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    • October 21, 2016 6:13 PM EDT
    • 1 JOHN

       

       

      OPENS WITH….FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD

       

       

      Most people understand that the important things in life are NOT things at all- they are the relationships we have. God has put a desire for relationship in every one of us, a desire He intended to be met with relationships with other people, but most of all, to be met by a relationship with Him. In this remarkable letter, John tells us the truth about relationships- and shows us how to have relationships that are real, for both now and in eternity.

       

       

       

      Verses 1-2 tells us John begins with the CENTER of relationship: Jesus Christ.

       

      That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life; the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us.”

       

       

      That which was from the beginning…

       

      The beginning John wrote of is NOT the beginning of this world; nor is it the beginning of creation. It is the beginning of Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1, the beginning there was before there was anything, when all there existed was God.

       

       

      The beginning of Genesis 1:1 is simple…

       

      In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

       

      The beginning of John 1:1 is profound…

       

      In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John takes us back to this time in eternity past, to meet this One which was from the beginning.

       

      Whoever, or whatever, John wrote of, he said his subject is ETERNAL- and therefore is God, because they existed BEFORE all else, and they are the source and basis of the existence of all things.

       

      Which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled…

       

      This indicates that this eternal being- That which was from the beginning- came to earth, and John (among others) had personally experienced this ETERNAL ONE=JESUS CHRIST..

       

       

      The idea that this eternal subject of John has been audibly heard, physically seen, intently studied (have looked upon), and tangibly touched (hands have handled) would have enormous implications for his readers.

       

      WHY?

       

      1. ENORMOUS because it said that this eternal God became ACCESSIBLE to man in the most basic way, a way that anyone could relate to. This eternal One CAN BE known, and He has revealed Himself to us.

       

      2. ENORMOUS because it proves that John's words have the weight of eyewitness evidence. He did NOT speak of a myth or a matter of clever story-telling. He carefully studied this eternal One, and he KNEW whom he spoke about.

       

      3. ENORMOUS because it debunks dangerous teachings that were creeping into the church, known as GNOSTICISM. Part of the teaching of Gnosticism was that though Jesus was God, He was NOT actually, physically man, but some kind of pseudo-physical phantom- but John says, "I heard Him! I saw Him! I studied Him! I touched Him!"

       

       

      The Word of Life…

       

      John identified this eternally existent being, who was physically present with John and others (note the repetition of our, not "my"), as the Word of Life - the same Logos spoken of in John 1:1.

       

       

      The idea of the LOGOS- of the Word- was huge for John, for the Greek world of his day, and for the Jewish world of his day. For the Jew, God was often referred to as THE WORD, because they knew God perfectly revealed Himself in His word. For the Greek, their philosophers had spoken for centuries about THE LOGOS- the basis for organization and intelligence in the universe, the Ultimate Reason which controls all things.

       

       

      It is as if John said to everyone, "This Logos you have been talking about and writing about for centuries- well, we have heard Him, seen Him, studied Him, and touched Him! Let us tell you about Him."

       

      The life WAS manifested…

       

      This life was manifested, that is, made actually and physically real. John solemnly testified as an eyewitness (we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you) that this was the case. This was NO fairy tale, NO "once upon a time." This was REAL, and John tells us about it as an EYEWITNESS.

       

      Eternal life which was with the Father…

       

      In calling Jesus eternal life, not only did John recall the words of Jesus (John 5:26; 6:48; 11:25; 14:6), he also repeated the idea expressed in his first words: that Jesus Himself is eternal, and therefore God.

       

      We say that people are eternal, and that God's Word is eternal; but we say this with the understanding that we mean they are eternal in the future sense- they will never perish, being immortal (Isaiah 40:8; John 5:29). Yet people are NOT eternal in the past sense; to say that something is eternal in the past sense is the same as saying that it is equal to God or God's Word.

       

       

      The eternal existence of Jesus is also declared in Micah 5:2- “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.”

       

      The word everlasting here literally means, "beyond the vanishing point."

       

      Which was with the Father…

       

      This refers to the eternal relationship between the Father and the Son. There was an eternal relationship of love and fellowship between the Father and the Son. Jesus referred to this in John 17:24: "for You loved Me before the foundation of the world."

       

      This eternal relationship is clearly described in the Scriptures, but we could also understand it from simple logic. If God is love (1 John 4:8) and God is eternal (Micah 5:2), we understand that love in isolation is MEANINGLESS.

       

      Love NEEDS an object, and since there was a time before anything was created, there was a time when the ONLY love in the universe was between the members of the Godhead, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

       

      Was with the Father…

       

      The word WITH indicates that this being, who is eternal, and is eternal life Himself, is distinct from the Father. John builds the New Testament understanding of the Trinity- that one God exists as three Persons, equal and one, yet distinct in their person.

       

      The Bible links together the names of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in a way that is unimaginable for other persons.

       

      We read, Matthew 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

       

      Yet we would NEVER say, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of Michael the Archangel."

       

      We read, 2 Corinthians 13:14, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

       

      Yet we would NEVER say, "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of the Apostle Paul, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all."

       

       

      We read, 1 Peter 1:2, “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.”

       

      Yet we would NEVER say, "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of the Apostle Peter."

       

       

      Verse 3 tells us An INVITATION to relationship.

       

      That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.”

       

       

      That you may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ…

       

      The purpose of John's declaration about this eternally existent, physically present, Word of life who is God, yet is a person distinct from the Father, is to BRING his readers into fellowship with BOTH God's people and God Himself.

       

       

      You can ENJOY this fellowship even though you do NOT understand ALL the intricacies of THE TRINITY.

       

      You can USE your eyes even though you DO NOT know every detail of how your vision works. You can know God and believe in Him as He has revealed Himself, even though you CAN NOT POSSIBLY understand everything about His person or nature.

       

       

      Fellowship…

       

      The idea of fellowship is one of the MOST important ideas in this letter of John's. It is the ancient Greek word koinonia, which speaks of a sharing, a communion, a common bond and life. It speaks of a living, breathing, sharing, loving relationship with another person.

       

       

      MORGAN says it well, "Those who have a fellowship one with another, are those who share the same resources, and are bound by the same responsibilities. The idea becomes almost overwhelming when it is thus applied to the relationship which believing souls bear to the Father, and to His Son Jesus Christ.... The Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and all believers have all things in common. All the resources of each in the wondrous relationship are at the disposal of the others. Such is the grace of our God, and of His Son."

       

       

      Fellowship … WITH the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ…

       

      This simple and bold statement means that one CAN have a relationship with God. This idea would astound many of John's readers, and it should be astounding to us. The Greek mind-set highly prized the idea of fellowship, but restricted to men among men- the idea of such an intimate relationship with God was revolutionary.

       

       

      Jesus STARTED the same kind of revolution among the Jews when He invited men to address God as Father (Matthew 6:9). We really can have a living, breathing relationship with God the Father, and with Jesus Christ. He can be NOT only our Savior, but ALSO our friend and our closest relationship.

       

      Speaking honestly, for many people this is totally unappealing.

       

      WHY?

       

      Sometimes it is because they do NOT know who God is, and an invitation to a "personal relationship with God" is about as attractive to them as telling an eighth-grader they can have a "personal relationship with the assistant principal." But when we KNOW the greatness, the goodness, and the glory of God, we WANT to have a relationship with Him.

       

      Other people turn from this relationship with God because they FEEL so distant from Him. They want a relationship with God, but feel so disqualified, so distant. They NEED to know what God has done to make this kind of relationship possible.

       

      Fellowship … with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ…

       

      The kind of relationship John described is ONLY possible because Jesus is who John says He is in 1 John 1:1-2. If someone invited you to have a "personal relationship" with Napoleon, or Alexander the Great, or Abraham Lincoln- or even Moses or the Apostle Paul- we would think them foolish.

       

      WHY?

       

      One cannot even have a genuine "spiritual" relationship with a dead man. But with the eternal God who became man, we CAN have a relationship.

       

       

      The word fellowship has in it NOT only the idea of relationship, but of sharing a COMMON life. When we have fellowship with Jesus, we will become more LIKE Him.

       

      The disciples did NOT have the close fellowship with Jesus when He walked this earth with them. As Jesus said to Philip at the very end of His earthly ministry, in John 14:9, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip?"

       

      Their TRUE fellowship was NOT created by material closeness to the material Jesus, but by a work of the Holy Spirit AFTER the finished work of Jesus on the cross. Therefore we can enter into the SAME fellowship with God that the Apostles could enter.

       

      Our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ…

       

      We have the potential of a relationship of a SHARED life with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. It is as if the Father and the Son agree together to let us into their relationship of love and fellowship.

       

      This idea of a shared life is ESSENTIAL.

       

      This does NOT mean that when Jesus comes into our life He helps us to do better what we did before. We do NOT add Jesus to our life. We enter into a relationship of a shared life WITH Jesus. We share our life with Him, and He shares His life with us.

       

       

      That you also may have fellowship with us…

       

      We may think it curious that John first considers fellowship with God's people; but this is often how people come to experience a relationship with God: they FIRST encounter God through relationships with God's people.

       

      With the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ…

       

      Here John finally names this being- eternally existent, physically present, the Word of Life, God yet distinct from the Father- it is God the Son, whose name is Jesus, who is the Christ (Messiah).

       

       

      Verse 4 tells us The RESULT of relationship.

       

      And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.”

       

       

      That your JOY may be full..

       

      The result of fellowship is fullness of joy. This joy is an abiding sense of optimism and cheerfulness based on God, as opposed to happiness, which is a sense of optimism and cheerfulness based on circumstances.

       

      John clearly echoed an idea Jesus brought before His disciples the night before His crucifixion. He wanted fullness of joy for them- even knowing that the cross was directly in front of them.

       

       

      1. JOHN 15:11, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”

       

      2. JOHN 16:24, “Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”

       

      3. JOHN 17:13, “But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.”

       

      That your joy may be full…

       

      Fullness of joy is certainly possible for the Christian, but it is by no means certain. John wrote with the desire that believers would have fullness of joy- and if it were inevitable or very easy to have he would not have written this.

       

      The Christian's joy IS important, and assaulted on many fronts.

       

      HOW?

       

      External circumstances, moods and emotions, or sin can all take away our joy. Yet the Christian's joy is NOT found in the things of this world, as good as they might be. When John wrote about these things, he wrote about this relationship of fellowship and love we can share in WITH God the Father and the Son Jesus Christ.

       

       

      Too many Christians are PASSIVE in their loss of joy. They need to realized it is a great loss and do everything they can to draw close to God and reclaim that fullness of joy.

       

       

      John began with the beginning - the eternal God, who was before ALL things.

       

      1. He told us that this God was physically manifested, and that he and others could testify to this as eyewitnesses.

       

      2. He told us that this God is the Word of life, the Logos.

       

      3. He told us that this God is distinct from the person of God the Father.

       

      4. He told us that we may have fellowship with this God, and that we are often introduced into this fellowship with God by the fellowship of God's people.

       

      5. He told us that this eternally existent God, the Word of Life, who was physically present with them, and present for fellowship, is God the Son, named Jesus Christ.

       

      6. He told us that fellowship with Jesus leads to a life lived in fullness of joy.

       

      We could say that in these FOUR verses, John gave us enough to live our whole Christian life on.

       

       

      John's message FROM God: dealing with sin and maintaining relationship.

       

       

      Verse 5 tells us Sin and the nature of God.

       

      This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.”

       

       

      This is the message…

       

      This is a claim to authority. John is NOT making this up; these are NOT his own personal opinions or ideas about God. This is God's message about Himself (which we have heard from Him), which John now reveals to us (and declare to you).

       

      What John will tell us about God is what God has told us about Himself. We can NOT be confident in our OWN opinions or ideas about God unless they are genuinely founded on what God has said about Himself.

       

       

      God is light and in Him is no darkness at all…

       

      We must begin our understanding of God here. John declares this on the simple understanding that God Himself is light; and light by definition has no darkness at all in it; for there to be darkness, there must be an absence of light.

       

       

      A good definition of God is, "God is the only infinite, eternal, and unchangeable spirit, the perfect being in whom all things begin, and continue, and end." Another way of saying that God is perfect is to say that God is light.

       

      God is light and in Him is no darkness at all…

       

      Therefore, if there is a problem with our fellowship with God, it is OUR fault. It is NOT the fault of God because there is NO sin or darkness in Him at all.

       

      Any approach to relationship with God that assumes, or even implies, that God MIGHT be wrong, and perhaps must be forgiven by us, is at its root blasphemous and directly contradicts what John clearly states here.

       

       

      Verse 6 tells us God's sinlessness and our relationship with Him.

       

      If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.”

       

       

      If we SAY that we have fellowship with Him…

       

      John FIRST deals with a FALSE claim to fellowship. Based upon this, we understand that it is possible for some to claim a relationship with God that they do NOT have. We can also say that it is possible for someone to think they have a relationship with God that they do NOT have.

       

      Many Christians are NOT aware of their true condition. They know they are saved, and have experienced conversion and have repented at some time in their life. Yet they do NOT live in true fellowship with God.

       

       

      And walk in darkness…

       

      John speaks of a walk in darkness, indicating a pattern of living. This does NOT speak of an occasional lapse, but of a LIFESTYLE of darkness.

       

      We lie and do not practice the truth…

       

      God has NO darkness at all (1 John 1:5). Therefore, if one claims to be in fellowship with God (a relationship of common relation, interest, and sharing), yet DOES walk in darkness, it is NOT a truthful claim.

       

      AND REMEMBER...The issue here John is focusing on now is FELLOWSHIP, NOT salvation. The Christian who temporarily walks in darkness is still saved, but NOT in fellowship with God.

       

      If John said "that is a lie," it means he thinks in terms of things being true or being lies. John is much too plain for our sophisticated age, which does NOT want to see anything in black or white, but everything in a pale shade of gray.

       

      AS A MODERN EXAMPLE...In 2004, the governor of the state of New Jersey was caught in a scandal. Though he was a married man with children, he was also having a sexual relationship with a man. At the press conference he held to admit this, he began by saying: "My truth is that I am a gay American." Those were very carefully chosen words: My truth. In the thinking of the world today, I have my truth and you have your truth. But Jesus said, "I am the truth" and the Bible clearly tells us of a truth that is greater than any individuals feeling about it.

       

      ANOTHER EXAMPLE CLOSER TO HOME...WE HAVE MANY LONG TIME MEMBERS ON CSN, SOME DO NOT HAVE FAMILY, OR ARE SINGLE, DIVORCED, AND WIDOWED. WE HAVE THE SEVERELY PERSECUTED CHURCH HERE, SOME DO NOT HAVE A JESUS LOVING CHURCH, TRANSPORTATION, PROXIMITY OR ACCESS TO JESUS LOVING FELLOWSHIPS OUTSIDE CSN. TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS COME, AS THEY DO TO ALL OF US, AND THESE ISOLATORY CHRISTIANS FALL AWAY, DO NOT COME TO FELLOWSHIP, STUDY THE BIBLE, ENJOY JESUS MUSIC, JESUS FOCUSED MOVIES, AND OTHER EVENTS...AND WHAT DO THEY SAY WHEN THEY RETURN...I HAVE MISSED THIS. I NEEDED THIS. I SHOULD HAVE NEVER STOPPED ATTENDING, MY HEART AND LIFE ARE DARK, I WENT BACK TO BAD FRIENDS, BAD INFLUENCES, AND THE WORLD, AND I SUDDENLY REALIZED ONCE AGAIN I NEED THE FELLOWSHIP WITH THOSE WHO LOVE OUR JESUS.

       

      THIS IS WHAT JOHN IS FOCUSING ON...FELLOWSHIP.

       

       

      Verse 7 tells us The BLESSING of walking in the light.

       

      But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

       

       

      But if we walk in the light…

       

      This means to walk in a generally obedient life, without harboring known sin or resisting the conviction of the Holy Spirit on a particular point.

       

      John's message here means that a walk in the light IS possible. We know that on this side of eternity, sinless perfection is NOT possible for ANY of us. Yet we can still walk in the light, so John does mean perfect obedience.

       

       

      The Christian life is described as walking, which implies activity. Christian life feeds upon contemplation, but it displays itself in action. "Walking" implies action, continuity, and progress. Since God is active and walking, if you have fellowship with Him you will also be active and walking.

       

       

      As He is in the light…

       

      Since God is light (1 John 1:5), when we walk in the light we walk where He is. We are naturally together with Him IN fellowship.

       

      We have fellowship with one another…

       

      We would have expected John to say, "We have fellowship with God." That is true, but already in the idea of walking together with God in the light. John wants to make it clear that fellow Christians who walk in the light ENJOY fellowship with each other.

       

      This leads to an important idea…

       

      If we do NOT have fellowship with one another, then one party or both parties are NOT walking in the light. Two Christians who are in right relationship with God will also naturally be in right relationship with each other.

       

      The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin…

       

      As we walk in the light we also enjoy the CONTINUAL cleansing of Jesus. This is another indication that John does NOT mean sinless perfection by the phrase walk in the light; otherwise, there would be NO sin to cleanse in this ongoing sense.

       

      SADLY MANY IN THE PULPITS TEACH JUST THE OPPOSITE..

       

      THEY OUTRIGHT LIE AND DECEIVE AND PROCLAIM THAT ONCE SAVED YOU BECOME SUPER CHRISTIANS. YOU CAN NOT AND DO NOT SIN ANY MORE. YOU LEAD HEALTHY, WEALTHY, BLESSED, ILLNESS FREE, TRIAL AND TRIBULATION FREE LIVES..THAT IS A LIE STRAIGHT FROM THE PIT OF HELL..

       

      WE WILL ONE SWEET DAY BE ETERNALLY TRANSFORMED WHEN WE ENTER THE GATES OF HEAVEN. THEN AND ONLY THEN WILL WE NO LONGER SUFFER ANY OF THE THINGS OF THIS WORLD.

       

      BUT UNTIL THAT SWEET DAY WE FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT, KNOWING THAT ONE DAY ALL THIS TRIAL, STRUGGLE, HURT, SORROW, DEATH, SIN AND SADNESS WILL BE FOREVER GONE...FOREVER FOR ETERNITY.

       

       

      RIGHT NOW...We NEED a continual cleansing because the Bible says we continually sin and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Even though Christians have been cleansed in an important general sense, our "feet" need cleaning (John 13:10).

       

      The verb form John used in cleanses us from all sin is in the PRESENT tense, NOT in the future tense. We can do more than merely hope we will one day be cleansed. Because of what Jesus did on the cross for me, I can be cleansed today.

       

       

      The blood of Jesus Christ…

       

      This CONTINUAL cleansing is ours by the blood of Jesus. This does NOT mean the actual drops or molecules of His literal blood AS SOME FALSELY TEACH AND PROCLAIM... but it DOES mean His LITERAL death in our place and the LITERAL FULL WRATH of the Father He endured on our behalf. The blood of Jesus Christ paid the penalty for all our sins---past, present, and future.

       

       

      The work of Jesus on the cross does NOT only deal with the GUILT of sin that might send us to hell. It also deals with the STAIN of sin what hinders our continual relationship with God. We need to come to God often with the simple plea, "cleanse me with the blood of Jesus." Not because we have NOT been cleansed before, but because we NEED to be continually cleansed to enjoy CONTINUAL relationship.

       

       

      SPURGEON says it well, “DO YOU NOTICE...John says NOTHING about rites and ceremonies. It does not begin by saying, 'and the waters of baptism, together with the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth us,'--not a word, whether it shall be the sprinkling in infancy, or immersion of believers, nothing is said about it-it is the blood, the blood only, without a drop of baptismal water. Nothing is here said about sacraments--what some call 'the blessed Eucharist' is not dragged in here--nothing about eating bread and drinking wine--it is the blood, nothing but the blood shed once for all who believe in Jesus Christ."

       

       

      From ALL sin…

       

      We can be cleansed, by the blood of Jesus, from all sin. The sin we inherited from Adam, the sin we committed as kids, the sins of our growing up. Sins against our father, against our mother, against our brother and sister. Sins against our husbands or wives, against our children. Sins against our employers or our employees, sins against our friends and our enemies. Lying, stealing, cheating, adultery, swearing, drugs, booze, promiscuity, murder. Sins that haunt us every day, sins we did NOT even know we did- all sin can be cleansed by the blood of Jesus.

       

      Sin is the hindrance to fellowship and the blood of Jesus, received by faith as the payment for our sin, solves the problem of sin and opens the way to fellowship with God.

       

      1. You can NOT come to fellowship with God through philosophical speculation.

       

      2. You can NOT come to fellowship with God through intellectual education.

      3. You can NOT come to fellowship with God through drugs or entertainment.

       

      4. You can NOT come to fellowship with God through scientific investigation.

       

      5. You can ONLY come to fellowship with God by dealing with your sin problem through the blood of Jesus.

       

      We might say that the only sin that can NOT be cleansed by the blood of Jesus is the sin of continuing to REJECT that blood as payment for sin.

       

       

      Verses 8-10 tells us The presence of sin, the confession of sin, and the cleansing from sin.

       

      If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

       

       

      If we say we have NO sin…

       

      John has introduced the ideas of walking in the light and being cleansed from sin. But he did NOT for a moment believe that a Christian can become sinlessly perfect in THIS life.

       

       

      To think this of ourselves is to DECEIVE ourselves, and to say this of ourselves is TO lie--the truth is NOT in us.

       

       

      There are few people today who think they are sinlessly perfect, yet not many really think of themselves as sinners. Many will say "I make mistakes" or "I'm not perfect" or "I'm only human," but usually they say such things to excuse or defend. This is different from knowing and admitting "I am a sinner."

       

       

      To say that we have no sin puts us in a DANGEROUS place, because God's grace and mercy is extended to sinners. Not to "those who make mistakes" or "I'm only human" or "no one is perfect" people, but SINNERS. We need to realize the victory and forgiveness that comes from saying, "I am a sinner- even a great sinner- but I have a Savior who cleanses me from all sin."

       

      If we confess our sins…

       

      Though sin is present, it need not remain a hindrance to our relationship with God--we may find complete cleansing (from all unrighteousness) as we confess our sins to Jesus.

       

       

      To confess means, "to say the same as." When we confess our sin, we are willing to say (and believe) the same thing about our sin that God says about it.

       

      REMEMBER LUKE 18:10-14, Jesus' story about the religious man and the sinner who prayed before God illustrated this; the Pharisee bragged about how righteous he was, while the sinner, could not even lift his eyes to Heaven, just said God be merciful to me a sinner. The one who confessed his sin was the one who agreed with God about how bad he was.

       

      Confess is a verb in the present tense; the meaning is that we should keep on confessing our sin--instead of referring to a "once-for-all" confession of sin at our conversion.

       

      There is NO NEED OR PURPOSE in a confessional. You confess your sins to Jesus.

       

      When you are baptized, you are confessing your sin by saying you needed to be cleansed and reborn.

       

      When you receive communion, you confess your sin by saying you need the work of Jesus on the cross to take your sin away.

       

      But of course, we need to confess our sin in the most straightforward way: by admitting to God what we have done is sin, and asking for His divine forgiveness, based on what Jesus has done on the cross for us.

       

      Our sins are NOT forgiven because we confess; if this were the case--if forgiveness for a sin could only come where there was confession--then we would all be damned, because it would be IMPOSSIBLE for us to confess EVERY sin we ever commit. Whether that sin was a thought, a word, or a deed. We are forgiven because our punishment was put upon Jesus, we are cleansed by His blood.

       

      However, confession to Jesus is still VITAL to maintain relationship with God, and this is the context John speaks from. As God convicts us of sin that is hindering our fellowship with Him, we must confess it and receive forgiveness and cleansing for our relationship with God to continue without hindrance.

       

      Confession must be personal; saying "God, IF I have made any mistakes, forgive me" is NOT confession, because it is NOT convinced (saying "IF we made"), it is NOT personal (saying "IF we made"), it is NOT specific (saying "IF we made any"), and it is NOT honest (saying "mistakes").

       

       

      He is faithful and just to forgive us…

       

      Because of Jesus' work, the righteousness of God is our FRIEND--insuring that we will be forgiven, because Jesus paid the penalty of our sin. God is being faithful and just to forgive us in light of Jesus.

       

       

      The promise of 1 John 1:9 should NOT lead us into sin, saying "Hey, I'll go ahead and sin because God will forgive me." It should lead us OUT of sin, knowing that God could only be faithful and just to forgive us our sins because the wrath we deserved was poured out on the sin. Since each sin carries with it its own measure of wrath, so there is a sense in which each sin we commit ADDED TO the agony of Jesus on the cross.

       

       

      There is NO more sure evidence that a person is out of fellowship with God than for someone to contemplate or commit sin with the idea, "I can just ask for forgiveness later." Since God is light and in Him is no darkness at all, we can rest assured that the person who commits sin thinking that is NOT in fellowship with God.

       

      If we say that we have not sinned…

       

      If we DENY the presence of sin, we are self-deceived and denying God's word. Yet, though sin is always present, so is its remedy--so sin need NEVER be a hindrance to our relationship with God.

       

      The idea that His word is not in us is related to the idea that Jesus is the Word of life (1 John 1:1); if we refuse to see sin in us, we show that Jesus is NOT in us.

       

       

    • October 20, 2016 11:17 PM EDT
    • Amen Faithy well said ....

      do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

       

      Do NOT believe every spirit… I keep telling people not to belive everything they hear coming from the preachers and teachers expecilly on tv i tell them to read the bible and pray to God to reveal if it is right or wrong teaching !

    • October 20, 2016 10:01 PM EDT
    • 1 JOHN 4

       

      OPENS WITH...ABIDING IN GOD AND HIS LOVE

       

       

      Verse 1 tells us the fact of false prophets and the need to test the spirits.

       

      Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

       

      Do NOT believe every spirit…

       

      John warned against believing EVERY spirit; that is, we are never to assume every spiritual experience or every demonstration of spiritual power is from God. We must test spiritual experiences and spiritual phenomenon to see if they are in fact from God.

       

      Many, when FIRST encountering the reality of the spiritual world, are too impressed and amazed to ask whether they are of God. This leads to EASY deception.

       

      But TEST the spirits…

       

      This is important because MANY false prophets have gone out into the world. Even though the early church had a strong life, and a large measure of purity, John still knew the danger false prophets and their message was real in the early church.

       

       

      Test the spirits, whether they are of God…

       

      This is the responsibility of EVERY Christian, but ESPECIALLY of congregational LEADERSHIP.

       

      WHY?

       

      According to 1 Corinthians 14:29 (let the others judge) and 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 (Test all things; hold fast what is good), testing the spirits is the work of the body of Christ. This job is to be done using the gifts of discernment God has given to Christians in general THROUGH HIS WORD, especially the leadership of a congregation.

       

      All prophecy is to be judged by Scriptural standards. It is NEVER to be received just because it is dramatic or given by a CERTAIN person. We trust in the principle that God will NEVER contradict Himself, and we KNOW what He has already said in His Word.

       

       

      2 Peter 1:20-21 tells us true prophecy is NEVER of any private interpretation. This means that there will be agreement and confirmation from GOD’S SEARCHED OUT WORD, THEN SEARCHED BY and CONFIRMED by the body of Christ, ESPECIALLY THE LEADERSHIP, WHO ARE HELD TO THE HIGHEST STANDARD AND DUTY BY JESUS.

       

      WE SEE MANY THEN AND NOW WHO CALL THEMSELVES PROPHETS OR PROPHETESS, ANOINTED OF GOD, MESSENGERS OF GOD.

       

      THEY CLAIM THEY HAVE BEEN GIVEN SPECIAL NEW PROPHECIES AND NEW DIRECTIONS FROM GOD HIMSELF.

       

      ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE ITSELF, THERE ARE NO NEW PROPHECIES TO BE GIVEN, ALL OF GOD’S PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE PROPHECIES FROM JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF AND THROUGH THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHETS AND NEW TESTAMENT DISCIPLES GIVEN THESE PROPHECIES ARE ALREADY WRITTEN OF AND INCLUDED BETWEEN THE PAGES OF THE BIBLE, FROM GENESIS TO REVELATION IN THE BIBLE.

       

      IF IT IS NOT IN THE BIBLE, IF IT IS NOT CONFIRMED AND SPOKEN OF IN THE BIBLE, THE PROPHET OR PROPHECY MAY COME FROM A SPIRIT, A VOICE, OR FROM A DREAM, VISION, OR WHATEVER...BUT IT IS NOT FROM GOD. IT IS FROM SATAN AND HIS DEMONS WHO CAN AND DO SPEAK, HAVE LIMITED SUPERNATURAL KNOWLEDGE, GIVE VISIONS, DREAMS, & NIGHT TERRORS TOO.

       

       

      Verses 2-3 tells us HOW to know when a FALSE prophet speaks.

       

      By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.”

       

       

      EVERY spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God…

       

      True prophecy, and true teaching, will present a TRUE Jesus. In John's day, the issue was about if Jesus had truly come in a real body of flesh and blood. Many Gnostic-influenced teachers said that Jesus, being God, could NOT have actually become a flesh and blood human, because God could have no partnership with "impure" material stuff.

       

       

      BOICE informs us,"This statement would be directed against some form of Docetism, the view that Christ was a spirit who only seemed to be a true man."

      Today, some groups DENY that Jesus is really God (such as the Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, and Muslims). But way back in John's day, in this time closest to the actual life and ministry of Jesus on this earth, people did NOT have a hard time believing Jesus was God. They had a hard time believing that JESUS WAS ALSO a real man. This false teaching said Jesus was truly God (which is correct), but really a "make-believe" man.

       

      Today, we are passionate about saying, "Jesus is God," and we should be. But it is NO less important to say, "Jesus is a man," because both the deity and humanity of Jesus are essential to our salvation.

       

       

      Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God…

       

      Some think that this is the ONLY TEST of false doctrine. This is NOT the only test, but it was the significant issue challenging the church in John's immediate time. Today a person might confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh yet deny that He is God as the Bible teaches He is God. They also are giving false doctrine because they are NOT presenting a TRUE Jesus.

       

      The principle of presenting a true Jesus is essential to the testing of spirits. No one who presents a false Jesus, or one untrue to the Scriptures, can be regarded as truthful.

       

       

      Today, there is a lot of curiosity about the "true Jesus." Many modern academics say they want to discover the "true Jesus" and when they say this they often mean, "The true Jesus is NOT the Jesus of the Bible. They claim that the Biblical Jesus is make-believe. We need to discover the true Jesus behind the myths of the Bible.

       

       

      Not only is this position IGNORANT (ignoring the confirmed historical validity of the New Testament) it is also ARROGANT. Once any academic throws out the historical evidence of the New Testament and other reliable ancient writings, they can only base their understanding of Jesus on their OWN PERSONAL opinion. These academics present their baseless opinions as if they WERE scholarly facts.

       

      This is the spirit of the Antichrist…

       

      To DENY the true Jesus is the basis of the spirit of the Antichrist, which John has already mentioned in 1 John 2:18-23. It is the spirit which BOTH opposes the true Jesus and offers a substitute Jesus.

       

       

      The devil does NOT care at all if you know Jesus or love Jesus or pray to Jesus - as long as it is a FALSE Jesus, a MAKE-BELIEVE Jesus, a Jesus who is NOT there, and who therefore CAN NOT save.

       

       

      Is now already in the world…

       

      Though it will have its ULTIMATE consummation in an end-times political and economic ruler, the essence of this antichrist spirit is present with us today. It is found everywhere a false Jesus is promoted in place of the true Jesus of the Bible.

       

       

      Verse 4 tells us The PROTECTION of the child of God.

       

      You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

       

       

      You are of God, little children, and have overcome them…

       

      The child of God need NOT fear the spirit of Antichrist, even though they should be WARNED of it, because they have the indwelling Spirit of God (1 John 3:24). That indwelling Spirit is GREATER than he who is in the world- Satan and all of his allies.

       

      He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world…

       

      The believer has a resource for victory, the vital presence of the indwelling Jesus, which makes victory always possible - if we will rely on He who is in you instead of in ourselves.

       

       

      This understanding gives great confidence and spiritual power. For those walking in this truth, victory is assured--they have overcome them. It is a positive statement, NOT a wishful hope.

       

       

      He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world…

       

      This means the Christian has NO place for fear. We have many spiritual enemies, but NOT ONE of them is greater than Jesus who lives in us.

       

       

      Earlier in the letter, John brought up the idea of the world and its threat to the Christian life (1 John 2:15-17). He presented the world not as the global earth or the mass of humanity, which God Himself loves (John 3:16). Instead it is the community of sinful humanity that is united in rebellion against God. Here, John suggests that there ARE FORCES of spiritual darkness that guide and influence the world.

       

       

      Verses 5-6 tells us The contrast between those in the world and those who are of God.

       

      They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”

       

       

      Those who ARE of the world are evident because they speak as of the world; the influence of the world in evident in their speech. As Jesus said, out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. (Matthew 12:34)

       

       

      Those who ARE of the world are also evident because the world HEARS them. They face none of the rejection the child of God will face from the world (1 John 3:1), because they are friends WITH the world.

       

       

      The Christian always wants to speak TO the world, and to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ TO the world. It is exciting when the world WILL listen to the gospel, but we must take care that they are not hearing us because we speak as of the world. Just because the world is hearing the message does NOT prove that the message is God's message.

       

       

      He who knows God hears us…

       

      Those who are of God enjoy fellowship with other believers; they speak the common language of fellowship with God and with each other, because one flows from the other (1 John 1:3).

       

       

      This language of fellowship transcends language, culture, class, race, or any other barrier. It is a TRUE GIFT from God.

       

       

      In its official doctrines, the Roman Catholic Church has claimed to be the "US" in He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. But John can only be talking about the apostles and their authoritative revelation in the Bible when he says us. When we know God, and are of God, we hear what THE BIBLE SAYS...NOT WHAT MEN OR MAN-CREATED RELIGIOSITIES CREATE, CLAIM AND PROCLAIM.

       

       

      He who is not of God does not hear us…

       

      Understanding just who hears what God has taught us through the apostles, as recorded in the New Testament, helps us to know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. If someone hears what God has said in the Bible, we know they have the spirit of truth. If they do NOT hear it, they have the spirit of error.

       

       

      John makes it clear that ERROR has a spiritual dynamic to it; it is NOT just about being educated or smart. Some very educated, very smart people can still be influence mightily by the spirit of error. Since error has a spiritual dynamic to it, keeping in the spirit of truth is a spiritual issue.

       

       

      JOHN 14:6 reminds, “We keep in the spirit of truth by clinging to Jesus, the One who said I am the truth.”

       

      AND WE HAVE ALL, AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER, BABY CHRISTIAN OR MATURE CHRISTIAN, HEARD A SPEECH OR A SERMON OR A BIBLE TEACHING AND INSTANTLY FELT A WRONGNESS IN IT. WE MAY NOT KNOW EXACTLY WHAT DOES NOT RING TRUE, BUT WE KNOW, BECAUSE THE HOLY SPIRIT LIVING WITHIN US, WHEN WE LISTEN, IT WILL GUIDE US TO ALL GODLY TRUTH.

       

      AND WHAT WE DO THEN, IS GRAB OUR BIBLES AND START SEARCHING OUT AND SEEKING TO FIND WHAT JESUS TEACHES, TELLS US, AND COMMANDS US IN HIS WORD.

       

       

      Verses 7-8 tells us The call to love.

       

      Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

       

       

      John's emphasis on love among the people of God (shown in passages like 1 John 2:9-11 and 3:10-18) is powerful. Here, he shows WHY it is so important. If love is of God, then those who claim to be born of God, and claim to know God, must be able to love one another in the body of Christ.

       

       

      Again, John insists that there is something that is given to the believer when they are born of God; a love is imparted to their life that they did NOT have before. Christians are NOT "just forgiven"- they are born anew by God's Spirit.

       

       

      And knows God…

       

      There are several different words in the ancient Greek language translated "know" into English. This specific word for knows (ginosko) is the word for a knowledge by experience. John is saying when we really experience God it will show by our love for one another.

       

       

      Of course, this love is NOT perfected in the life of a Christian on this side of eternity. Though it may not be perfected, it must be present - and it should be growing. You can't truly grow in your experience of God without also growing love for one another. John can boldly say, He who does not love does not know God. If there is NOT real love for God's people in your life, then your claim to know God and experience God is NOT true.

       

       

      Love is of God…

       

      The love John speaks of comes from the ancient Greek word agape; it is the concept of a self-giving love that gives without demanding or expecting re-payment- it is the God-kind of love.

       

       

      Since this is God's kind of love, it comes into our life through our relationship with Him. If we want to love one another more, we need to draw closer to God.

       

       

      Every human relationship is like a triangle. The two people in the relationship are at the base of the triangle, and God is at the top. As the two people draw closer to the top of the triangle, closer to God, they will also draw closer to one another. Weak relationships are made strong when both people draw close to the Lord!

       

       

      Everyone who loves is born of God … He who does not love does not know God…

       

      This does not mean that every display of love in the world can only come from a Christian. Those who are not Christians still can display acts of love.

       

      For God is love…

       

      This is a glorious truth. Love describes the character and heart of God. He is so rich in love and compassion, that it can be used to describe His very being.

       

       

      When we say God is love, we are not saying everything about God. Love is an essential aspect of His character, and colors every aspect of His nature. But it does NOT eliminate His holiness, His righteousness, or His perfect justice. Instead, we know the holiness of God is loving, and the righteousness of God is loving, and the justice of God is loving. Everything God does, in one way or another, expresses His love.

       

      The Bible also tells us that God is spirit (John 4:24), God is light (1 John 1:5), and that God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29).

       

       

      There are few LOST people who really know and really believe that God is love. For whatever reason, they WILL NOT receive His love and let it transform their lives. It transforms our life to know the love of God in this way.

       

       

      Verses 9-11 tells us The meaning of love and its application.

       

      In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

       

       

      This shows us what love is and what it means. Love is not only defined by the sacrifice of Jesus (as stated in 1 John 3:16); it is also defined by the giving of the Father. It was a sacrifice for the Father to send the Second Person of the Trinity, and a sacrifice to pour out the judgment we deserved upon God the Son.

       

       

      We need to appreciate this fully, and receive the Fatherly love God has to give us. Some of us, for whatever reason, have come to think of God the Father as aloof and mean, perhaps the so-called "angry God" of the Old Testament. In this wrong thinking, many imagine they prefer the nice and loving Jesus instead. But the Father loves us too; and the love Jesus showed in His ministry was the same love God the Father has towards us. We can receive the healing power in our Father's love.

       

       

      That God has sent His only begotten Son into the world…

       

      John is VERY CONSISTENT AND VERY CAREFUL to call Jesus the only begotten Son. This special term means Jesus has a Sonship that is unique (only) and begotten indicates that Jesus and the Father are of the same substance, the same essential Being.

       

       

      A man can create a statue that looks just like him, but it will NEVER be human.

       

      However, we use the term BEGET to describe something that is exactly the same as us in essential nature and being. We are adopted sons and daughters of God, but we are not of the same essential nature and being as God - we are human beings. But Jesus is the only begotten Son, meaning His Sonship is different than ours; He was and is of the same essential nature and being as God the Father. We are human beings; He is a "God-being" - who added humanity to His deity.

       

       

      The love of the Father was not only in the sending of the Son, but also in what that sending accomplishes for us. It brings life to all who trust in Jesus and His work on their behalf, because He is the propitiation for our sins.

       

       

      Propitiation has the idea of a sacrifice that turns away the wrath of God. God rightly regarded us, apart from Him, as worthy targets of His judgment. We were rebels and enemies of Him, even if we didn't know it. But on the cross, Jesus took the punishment our sin deserved - His sacrifice turned away the judgment we would have received. We easily think how this shows the love of Jesus, but John wants us to understand it also shows the love of God the Father: He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

       

      The greatness of God's love is shown not only in saving us from the judgment we deserved, but also in wanting us to live through Him. Do we live through Him? This is a great way to define the Christian life, to live through Him.

       

       

      God has sent His only begotten Son…

       

      This shows the love of God, because love gives its best. There was nothing better God the Father could give to lost humanity than the gift of the Son of God Himself. As Paul describes it in 2 Corinthians 9:15, Jesus was the Father's indescribable gift.

       

       

      He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins…

       

      This shows the love of God. It might have shown enough love that the Father sent the Son, and not some lower-grade angel; but He sent the Son, not on a fact-finding mission or merely a mission of compassion - He sent the Son to die for our sins.

       

       

      For our sins…

       

      This shows the love of God. God gave His Son to die, and to die for sinners. We can think of someone paying a great price to save someone deserving, someone good, someone noble, someone who had done much for them. But God did all this for rebels, for sinners, for those who had turned their backs on Him.

       

       

      Real love, agape love, is not defined by our love for God, but by His love for us. His love for us initiates our relationship of love with Him, our love only responds to His love for us. We can't love God the way we should unless we are receiving and living in His love.

       

       

      Our love for God doesn't really say anything great about us. It is only the common sense response to knowing and receiving the love of God.

       

       

      When Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, and showed such great love and servanthood to them, we might have expected Him to conclude by gesturing to His own feet and asking who among them was going to do to Him what He had just done for them. Instead, Jesus said: If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. (John 13:14) The proper way to love God in response to His love for us is to go out and love one another.

       

       

      Verse 12 tells us Seeing God through the evidence of love.

       

      No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.”

       

       

      John relates a basic principle about God the Father - that no one, NO ONE, has seen God at any time. Anyone claiming to have seen God the Father is speaking - at best - from their own imagination, because as John plainly states, NO ONE has seen God at ANY time.

       

       

      Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 1:17: “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible. Jesus declared of God the Father, God is Spirit.”

       

      John 4:24 confirms that God the Father has no tangible body which may be seen.

       

       

      Knowing God the Father is invisible should make us more humble in our relationship with Him. God the Father is not completely knowable by us; we can't completely figure out God, or know all His secrets. He is beyond us.

       

       

      BOICE clears up a controversy "The Old Testament theophanies, including the apparently contradictory statement in Exodus 24:10, did not involve the full revelation of God as He is in Himself but only a suggestion of what He is in forms that a human being could understand."

       

       

      This is the greatest evidence of God's presence and work among us- love. Since no one has seen God at any time, this provides evidence for the presence of God.

       

       

      Some people think the greatest evidence of God's presence or work is power. Some people think the greatest evidence of God's presence or work is popularity. Some people think the greatest evidence of God's presence or work is passionate feelings.

       

      But the greatest evidence of God's presence and work is love.

      Where God is present and working, there will be love.

       

       

      Sometimes Jesus seemed weak and lacking in power, but He was always full of love.

      Sometimes Jesus wasn't popular at all, but He was always full of love.

      Sometimes Jesus didn't inspire passionate feelings in people at all, but He was always full of love.

      Love was the constant, greatest evidence of the presence and work of God in Jesus Christ.

       

       

      Perfected uses the Greek word teleioo, which doesn't mean "perfect" as much as "mature" and "complete." If we love one another, then the love of God is "mature" and "complete" in us.

       

       

      The mature Christian will be marked by love. Again, the true measure of maturity is not the image of power, or popularity, or passionate feelings - but the abiding presence of God's love in our lives, given out to others.

       

       

      Verses 13-15 tells us Assurance of the work of the Triune God in us.

       

      By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.”

       

      Plainly, a Christian can say, "We know." One does NOT have to merely "hope" one is saved, and "hope" they will make it to heaven, and have no assurance of salvation before they pass from this world to the next. We can KNOW, and we can know NOW, on this side of eternity.

       

       

      Our abiding in Jesus is NOT a one-sided affair, with us struggling to abide in Him, and Jesus trying to escape us. Just as true as it is that we should abide in Him, it is true that He does abide in us.

       

      Jesus said in John 15:4, “Abide in Me, and I in you.”

       

      John 15:7, Jesus said. “ If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you.”

       

      One of the ways Jesus abides in us - lives in us - is through His word.

       

       

      John brings up the work of the Holy Spirit in us at this point for TWO important connections.

       

      FIRST, it is the Spirit of God in us that is the abiding presence of Jesus - the presence of His Spirit is how He abides in us.

       

      SECOND, it is the testimony of the Holy Spirit within us that makes it possible for us to know that we abide in Him.

       

      As Paul puts it in Roman 8:16: “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” The Holy Spirit gives us this assurance.

       

      The "we" who give testimony in this verse are those who SAW Jesus originally, the eyewitnesses to His presence. They knew the Father sent the Son as Savior of the world.

       

      Speaking as one who has the Spirit of God (He has given us of His Spirit), John declares three essential truths about who God is and how He saves us.

       

      1. That the Father has sent the Son.

      2. That He was sent as Savior of the world.

      3. Knowing and understanding Jesus is the foundation for abiding in Him

       

       

      Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God…

       

      It is NOT enough to know the facts about who Jesus is; we must confess the truth. The idea behind the word confess is "to be in agreement with."

       

      We must agree with God about who Jesus is, and we find out what God says about Jesus through the Word of God. You may know something without being in agreement with it; God demands our TRUE agreement.

       

       

      Though John has been writing much about love, he does not ignore the issue of truth. John does not think it is "enough" if a person has some kind of love in their life if they do not confess that Jesus is the Son of God. It is NOT a matter of deciding between love or truth; we must have both.

       

       

      Verse 16 tells us The Christian's response to God and His love.

       

      And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”

       

       

      This is the Christian's proper response to who God is, and how He loves us. We are called to take the love and grace God gives, to know it by experience and to believe it. This is what fellowship with God is all about.

       

       

      People respond to the love of God differently.

       

      - Some respond with a sense of self-superiority ("I'm so great, even God loves me!").

      - Some respond with doubt ("Can God really love even me?").

      - Some respond with wickedness ("God loves me, so I can do what I want").

      - God wants us to respond by knowing (by experience) and believing the love God has for us.

       

      The Christian must know and believe the love God has for us. One should consider what would it take to make them stop believing God loved them.

       

      Paul knew that nothing could separate him from the love of God that was in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:35-39), and each Christian should have the SAME confidence.

       

      SPURGEON says, "To feel God's love is very precious, but to believe it when you do not feel it, is the noblest."

       

       

      The Christian who has this kind of relationship with God will be virtually "immersed" in God's love; it becomes their environment, their place of abiding.

       

       

      Verses 17-18 tells us The perfecting of love, both now and in eternity.

       

      Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”

       

       

      For perfected, John does NOT just use the Greek word teleioo (which has the idea of "maturity" and "completeness); he writes teleioo teleioo - speaking of love that is "perfectly perfected" or "completely complete."

       

       

      In the day of judgment…

       

      This is when the completeness of love's work in us will be demonstrated. As much as we can know the completeness of God's love now, we will know it all the more in the day of judgment.

       

      1. You may know you are a sinner now; you will really know it in the day of judgment.

       

      2. You may know now you are not better in yourself than those who are going to hell; you will really know it in the day of judgment.

       

      3. You may know the reality of hell now; you will really know it in the day of judgment.

       

      4. You may know the greatness of Jesus' salvation now; you will really know it in the day of judgment.

       

      That we may have boldness in the day of judgment…

       

      This shows the greatness of God's work in us. We might be satisfied to merely survive the day of judgment, but God wants to so fill our lives with His love and His truth that we have boldness in the day of judgment.

       

      The Bible says that one day, all of LOST AND REJECTING humanity will gather before God's Great White Throne and face judgment. This day is coming!

       

       

      Some think they will go there and judge God ("when I see God, there's a few questions I have for Him!"), but that is nonsense. The only way to have boldness in the day of judgment is to receive, and walk in, the transforming love of God today through Jesus Christ salvation.

       

       

      We can imagine Jesus being bold before the throne of God, but us? Yet, if we abide in Him, and He in us (1 John 4:13), then our identity is bound up in Jesus: as He is, so are we in the world.

       

      How is Jesus now?

       

      He is glorified, justified, forever righteous and bold, sitting at the right hand of God the Father. Spiritually, we can have that same standing now, while we are in the world, because as He is, so are we in the world.

       

      Certainly, this glory is in us now just in "seed" form; it has not yet fully developed into what it will be. But it is there, and its presence is demonstrated by our love for one another and our agreement with God's truth - and that all serves to give us boldness.

       

       

      The completeness of love means we do not cower in fear before God, dreading His judgment, either now or in the day of judgment. We know all the judgment we ever deserved - past, present, and future - was poured out on Jesus Christ on the cross.

       

       

      BUT MANY SAY…

       

      What about the many passages of Scripture, Old and New Testament (such as Ecclesiastes 12:13 and 1 Peter 2:17), which tell us we should FEAR God?

       

      THAT WORD FOR FEAR...MEANS AWE, REVERENCE, RESPECT, AND HONOR.

       

      The fear John writes of here is NOT the appropriate reverence we should all have of God, but the kind of fear which involves torment - that agonizing kind of fear which robs our soul of all joy and confidence before God. It is the fear that is the opposite of boldness in the day of judgment.

       

       

      If our relationship with God is marked by this tormenting fear, it shows that we have not been made perfect- that is, complete, and mature- in His love.

       

       

      Verse 19 tells us The reason for our love to Jesus.

       

      We love Him because He first loved us.”

       

      In this great statement, John begins by declaring the heart of every true follower of Jesus Christ. Simply and boldly put, we love Him.

       

      This is a FACT for every true follower of Jesus. There is no exception to this rule; if a man loves not God, neither is he born of God.

      It is something that every Christian should be unafraid to proclaim…

       

      I love Him; I love Jesus.

      Can you say that?

      Are you embarrassed to say it?

      Can you say, "I love Jesus"?

       

       

      This verse not only declares our love for Jesus, it also tells us when He loved us. Some people imagine that Jesus loved us because He knew we would love Him and come to faith in Him. But He loved us BEFORE that, and even before the worlds were created, when our only existence was in the mind and heart of God, Jesus loved us.

       

       

      This verse tells us WHERE love for Jesus comes from. It comes from Him. Our love for God is always in response to His love for us; He initiates, and we respond. We never have to draw God to us; instead, He draws us to Himself.

       

       

      Verses 20-21tells us The commandment to love.

       

      If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.”

       

       

      It is often easier for someone to proclaim their love for God, because that regards a private relationship with an invisible God. But John rightly insists that our claim of loving God is false if we do not also love our brother, and that this love must be seen.

       

      One may be a spiritual dwarf because they lack love. One may know the Word, may never miss a service, may pray fervently, and may demonstrate gifts of the Spirit. Yet in it all, that one may be like Cain, offering to God the fruit of their hands and not the fruit of the Spirit.

       

       

      Being born of God and abiding with Him give us the ability to love; but it is a CHOICE OF OUR WILL to draw upon that resource and give it out to others. Therefore we are given a command to love, that he who loves God must love his brother also.

       

      Because of this, the excuse "I just can't love that person" (or other such excuses) is invalid. If we are born of Him and are abiding in Him then the resources for love are there. It is up to us to respond to His command with our will and whole being.

      One might say, "I want to love God more; I want to grow in my love for Him. But how can I love a God who is invisible?" God would say to us, "Learn to love Me, Whom you cannot see, by loving My children, whom you can see."

       

      Jesus said in Matthew 5:23-24, “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

       

      God is more pleased when you get it right with your brother, than if you bring Him a sacrifice of praise or resources.

       

    • October 20, 2016 11:13 PM EDT
    • Amen Faithy well said !

    • October 20, 2016 10:27 PM EDT
    • 1 JOHN 3

       

      OPENS WITH…THE LOVE OF GOD AND THE LIFE OF LOVE

       

       

      Verse 1 tells us The glory of God's love.

       

       

      Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.”

       

       

      Having just mentioned being born of Him, John speaks in amazement about this manner of love that makes us children of God. He wants us to behold it- that is, look at it and study it intently.

       

       

      BESTOWED ON US…speaks many things.

       

      FIRST... it speaks of the measure of God's love to us; it could more literally be translated LAVISHED on us.

       

      SECOND...it speaks of the manner of God's giving of love; bestowed has the idea of a ONE-SIDED GIVING, instead of a return for something earned.

       

       

      What is it that makes us slow to believe the love of God?

       

      1. Sometimes it is PRIDE, which demands to prove itself worthy of the love of God before it will receive it.

       

      2. Sometimes it is UNBELIEF, which cannot trust the love of God when it sees the hurt and pain of life.

       

      3. And sometimes it just TAKES TIME for a person to come to a FULLER understanding of the greatness of God's love.

       

       

      SPURGEON says it well, “Behold means that God wants to see this and He is not ashamed to show it to us. "'There,' he says, 'you poor people that love me you sick people, you unknown, obscure people, without any talent, I have published it before heaven and earth, and made the angels know it, that you are my children, and I am not ashamed of you. I glory in the fact that I have taken you for my sons and daughters.'”

       

       

      As God looked down on lost humanity, He might have merely had a charitable compassion, a pity on our plight, both in this life and in eternity. With a mere pity, He might have set forth a plan of salvation where man could be saved from hell. But God went FAR BEYOND that, to call us the children of God.

       

       

      Who calls us the children of God?

       

      1. The FATHER does ("I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty," 2 Corinthians 6:18)

       

      2. The SON does (He is not ashamed to call them brethren, Hebrews 2:11)

       

      3. The HOLY SPIRIT does (The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, Romans 8:16)

       

      There is a sense in which this is a totally "unnecessary" blessing that God gives in the course of salvation, and a demonstration of His true and deep love for us. We can picture someone helping or saving someone, but not going so far as to make them a part of the family--but this is what God has done for us.

       

       

      In this, we gain something in Jesus Christ greater than Adam EVER possessed. We NEVER ONCE read of Adam being called one of the children of God in the sense John means here. He was NEVER ADOPTED as a son of God in the way believers are. We err when we think of redemption as merely a restoration of what was lost with Adam; we are granted MORE IN JESUS than Adam ever had.

       

       

      If we are truly children of God, then it should show in our likeness to our Father, and in our love for our "siblings."

       

       

      IT IS IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND...what it means to be the children of God, and that everyone is NOT a child of God in the sense John meant it here.

       

      God's love is expressed to all in the giving of Jesus for the sins of the world (John 3:16), but this does NOT make all of humanity the children of God in the sense John means it here. Here he speaks of those who have received the love of Jesus in a life of fellowship and trust with Him; But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name. (John 1:12)

       

       

      Therefore the world does NOT know us…

       

      Because of our unique parentage from God, we are STRANGERS to this world (or should be).

       

      This shows the GREAT DANGER danger of a Christianity that works so hard to show the world just how much like the world they can be; we can not be surprised or offended to find out that the world does not know us.

       

      Because it did not know Him…

       

      Ultimately, we should expect the world to treat us as it treated Him- rejecting Jesus and crucifying Jesus. While it is true that Jesus loved sinners and they, recognizing that love, flocked to Him, we must also remember that it was the world that cried out crucify Him!

       

       

      Verse 2 tells us The DESTINY of God's children.

       

      Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

       

      Now we are children of God. Our present standing is plain. We can know, and have an assurance, that we ARE indeed among the children of God.

       

      Romans 8:16 tells us, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” If you are a child of God, you have an inward assurance of this.

       

       

      It has not yet been revealed what we shall be…

       

      Though our present standing is plain, our future destiny is clouded. We do NOT know in the kind of detail we would like to know what we will become in the world beyond. In this sense, we can NOT even imagine what we will be like in glory.

       

       

      We know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is…

       

      We are NOT left completely in the dark about our future state. When Jesus is revealed to us, either by His coming for us or our coming to Him, we shall be like Him.

       

      The Bible speaks of God's great plan for our lives like this.

       

      ROMANS 8:29, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

       

      God's ultimate goal in our lives is to make us like Jesus, and here, John speaks of the fulfillment of that purpose.

       

      This does NOT mean that we cease to be ourselves, full of the distinct personality and character God has given us. Heaven will not be like the Nirvana of Eastern mysticism, where all personality is dissolved into God like a drop into the ocean.

       

      We WILL STILL BE ourselves, but our character and nature will be perfected into the image of Jesus' perfection. We will NOT be "clones" of Jesus in heaven!

       

       

      The Christian should long to be like Jesus, yet remember that God will never force a person to be like Jesus if they don't want to.

       

      And that is what hell is for: people who do NOT want to be like Jesus.

       

      The sobering, eternal truth is this: God gives man what he really wants. If you really want to be like Jesus, it will show in your life now, and it will be a fact in eternity. If you do NOT really want to be like Jesus, it will also show in your life now, and it will also be a fact in eternity.

       

      We shall be like Him…

       

      This reminds us that even though we grow into the image of Jesus now, we still have a LONG WAY to go. None of us will be finished until we see Jesus, and only then truly we shall be like Him.

       

       

      We shall see Him as He is…

       

      Perhaps this is the greatest glory of heaven: not to be personally glorified, but to be in the unhindered, unrestricted, presence of our Lord.

       

       

      1 CORINTHIANS 13:12, Paul said of our present walk, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.”

       

      Today, when we look in a good mirror, the image is clear. But in the ancient world, mirrors were made out of polished metal, and the image was always unclear and somewhat distorted. We see Jesus now only in a dim, unclear way, but one day we will see Him with perfect clarity.

       

      Heaven is precious to us for many reasons.

       

      1. We long to be with loved ones who have passed before us and whom we miss so dearly.

       

      2. We long to be with the great men and women of God who have passed before us in centuries past.

       

      3. We want to walk the streets of gold, see the pearly gates, and see the angels round the throne of God worshipping Him day and night.

       

      4. However, NONE of those things, precious as they are, make heaven really "heaven." What makes heaven heaven is the unhindered, unrestricted, presence of our Lord, and to see Him as He is will be the greatest experience of your eternal existence.

       

       

      What will we see when we see Jesus?

       

      Revelation 1:13-16 describes a vision of Jesus in heaven: “He was dressed in a long robe with a golden [breastplate]; His head and His hair were white as snow-white wool, His eyes blazed like fire, and His feet shone as the finest bronze glows in the furnace. His voice had the sound of a great waterfall, and I saw that in His right hand He held seven stars. A sharp two-edged sword came out of His mouth, and His face was ablaze like the sun at its height.

       

       

      At the same time, we know that in heaven, Jesus will still bear the scars of His suffering on this earth. After Jesus rose from the dead in His glorified body, His body uniquely retained the nail prints in His hands and the scar on his side (John 20:24-29).

       

      In Zechariah 12:10, Jesus speaks prophetically of the day when the Jewish people, turned to Him, see Him in glory: “Then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.”

       

       

      In Zechariah 13:6 continues the thought: “And one will say to him, "What are these wounds between your arms?" Then he will answer, "Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends."

      We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is…

       

      John made the connection between seeing Him as He is and our transformation to be like Jesus. We can say that the same principle is at work right now. To the extent that you see Jesus as He is, to that same extent, you are like Him in your life.

       

       

      Verse 3 tells us Knowing our destiny purifies our lives right now.

       

      And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

       

       

      Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself…

       

      Knowing our eternal destiny, and living in this hope will purify our lives. When we know our end is to be more like Jesus, it makes us want to be more like Jesus right now.

       

       

      Having the anticipation of being with Jesus, of the soon coming of Jesus Christ, can have a marvelous purifying effect in our lives. It makes us want to be ready, to be serving Him now, to be pleasing Him now.

       

       

      This hope in Him…

       

      Ultimately, our hope is NOT in heaven or in our own glory in heaven. Our hope is in JESUS. We must NEVER set our hope on other things; not on a relationship, on success, on mutual fund, on your health, on your possessions, or simply just on our self. Our only real hope is in JESUS.

       

       

       

      Verses 4-5 tells us The nature of sin and Jesus' work in removing our sin.

       

      Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.”

       

      Sin is lawlessness…

       

      John defines sin at its most basic root. It is a disregard for the law of God, which is inherently a disregard for the law Maker, God Himself.

       

       

      We often fail in the battle against sin because we will NOT call it for what it is: lawlessness, an offense against the Great Law Maker, God.

       

      Instead, we say things like "If I've done anything wrong …" or "If mistakes were made …" and so forth. Call it for what it is: sin and lawlessness. The first step towards holy living is to recognize the true nature and wickedness of sin.

       

      You know that He was manifested to take away our sins…

       

      John here defined the mission of Jesus Christ at its most basic root- to take away our sins.

       

      REMEMBER IN LUKE 1:21, The angel Gabriel promised Joseph regarding the ministry of Jesus: “You shall call His name JESUS, for He shall save His people from their sin.”

       

      1. Jesus takes away our sin in the sense of taking the penalty of our sin. This is immediately accomplished when one comes by faith to Jesus.

       

      2. Jesus takes away our sin in the sense of taking the power of sin away. This is an ongoing work in the lives of those who walk after Jesus.

       

      3. Jesus takes away our sin in the sense of taking the presence of sin away. This is a work that will be completed when we pass into eternity and are glorified with Jesus.

       

       

      This is the work of Jesus in our life. It is a work we must respond to, but it is His work in us.

       

      We can NOT take away the penalty of our own sin. NO priest, NO religion, NO works, NO good living, NO Pastor, NO medium, NO New Age ideology can do it. It is IMPOSSIBLE to cleanse ourselves in this way. We must instead receive the work of Jesus in taking away our sin.

       

      We can NOT take away the power of sin in our lives. This is His work in us, and we respond to that work. Someone who comes to Jesus does not have to clean themselves up first, but they must be willing to have Him take away their sin.

       

      We can NOT take away the presence of sin in our lives. This is His work in us, ultimately accomplished when we will be glorified with Him.

       

      Jesus had NO SIN to take away; therefore He could take away our sin, taking it upon Himself.

       

       

      Verse 6 tells us Abiding in sin or abiding in God.

       

      Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.”

       

      Whoever abides in Him does not sin…

       

      Since sin is lawlessness, a disregard for God (1 John 3:4), and since Jesus came to take away our sins (1 John 3:5), and since in Jesus there is no sin (1 John 3:5), then to abide in Him means to not sin.

       

       

      It is VERY IMPORTANT to understand what the Bible means- and when it does not mean- when it says DOES NOT SIN.

       

      According to the verb tense John uses, does not sin means does not live a lifestyle of habitual sin.

       

      John has already told us in 1 John 1:8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

       

      In 1 John 1:8, the grammar indicates John is speaking about occasional acts of sin.

       

      The grammar of 1 John 3:6 indicates that John is speaking of a settled, continued lifestyle of sin. John is not teaching here the possibility of sinless perfection.

      It tells us that a life style of habitual sin is inconsistent with a life of abiding in Jesus Christ. A true Christian can only be temporarily in a life style of sin.

       

       

      Paul's teaching in Romans 6 is a great example of this principle. He shows us that when a person comes to Jesus, when their sins are forgiven and God's grace is extended to them, they are radically changed- the old man is dead, and the new man lives. So it is utterly incompatible for a new creation in Christ to be comfortable in habitual sin; such a place can only be temporary for the Christian.

       

       

      In some ways, the question is not "do you sin or not?"

       

      We each sin.

       

      The question is, "How do you react when you sin?

       

      Do you give into the pattern of sin, and let it dominate your lifestyle?

      Or do you humbly confess your sin, and do battle against it with the power Jesus can give?"

       

      This is why it is so grieving to see Christians make excuses for their sin, and not humbly confess them. Unless the sin is dealt with squarely, it will contribute to a pattern of sin that may soon become their lifestyle- perhaps a secret lifestyle, but a lifestyle nonetheless.

       

      What is important is that we never sign a "peace treaty" with sin.

       

      We never wink at its presence or excuse it by saying, "Everybody has their own sinful areas, and this is mine. Jesus understands." This completely goes against everything we are in Jesus, and the work He has done in our life.

       

      Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him…

       

      To live a lifestyle of habitual sin is to demonstrate that you have not seen Him (in a present sense of the ultimate "seeing Him mentioned in 1 John 3:2), and that you have not known Him. There are some people so great and so wonderful that seeing them or knowing them will change your life forever. Jesus is that kind of person.

       

      Verse 7 tells us Righteousness WILL show in a person's life.

       

      Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.”

       

       

      This tells us that John wrote against a deception threatening the Christians of his day.

       

      John did not allow us to separate a religious righteousness from a life of righteousness. If we are made righteous by our faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:22), it will be seen by our righteous lives too.

       

       

      Apparently, there were those who taught that you could be righteous before God with NO evidence of righteousness in your life- John is rebuking this idea.

       

      Charles Spurgeon said it well: "The grace that does not change my life will not save my soul."

       

       

      Verses 8-9 tells us The root of sin and the root of righteousness.

       

      He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.”

       

       

      People who are SETTLED AND CONTENT in habitual sin are NOT the children of God- they are of the devil, and Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil and free us from our bondage to the devil.

       

      SPURGEON says it well, "Well, labor under no mistake, sir. 'He that committeth sin is of the devil.' It is no use making excuses and apologies; if you are a lover of sin, you shall go where sinners go. If you, who live after this fashion, say that you have believed in the precious blood of Christ, I do not believe you, sir. If you had a true faith in that precious blood, you would hate sin. If you dare to say you are trusting in the atonement while you live in sin, you lie, sir; you do not trust in the atonement; for where there is a real faith in the atoning sacrifice, it purifies the man, and makes him hate the sin which shed the Redeemer's blood."

       

       

      John gave us one reason why Jesus came in 1 John 3:5 (He was manifested to take away our sins). Now, John gives us another reason: that He might destroy the works of the devil.

       

      We can just see the heart of God grieving over the destruction the devil has wrought over this earth, and grieving that man has allowed the devil to do it all. Jesus came to put a stop to all that by overcoming the devil completely by His life, His suffering, His death, and His resurrection.

       

       

      Note the purpose of Jesus...Not to neutralize them, not to alleviate them, or not to limit them. Jesus wants to destroy the works of the devil!

       

       

      Many people are unnecessarily afraid of the devil, fearing what he could do against them. If they only knew that as we walk in Jesus, the devil is afraid of us! As we walk in Jesus, we help in seeing Him destroy the works of the devil!

       

       

      Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him…

       

      The change from being of the devil to being children of God comes as we are born of God; when this happens, our old nature, patterned after the instinctive rebellion of Adam, dies- and we are given a new nature, patterned after the instinctive obedience of Jesus Christ.

       

       

      John here is simply emphasizing what it means to be born again. It means that a change comes into our lives- it is a change that will be worked out into every area of our lives as we grown in Christ, but it is a real, observable change.

       

       

      EPHESIANS 4:22&24, is the same message Paul preached, saying that as “Believers we are to put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and that we are to put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”

       

       

       

      Verse 10 tells us TWO ESSENTIALS: righteous conduct and love for the brethren.

       

      In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.”

       

      But here, he makes it plain: some are children of God and some are children of the devil.

       

      WE NOTICE...John does NOT spend time trying to prove or explain the existence of the devil. He KNOWS the reality of the devil is a Biblical fact. Some today lack John's wisdom and either deny the devil's existence or they are obsessed with the devil.

       

      Some might think John is far too harsh in saying some are children of the devil, supposing perhaps that John did NOT love people as Jesus did.

       

      But Jesus called people children of the devil also in John 8:41-45.

       

      In this passage, Jesus' point was important, establishing the principle that our spiritual parentage determines our nature and our destiny. If we are born again, and have God as our Father, it will show in our nature and destiny.

       

      But if our father is Satan or Adam, it will also show in our nature and destiny- just as it showed in these adversaries of Jesus.

       

      Both of these are essential. Righteousness without love makes one a religious Pharisee, and love without righteousness makes one a partner in evil.

       

       

      How do righteousness and love "balance"?

       

      They don't.

      We are never to love at the expense of righteousness, and are never to be righteous at the expense of love. We are NOT looking for a balance between the two, because they are not opposites. Real love is the greatest righteousness, and real righteousness is the greatest love.

       

       

      Love and righteousness are each most perfectly displayed in the nature of Jesus. He was both righteous, and completely loving.

       

       

      Verse 11 tells us The need to love one another.

       

      For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.”

       

       

      The basic Christian message has not changed. Perhaps some have thought that because Christians talk about a "personal relationship with Jesus Christ" that it is only us and Jesus who matter. But how we treat other Christians and how we love one another - really matters before God.

       

       

      Verse 12 tells us An example of hatred: CAIN.

       

      Not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother's righteous.”

       

       

      As a negative example, John presents Cain, who was not right with God (his works were evil) and who hated his brother. When there are two children of God who are both right with God, there WILL be love.

       

      Cain is a good example of the failure to love.

       

      We can presume that Cain had a godly upbringing that should have equipped him to love, but CAIN CHOSE NOT TO LOVE.

       

      Cain's disobedience came from a lack of faith (Hebrews 11:4) which resulted in first disobedience, then hatred.

      1. Cain's disobedience and hatred was based in pride (Genesis 4:5).

       

      2. Cain's disobedience and hatred made him miserable (Genesis 4:5).

       

      3. Cain refused the warning God gave him, and gave into the sin of hatred (Genesis 4:6-7).

       

      4. Cain's sin of hatred led to action against the one he hated (Genesis 4:8).

       

      5. Cain was evasive about his sin of hatred, and tried to hide it. But God found him out (Genesis 4:9).

       

       

      Verses 13-15 tells us Love as the evidence of the NEW birth.

       

      Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”

       

       

      We should NOT be surprised when the world hates us; but we should be surprised when there is hatred among the body of Christ.

       

       

      We KNOW that we have passed from death to life…

       

      A love for the people of God is a basic sign of being born again. If this love is not evident in our lives, our salvation can be questioned. If it is present, it gives us assurance.

       

      We can know we have passed from death to life by our love for other Christians. The place of hatred, of jealousy, of bitterness you find yourself in is a place of death. You need to pass from death over to life.

       

       

      This means knowing TWO things.

       

      FIRST, we know that we were dead.

      SECOND, we know that we have passed to life from death.

       

      To pass from death to life is the reverse of the normal. We all expect to pass from life to death; but in Jesus, we can turn it around.

       

       

      To HATE our brother is to murder him in our hearts. Though we may not carry out the action (through cowardice or fear of punishment), we wish that person dead. Or, by ignoring another person, we may treat them as if they were dead. Hatred can be shown passively or actively.

       

      BARKER says it well, "In the heart there is no difference; to hate is to despise, to cut off from relationship, and murder is simply the fulfillment of that attitude."

       

       

      SPURGEON says, "Every man who hates another has the venom of murder in his veins. He may never actually take the deadly weapons into his hand and destroy life; but if he wishes that his brother were out of the way, if he would be glad if no such person existed, that feeling amounts to murder in the judgment of God."

       

       

      There are many people for whom being a Christian is a "none of the above" sort of thing. They consider themselves Christians because they are not Moslems, or Jewish, or Buddhists, or atheists. But being a Christian is never a "none of the above" kind of thing.

       

      Being a Christian is more than saying, "I am a Christian." There are in fact some who claim to be Christians who are not. How can we know if we are one of these? John's reply has been constant and simple.

       

      There are THREE TESTS to measure the proof of a genuine Christian:

       

      1. the truth test...If we believe in what the Bible teaches as true.

       

      2. the love test...If we show the love of Jesus to others.

       

      3. the moral test...If our conduct has been changed and is becoming more like Jesus.

       

      Then our claim to be a Christian can be proven true.

       

       

       

      Verse 16 tells us The objective reality of love and how it shows in our life.

       

      By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”

       

       

      What is love?

       

      How we define love is important.

       

      If we define love the wrong way, then everyone passes, or no one passes, the love test.

       

      To understand the Biblical idea of love, we should begin by understanding the vocabulary of love among the ancient Greeks, who gave us the original language of the New Testament.

       

      1. EROS was one word for love. It described, as we might guess from the word itself, erotic love. It referred to sexual love.

       

      2. STORGE was the second word for love. It referred to family love, the kind of love there is between a parent and child, or between family members in general.

       

      3. PHILIA is the third word for love. It spoke of a brotherly friendship and affection. It is the love of deep friendship and partnership. It might be described as the highest love that is capable of without God's help.

       

      4. AGAPE is the fourth word for love. It described a love that loves without changing. It is a self-giving love that gives without demanding or expecting re-payment. It is love so great that it can be given to the unlovable or unappealing. It is love that loves even when it is rejected. Agape love gives and loves because it wants to; it does not demand or expect repayment from the love given- it gives because it loves, it does not love in order to receive.

       

      Many people confuse the four loves, and end up extremely hurt as a result. Often a person will tell another, "I love you" meaning one kind of love, but the other person believes they mean another kind of love. Often a man has told a woman, "I love you," when really he had a selfish love towards her. Sure, there were strong feelings in the heart- but they were feelings that wanted something from the other person.

       

       

      Real love isn't merely "felt" as an inward feeling; it is also shown by demonstration- and the ultimate demonstration was the giving of Jesus on the cross.

       

      The exact same idea was expressed by Paul in Romans 5:8: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

       

      It is NOT the death of Jesus in itself that is the ultimate demonstration of love; it is the death of Jesus together with what it does FOR US that shows the epitome of love.

       

       

      There is a real sense in which we would not know what love was all about if not for the work of Jesus on the cross. We have an innate ability to pervert the true meaning of love, and pursue all kinds of things under the guise of looking for love.

       

       

      MANY LOVE NATURE AND POINT TO IT AS PROOF OF GOD’S LOVE. Nature can teach us many things about God. It can show us His wisdom, His intelligence, and His mighty power. But nature, in and of itself, does NOT teach us that God is a God of love. We needed the death of God the Son, Jesus Christ, to ultimately demonstrate that.

       

       

      And we also…

       

      Since we are sent with the same mandate Jesus was sent with, we must demonstrate our love by laying down our lives for the brethren. Jesus' words As the Father sent Me, I also send you (John 20:21) seem to be ringing in John's ears.

       

      John also reminds us that love, and its demonstration, often involves sacrifice- the laying down of our lives for others. Wishing to be more loving WILL NOT do, because it WILL NOT sacrifice where it is necessary.

       

      Simply put, John is telling us to do the same thing we read of in Philippians 2:3-4: “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”

       

      Verses 17-18 tells us What it means to love in real life.

       

      But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”

       

       

      John will not allow us to merely talk about love; real love is demonstrated in actions (though it is also often evident in our feelings).

       

       

      And shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? If you have the capability to meet a brother's GENUINE NEEDS, NOT WANTS, BUT NEEDS, and do nothing to meet that need, then how can you say you love that brother? How does the love of God abide in you?

       

       

      What is the limit to this kind of love? The only limit is the one that love itself imposes. When giving to a person, meeting their perceived or immediate need, does them harm instead of good- then the loving thing to do is to not give them what they ask for, but to give them what they really need instead.

       

       

      Verses 19-21 tells us The assurance this love brings.

       

      And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.”

       

      Assure our hearts…

       

      When we see this love at work in our lives, we can KNOW that we are of the truth- and this brings assurance to our hearts before God, that we are standing in Him.

       

      Assurance is essential- who wants to wait until it is too late to know if they are really saved or not?

       

      Our assurance is TWO-FOLD.

       

      FIRST, God already knows everything about you and He loves you, He cares for you, He desires you.

       

      SECOND, God knows all things, and knows who we truly are in Jesus Christ. If we are born again, than the real self is the one created in the image of Jesus Christ.

       

       

      But what if we have been walking in love, yet our heart STILL condemns us before God? John assures us that God is greater than our heart, and so reminds us that we can NOT base our relationship with Him purely on how we FEEL AT ANY GIVEN MOMENT in His presence.

       

       

      Condemnation can well up inside us that has NOTHING to do with our standing before God.

       

      It may be the work of the enemy of our souls (who, according to Revelation 12:10 accuses the brethren), or the work of an over-active conscience. At those times, we trust in what God's Word says about our standing, NOT how we feel about it.

       

      Yet, when we are in fellowship with God, and our heart does not condemn us, we know that we can have confidence toward God and our standing with Him.

       

      i. If someone is in true fellowship with God- not deceiving themselves, as mentioned in 1 John 1:6- then the assurance that comes to their heart while fellowshipping with God is a precious thing.

       

      It is what Paul spoke about in Romans 8:16- “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”

       

      How precious is the confidence we can have in Jesus Christ! There is such a thing as a false confidence, a confidence in self or in illusions; but there is also a glorious confidence we can have in Jesus.

       

       

       

      Verse 22 tells us Fellowship in God's love means the assurance of answered prayer.

       

      And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.”

       

      The person who walks in the kind of obedience and love John speaks of will also experience answered prayer. This is NOT because their love and obedience has earned them what they ask, but their love and obedience comes from fellowship- the key to answered prayer.

       

      John seems to be quoting Jesus' idea from John 15:7- “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”

       

       

      Keeping God's commandments is important to answered prayer. But we should make a distinction between the prayer of the man who is saved, and the cry of the heart seeking mercy from God in Jesus. For the sinner who comes to Jesus in prayer, seeking mercy, the only requirement is sincerity of heart. God does not demand our obedience BEFORE He saves us.

       

       

      The key to prayer is being in such close fellowship with God that we ask for the things that are on His heart; we take up His agenda with our requests and intercession.

       

      The spirit of true prayer is Thy will be done, not My will be done- we turn to prayer to call into action what God desires; even knowing that some of the things God desires will directly and personally benefit me.

      The person who is in fellowship with God will want to do those things that are pleasing in His sight. We should have hearts that just want to please the Lord in everything that we do.

       

      It is sobering to look at our lives and see how much we do to please ourselves and how much we do to please the Lord. We should NOT think that the two are opposites; God is glorified when we enjoy His goodness and His good things. Yet, the godly life will have special focus on just pleasing God, even if it does NOT particularly please us at the moment.

       

       

      Verses 23-24 tells us The commandment of Jesus.

       

      And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.”

       

       

      The idea of keeping His commandments in the previous verse led John to speak specifically about what His commandment is. Simply, that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another.

       

      Here, John does not refer to these two aspects of obedience as two commandments, but as one commandment.

       

      Grammatically, he may not be officially correct, but spiritually, he is right on. These two are one. When Jesus spoke of the greatest commandment, You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, He added another saying: And the second is like it: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:37-39) There are two commandments, but like one another.

       

      Again, John seems to have quoted Jesus' idea from John 8:29- “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” The first commandment and the greatest work we can do, is to BELIEVE on Jesus.

       

       

      This is not simply believing that Jesus is, or even believing that He did certain things such as die on a cross. To believe on the name of Jesus means to put your belief on Jesus in the sense of trusting in Him, relying on Him, and clinging to Jesus. It is NOT about intellectual knowledge or understanding, it is about TRUST.

       

      The second commandment is also a quoting of Jesus' idea from John 15:12- “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” The love of the brethren is not an option for some Christians; it is a commandment for all.

       

       

      Romans 8:9 tells us that anyone who belongs to Jesus has the Spirit in them; that indwelling Holy Spirit gives us assuran

    • October 20, 2016 11:11 PM EDT
    • Amen Faithy well said !

    • October 20, 2016 10:13 PM EDT
    • I love this whole teaching, and especially I like these two message (copied from your lesson)

      "When we love God and keep His commandments..."

      "His commandments are not burdensome when we see how wise and good the commandments of God are. They are gifts from Him to show us the best and most fulfilling life possible. God's commands are like the "manufacture's handbook" for life; He tells us what to do because He knows how we work best. God's commands are not given to bind or to pain us, or because God is like an irritated old man." 

    • October 20, 2016 9:54 PM EDT
    • 1 JOHN 5

       

      OPENS WITH...BORN OF GOD AND BELIEVING IN THE SON OF GOD

       

       

      Verse 1 tells us Being born of God is the source of love.

       

      Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.”

       

      Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God…

       

      John has often mentioned being born of God (as in 1 John 2:29, 3:9, and 4:7). Here he tells us how one is born of God: whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ. This means believing that Jesus is their Messiah, not just the Messiah in the generic sense.

       

      John's great emphasis has been on love, but he never wants anyone to believe they earn salvation by loving others. We are born of God when we put our trust on Jesus and His saving work in our lives.

       

      We also understand that John was not talking about a mere intellectual assent to Jesus being Messiah (as even the demons might have, as described in James 2:19). Instead, he means a trust in and reliance on Jesus as Messiah.

      Additionally, John makes it plain we must believe Jesus is the Christ. There are many, of a new-age sort of thinking, who believe Jesus had the "Christ-spirit" - as they claim also Confucius, Mohammed, Buddha and certain moderns did. But we would never say Jesus "has" the Christ - Jesus is the Christ.

       

      Everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him…

       

      Being born of God also has these two effects. It is assumed that we will love God (Him who begot us), because we are born again into His family. But it is also assumed that we will love others who are begotten of Him- our brothers and sisters in Christ.

       

      This is the COMMON ground of Christians- not race, not class, not culture, not gender, not language, nor any other thing except for a common birth in Jesus Christ, and the common Lordship of Jesus.

       

      To love all others in the family of God means that you do not limit your love to your own denomination or group, to your own social or financial status, to your own race, to your own political perspective, or to your own exact theological persuasion. If any of these things mean more to us than our common salvation, and the common Lordship of Jesus Christ, then something is very wrong.

       

      Parents are exasperated, and even disgusted, when they see their children fight and seem to hate one another. How must God feel when He sees His children fight among themselves?

       

       

      Verses 2-3 tells us The demonstration of God's love.

       

      By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.”

       

      By this we know that we love the children of God…

       

      Just as much as our love for the people of God reflects our love for God (as expressed in 1 John 3:10, 17), so our love and obedience to God is a demonstration of love to the body of Christ.

       

      It is sometimes said that the best thing a father can do for his children is to love his wife and their mother. Even so, the first way for a child of God to love his brothers and sisters in Christ is to love God and to obey Him. And, if you love the parent, you will love the child. It all works together.

       

      When we love God and keep His commandments…

       

      A Christian who does not love God or keep His commandments is of little effective use in the body of Christ. This is true even though he or she might be involved in much ministry and hold an official position of service in the church.

       

      When our love and obedience for God grows cold, we do not only harm ourselves- we harm our brothers and sisters also. The damage is done, at the very least, because we are a "drag" on the spiritual progress of God's people.

       

      If we will not love and obey God for our own sake, then we should at least do it out of love for others.

       

      For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments…

       

      To love God is also to keep His commandments. The one who says he loves God, yet walks in a lifestyle of conscious disobedience is like the believer who says they walk in fellowship with God, yet walks in darkness (as in 1 John 1:6)- they are lying.

       

      Surely, John had the words of Jesus in mind: If you love Me, keep My commandments. (John 14:15)

       

      His commandments are not burdensome…

       

      Some Christians feel very burdened by the commandments of God, yet John instists that they are not burdensome.

       

      His commandments are not burdensome when we see how wise and good the commandments of God are. They are gifts from Him to show us the best and most fulfilling life possible. God's commands are like the "manufacture's handbook" for life; He tells us what to do because He knows how we work best. God's commands are not given to bind or to pain us, or because God is like an irritated old man.

       

      His commandments are not burdensome because when we are born again, we are given new hearts - hearts which by instinct wish to please God. As part of the New Covenant, the law of God has been written on the heart of every believer (Jeremiah 31:33).

       

      His commandments are not burdensome when we compare them to the religious rules men make up. John is not trying to say obedience is an easy thing. If that were so, then it would be easy for us to not sin, and John has already acknowledged that we all do sin (1 John 1:8). John is thinking of the contrast Jesus made between the religious requirements of the religious leaders of His day, and the simplicity of loving God and following Him. Jesus said all the rules and regulations of the Scribes and Pharisees were as heavy burdens (Matthew 23:4). In contrast, Jesus said of Himself, My yoke is easy and My burden is light (Matthew 11:30). Instead of the burdensome requirement to keep hundreds of little rules and regulations, Jesus simply says to us, "Love Me and love my people, and you will walk in obedience."

       

      His commandments are not burdensome when we really love God. When we love God, we will want to obey Him and please Him. When you love someone, it seems little trouble to go to a lot of difficulty to help them or please them. You enjoy doing it, though if you had to do it for an enemy, you would be complaining all the time. Just as the seven years of Jacob's service for Laban seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her (Genesis 29:18), so obeying God's commands does not seem a burden when we really love Him. An old proverb says, "Love feels no loads."

       

       

      Verses 4-5 tells us Being born of God is the source of victory.

       

      For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world; our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”

       

       

      Whatever is born of God overcomes the world…

       

      John begins with a principle that is so simple, yet so powerful- if we are born of God, we will overcome the world. The idea that anything born of God could be defeated by this world was strange to John and it should be strange to us.

      This is the victory that has overcome the world; our faith: Since believing on Him is the key to being born of God (1 John 5:1), the key to victory is faith. Not only an initial, "come-to-the-altar-and-get-saved" faith, but a consistently abiding faith, an ongoing reliance and trust upon Jesus Christ.

       

       

      John repeats the thought with the words, Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? The life of abiding faith and trust in Jesus Christ is the life that overcomes the pressures and temptations of the world.

       

       

      Who is he who overcomes the world…

       

      This tells us we overcome primarily because of who we are in Christ, not because of what we do. We overcome because we are born of God, and we are born of God because we believe that Jesus is the Son of God- again, not in a mere intellectual sense, but we put our lives on the fact that Jesus is the Son of God for us.

       

       

      How is it we can become world-overcomers in Jesus?

       

      1. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33) Because Jesus has overcome the world, as we abide in Him, we are overcomers in Jesus.

       

      2. John said of those who were growing in their walk with Jesus, you have overcome the wicked one (1 John 2:13-14). As we walk with Jesus and grow in that walk, we will overcome our spiritual enemies.

       

      3. Overcomers have a special place in the world to come. Jesus promised to him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne (Revelation 3:21).

       

      4. Overcomers overcome because the blood of Jesus overcomes Satan's accusations, the word of their testimony overcomes Satan's deceptions, and loving not their lives overcomes Satan's violence (Revelation 12:11).

       

       

      Verses 6-8 tells us Precisely identifying who Jesus, the Son of God is, the One on Whom we must believe.

       

      This is He who came by water and blood; Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.”

       

       

      He who came by water and blood…

       

      John makes it clear that the Jesus he speaks of is not the Gnostic, "phantom" Jesus who was so holy He that he had nothing to do with this world. The Jesus we must believe on is the Jesus who came by water and blood; the Jesus who was part of a real, material, flesh-and-blood earth.

       

      John returns to a theme he started with in the beginning of the letter: the real, historical foundation for our trust in Jesus Christ. In 1 John 1:1-3 the emphasis was on what was seen and heard and looked upon and handled - real stuff, real people, real things. Just like water and blood are real, so was the coming of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

       

      He who came by water and blood…

       

      Some believe that water speaks of our own baptism, and blood speaks of receiving communion. Yet, if this is the case, it is does NOT add up with the historical perspective John had when he wrote "came by water and blood." He seems to write of something that happened in the past, not something that is ongoing.

       

      Others believe the water and blood describes the water and blood which flowed from Jesus' side when He was stabbed with a spear on the cross. Yet, if this was John's meaning, it is a little unclear how it can be said that Jesus came by water and blood.

       

      Still others believe the water spoke of Jesus' first birth, being born of the "waters of the womb," and blood speaks of His death. If this is the case, John would be essentially writing, "Jesus was born like a man and died like a man. He was completely human, not some super-spiritual being who had no real contact with the material world." The Gnostics in John's day thought of Jesus as just such a super-spiritual being.

       

       

      Probably the best explanation (though there are good points to some of the other ideas) is the oldest recorded Christian understanding of this passage (first recorded by the ancient Christian Tertullian). Most likely, John means the water of Jesus' baptism, and the blood of His crucifixion.

       

      When Jesus was baptized, He was not baptized in repentance for His own sin (He had none), but because He wanted to completely identify with sinful humanity. When He came by water, it was His way of saying, "I am one of you."

       

      When Jesus died on the cross, He did not die because He had to (death could have no power over Him), but He laid down His life to identify with sinful humanity and to save us from our sin. When He came by … blood it was to stand in our place as a guilty sinner, and to take the punishment our sin deserved.

       

      This explanation also probably connects the best with what Jesus said in John 3:5: Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. The being born of water in this passage speaks of the cleansing waters of baptism.

       

      Some taught (and SADLY AND WRONGLY still teach) that Jesus received the "Christ Spirit" at His baptism, and the "Christ Spirit" left Jesus before He died on the cross (for them, it is unthinkable that God could hang on a cross). But John insisted that Jesus did not only come by the water of baptism, but also by the blood of the cross. He was just as much the Son of God on the cross as He was when the Father declared, You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased (Luke 3:22) at the baptism of Jesus.

       

      We may find it difficult to relate to this ancient manner of trying avoid the offense of the cross by saying "It really wasn't the Son of God who hung on the cross." But in our modern age we have our own ways of trying to avoid the offense of the cross. Some deny Jesus was God at all, and just think of Him as a "noble martyr." Some trivialize the cross, making it a mere ornament in jewelry and pop fashion trends. Others replace the cross with a self-help, self-esteem gospel of psychology, or use a crossless evangelism.

       

      It is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth…

       

      The Holy Spirit also bears witness to the true person of Jesus, even as Jesus promised He would (He will testify of Me … He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you, John 15:26 and 16:14). The consistent message of the Holy Spirit to us is, "Here is Jesus."

       

      The Spirit, the water, and the blood…

       

      These are ALL consistent witnesses in telling us who Jesus is. We can know that these three agree as one. It is NOT as if the Spirit tells us one thing, the water another, and the blood says something else. Jesus' life, death, and the Spirit all tell us who Jesus is, and they tell us it in agreement.

       

      A few words on this text, regarding the notes in the margins or footnotes of many Bibles regarding 1 John 5:7-8.

       

      The New King James Bible makes a marginal note on 1 John 5:7-8, stating that the words in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness on the earth are words that are not included in the vast majority of New Testament Greek manuscripts.

       

      The words in question occur in NO Greek manuscript until the fourteenth century, except for one eleventh century and one twelfth century manuscript in which they have been added to the margin by another hand.

       

      In the first few hundred years of Christianity, there were MANY theological debates regarding the exact nature and understanding of THE TRINITY.

       

      In all of those debates, no one ever once quoted these words in question from 1 John 5:7-8. If they were originally written by John, it seems very strange that no early Christian would have quoted them. In fact, though none of the ancient Christians quote from this verse, several of them do quote from 1 John 5:6 and 1 John 5:8. Why skip verse seven, especially if it is such a great statement of the Trinity?

       

      In all ancient translations - Syriac, Arabic, Ethiopian, Coptic, Sahidic, Armenian, Slavonian, and so forth, this disputed passage is not included. Only in the Latin Vulgate does it appear.

      It is probably best to regard these words as the work of an over-zealous copyist who thought that the New Testament needed a little help with the doctrine of the Trinity, and he figured this was a good place to do it. Or perhaps the words just started as notes written in the margin of a manuscript, but the next person who copied the manuscript thought they must belong in the text itself.

       

       

      While there is no explicit statement of the Trinity in the statement (such as this), it is woven into the fabric of the New Testament- we find the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit working together as equal, yet distinct Persons (Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19; Luke 1:35; John 1:33-34 14:16, 26; 16:13-15; 20:21-22; Acts 2:33-38; Romans 15:16; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; 13:14; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 3:14-16; 4:4-6; 1 Peter 1:2).

       

      How did these words ever get included, if they are not in any ancient Greek manuscripts?

       

      INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH...The words were included in ancient Latin versions of the Bible, and in the year 1520, a great scholar named Erasmus produced a new, accurate edition of the Bible in ancient Greek. When people studied Erasmus' Bible, and compared it to the Latin version, they noticed he left out this passage, and they criticized him for it. When he was criticized, Erasmus said, "You won't find these words in any ancient Greek manuscript. If you find me one Greek manuscript with these words in them, I'll include it in my next printing." Someone "discovered" a manuscript with the words in them, but it wasn't an ancient manuscript at all. Erasmus knew this, but had already promised to add the words if someone found a manuscript with the words, so he reluctantly added the words in his 1522 edition. However, he also added a footnote, saying he thought that the new Greek manuscript had been written on purpose, just to embarrass him. That manuscript (Codex Montfortii) is on display in the library of Trinity College, Dublin.

       

      The "Johannine Comma" (or mistakenly, "Johannian Comma"), as this passage is sometimes called is in only three Greek manuscripts. The Codex Guelpherbytanus, which was written in the seventeenth century. We know this manuscript is from the seventeenth century because it contains a quote from a book written in the seventeenth century. The Codex Ravianus or Berolinensis, which is a copy of a text printed in 1514. We know it was copied from that text because it repeats the same typographical mistakes the 1514 text has. The third manuscript is the one "discovered" in the days of Erasmus, the Codex Montfortii.

       

      But since the Greek text of the New Testament Erasmus printed became one of the Greek texts used to make the King James Bible, these added words became part of the King James Bible.

       

       

      Passages like this give us no reason to fear that our New Testaments are unreliable. In the entire New Testament, there are only 50 passages which have any sort of question regarding the reliability of the text, and none of those are the sole foundation for any Christian doctrine or belief. If 50 passages sound like a lot, see it this way: no more than one-one thousandth of the text is in question at all.

       

      In addition, when such a passage like this is inserted, the textual evidence from the manuscripts makes it stick out like a sore thumb. This gives us assurance, not doubt.

       

      Evangelical Christians may not know much about these passages, but many religious people who do NOT believe the Trinity (such as a Jehovah's Witness) do know the textual issues around this passage. Therefore if you bring up this verse to support your position, they will show you how this passage does NOT belong in the Bible. It may get some thinking, "Well, maybe the Trinity is NOT true. Maybe Jesus is NOT God. Maybe it's just the invention of people who would try to change the Bible." This can do some real damage.

       

      So a passage like this also warns us that when it comes to such matters, God does NOT need our help. The New Testament is fine just like God inspired it. It does NOT need our improvements. Though the teaching of these added words is true, they should NOT be here, because we should not add our words to the Bible and claim they are God's words.

       

       

      The text of 1 John 5:7-8 should more accurately read: “For there are three that bear witness: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.

       

       

      Verses 9-10 tells us The witness of men and the witness of God.

       

      If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son. He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son.”

       

      If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater…

       

      Everybody, everyday, receives the witness of men regarding various things. Therefore, we should have much MORE confidence in the witness of God when He tells us who Jesus is.

       

      John does NOT want us to believe with blind faith. Instead, our faith is to be based on reliable testimony. And we have the most reliable testimony possible, the witness of God.

       

      He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself…

       

      When we believe on Jesus, we receive the Holy Spirit as an inner confirmation of our standing before God. Romans 8:16 puts it like this: The Spirit Himself bears witness with our Spirit that we are children of God.

       

       

      He who does not believe God has made Him a liar…

       

      When we refuse to believe on Jesus, we reject the testimony God has given of His Son. Therefore, we call God a liar with our unbelief.

       

      What if one says, "Well, I want to believe, but I can't." Spurgeon answers such a one: "Hearken, O unbeliever, you have said, 'I cannot believe,' but it would be more honest if you had said, 'I will not believe.' The mischief lies there. Your unbelief is your fault, not your misfortune. It is a disease, but it is also a crime: it is a terrible source of misery to you, but it is justly so, for it is an atrocious offense against the God of truth."

       

      What if one says, "Well, I'm trying to believe, and I'll keep on trying." Spurgeon speaks to this heart: "Did I not hear some one say, 'Ah, sir, I have been trying to believe for years.' Terrible words! They make the case still worse. Imagine that after I had made a statement, a man should declare that he did not believe me, in fact, he could not believe me though he would like to do so. I should feel aggrieved certainly; but it would make matters worse if he added, 'In fact I have been for years trying to believe you, and I cannot do it.' What does he mean by that? What can he mean but that I am so incorrigibly false, and such a confirmed liar, that though he would like to give me some credit, he really cannot do it? With all the effort he can make in my favour, he finds it quite beyond his power to believe me? Now, a man who says, 'I have been trying to believe in God,' in reality says just that with regard to the Most High … The talk about trying to believe is a mere pretence. But whether pretence or no, let me remind you that there is no text in the Bible which says, 'Try and believe,' but it says 'Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.' He is the Son of God, he has proved it by his miracles, he died to save sinners, therefore trust him; he deserves implicit trust and child-like confidence. Will you refuse him these? Then you have maligned his character and given him the lie."

       

       

      Such rejection of God's testimony over time can lead to a place where a person is permanently hardened against God, to the place where they may be one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, as Jesus warned in Mark 3:28-29. What hope can there be for the one who persists in hearing what God says, and calling Him a liar?

       

      Verses 11-13 tells us Assurance of life in the Son.

       

      And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.”

       

      And this is the testimony: John, in the previous verse, just told us how serious the matter of receiving the testimony of God is. Now he will tell us what this testimony is.

       

      That God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son…

       

      This is God's essential message to man; that eternal life is a gift from God, received in Jesus Christ. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. It is all about Jesus, and living in Jesus is the evidence eternal life.

      These things I have written to you who believe … that you may know that you have eternal life…

       

      In stating the message so plainly, John hopes to persuade us to believe. Even if we already believe, he wants us to know that you have eternal life, so we can have this assurance, and so that you may continue to believe.

       

       

      The need to hear the simple gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ does not end once one embraces the gospel. We benefit by it, are assured by it, and are helped to continue in it as we hear it and embrace it over and over again.

       

      That you may know that you have eternal life…

       

      John's confidence is impressive. He wants us to know that we HAVE eternal life. We can only know this if our salvation rests in Jesus and not in our own performance. If it depends on me, then on a good day I'm saved and on a bad day, I don't really know. But if it depends on what Jesus has done for me, then I can KNOW.

       

       

      Verses 14-15 tells us Confidence in prayer.

       

      Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”

       

       

      This is the confidence that we have in Him…

       

      John has developed the idea of confidence in Him. In the previous verse, 1 John 5:13, he wrote to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know you have eternal life. Now, for those who know they have eternal life, John relates the idea of confidence in Him to prayer.

       

       

      If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us…

      In this, we see the PURPOSE of prayer and the secret of POWER in prayer. It is to ask; to ask anything; to ask anything according to His will; and once having so asked, to have the assurance that He hears us.

       

      FIRST, God would have us ask in prayer. Much prayer fails because it never asks for anything. God is a loving God, and a generous giver - He wants us to ask of Him.

       

      SECOND, God would have us ask anything in prayer. Not to imply that anything we ask for will be granted, but anything in the sense that we can and should pray about everything. God cares about our whole life, and nothing is too small or too big to pray about.

       

      As Paul wrote in Philippians 4:6: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”

       

      THIRD, God would have us ask according to His will. It is easy for us to only be concerned with our will before God, and to have a fatalistic view regarding His will ("He will accomplish His will with or without my prayers anyway, won't He?"). But God wants us to see and discern His will through His word, and to pray His will into action.

       

      When John wrote this, John may have had Jesus' own words in mind, which he recorded in John 15:7: “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” When we abide in Jesus - living in Him, day by day - then our will becomes more and more aligned with His will, and we can ask what you desire, and more and more be asking according to His will. Then we see answered prayer.

       

      SOME HAVE SAID AND ASKED...If something is God's will, why doesn't He just do it, apart from our prayers? Why would He wait to accomplish His will until we pray?

       

      Because God has appointed us to work with Him as 2 Corinthians 6:1 says, “As workers together with Him.” God wants us to work with Him, and that means bringing our will and agenda into alignment with His. He wants us to care about the things He cares about, and He wants us to care about them enough to pray passionately about them.

      We know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him…

       

      When we ask according to God's will; when we pray the promises of God- we have this confidence and so pray with real and definite faith.

       

      Prayer should be so much more than casting wishes to heaven. It is rooted in understanding God's will and promises according to His Word, and praying those promises into action. For each prayer request, we should mentally or vocally ask, "What possible reason do I have to think that God will answer this prayer?" We should be able to answer that question from His Word.

       

      The most powerful prayers in the Bible are always prayers which understand the will of God, and ask Him to perform it. We may be annoyed when one of our children says, "Daddy, this is what you promised, now please do it," but God is delighted. It shows our will aligned with His, our dependence on Him, and that we take His word seriously.

       

      It is not necessarily wrong to ask for something that God has not promised; but we then realize that we are not coming to God on the basis of a specific promise, and we don't have the confidence to know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

       

       

      Verses 16-17 tells us Praying for a sinning brother.

       

      If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death.”

       

       

      If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin … he will ask…

       

      When we see a brother in sin, John tells us the first thing to do is to pray for that person. All too often, prayer is the LAST thing we do, or the SMALLEST thing we do in regard to our brother having a difficult time.

       

      And He will give him life…

      God promised to bless the prayer made on behalf of a brother in sin. Perhaps such prayers have special power before God because they are prayers in fulfillment of the command to love the brethren. Surely, we love each other best when we pray for each other.

       

       

      There is sin leading to death…

       

      Because he speaks in context of a brother, it is wrong to see him meaning a sin leading to spiritual death; he probably means a sin leading to the physical EARTHLY death of the believer.

       

       

      This is a difficult concept, but we have an example of it in 1 Corinthians 11:27-30, where Paul says that among the Christians in Corinth, because of their disgraceful conduct at the Lord's Supper, some had died (many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep). This death came NOT as a condemning judgment, but as a corrective judgment.

       

      1 Corinthians 11:32, “But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.”

       

       

      Apparently, a believer can sin to the point where God believes it is just best to bring them home, probably because they have in some way compromised their testimony so significantly that they should just come on home to God.

       

      However, it is certainly presumptuous to think this about EVERY case of an untimely death of a believer, or to use it as an ENTICEMENT to suicide for the guilt-ridden Christian. Our lives are in God's hands, and if He sees fit to bring one of His children home, that is fine.

       

       

      Some WRONGLY believe that brother is used here in a very loose sense, and what John means by the sin leading to death is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, which is the willful, settled rejection of Jesus Christ. But this would be a curious use of the term brother, especially according to how John has already used brother in his own letter.

       

      I do not say that he should pray about that…

       

      Apparently, when a Christian is being corrected in regard to a sin leading to death, there is no point in praying for his recovery or restoration- the situation is in God's hands alone.

       

      There is sin not leading to death…

       

      John takes pains to recognize that not every sin leads to death in the manner he speaks of, though all unrighteousness is sin.

       

       

      Verses 18-19 tells us Knowing who we are and who our enemies are.

       

      We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.”

       

       

      Whoever is born of God does not sin…

       

      In the battle against sin, it is all-essential that we keep our minds set on who we are in Jesus Christ. If we are born of Him, we then have the resources to be free from habitual sin.

       

       

      John is repeating his idea from 1 John 3:6: Whoever abides in Him does not sin. The grammar in the original language makes it plain John is speaking of a settled, continued lifestyle of sin. John is not teaching here the possibility of sinless perfection.

       

       

      He who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him…

       

      If we are born of Him we then have a protection against the wicked one, a unique protection that does not belong to the one who is not born of Him. Knowing this gives us godly confidence in spiritual warfare.

       

      In verse 18, himself is more accurately him. What John probably means here is that He who has been born of God (that is, Jesus Christ) keeps him (that is, the believer). John means that we are kept by Jesus and protected from Satan by Him.

       

       

      Does not touch him…

       

      The word touch here has the idea of to attach one's self to. John clearly says that the wicked one - Satan, or, by implication one of His demons- can NOT attach himself to the one who is born of JESUS CHRIST.

       

       

      The word TOUCH here means to lay hold of or to grasp rather than a mere superficial touch.

       

       

      The only OTHER place in his writings where John uses this particular verb for touch is in John 20:17, where He literally tells Mary to stop clinging to Me. Because we are born of Him, Satan cannot attach himself to us, or cling to us, in the sense he can in the life of someone who is not born of Him.

       

       

      We know that we are of God…

       

      If we are born of Him, we are set APART from the world- we are no longer under the sway of the wicked one, though the whole world still is. Knowing this means we can be free to be what we are in Jesus and separate ourselves from the world system in rebellion against Him.

       

       

      Verses 20-21 tells us Abide in Jesus and avoid idols.

       

      And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”

       

       

      That we may know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ…

       

      In the conclusion of this letter, John returned to his major theme: fellowship with Jesus Christ. We must know Him, and the word John uses for know (ginosko) speaks of knowledge by experience. That is how Jesus wants us to know Him.

       

       

      Has given us an understanding…

       

      The work of Jesus in us gives us an understanding, and the ability to know Him, and to be in Him- the abiding life of fellowship that John invited us to back in 1 John 1:3.

       

       

      Significantly, this understanding must be GIVEN TO US. We can NOT attain it on our own. If God did not reveal Himself to us, we would never find Him. We know Him, and can know Him, because He has revealed Himself to us.

       

       

      More than any other way, God has revealed Himself to us by Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus is the key and the focus of it all. We see the personality and character of God by looking at Jesus.

       

      Him who is true also reminds us of a theme John has had through the letter…

       

      The importance of true belief, of trusting in the true Jesus, not a made-up Jesus. The Jesus of the Bible is Him who is true, who is His Son Jesus Christ.

       

       

      This is the true God and eternal life…

       

      Here John tells us who Jesus is. He was a man (as John declared in 1 John 1:1, 4:2, and 5:6), but He was not only a man. He was totally man and the true God and eternal life. John does NOT, and we can NOT, promote the humanity of Jesus over His deity, or His deity over His humanity. He is BOTH: fully God and fully man.

       

       

      Keep yourselves from idols…

      This may seem like a strange way to end John's letter, but it fits in with the theme of a real, living relationship with God.

       

      WHY?

       

      The ENEMY to fellowship with God is idolatry.

       

      Embracing a false god, or a false idea of the true God. John rightly closes with this warning, after having spent much of the book warning us against the dangers of the false Jesus many were teaching in his day (1 John 3:18-23; 4:1-3; 5:6-9).

       

       

      We can only have REAL relationship with the God who is really there!

       

      Idolatry, whether obvious (praying to a statue) or subtle (living for your career or someone other than God) will always choke out a real relationship with God, and damage our relationships with our brothers and sisters in Jesus.

       

      No wonder John ends with keep yourselves from idols; this is how we PROTECT our relationship with God.

       

      In a great sermon in this last verse of John's letter, Charles Spurgeon first noted that John addressed little children.

       

      - This is a title of deep affection.

      - This is a title that indicates regeneration and family relation.

      - This is a title that indicates humility.

      - This is a title that indicates teachableness.

      - This is a title that implies faith.

      - This is a title that implies weakness.

       

      Then, Spurgeon noted that John gave a command: To keep yourselves from idols.

       

      - This speaks against obvious, visible idols

      - This speaks against worshipping yourself. We can do this by over indulgence in food or drink, by laziness, or by too much concern about how they look or what they wear.

      - This speaks against worshipping wealth

      - This speaks against worshipping some hobby or pursuit

      - This speaks against worshipping dear friends or relatives.

       

    • October 20, 2016 11:08 PM EDT
    • Amen Faithy well said !

       

    • October 20, 2016 10:30 PM EDT
    • 1 JOHN 2

       

      OPENS WITH...HINDRANCES TO FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD

       

       

      Verse 1a The purpose of John in writing this letter: that you may not sin.

       

      My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin.”

       

       

      These things I write to you, that you may not sin…

       

      1 John 1:8 makes it clear that sin is a fact (at least an occasional fact) in the life of the Christian.

       

      1 John 1:9 makes it clear that there is always forgiveness for confessed sin TO JESUS.

       

      Yet, John wants it also to be clear that the Christian should be concerned about sin.

       

      One reason in writing this letter was that you may not sin.

       

      1 John 1:8 John previously rebuked the idea that we can become sinlessly perfect.

       

      God does NOT make the believer sin.

       

       

      That you may not sin…

       

      This is God's desire for the believer. If sin is inevitable for us, it is not because God has decreed that we must sin. All the resources for spiritual victory are ours in Jesus Christ and that resource is NEVER withdrawn.

       

       

      John addresses this because of the issue of relationship with God (1 John 1:3), and the fact that sin can break our fellowship with God (1 John 1:6). He wants to make it clear that God has NOT made a system where we must break fellowship with Him through sin. God promises that one day the flesh WILL be perfected through resurrection.

      Verses 1b-2 Tells us HELP for the sinner and the restoration of fellowship.

       

      And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”

       

       

      We have an Advocate…

       

      God's desire is that you may not sin. Yet if we do, there IS provision made- an Advocate, a defense lawyer on our side. Our Advocate is Jesus Christ Himself.

       

       

      Jesus is our defender, even when we sin now. God is not shocked by human behavior. He has seen it all in advance. God did NOT forgive US at one time to later say, "Look what they did now! If I would have known they would go and do that, I would have never forgiven them."

       

      God’s forgiveness is available to us now.

       

      SATAN, THE ACCUSER OF THE BRETHREN, WE KNOW RUNS TO HEAVEN EACH AND EVERY TIME WE SIN TO ACCUSE US AND SEEK OUR CONDEMNATION AND DEMAND THAT WE ARE TURNED OVER TO HIM.

       

      It is as if we stand as the accused in the heavenly court, before our righteous Judge, God the Father. Our Advocate stands up to answer the charges: "He is completely guilty your honor. In fact, he has even done worse than what he is accused of, and now makes full and complete confession before You."

       

      The gavel slams, and the Judge asks, "what should his sentence be?"

       

      Our Advocate answers, "His sentence shall be death; he deserves the full wrath of this righteous court."

       

      All along, our accuser Satan, is having great fun at all this. We are guilty! We admit our guilt! We see our punishment!

       

      But then, our Advocate asks to approach the bench. As he draws close to the Judge, he simply says: "Dad, this one belongs to Me. I paid his price. I took the wrath and punishment from this court that he deserves."

       

      The gavel sounds again, and the Judge cries out, "Guilty as charged! Penalty satisfied!"

       

      SATAN, Our accuser starts going crazy. "Aren't you even going to put him on probation?" "No!" the Judge shouts. "The penalty has been completely paid by My Son. There is nothing to put him on probation for."

       

      Then the Judge turns to our Advocate, and says, "Son, you said this one belongs to You. I release him into Your care. Case closed!"

       

       

      REVELATION 12:10 TELLS US SATAN HAS BEEN DOING THIS FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS, EVERY TIME A CHRISTIAN SINS AND EVERY SINGLE TIME, FOR THOSE OF US WHO LOVE JESUS CHRIST, THIS IS THE SAME OUTCOME.

       

      SATAN LOSES. YET SATAN IN HIS INSANITY, IN HIS FURY, AND IN HIS ABSOLUTE BELIEF THAT HE CAN CONTINUE TO DO THE SAME THING BEFORE HIS GOD AND JESUS CHRIST AND RECEIVE A DIFFERENT VERDICT...AND EVERY TIME HE LOSES.

       

      DOWN THROUGH HISTORY AND TO THE PRESENT DAY, WE HAVE SEEN PEOPLE, GREAT AND SMALL, WHO DO THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER AGAIN, AND REFUSE TO ACCEPT THE TRUTH, AND REFUSE TO DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY AND THEY HOWL AND RAGE BECAUSE THEY RECEIVE THE SAME OUTCOME.

       

      NOW WE KNOW WHERE THAT MINDSET ORIGINATED...

       

      We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous…

       

      And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins…

      This means that Jesus is the one who atones for and takes away our sins, and not only our sins, but also the sins of the whole world.

       

      And not for ours only but also for the whole world…

       

      Though Jesus made His propitiation for the whole world, yet the whole world is NOT saved and in fellowship with God. This is because atonement does NOT equal forgiveness.

       

      The Old Testament Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:34) demonstrates this, when the sin of all Israel was atoned for, COVERED every year at the day of Atonement, yet NOT all people of Israel was saved.

       

      The words "but also for the whole world" announce to the world that God has taken care of the sin problem by the propitiation of Jesus Christ. Sin need not be a barrier between God and man, if man WILL EACH RECEIVE the propitiation God has provided in Jesus.

       

       

      Verses 3-6 tells us The FRUIT of fellowship.

       

      Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.”

       

      Now by this we know that we know Him…

       

      The evidence of someone knowing God, and fellowship with Him is that they keep His commandments. A simple, loving obedience is a natural result of fellowship with God.

       

      God changes the heart at conversion and writes His law upon our heart.

       

       

      JOHN TELLS US...Mark it, when one becomes a Christian, there IS a change in their relationship with sin. Sin is NOT eliminated in the believer until he WALKS THROUGH THE GATES OF HEAVEN, IN OTHER WORDS, comes to glory, but their relationship to sin is changed when they truly become a Christian.

       

      1. A Christian no longer loves sin as he once did.

      2. A Christian no longer brags about their sin as he once did.

      3. A Christian no longer plans to sin as he once did.

      4. A Christian no longer fondly remembers his sin as he once did.

      5. A Christian never fully enjoys his sin as he once did.

      6. A Christian no longer is comfortable in habitual sin as he once was.

       

       

      To walk just as He walked…

       

      SOME WRONGLY THINK THIS MEANS LITERALLY...BUT IT MEANS WE ARE NOT CALLED to imitate the way Jesus walked on water, but His every-day walk with God the Father.

       

      BOICE says it well, "The point here is that the one who knows God will increasingly lead a righteous life, for God is righteous. It does not mean that he will be sinless; John has already shown that anyone who claims this is lying. It simply means that he will be moving in a direction marked out by the righteousness of God. If he does not do this, if he is not increasingly dissatisfied with and distressed by sin, he is not God's child."

       

       

      Verses 7-11 tells us The absolute imperative of love.

       

      Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”

       

       

      Brethren, I write no new commandment to you … a new commandment I write to you…

       

      The new commandment to love that Jesus spoke of in John 13:34 was really new for several reasons. One of the most important reasons was that Jesus displayed a kind of love never seen before, a love we were to imitate.

       

      The cross points in FOUR directions to show that the love of Jesus is:

       

      1. Wide enough to include every human being.

      2. Long enough to last through all eternity.

      3. Deep enough to reach the most guilty sinner.

      4. High enough to take us to heaven.

       

      This is a NEW love, a love the world had never really seen before the work of Jesus on the cross.

       

       

      Just as our relationship to sin and obedience is a measure of our fellowship with God, so also is our love for God's people. If we say that we are in the light yet hate our brother, then our claim to fellowship with the God who is light (1 John 1:5) is hollow. But the one who does love his brother shows that he abides in the light and is not stumbling.

       

      It seems plain that the expression here is NOT the same as 'his neighbor,' seeing that John is writing TO Christians, and treating of their fellowship with one another.

       

      Sometimes it is easy to think, "Following Jesus would be easy if it weren't for all the Christians." And many, many Christians live as the walking wounded, crippled by the scars other Christians have inflicted on them. Yet this measure still stands.

       

      If we can't love each other, then we have no way to claim a real love for God. Our relationship with God can be measured by our love for other Christians.

       

      On the one hand, God is merciful in requiring this, because we are measured by how we love other Christians, not those who are not Christians.

       

      The point is plain. If we lose love then we lose everything. There is nothing left. You can do all the right things, believe all the right truths, but if you do not love other Christians then all is lost. The three tests- moral, doctrinal, and love- all stand together, like the legs on a three-legged stool.

      Remember that hatred can also be expressed by indifference; true love will demonstrate itself for one another.

       

      We can be sure that John himself lived this life of love, but he was NOT always this way. John himself learned love at this point, for early in his life he was known as one of the "sons of thunder."

       

      LUKE 9:54, John once wanted to call down fire from heaven upon those who rejected Jesus.

       

      JOHN SPEAKS OF SPIRITUAL MATURITY.

       

      Verse 12 tells us Little children, who have their sins forgiven.

       

      I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake.”

       

       

      I write to you, little children…

       

      We each begin the Christian life as little children. When we are in this state spiritually, it is enough for us to know and be amazed at the forgiveness of our sins and all it took for God to forgive us righteously in Jesus Christ.

       

      Because your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake…

       

      This is something to rejoice in. If we do not rejoice in this, something is wrong.

       

      We probably fail to see the badness of our sin and the greatness of His forgiveness. When we see how great our sin is, and how great the cost was to gain us forgiveness, we are obsessed with gratitude at having been forgiven.

       

       

      Little children…

       

      This forgiveness is the special joy of God's little children, because God's forgiveness does NOT come by degrees. Even the youngest Christian is completely forgiven. They will never be "more forgiven." Forgiveness is God's gift, NOT man's achievement.

      Note it well: forgiven you for His name's sake. The reasons for forgiveness are NOT found in us, but in God.

       

       

      Verse 13a tells Fathers, who have an experiential knowledge of Jesus Christ.

       

      I write to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning.”

       

       

      I write to you, fathers…

       

      Just as surely as there are little children, there are also fathers. These are men and women of deep, long spiritual standing. They have the kind of walk with God that does NOT come overnight. These are like great oak trees in the Lord, that have grown big and strong DAY BY DAY, through the years.

       

       

      You have known Him…

       

      This is what spiritual maturity has its roots in; NOT so much in an intellectual knowledge (though that is a part of it), but more so in the depth of fellowship and relationship we have with Jesus. There is NO substitute for years and years of an experiential relationship with Jesus.

       

       

      Verse 13b tells us Young men, who have known spiritual victory.

       

      I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one.”

       

      I write to you, young men…

      As much as there are little children and fathers, so also there are young men. These are men and women who are no longer little children, but still not yet fathers. They are the "front-line" of God's work among His people.

       

       

      Because you have overcome the wicked one…

       

      They are engaged in battle with the wicked one. We do NOT send our little children out to war, and we do NOT send our old men to the front lines. The greatest effort, the greatest cost, and the greatest strength are expected of the young men.

       

      For this reason, many have sought to stay in spiritual childhood as long as possible. This is wrong. It is like being a draft-dodger or a vagrant. We expect children to not fight in wars and to be supported by others, but we do NOT expect it of adults.

       

      Overcome the wicked one…

       

      These young men have overcome the spiritual foes that would seek to destroy their spiritual life. They know what it is to battle against Satan and his emissaries as a partner with God.

       

       

      Verse 13c tells us Little children, who know the Father.

       

      I write to you, little children, because you have known the Father.”

       

       

      Because you have known the Father…

       

      In this first stage of spiritual growth, we sink our roots deep in the Fatherly love and care of God. We know Him as our caring Father, and see ourselves as His dependent children.

       

       

      Little children…

       

      John uses different words for little children in verses 12 and 13 (teknia and paidia, respectively).

       

      Teknia has more of an emphasis on a child's relationship of dependence on a parent.

       

      Paidia has more of an emphasis on a child's immaturity and need for instruction.

      Verse 14a tells us Fathers, who have an experiential knowledge of Jesus Christ.

       

      I have written to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning.”

       

       

      I have written to you…

       

      Sometimes we might think, "Well, isn't there more? It's fine for these fathers to know Jesus, but shouldn't they go beyond?" There is NO beyond Jesus...nothing more.

       

      Paul, in his letter to the Philippians 3:10, could say that he counted all his previous spiritual achievements as rubbish, compared to the surpassing greatness of just knowing Jesus. That I may know Him is the powerful way Paul phrased it.

       

       

      Verse 14b tells us Young men, who are strong and know spiritual victory.

       

      I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.”

       

       

      I have written to you, young men…

       

      Again, the repetition of the idea indicates emphasis. Not only have the young men … overcome the wicked one, but they have done it through the strength that comes to them through the word of God. God's word is our source of spiritual strength.

       

      Do you consider yourself one of the young men spiritually?

      Then are you strong?

      Are you putting your strength to some spiritual use?

      Do you resent that your strength is tested and developed by God?

       

       

      The word of God abides in you…

       

      These young men, who had gained some measure of spiritual maturity, were known by the fact that God's word lived in them. The word of God had made itself at home in their hearts.

       

      Verse 15 tells us The problem and attacks of worldliness.

       

      Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

       

       

      Do not love the world…

       

      Now John points out a specific area of sin that especially threatens our fellowship with God: worldliness, to love the world.

       

      The world, in the sense John means it here, is not the global earth. Nor is it the mass of humanity, which God Himself loves (John 3:16). Instead it is the community of sinful humanity that is united in rebellion against God.

       

       

      One of the first examples of this idea of the world in the Bible helps us to understand this point.

       

      REMEMBER FROM OUR STUDY OF GENESIS...Genesis 11 speaks of human society's UNITED rebellion against God at the tower of Babel. At the tower of Babel, there was an anti-God leader of humanity (whose name was Nimrod). There was organized rebellion against God (in disobeying the command to disperse over the whole earth). There was direct distrust of God's word and promise (in building what was probably a water-safe tower to protect against a future flood from heaven).

       

      The whole story of the tower of Babel also shows us another fundamental fact about the world system. The world's progress, technology, government, and organization can make man better off, but NOT better. Because we like being better off, it is easy to fall in love with the world.

       

      Finally, the story of the tower of Babel shows us that the world system- as impressive and winning as it appears to be- will NEVER win out over God. The Lord defeated the rebellion at the tower of Babel easily. The world system will never win out over God.

       

       

      Do not love the world…

      That is, we are not to love either the world's system or its way of doing things. There is a secular, anti-God or ignoring-God way of doing things that characterizes human society, and it is easy to love the world in this sense.

       

       

      Notice what the world wants from us: love.

       

      This love is expressed in time, attention, and expense. We are encouraged and persuaded to give our time, attention, and money to the things of this world instead of the things of God.

       

      If you love the world, there are rewards to be gained. You may find a place of prestige, of status, of honor, of comfort. The world system knows how to reward its lovers.

       

      At the same time, even at their best the rewards that come from this world last only as long as we live. The problem is that though we gain prestige, status, honor, and comfort of this world, we lose the prestige, status, honor, and comfort of heaven. THINK ABOUT THIS...80 YEARS OF THE WORLD’S VERY BEST, IS ONLY A BLINK IN TIME, COMPARED TO AN ETERNITY IN THE LAKE OF FIRE FOREVER SEPARATED FROM JESUS CHRIST.

       

      Or the things in the world…

       

      This isn't so much a warning against a love for the beauty of the world God created (though we must always love the Creator instead of the creation). Instead, it is more of a warning against loving the material things which characterize the world system.

       

      The world buys our love with the great things it has to give us. Cars, homes, gadgets, and the status that goes with all of them, can really make our hearts at home in the world.

       

      If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him…

       

      Through the centuries, Christians have dealt with the magnetic pull of the world in different ways. At one time it was thought that if you were a really committed Christian and really wanted to love God instead of the world, you would leave human society and live as a monk or a nun out in a desolate monastery.

      This approach, and other approaches that seek to take us out of the world, have TWO problems.

       

      FIRST, The problem is that we bring the world with us into our monastery.

       

      SECOND, The other problem is that Jesus intended us to be in the world but not of the world. We see this in His prayer for us in John 17:14-18.

       

       

      Verse 16 tells us The character of the world.

       

      For all that is in the world; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; is not of the Father but is of the world.”

       

       

      The character of the world expresses itself through the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. These lusts seek to draw our own flesh away into sin and worldliness.

       

       

      The idea behind the pride of life is someone who lives for superiority over others, mostly by impressing others through outward appearances- even if by deception.

       

       

      To get an idea of how the world works, think of the advertising commercials you most commonly remember. They probably make a powerful appeal to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, or to the pride of life. Many successful ads appeal to all three.

       

       

      The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life…

       

      In listing these aspects of the world, John may have in mind the first pursuit of worldliness, that of Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:6).

       

      Of Eve in the Garden of Eden, it is said that she took of the forbidden fruit when she saw that the tree was good for food. She thought about how good the fruit would taste, how it would satisfy her flesh. She went after the lust of the flesh.

       

      Of Eve in the Garden of Eden, it is said that she took of the forbidden fruit when she saw that the fruit was pleasant to the eyes. She saw how pretty and desirable it was, and it pleased her artistic sense. She went after the lust of the eyes.

       

       

      Of Eve in the Garden of Eden, it is said that she took of the forbidden fruit when she believed that it was desirable to make one wise. How smart the fruit would make her! How her husband would admire her! She went after the pride of life.

       

       

      Is not of the Father but is of the world…

       

      This explains why the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life are sin even though they feel good and satisfy something in us. God knows we have a fleshly, bodily nature, and physical needs that feel good when satisfied. Yet it is not in God's nature to influence us through the lust of the flesh.

       

       

      God knows we have eyes, and that appearance means a lot to us. He made a beautiful world to please us! But God always looks beyond the outward appearance, and it is not in God's nature to influence us through the lust of the eyes.

       

      God knows we have emotional and psychological needs to be wanted and to accomplish things. He made us this way! But it is not in God's nature to influence us through the pride of life.

       

       

      Not of the Father but is of the world…

       

      We often rarely appreciate how much the world dominates our thinking and how often our thoughts are more of the world than of the Father.

       

       

      1. Think of your standard for success: is it worldly or godly? Would you consider the apostle Paul a failure or a success?

       

      2. Think of your standard for what makes a person of the opposite sex appealing. Is it a worldly standard or a godly standard?

      3. Think of your standard for spirituality: is it worldly or godly? There is a worldly spirituality out there, and many people buy into it.

       

      How great our need to not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind! (Romans 12:2)

       

       

      Verse 17 tells us The folly of worldliness.

       

      And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”

       

       

      The world is passing away…

       

      This reveals the folly of worldliness. What we invest into the world we invest into what can NOT last because the world is passing away. As we saw with the example of the tower of Babel, the world never wins out against God, though by some appearances it does in the short term.

       

       

      It is not a prayer, not a wish, and not a spiritual sounding desire. It is a FACT. The world is passing away, and we must live our lives and think our thoughts aware of this fact!

       

       

      REMEMBER OUR STUDY OF GENESIS AGAIN…

       

      This is powerfully illustrated by the life of Lot in Genesis chapters 13, 14, and 19.

      Lot attached himself to a true spiritual man, named Abraham.

       

      Yet he was selfish and chose for himself what seemed the most lucrative, without considering the spiritual implications of what he was doing.

       

      He became financially prosperous, but pitched his tent toward a wicked, worldly city- Sodom.

       

      After a while, he was sitting in the gates of the city as one of Sodom's civic leaders.

      He had worldly status, influence, wealth, and comfort.

       

      Yet, it was all taken away in a moment when the judgment of God came upon Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot put all his eggs in the wrong basket, and was burned by the fact that the world is passing away.

       

      AND WE KNOW TOO, The ancient pharaohs were buried in the pyramids with all sorts of riches, which were thought to be of some use to them in the world to come. They were only of use to the grave robbers! The pharaohs could take NONE of their worldly stuff with them to the world beyond. No one drives through the gates of heaven with a moving van filled with the stuff of this world.

       

       

      He who does the will of God abides forever…

       

       

      We are in regular contact with THREE eternal things…

       

      The Holy Spirit of God, the people around you, and the eternal words recorded in the book you hold. Time, attention, and expense put into those things pays eternal rewards.

       

       

      An attack on our relationship with God: FALSE religion.

       

       

      Verses 18-19 tells us The danger of false religion: the spirit of Antichrist.

       

      Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.”

       

       

      Little children, it is the last hour…

       

      Seeing the nature of our times and what the Bible says about the end times, we should regard ourselves as being in the last few minutes.

      The Antichrist is coming…

       

      John here refers to an individual who has captured the imagination of many people, including those who do NOT even know the Bible. Many are ignorant about this person called the Antichrist, except what they have learned from movies like The Omen.

       

       

      The name Antichrist is important to understand. The prefix anti can mean "the opposite of" or "instead of." The Antichrist is the "opposite Jesus"; he is the "instead of" Jesus.

       

       

      Most people have focused on the idea of the "opposite Jesus."

       

      This has made them think that the Antichrist will appear VISUALLY AND ACTION WAYS AND MEANS as a supremely evil person. They think that as much as Jesus went around doing good, he will go around doing bad.

       

      As much as Jesus' character and personality was beautiful and attractive, the Antichrist's character and personality will be ugly and repulsive.

       

      As much as Jesus spoke only truth, the Antichrist will speak only lies.

       

      This emphasizes the idea of the "opposite Jesus" too much. The Antichrist will instead be more of an "INSTEAD OF JESUS." He will look wonderful, be charming and successful. He will be the ultimate winner, and appear as an angel of light.

       

       

      Some have wondered if this Antichrist will be an individual or a political system.

       

      This is really a small distinction, because it will in a sense be BOTH a person and a political system.

       

      WHY?

       

      To a large extent, a man does represent and personify an entire government or system; when we think of Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, the figures of Hitler as an individual and Nazi Germany as a state are virtually the same.

       

       

      The Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come…

       

      There is a distinction between the Antichrist and many antichrists. There is a "spirit" of antichrist, and this "spirit" of antichrist will one day find its ultimate fulfillment in the Antichrist, who will lead humanity in an end-times rebellion against God.

       

       

      In other words, though the world still waits to see the ultimate revealing of the Antichrist, there are little "previews" of this man and his mission to come. These are the antichrists with a little "a."

       

      By which we know that it is the last hour…

       

      DID YOU KNOW...The word 'antichrist' occurs in the Bible only in the letters of John and that only five times in four verses (1 John 2:18, 22, 4:3; 2 John 7); but though the word is infrequent the idea of antichrist is frequent and is an important one.

       

       

      This Antichrist TO COME goes by many titles:

       

      - The little horn in Daniel 7:8

      - The king of fierce countenance in Daniel 8:23

      - The Prince that shall come in Daniel 9:26

      - The willful king in Daniel 11:36-45

      - The one who comes in his own name in John 5:43

      - The son of perdition, the man of sin, and the lawless one in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, and 2:8

       

      Essentially, the Antichrist is a world dictator who leads humanity in what seems to be a golden age for 3.5 years, until he shows his true colors- and the judgment of God is poured out on him and his empire immediately for the last 3.5 years before the return of Jesus.

      We should take notice, because the world stage is set for a political and economic "superman" to arise, a single political leader to organize a world-dominating confederation of nations.

       

      National leaders speak of a new world order, but no one has been able to really define it, much less lead it. Yet this leader is coming.

       

      This Antichrist will have surrounding him the kind of personality cult we are conditioned to accept today. Not only in America do we practice a sick worship of celebrities, but around the world, nations of hundreds of millions of people have been induced to worship a person- like Lenin, Stalin, or Mao. This shows us just how strong a personality cult can be when the government gets behind it wholeheartedly. All these developments should make us understand that the Antichrist is ready to be revealed when the moment is right. And John and Paul tell us that the antichrist can not and will not revealed until the snatching away, in the twinkling of an eye, Jesus bride, Jesus family, dead and living, to meet Him in the clouds and then the Holy Spirit (the restrainer of evil) will then be removed from the face of the earth...and then...The Antichrist will be allowed to rise...only then.

       

       

      They went out from us…

       

      This shows that MANY of these many antichrists at one time or another have identified themselves with the body of believers of Jesus Christ, Almighty God, and His Word. The fact that they left the body of Christ demonstrated that they were NOT REALLY of us to begin with.

       

       

      John is NOT talking about someone who leaves one church to begin attending another good church.

       

      We can imagine the scene.

       

      There is some controversy among people at a church, and someone responds by saying, "I'm so sick of all this. This church and all churches, they're just a bunch of hypocrites. I don't need any of this. I can follow God my own way!" They leave; not just a church, but they leave any kind of church, leave The Bible, They leave prayer, they leave fellowship with Jesus and begin their own little ism...

      We can fairly say that this person does not appear to be a Christian, and their appearance demonstrates that they never really were a Christian. Only God knows the heart for certain, but the appearance is that they trusted in the church, or trusted in themselves, but they were NOT really trusting in Jesus Christ.

       

      One must beware of those folks who are so "spiritual" that they can NOT get along in ANY OF JESUS CHURCH, HIS FAMILY. One sees those from time to time; folks so gifted, so prophetic, so spiritual, that they are getting kicked out or leaving in a huff from every church they go to.

       

      Finally, they are just left to themselves, and they seem happy enough with that. Fellowship with themselves is at least fellowship with someone as spiritual as they are! Of course, there is something seriously wrong with such so-called "spirituality."

       

       

      The sobering truth is that many of those who offer a false or opposing Jesus came from the true body of Christians. MOST FALSE RELIGIOSITIES AND FALSE CHURCHES EVER CREATED BEGAN WITH PEOPLE WHO ONCE WITH THEIR MOUTHS AT LEAST FOLLOWED JESUS AND HIS WORD.

       

       

      They went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us…

       

      A healthy church can purge itself of poisons; the compromising and false Christian will NOT feel comfortable setting down roots in a healthy church- he will either get right with God or leave.

       

       

      Verses 20-23 tells us Identifying the spirit of antichrist.

       

      But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.”

       

       

      You have an anointing…

       

      Here John refers to a COMMON anointing, belonging to all believers THE INSTANT THEY CALL UPON JESUS, REPENT OF THEIR SINS, AND ASK JESUS CHRIST INTO THEIR HEART AND LIVES TO BE THEIR LORD AND SAVIOR. This is an anointing that makes discernment possible for those who seek it in the Lord Jesus who know all things).

       

       

      Among some Christians today, there is a rather magical or superstitious approach to this idea of anointing. In their mind, the anointing is like a virus or a germ that can be spread by casual contact or infect a whole group. Usually these folks think that when one "catches" the anointing, you can tell because they begin acting strangely. This is NOT the Bible's idea of anointing.

       

      In verse 20, John used a different word for KNOW than he mostly used before.

       

      Previously John used the word meaning knowledge by experience; here he used the word meaning knowledge by intuition. We know some things intuitively by the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

       

       

      Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ?”

       

      The context makes it clear that to affirm that Jesus is the Christ has to do with more than just saying, "He is the Messiah." It has to do with understanding the relationship between Jesus and God the Father.

       

      He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. In other words, someone could say, "I believe Jesus is the Christ … as I define "Christ." But we must believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, as the Bible defines Christ - the Messiah, who is fully God and fully man; who perfectly revealed God the Father to us.

       

      He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son…

       

      The spirit of antichrist identifies itself by its DENIAL of Jesus, and its denial of the Father; remembering that Jesus and the Father can be denied even by those who seem to speak well of them both.

       

      Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father also…

       

      John here repeats an idea that Jesus expressed often, as recorded in the Gospel of John. Jesus said, He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. (John 12:44-45) He who receives Me receives Him who sent Me (John 13:20).

       

      Often times it is said, "We all worship the same God. You have one name for Him and I have another. But that doesn't matter. We are just talking about different roads to the same God, because we all have the same God."

       

      Here is the question to ask in response: "Was your God perfectly revealed in Jesus Christ?" If their God was, then you have the same God. If their God wasn't perfectly revealed in Jesus, then they do not have the same God as the Bible.

       

       

      The