Sunday, April 29, 2012

1 John 1:8-2:2 - Jesus Christ Our Atoning Sacrifice

C.L. Culpepper, Shantung Revival
Marie Monsen
Opening thought
In the safety of the treaty port Chefoo in 1927, Southern Baptist missionaries gathered for spiritual renewal while the turmoil in the province subsided. The missionaries spent most of their time in Chefoo in Bible study and prayer. As they passed the time, missionary Jane Lide shared the lessons she had learned from a Bible study while on furlough in Southern California on “Christ our Life.” Marie Monsen, a Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran missionary with the China Inland Mission, shared with the Baptists of her experiences in the interior. As they began to pray for revival among the Chinese, they were convicted of their own need for revival.
Pray and Read: 1 John 1:8-2:2
Contextual Notes:  
John is writing to confirm the saints in their faith.
Sermon Points:
1- If we admit our sin, Jesus will cleanse us (1 John 1:8-10)
2-  Jesus is our Advocate and the atoning Sacrifice (1 John 2:1-2)
a.   Everyone has sinned (1 John 1:8) – This is clearly taught in Scripture. For example: 1 Kings 8:46 – “there is no one who does not sin.” Psalm 14:2-3: 2 The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God. 3 They have all turned aside, They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one. Proverbs 20:9: Who can say, “I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin”? Proverbs 30:12: There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, Yet is not washed from its filthiness. Ecclesiastes 7:20: 20 For there is not a just man on earth who does good And does not sin. Isaiah 53:6: 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Jeremiah 2:35: 35 Yet you say, ‘Because I am innocent, Surely His anger shall turn from me.’ Behold, I will plead My case against you, Because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’ Romans 3:23-24: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
b.   APPLICATION: Some people never admit a fault, but honesty demands that we all know that we are not what God made us to be. We all have done wrong. We all are guilty of sin. The good news is that there is a solution for sin. In Christianity is the only solution.
c.   Confession brings cleansing (1 John 1:9)
d.   ILLUSTRATION: A Worm in an Apple: They say that the only thing worse when eating an apple and seeing a worm is seeing half a worm. How does that worm get inside an apple? Does think the worm burrows in from the outside. No, scientists have discovered that the worm comes from the inside. But, how does he get in there? Simple. An insect lays an egg in the apple blossom. Sometime later the worm hatches in the heart of the apple, then eats his way out. Sin, like the worm, begins in the heart and works out through the person's thoughts, word and actions. For this reason, David once wrote, "Create in me a clean heart, O God."
e.   Cleansing is based on His faithfulness, His justice, His forgiveness. He is the cleanser.
f.    ILLUSTRATION: One of the Southern Baptists, Ola Culpepper suffered from a degenerative eye disease which was causing her extreme pain. None of the doctors could treat her disease, but only fill new prescriptions for glasses. The missionaries had heard of Ms. Monsen’s experiences with healing and asked her to pray for her. The missionaries met, read aloud James 5:14-16, being impressed by James’s exhortation to confess sin, anointed Ola’s head with oil and prayed for her healing. Bertha Smith shares that as she went to lay hands on Mrs. Culpepper’s head, she could not because she was convicted of a negative attitude toward fellow missionary Miss Hartwell. She testifies concerning the occasion, “Had I refused to confess that sin, and joined in the prayer with it covered, I believe that I would have hindered the prayer of the others, and the eye could not have been healed.”[1] At the same moment in an adjacent room, two Chinese cooks whose hatred toward one another was well known had reconciled. During the prayer, Ola Culpepper put down her glasses and her eyes never bothered her again. Later they would realize that the Great Shandong Revival had begun.[2] The visiting Norwegian missionary Marie Monsen later wrote, “That [reconciliation] was the first small beginning of a revival which, a few years later, grew into the largest revival any one mission in China experienced.”[3]
g.   The Word of God is the standard (1:10):
h.   APPLICATION: The Word of God is authoritative because it is inerrant. It has no error. Therefore, the Word of God is our standard, and not just our standard as Christians alone with other religions and people having their own standard. God is the Creator of the entire universe, and His Word is the standard for the entire universe. Manufacturers often produce manuals to go along with what they have created and produced. God has a manual which goes along with the Creation He has produced. We live in a world without standards. Like the first century when this was written, the standard today is public opinion and not a code of conduct.[4] But we still see in people around us an awareness of what is right and wrong, an awareness of sin. Watch the news every day and you will see how even the most pagan among us have an awareness of sin.

i.    ILLUSTRATION: Legendary Southern Baptist missionary Bertha Smith tells of her struggle to overcome the sin within her. She had experienced fillings of the Spirit before coming to China, but it would been in those days in Chefoo that she would learn to allow “the Holy Spirit a chance to so control the old self that it was ineffective over [her].”  Missionary Mary Crawford would confess that she had never been a “saved” Christian: “I was in the big house alone. I knelt by the bed and prayed, ‘Lord, I don’t know whether I’m saved or not but you know; I want to be right with you and with man, please show me what is wrong.’ My sins came before me like darkness, and I cried, ‘What can I do?’ Just then the burden rolled away and the Light of Salvation shone in my soul. I saw my sins and I saw the cross. Such joy flooded my being but it was only a moment before the temptation, ‘It cannot last, such joy as this,’ but then came the blessed assurance in Rom. 8 that ‘neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor-height nor depth nor any other creature should be able to separate me from the Love of God which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord.’”[5]
a.   Jesus is our Advocate (1 John 2:1) - Intercessor, Defending attorney. Jesus Christ the Righteous: His name Jesus identifies him as a human being, a man like us. His title Christ refers to his anointing as the Messiah and acceptable to God as the Advocate. The Righteous means that he has no need of an advocate for himself and is therefore able to represent someone else.[6]
b.   APPLICATION: Sin is the problem, and He is the solution. No other religious system offers such sure hope, such clear and present assurance.
c.   Jesus is our Atoning Sacrifice (1 John 2:2) The hilasmos (also 4:10) and kapher (Hebrew) (112x in OT), in some contexts mean “to remove or wipe away.” But its central meaning is one victim’s dies as a sacrifice of himself to satisfy the guilt before God of another victim – i.e., atonement.
d.   Thus a hilasmos is a replacement or propitiation. Christ bore God’s wrath toward sin so that the sinner can escape.[7]
e.   2 Corinthians 5:21: 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Romans 3:25-26 (hilasterion):25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
f.    ILLUSTRATION: In Hwanghsien, Missionary leader C.L. Culpepper gathered with forty Christians to pray for revival and he fell under conviction of the “sin of not being filled with the Holy Spirit” and he confessed before the people of his sin of accepting praise as a good missionary but being far from God. The prayer meeting lasted for four days and four nights with people coming under conviction and confessing their sins.[8] Toward the end of that meeting, the Chinese said, “We thought you considered yourselves above us. Now we are all one.” They knew that they were no longer Chinese and Americans, but only God’s children. Wiley Glass was at the same meeting in Hwanghsien. He saw the face of a man, whom he hated, come before him, who years before had insulted his first wife. After gradually coming to confess the full sin, he wept and felt the fullness of forgiveness: “When repentance washed the guilt away and the peace of forgiveness filled my soul, I knew an ecstacy [sic] of joy beyond description.”[8]
g.   APPLICATION: This teaching is unique about Christianity. We’re not all going up the same mountain. In every other religious path, people do things to make themselves acceptable to God. In every other religion, it is the person’s responsibility to be good enough. Not Christianity. John teaches us that Jesus Death is the basis for forgiveness and salvation, not human merit.
h.   ILLUSTRATION: These reports from the North China Mission garnered suspicion from the board leadership in Richmond that the missionaries had indulged in Pentecostal excess. So, in 1935, the Executive Secretary of the Foreign Mission Board, Charles E. Maddry, visited the North China Mission and came back with glowing reports. His report defended the validity of the work by the missionaries. Our missionaries have their feet on the solid rock of Christ Jesus and they are building gloriously on the foundation laid so deep and strong by those heroes and martyrs who preceded them.” And then Maddry concluded, “A glorious revival is sweeping Northern and Interior China, such as we have not seen in America in a hundred years. We have seen it and felt its power. It is a revival of fire and burning. Sin is being burned out of broken lives and men and women are being absolutely made over. The power of Christ has come to grips with the power of Satan and it is a fearful conflict. Satan has held sway and dominion over China for unnumbered and weary centuries. His kingdom is suddenly being challenged and broken by the power of a risen and enthroned Christ.”[9]
i.    Jesus died for the whole world (Missions) (1 John 2:2) - John plainly teaches that not everyone will go to heaven, but Christ’s saving death has opened the blessing of eternal life to all persons. Most religions are woven into the people group they come from (ie., Islam and Arabic/Arab culture). The Jews had the Day of Atonement just for Jews, but John says that this atonement is for the whole world.
j.    Christ’s gospel is for every culture. Its message can work in every tribe, tongue, language, and people. We are called to take that message to the ends of the earth.
k.   ILLUSTRATION: In China, “the missionaries and the mission board recognized that the revival in Shantung was of a different sort of Christianity than they had ever experienced.  The missionaries reported new experiences of the filling of the Spirit. Missionary Martha Franks remarked: “I have come into the midst of revival fires in China-marvelous, wonderful, deep is the work of the Holy Spirit here. Oh, that the fire might fall amongst Southern Baptists of America! I came up to Hwanghsien from Tsining for a few days and I have never seen a place so transformed. The first delightful thing I noticed was the warmth and genuineness of the cordial welcome of the Chinese. They seem to have had a baptism of love that flows out of their very countenances. The spirit of worship and praise and reverence in the church service Sunday surpassed anything I saw or felt in America.”[10] Then the Executive Secretary visited, already suspicious of the excesses, and came out impressively in favor of the movement. Following his trip to the Orient, Maddry pledged to send seventy new missionaries to China to fill in the gaps left from years of retrenchment,[18] but succeeded in sending only fourteen by 1937. Nonetheless, his enthusiasm for China in light of other burgeoning fields worldwide demonstrated his affection for the revival.”[11]
Have you confessed your sin? Have you followed Bertha Smith’s example? Have you given Christ your life? Have you turned it over to Him, submitted it to His governance, to lead you? Will you commit to take the message of His sacrifice from here in this community to the ends of the earth?

[1] Bertha Smith, Go Home and Tell, 39.

[3] Marie Monsen, The Awakening: Revival in China 1927-1937, trans. by Joy Guinness (London: China Inland Mission, 1961), 55.

[4] Clinton Arnold, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary, vol. 4, 185.

[5] Bertha Smith, How the Spirit Filled My Life, 32; Mary Crawford, The Shantung Revival, 6.

[6] Samuel N. Ngewa, Africa Bible Commentary, 1530.

[7] The KJV, NASB uses propitiation, meaning atonement, that Jesus appeases God’s wrath, alluding to the OT sacrifices (Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement). The RSV uses expiation meaning he removes our sin. The NIV uses atoning sacrifice to allow for both ideas. ABC, 1530.

[8] Cauthen, Higher Ground, 152.
[9] Charles E. Maddry, “A Day of Good Tidings,” Home and Foreign Fields 19, no. 10 (Oct 1935): 1, 6. Found at

[10] Martha Linda Franks, “Revival Fires,” Home and Foreign Fields 16, no. 7 (July 1932): 31.