1 John 5:13-21
1. What do we know for sure? We seem to live in a world filled with unclear messages.
2. In this day and age, sometimes it is difficult to know what is true and what is false.
3. This passage is written to dispel our doubts. In fact, in v.13 John says you can "know that you have eternal life."
I. We Can Know Our Salvation Is Certain. 1 John 5:13, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
A.John says that he “writes these things to you who believe.”
B.Notice how the Bible speaks of our salvation.
1.Consider what Jesus said about our salvation.
2.Note what Paul wrote about our salvation.
3.These are the words John used on our text.
II. We Know Our Prayers Are Certain. 1 John 5:14-15, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of him.”
A.We can know God hears our prayers (v.14).
1. “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”Hebrews 4:16
2. James 4:3 says, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”
B.We can know God will answer our prayers (v.15) .
1. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8
III. Why Is It So Important To Have Assurance?
A.Assurance of our salvation brings joy to our lives.
B.Assurance of our salvation brings reality to our testimony.
1. John 1:43
C.Salvation without assurance is not reality.
1. “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scripture to us?” Luke 24:32
D.Fourth, salvation without assurance gives little motivation to fight Satan.
1. “Resist the devil, and he will free from you.” James 4:7
IV. Know the Destructiveness of Sin.
1 John 5:16-17, “If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that he should pray about that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.”
A.The nature of sin is that it leads to death.
B.Some sins lead to death.
C.Some Sins do not lead to Death.
V. Avoid the Grasps of the Enemy. 1 John 5:18-19, “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him. 19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.”
A.Our new nature gives us victory over the flesh. (v.18).
B.The world is in Satan’s grasp (v.19).
VI. Grow in the Understanding of Christ (v.20).
A.In this next-to-last verse, John reaffirms the consistent theme of his letter, "We know that the Son of God has come."
B.We also "know" that He "has given us an understanding that we may know Him who is true."
VII. Determine to Worship God Only (v.21).
A.John concludes with a final note of intimacy as he calls us "little children."
B.The real threat was an “idolatry of the mind” that made those antichrists who had left the community do so because they thought they were smarter and more enlightened than the rest.
(1 John 5:1-12)
In the first twelve verses of 1 John 5, the disciple John names four things about Christian behavior that demonstrate and verify true faith. In reading them together today, we must test our own hearts. We must review our claims to believe against these objective criteria for faith.
Love for the Father’s Other Children
The first and perhaps most fundamental measure of Christian faith in John’s “to-do list for believers” is love for God great enough to cause believers to love one another.
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome . . . (5:1-3 ).
Victory Over the World
The second thing John names in which true faith produces a true outcome is in conquering this world and its foreign-to-God powers.
. . . for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (5:4-5).
John has already warned us in chapter 2 that “the world and its desire are passing away.” More fundamentally, he has warned Christians against loving this world because of its incompatibility with God. “The love of the Father is not in those who love the world” (2:15a). To conquer this world is to rise above it so that its money, sex, and power games no longer determine who we are. Be careful, though, how you hear that statement. It is not a moralistic statement. It is gospel proclamation.
Embracing the Truth About Jesus
So John makes even more explicit now what has been the guiding theme in the first five verses. Authentic faith is that which embraces and acknowledges the truth about Jesus Christ and all he has done, is doing, and will do for those who believe in him. At verse 1, John has said, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God.” Now he expands the meaning of what it is to “believe that Jesus is the Christ” by tracing out a three-fold testimony about the Son of God.
This is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one that testifies, for the Spirit is the truth. There are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood, and these three agree. If we receive human testimony, the testimony of God is greater; for this is the testimony of God that he has testified to his Son (5:6-9).
It was their faith in Jesus as the Christ that brought about their birth from above and made them members of the family of God, the community of Christ. The dynamic power of that faith at work in them to transform and renew had made them victors over the world. So they owed everything to Christ. He was their everything. And it was critical for John that his readers be reinforced in their faith – against the false view of Jesus that was being circulated then.
The fourth criterion for authenticity in the faith for John is the exhibition of what he calls “eternal life” by those living in holy community with Christ and one another.
Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony in their hearts. Those who do not believe in God have made him a liar by not believing in the testimony that God has given concerning his Son. And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life (5:10-12).
For our author, the ultimate legitimacy and power of the Christian faith was not in theology, historical events, or personal experiences. Theology was important, all right, for it was heresy to fail to confess Jesus Christ is God in the flesh. Historical events were important, of course, for the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ achieved the fulfillment of heaven’s purpose to redeem humankind. And the personal experiences by means of which we testify to Christ in preaching, baptism, and the Lord’s Supper are certainly valuable. But all these were means to the experience of transforming the people of God to exhibit “eternal life” in community.
What message does the story of Joseph have for us? We have a tragic tale of a boy away from home. We have the ups-and-downs of a Hebrew slave from Palestine. What direction for life do we get from this story? How could any of this relate to the confusion and lack of direction we feel?
Three times Genesis tells us the point of this story. The first group of texts appears in Genesis 39.
Five times in twenty-two action-packed verses, we are told what happens: "The Lord was with Joseph and he became a successful man" (39:2); "His master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord caused all that Joseph did to prosper in his hands" (39:3); "The Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; the blessing of the Lord was upon all that he had, in house and field" (39:5); "The Lord was with Joseph and showed his steadfast love, and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison" (39:21); "Because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper" (39:23).
God worked! Providence provided! The Almighty moved! At its fundamental level, this story tells us that God works. He lives! He acts! God works for us.
The second group of texts which confirm the point of this story comes in Genesis 45. After years of separation, Joseph reveals himself to his brothers. Joseph recognizes that behind all the pits and prisons, behind all the missed family times and living in a foreign land, God worked without their knowledge .
Joseph speaks to his brothers: "For God sent me before you to preserve life" (45:5); "And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant" (45:7); "It was not you who sent me here, but God" (45:8); "God has made me Lord of all Egypt" (45:9).
God worked behind the scenes.
The third text comes in Genesis 50. With father Jacob safely entombed in Palestine, the eleven sons come bowing before Joseph, fearing his power, wondering about the fulfillment of the boyhood dream, seeking his pardon for their sin. In response, Joseph makes one of the clearest theological statements in the thirteen chapters: "Don't fear me. Am I in the place of God?"
The frightened brothers think that Joseph controls their world. The brothers who thought they understood their little brother's dream in Genesis 37 now do not understand at all. Only Joseph comprehends the lesson: "You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today." He was saying, "You thought you were selling me into slavery. I thought it was the end of my dream. You thought it was the end of me. I thought it was the end of you. But God used it all to keep us alive ." God worked in spite of what they did.
The brothers miss the point. Burdened with guilt, trembling in fear, they have no idea who arranged the last thirteen chapters. Joseph knew. God controls . The story tells us that behind the scenes of life, in the pits and in the prisons, in the dreams and in the famines, from king to slave, from family to master, another power backstage has ultimate control. The brothers had freedom. They used it for evil. Mrs. Potiphar had free will. She used it for sin. Joseph had control. But every scene rests in the controlling hand of a powerful God .
1 John 4:7-21
Why is loving each other such a significant part of Life in the Light? I want us to take a look at why loving relationships are so high on God’s priority list. We are going to see five reasons why loving other Christians is so important to our spiritual journey of following Jesus Christ.
I. Life in God’s Community - Love Shows That We Are Truly God’s Children. 1 John 4:7-8, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” This is the fifth time in this letter we are told us to love each other as Christians. John himself has introduced the light metaphor for God at 1:5 when he wrote: “ God is light and in him there is no darkness at all .” Darkness does not originate with God. Sin does not have its origin in him. Neglect, abuse, and hatred are not part of his nature. God can only act in ways that are consistent with his nature, and God’s nature is love. So a community that does not live in, affirm, and share love does not belong to him. “ Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love” (4:8) .
II. God Accomplishes His Purpose Through Love. 1 John 4:9-12, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.”
John encourages us to love each other through the example of the cross. (4:12) No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. In v. 12, John says that God’s love is made complete in us when we love each other. That word "made complete" means "to be completely successful in accomplishing a goal" . In other words, God’s love accomplishes the purpose for which it was given when it empowers us to love each other.
III. Our Love For One Another Is A Witness To Our World. 1 John 4:13-15 “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.” (14)
Jesus told his followers, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35).
Do we really believe that Jesus Christ is the savior of the world? “If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. (15)
IV. Love Frees Us From Fear. 1 John 4:16-18, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (18) Once again John calls us back to God’s love as our basis for loving each other. The basis, Verse 16, “God is love.”
V. We Show God’s Love By Loving Others. 1 John 4:19-21, “We love because he first loved us.”Our capacity to love is directly tied to the fact that God has first loved us. Our business is reaching lost people and helping them grow into followers of Jesus Christ through the love of God. Doing what John is talking about here strikes at the heart of why we exist, to reach people with the message of Jesus Christ and to introduce them to a God of love who can transform them into people who love each other. We have a "commandment" from God that says, "He who loves God must love his brother also."
1 John 4:1-6
It’s important to test our beliefs to determine the truth of what we believe? Satan is a deceiver. We must know the truth!
I want to show you three ways that will verify the truth of what you believe. We should examine our faith by each of these tests.
I. The Command to Test the Spirits. 1 John 4:1, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
A.Why is it so important that we test the spirits?
1.John begins with a sobering warning to not be gullible people when it comes to claims about truth. That word "test" means "to try to learn the genuineness of something by close examination."
2.Before we trust any teacher, we must "test the spirits."
3.Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:20-22, “Do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 Test everything. Hold on to the good.”
4.Jesus warned in Matthew 7:15-16, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them.”
B.What does it mean to test the spirits? “This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus has come in the flesh is from God.”
That phrase "Jesus Christ come in the flesh" is referring to the incarnation of Jesus Christ. The word "Jesus" describes his full humanity, and "Christ" describes his full divinity, and "in the flesh " describes how in the person of Jesus Christ both Godhood and humanity are perfectly joined together. The incarnation, God himself revealed in human flesh, is the test John is giving us.
1.Don’t trust every spiritual experience, religious leader or religious organization.
2.Don’t just believe me, but test everything I say and this church teaches against the clear teaching of the Bible, against that core of Christianity. We can get and keep our bearings by developing doctrinal judgment.
II. The Criteria for Testing the Spirits. 1 John 4:2-3, “This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.”
A.How do they view the Son of God? (vv.2-3). The first test is the acknowledgement of the historical incarnation of Jesus, that "Jesus Christ has come in the flesh." Believers are to test for truth based on a teacher’s attitude concerning the person and work of Jesus. The first question is always "What do they believe about Jesus?" because if you are wrong about Jesus you are wrong about God. Jesus was the Son of God. He has always existed. He was incarnated, came "in the flesh" to be our Savior. Jesus was fully God and fully man. Many religions seek to honor Jesus as a great man or a great teacher but do not recognize Him for who He is.
B.Are we in harmony with the Word of God? 1 John 4:4-5 “They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.”
1.When John says, "We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us.” verse 6
2.We have the Word of God before us and the Spirit of God within us. Let us "test the spirits" and the teaching of anyone who claims to speak for God.
1 John 3:11-3:24
1. Love is in great demands these days. No other word is misused and misunderstood than love. The words, "I love you" invoke powerful warm feelings.
2. John teaches that there is a level of love known by believers that is not available to the world.
a. Jesus Christ gave his followers very specific instructions on how to demonstrate their Christian faith. Jesus spoke these words: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-36).
3. Today we’re going to see three ways our relationships with each other demonstrates our faith.
I. We Are To Demonstrate Love To The World. 1 John 3:11-15, “This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.” (v.11)
A.Love is the foundation of the Christian faith.
1. “But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another.”1 Thess. 4:9
2. the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:5
B.John contrast the love of believers with those of the world. “Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother.” (3:12)
1. “Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain...” Jude 11
II. We Are To Demonstrate Love For The Church. 1 John 3:16-17, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” (3:16)
A.What does this love look like?
B.Laying down our lives for other followers of Jesus Christ means helping them in very practical ways.
1. “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” 1 John 3:17
2. “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:18
III. We Are To Demonstrate Our Love For God. 1 John 3:19-24, “This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20 whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” 1 John 3:19-20
A.Now at first vv. 19-24 seem to change topics entirely.
B.So here we find another way our love for others demonstrates our faith.
1 John 3:1-10
1.Where is this spiritual journey of following Jesus Christ headed, what is the final destination? The Bible teaches that we are heading toward the end of history, when Jesus Christ returns.
2. Yet, Christians have been obsessed with figuring out all the details and making predictions.
3. Today we’re going to see three ways focusing Christ’s second coming can help us in our spiritual journey.
I. Seeing Ourselves Accurately. 1 John 3:1-2, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. ”
A.Focusing on our final destination helps us see ourselves accurately.
1. Galatians 3:26 says, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”
B.God has not revealed all that we shall be. “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known.” (2:2)
II. Conducting Our Lives Correctly. 1 John 3:3-6, “Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.”
A.Focusing on the final destination helps us conduct our lives correctly.
B. “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.” (3:4)
C.The only solution to the problem of lawlessness is Jesus Christ. “But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin.” (3:5)
III. Overcoming Obstacles Persistently. 1 John 3:7-10, “Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.”
A.John is saying, don’t let people deceive you and get you off track.
B.John tells us that the purpose of Jesus coming was to destroy the works of the devil. “He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work.” (3:8)Don’t deny your new nature. “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him;” (3:9)
1. If you were to evaluate your spirituality and your closeness to God, how would you rate it?
There are a number of ways to respond to that question.
2. Most of us have never really been tested in our faith. We’ve never been persecuted like Christians are persecuted as in other times and different countries.
3. Turn with me to Romans 12:1-2 , and listen to these words from the Apostle Paul. Paul gives us three ways to fully express our surrender to God:
I. We Are To Offer Our Bodies As Living Sacrifices. (Rom. 12:1)
A.We are urged “to offer our bodies as living sacrifices.”
1.This word “offer” is a term used to describe the bringing of an animal for sacrifice on an altar.
B.God is not longer interested in dead animals, He’s looking believers who will be committed to Him.
1.He wants us to be living sacrifices, not dead offerings.
C.Paul continues by saying that our life offering is to be “holy and pleasing to God.”
1.Sacrifices were to be without blemish or defect.
II. We Are To Transform Our Minds. (Rom. 12: 2)
A.First, we are challenged to change our mind about God. Vs. 1 says, “I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy…”
1.How do you perceive God? (1 John 4:7, 9, 11).
B.Second, we need to change our mind about our body.
1.In Romans 12:1 Paul continues by saying, “I urge you…to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God...”
C.Third, change your mind about the world. Vs. 2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world,...”
III. We Are To Test And Approve God’s Will. (Rom. 12:2)
A.The third part of this change is changing our hearts to match God’s Will.
1.You see, if we change our minds and don’t change our hearts, then it won’t work.
B.So the important question is: “How do we get a new heart?” Here are 4 steps:
1.First, “Humble yourselves before God.”
2.Second, decide to obey God.
3.Third, do what’s right regardless of how you feel.
4.Fourth, expect progress, but not perfection.
1 John 2:18-2:27
1. There is much talk today about whether or not we are living in the end times. This speculation has been on the rise for the last fifty plus years.
2. The question about whether or not we are living in the end times is very easy to answer. The answer is yes.
I. John Identifies The Signs of the Times. 1 John 2:18-19), “Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.”
A.John’s dear children needed a warning (v.18a).
B.As John writes to his " little children ," he tells them that they live in " the last hour ."
1. “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.”Hebrews 1:1-2
2. “He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. ” 1 Peter 1:20
C.John says that one of the characteristics of the last days are the false teachers.
1. 1 John 2:22
2. 1 John 4:3
II. God Gives Us Much Needed Resources. 1 John 2:20-23, “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.”
A.John wanted his readers to know that they were not just left to fend for themselves.
B.John first resource given to us is God’s anointing.
1. “God set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”2 Corinthians 1:21
C.The second resource we have is God’s truth.
III. We Are To Remain in Jesus. 1 John 2:24-25, “See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father.”
A.Abiding in truth is an individual, personal responsibility.
B.When someone we love and trust walks away from Christ it can devastate us.
IV. Live Today Like There’s No Tomorrow. 1 John 2:28-29, “And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.”
A.John tells us to “continue” in Jesus because He is coming back.
B.When “He appears” we will have “confidence and unashamed.”
1 John 2:15-17
1. Very soon after you become a Christian you discover that the Christian life is not a playground, it is a battleground.
2. These verses focus on the world and Bible. The Bible says clearly that we are not to love the world.
3. The central theme of our passage is that the love of the world and the love of God are
incompatible. If we try to negotiate with the world, we will always lose. Remember the Bible
says in 1 Pet.5:8, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about
like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour."
4. This sermon is not about adding more do’s and don’ts to anyone’s list.
I. A Word of Exhortation. 1 John 2:15, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
A.This exhortation is a command, “Do not love the world or anything in the world.”
B.Let’s move from definition to John’s description (v. 15).
C.The principle is that one cannot love the world and God.
1." If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
2. “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” Matthew 6:24
II. A Word of Explanation. 1 John 2:16, “For everything in the world-the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world.”
A.The “lust of the flesh.”
B.The “lust of the eyes.”
C.The “pride of life.”
1. “I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us.” 3 John 9
2. “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.”1 Corinthians 8:1
III. A Word of Exclamation. 1 John 2:17, “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”
A. “The world and its desires pass away... ”
B.The reward of obedience is eternal.