Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
Email Preach Him with Dr. Jim

1 John 2:1-2

1 My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;   2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for {those of} the whole world.   (NAS)

It would be desirable for a Christian to never sin. Some claim that is an actuality in their lives. But 1 John 1:8-10 deals bluntly with any who would claim they do not sin. What happens when a Christian sins? The text of today's message speaks to the issue of sin in a Christian's life. It says, ". . .we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;. . ."

I want to develop this teaching concerning our advocate by emphasizing: 1. We have a present advocate; 2. We have a positioned advocate; 3. We have a perfect advocate; 4. We have a pleasing advocate, and 5. We have a powerful advocate. Please pay close attention to this message.

I.    When a Christian sins; we have A PRESENT ADVOCATE. v 1. 

1 My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;

The word advocate is translated from two Greek terms. Both "PARA" (along side of) and "KALEO" (to call or summon) are used to make the Greek word "PARACLETE". It means called to one's side. This exact word is used only five times. In John 14:16, 26; 15:26 and 16:7 it is translated, "helper" (NASB) or "comforter" (KJV). Commentators and scholars suggest counselor; someone to stand by you and the help of one who lends his presence to his friend.

We are familiar with the word advocate in a legal setting. The advocate is one who pleads the case of another. Advocate means lawyer or counselor. In a lighter vain, someone deliberately taking an opposing view may say, "Let me play the devil's advocate." Although there are similarities in the legal use of the term, let me contrast the normal advocate and Jesus.


1. Pleads innocent.
2. If guilty, then plead justification.
3. If proven guilty, asks punishment be just.
4. Client pays for crime.
5. Advocate is finished.


1. Admits guilt.
2. Not justified.
3. Knows punishment is just.
4. Jesus paid.
5. Advocate continues to intercede on behalf of the client. (Heb. 7:22)

When a Christian sins, he needs his advocate even more than he had been realizing. The text says, "...we have an advocate..." However, the tense of the verb ECHO is present, and means "we are having an advocate." It is not a passive but an active possession. This present advocate is only for Christians. The non-Christian does not have anyone along side of him who can make a plea to God concerning sin. The non-Christian can come to Christ, be saved, and then have this benefit as a brother or sister in Christ; but the ever present advocate is for Christians only.

In 1963 our President was shot and killed. A young man was captured, and in an attempt to transfer him to another jail, a man named Jack Ruby shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald. The family contacted the lawyer F. Lee Bailey. He agreed to take the case if they allowed him to plead that Jack Ruby was guilty as charged, and place him at the mercy of the court. Mr. Bailey believed the court would have been lenient. The family refused.


You and I as Christians must plead guilty. Our ever present advocate knows we have sinned, and if we confess our sin, He is ready to plead our case on the mercy of the court. He knows we will receive mercy. Now please note the second point.

II.    When a Christian sins, we have A POSITIONED ADVOCATE. v 1. 

1 My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;

The text says, "...we have an advocate with the Father..." You see, Jesus has unlimited access to the Father. The sinless Son has the privilege of going into the presence of the Father who must hide His face from our sins. We could not go to the Father directly with sin in our life, but through Jesus, as children of God, we can get to the Father because we go through Jesus. He, alone, is "with" the Father. He is the properly positioned advocate.

The engine on our church bus threw a rod. Hot oil and sparks caused a great deal of smoke. Fire seemed to be a real danger. One of our men in a van got out and ran to the bus to grab a fire extinguisher. When he got to the fire extinguisher holder, he found it empty. As he stepped back in a moment of bewilderment, someone was putting out the fire. You see, an emergency vehicle had passed our bus just as the fire started. They were positioned in a miraculous way. Some would even say God sent them as He was watching over our bus.


You see the importance of positioning? The emergency vehicle was in the right place. Our advocate is "with" the Father, and that's where we need Him. Please follow the third point.

III.    When a Christian sins, we have A PERFECT ADVOCATE v 1 

1 My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;

Jesus is a perfect advocate because he is, as the text says, "Jesus Christ the righteous." As a man named Jesus, He lived as a human being, and knows our weaknesses. (Heb. 2:18 & 4:15) As Christ, He is God's anointed, uniquely qualified, and acceptable to God the Father. As the righteous, He will grant His righteousness to His brothers and sisters who come to God through Him. (II Cor. 5:21) In God's court the system of justice demands righteousness; therefore, Jesus Christ the righteous, is a perfect advocate.

We can not attain a position of righteousness through our works. We must receive righteousness as a gift. (Rom. 4:4-6) Who is perfect enough to grant righteousness to another? Only God, and He has chosen to grant righteousness to others only through His Son, Jesus Christ the righteous.

When the Atlantic cable was being laid at the bottom of the ocean floor, all the equipment was installed and in order, but there was no connection with the other continent. The workmen had to go over the cable inch by inch to find our why the current was not reaching its destination. They found a small nail imbedded in the heavy wire, causing a short circuit. Continent to continent communications had been broken by a small nail.


Jesus has no flaw. He is able to be the mediator between God and man. When Christians sin, they need a perfect advocate, and they have one in Jesus the righteous. Notice with me the fourth point.

IV.    When Christians sin, we have A PLEASING ADVOCATE. v. 2 

2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for {those of} the whole world.
The second verse uses an unusual word, "propitiation". That is not a word of every day communication. What does this word mean? In history it meant the appeasing of an angry God by some acceptable offering. It is that which will turn away anger and render one favorable. It is an acceptable offering. However, in history the pagan worshipper would not know what it took to satisfy his God. There would always be an unknown, or a variable. What would be an acceptable propitiation one month may not be the next.

The term propitiation used to describe the sacrifice for sin by Jesus Christ the righteous has significant differences. They are:

1. God, Himself initiated this propitiation; it was not the thought of the sinner. (I John 4:10)
2. God does not change; Jesus alone and always is the propitiation for our sin.
3. This propitiation never denies sin or guilt nor tries to change God.

So, even though there is similarity in that propitiation satisfies the required offering for sin, the New Testament use greatly elevates the word.

It is interesting to note other forms of this Greek word translated propitiation; different words, but the same root as the term here and in I John 4:10. The similar word is translated "mercy" in Luke 18:13, and "mercy seat" in Hebrews 9:5. Without question, anyone who will come to Him requesting mercy will become a born again Christian. The message of this word, emphasizes:

1. A Christian's sin must be dealt with if there is to be a sweet fellowship.
2. The Christian should not disregard God's will.
3. God will punish His children for unconfessed sin.
4. Jesus alone saves and is the propitiation of a Christian's sin.

Recently I heard this story which was told by one who said he read it in Carl Sandberg's four volume biography of Abraham Lincoln. It seems that Todd, the president's son, delighted his father. The boy was sickly, and the president was always tender with his son. Well, there were some men trying to get in to see the president. They didn't like some of Abe's policies, and they came to protest; but he would not see them. Todd saw them day after day standing around, and began to talk with them.

The boy didn't know of their disagreements, and he became friends with the men. One day Todd came in to see his dad in the oval office. His father dropped what he was doing, and took some time for his son. The boy said, "Dad, I got some new friends I'd like you to meet." The president said "Son, I'd love to meet your new friends." Guess who Todd brought to see the president? Yes, those men the president had refused to see earlier. What made the difference? The men became friends of the son.


When we become a friend of the Son, Jesus Christ the righteous, we also can come to the Father through Him. For you see, "we are having an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." He is the propitiation for our sins. Our advocate is pleasing to the Father.

V.    When a Christian sins we have A POWERFUL ADVOCATE. v 2 

2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for {those of} the whole world.

The last part of vs. 2 includes the entire population ". . . but also for the sins of the whole world." The non-Christian must come to Jesus if he wants to be forgiven. There is enough pardon in the sacrifice of Jesus to forgive all who will come to Him. (John 1:12) He is not a good way of salvation, or the best way of salvation. He is the only way for salvation to be obtained.

The story is told concerning the noted theologian Karl Barth. He came to the states to give several lectures. At one prominent university he answered questions after his lecture. One student ask "Dr. Barth don't you believe God has revealed Himself in religions other than Christianity?" Barth answered "young man I don"t believe God revealed Himself in Christianity. I believe God has revealed Himself only in the person of His Son Jesus Christ.

We have a powerful advocate. His death alone can atone for sins. God has chosen Him to be the one and only remedy for sin. Therefore: WHEN A CHRISTIAN SINS







We will sing an invitation hymn. You are invited to come forward. I will meet you. If you would like to acknowledge Jesus as Lord, you come. Perhaps you want to move your life and membership from another church. You come; do it now.