ doing something you and I can't do. He gave up His life for our sins. If you are reading from the King James translation or from the New American Standard Version, it would be the word propitiation, a word we don't oftentimes use. Basically it's the word substitution. He was the propitiation, the substitution for our sin. If you were to read today from the Revised Standard Version, it would be another word that is rarely used and that's the word expiation. He expedited what we needed, He did what we couldn't do and He did it because He loves you. But reaching all the way back to the original meaning of the word from the Greek and the understanding of the original expression, it's the word hilasmos, and it literally means sin offering. What God is trying to express to us here is that Christ was the sin offering for us.

Back in Ezekiel 44:27 it says to us that on the day he (the priest) goes into the inner court of the sanctuary to minister in the sanctuary, the priest is to offer the sin offering (same word here- hilasmos, as it's translated into the Greek from the Hebrew) and he is offering the sin offering for himself. What's happening here is that Christ becomes our high priest. Christ offers Himself. He  puts Himself on the offering and as He puts Himself on the altar as the offering for our lives, it is the great exchange that God gives to us and for us for the sins of the world and He does it so that we can get up and get on with Him.

III. Because We are Commanded to Walk Up (vv. 3-6)

The third feature I want to express is found in verses 3-6. As I was preparing for this message, I was walking down the church hallway and I saw this banner that said, "Highway 26," and I wondered what this meant in a Sunday School class of a College and Career Department. I went in and looked and saw that there's a theme and a poster that describes exactly what it means. We are to be walking down the highway and its highway 26, which goes right back to the passage we're isolating today in I John 2:6. Get it, 2 - 6! It's a little bit of a reach, but I understand it and I know you can do. Highway 26 is simply this highway, as the scripture says: Whoever claims to live in Him, must walk as Jesus did. You see if we're going to get up, we've got to go the way that God's going. We can't go our way and invite Him to go with us. He says hey look I have my way, you follow along with me and you won't stumble and you won't find yourself soaked in sin. You'll find yourself saved and rejoicing in the Savior. A lot of us are doubting today.

The great Scottish preacher, Robert Murray McCheyne said years ago as he was advising his congregation, "For every look at yourself take ten looks at Christ." That's good counsel, then and now. When we begin to look at ourselves we say, "I'm no good, what I've done is no good, God can't forgive me, I can't walk up and get out of this mess, I can't get up, there's no alarm that's going to be          loud enough to get me going." Well if you look at Christ and to look at what He did instead of what you're doing, you'll come to a clearer focus of what God is trying to say.

A. By Knowing The Truth

Here's how we can walk up: by knowing the truth. Do you know the truth? A lot of us have been exposed to the truth for years. We know the difference between what is right and what is wrong, but do you know the truth? The truth is not just a concept. The Truth is a person and the person of Jesus Christ is the Truth. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life and nobody can come to God the Father except by me." I John 2:4 says, "The man who says 'I know him,' but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

"How do you get the truth in you? The Psalmist said it better than I can. Look at what he said in Psalm 119:11: I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. How many times in my life have I been walking the wrong direction and God said, "Wait a minute, you're not going with me in this; do you know what my word says?" He reminds me with a scripture or a passage. He says, "Now you're stepping out of the truth; I want you to walk back into the truth and come with me." And all the while I never would have understood that if I hadn't taken the time to memorize or be exposed on a daily basis to the truths that He's teaching.

B. By Obeying The Word

Now don't misunderstand me because you can know the truth and still not have obedience to the truth. That brings me to the point of understanding that according to the scripture here it tells us that is anybody obeys His word, God's love is truly made complete in Him. Obeying His word... knowing it is one thing, but following it and walking in His word is quite another thing.

Let me just give you what this word obey really means. According to the scripture it means to keep, keep His word. It gives us the picture as we are guarding a treasure, guarding it carefully. Some of you have been given family heirlooms through the years. Maybe it's a ring or a bracelet or a piece of jewelry or a valuable coin and you have put it into a spot where you know or you think or you hope it's safe. Maybe you've even taken an extra insurance clause that says that it would be covered if it were taken. You would never be able to replace the value of it to your own life but you would hope that you could replace some of what it would take to get it replaced. So you guard it carefully. Maybe you put it into your safe deposit box and every once in a while you peek in there just to be sure that no one has taken it. You guard it. That's the picture that the scripture's trying to paint for us here. God's word ought to be so carefully guarded and planted into our lives that we will continue to walk in the truth and obey His word in every way possible.

Jesus said it best when He said in the gospel of John, chapter 14, verse 15, "If you love me you will obey what I command." He knew that the disciples knew His truth. They were living in the reality of His truth. But He knew that it would do no good if they didn't follow Him in obedience, and the same thing is true for modern day disciples today. Now I hesitated with giving you this quote but I feel it's essential. Martin Luther, father of the reformation, who brought us out of just doing good works into knowing the One who gives us the ability to work for Him, said to a fellow reformer, Zwingli, in 1529 these words: If scripture commanded me to eat dung, I would do it. Well the Bible doesn't tell us to do that, but do you get the essence and the passion behind what Martin Luther was saying? He said,   "If the Bible tells us we should do something, it's because God loves us and because whatever He tells us to do, is not going to bring harm to us."

C. By Following His Footsteps

We can go with God, get up and keep going if we're willing to hear His voice, if we're willing to follow in His walk. I want you to know one thing - if we follow in His footsteps, God is calling us to do    Highway 26... to do it, not just know where it is and not just know what it means...but to do it. Follow in His footsteps!

Every one of us makes an impression on someone else's life. You see people are following where you're going. You may not know who is, but they are. And Jesus has made a certain impression in every single one of us.

I didn't get to know my dad like I wanted to because he died so young and I was so young as well. But I won't forget his stride. He was shorter than I and he walked with a long stride. And as he put his feet out, I remember as a little boy holding the hand of my sister and wanting to match his footprints. I wanted to be able to stretch out to my father's footsteps and be able to walk like he walked. I never could do that. But you know what? The older I get, the closer I have become to walking in the Father's footsteps.

The same thing is true for every one of us as we seek to follow after Jesus the Christ in every way we can. God is calling us to follow Him. We can do it at home, moms and dads, because you can follow in the footsteps of Jesus by loving your children and your grandchildren just as Jesus loved His dear children. You can do it in school by not taking short cuts and by not just groping and hoping that the end of the day will come quickly. You can do it also at work as you live a life of honesty and integrity and do a full day's work for a full day's pay instead of just looking for ways just to get by and get out. You can do it even while you're shopping. You can follow the footsteps of Jesus because you see when Jesus bartered and gave and bought, He bought what He needed and not just everything that He wanted.

We learn from the scripture to owe no man anything, but to love one another. It doesn't tell us that we should never be in debt. What it does say is that our greatest debt is to Him (that is God) because He paid a debt for us that He didn't even owe. We can even follow the footsteps of Jesus on vacation.

That's right! Instead of taking a break or a vacation from God, we can get closer to Him because He's giving us quieted times. Instead of taking a vacation from church and God and giving and growing in the Lord, we can use these times of relief and retreat to come closer to Him. It's God's invitation to follow after Him.

God's alarm is sound in some of our lives and as it does it's reminding us that we can either get up or shut it up. Which will you do today?


I have three closing questions:

The first question is this: How do you see yourself today? God knows you for who you are, but how do you see yourself? Do you see yourself sitting in the posture of sin? If you do, you're like most of us because it's more comfortable there. Or are you one of the favorite ones who has truly sought to go with God and to get up and are you standing in the Savior's strength? If you are, rejoice because God's given you a great gift and He wants you to give it to other people.

The second question is this: Where would your walk lead other people? Where would it lead other people? Everybody's following you in some way or another, but where would you lead them? If they followed you, would you be embarrassed about the conversations that you've had or the places that you've gone? Where are you leading others, because they are following in your footsteps?

The final question is this: What will you do to get up for God?

I have some suggestions. For those of you who have never truly known whether or not you've accepted Christ, today you can get up learn what it means to know Jesus and how you can know that you know Him without any doubt in your heart.

For those of us who've trusted Christ but we've never made an open profession of faith or followed through in believer's baptism, what a great opportunity it would be to follow in the footsteps of Jesus as He's telling you to get up and get going for Him.

For those of you who've been looking at a distance at a church for membership and wondering if it is the place you belong and you keep coming to worship week after week after week, God has answered that question. He has spoken to your heart and if it's the time for you to get up and join hands with that church and become a part of that fellowship, then do it by faith. Follow Him. Don't falter because God has opened up the opportunity for you.