6 July 2018

Welcome to the Foundations Daily Podcast from STC Sheffield. It’s Friday 6th July. The MET office are proclaiming a weekend full of sunshine, football fans are proclaiming the World Cup is coming home, and fans of reality TV show ‘Love Island’ are proclaiming Dani and Jack are sure fire winners.

This week we have been looking at the question ‘What do our lives proclaim?’

REFLECTION:

We’ve reflected on what we proclaim through our actions and attitudes in the workplace, whether we proclaim peace when our relationships are under pressure, we have thought about whether we are actually proclaimers at all, and yesterday we unpacked some of the false claims that we can make in terms of our faith.

We left yesterday’s podcast on a cliff hanger. At the end of 1 John Chapter 1, we read that if we claim we have not sinned, then we make God out to be a liar, and Jesus’ death and resurrection would be pointless.

Today our Bible passage is 1 John Chapter 2 v1-6, and we are going to be focusing on verses 1 and 2.

“But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – 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.”

The final promise John offers his readers is that if we admit that we are sinners, then we can be assured of an advocate; and that advocate is Jesus.

What does it mean to be an advocate?

The dictionary says, “a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause, a person who pleads for, or on behalf of, another, a person who speaks or writes in support or defence of person.”

I am a huge advocate for my daughter’s school. She moved there exactly one year ago to the day, and it is not an exaggeration to say that it has been a completely transformational experience for her. When the school was visited by OFSTED a few weeks ago, I emailed the staff straightaway, offering to speak to an inspector the following morning, to tell them just how amazing and supportive the staff have been. The Headteacher is outstanding, and I share publicly the superb way that he leads both his staff and his students. I recommend other parents go and visit the school and experience how great it is.

I am sure you know someone who is a similar advocate for a particular place, person, cause or event.

However, what is totally amazing and awe inspiring about today’s Bible verse is that Jesus is an advocate for us!

He speaks for us, he pleads for us, he supports us, he died on behalf of us.

More than the most fervent football fan, he champions our cause to the God of Heaven and Earth.

If our life was played back like one long reality TV show, he would publicly defend us.

And whilst weather forecasters are renowned for their unpredictability; Jesus’ advocacy of us is steadfast, resolute and unchanging.

Being an advocate is all about being a proclaimer.

So what does Jesus proclaim over us?

  • John 1 vs 12 – we are children of God
  • John 15 vs15 – we are friends of Jesus
  • Romans 8 vs 1 – we face no condemnation
  • Romans 8 vs 2 – we have been set free
  • Romans 15 vs 7 – we are accepted by Christ
  • Ephesians 1 vs 3 – we are blessed with every spiritual blessing
  • Ephesians 2 vs 10 – we are God’s workmanship, created to do good works
  • Philippians 4 vs 19 – God will supply all our needs
  • 1 Thessalonians 1 vs 4 – God loves us and he has chosen us

This is just a snapshot of what Jesus proclaims over us and for us. And it is so very powerful.

The promise of 1 John Chapter 2 is that even though as sinners there is nothing we can do or say before God that would grant us forgiveness; Jesus Christ – God’s message of hope to the world – is our advocate and pleads on our behalf. The reason that he can do this is because he is without sin, and he is righteous. He pleads this righteousness before God, and asks that all the sinners of the world might be forgiven because of his death on the cross. Through his sacrifice we are not declared innocent, but rather we are pardoned. Jesus’ death cancels out our sin, as he chose to take the punishment for us. And then, as we saw yesterday, God is just waiting to reveal to us his true character – faithful, forgiving and just. However, the extent or magnitude of this promise is more amazing still……because God chose to send Jesus, his beloved Son, to be our advocate. It was his idea, his message to the world. God is the original and ultimate proclaimer!

It’s been a pleasure to begin looking at 1 John with you this week, and I am looking forward to my good friend and colleague Tom Finnemore continuing our journey through this book next week. But, as we finish thinking about what our lives proclaim, and reflect on what Jesus proclaims over us, let’s pray together:

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your Son – Jesus Christ – to the world, to be our advocate. Help us to know in our hearts and believe with our minds all the amazing things that Jesus proclaims over our life about who we are and what our purpose is. Amen.

READING: 1 John 2:1-6

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – 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 keep his commands. Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.