2019-06-22 – 1 John 5 – The Final Test
Bible Text: 1 John 5 | Preacher: Pastor Jerry Higdon | Series: 1 John |
2019-06-22 – 1 John 5 – The Final Test
(Bible Camp, Vacation Bible School)
Good morning everyone. It is so nice to be able to spend some time with you all in fellowship with the Lord. Thank you and God bless you for being with us today.
Last week being Fathers Day, we talked about Our Father’s Love and the fact that we can have No Fear in Love.
Today we are going to finish out the letter-book of First John. Over the past few weeks we have covered some pretty challenging topics, and John had presented a couple tests we should leverage as Christ followers to keep us going in the right direction. The first one was testing the spirits to tell if they were of the antichrist or of God; of deception or of truth. The second test John gave us last week was about testing Christians to see if their fruit proved out that they truly were brothers and sisters in Christ or not. John said “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God—God remains in him and he in God”. And since God is love, Christians must also demonstrate God’s love in their actions. And today we are going to see one final test, a test to know if we our selves are truly Christians.
Please turn in your Bibles to 1 John 5:1, pg 1084 in the Pew Bibles, The Inspired, Infallible and Living Word of God, and let us start with Prayer.
While at camp, I had several children come up to me and ask “how do I know that I am truly a Christian”. You see, we gave them a short description of what hell was like and they wanted some assurance that they were not going there, and that they were going to heaven. That is a question that all of us should have at some point in our life; How do I know? So let’s see now what the apostle John has to say about that starting at verse 1 of chapter 5:
1 John 5 1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father also loves the one born of him. 2 This is how we know that we love God’s children: when we love God and obey his commands. 3 For this is what love for God is: to keep his commands. And his commands are not a burden, 4 because everyone who has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith.
So John is saying here that if we truly love Jesus, then we will want to obey His commands. That doesn’t mean that you have to be perfect, but we should be growing to love God and His ways more and more as we mature. Don’t get me wrong here, we will never be completely sinless, and that is the reason God sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. Jesus loved His Father God and He obeyed all His commands. It is only because of God’s grace and mercy, and the fact that Jesus paid for our sins on that cross that we can have confidence and faith that we are truly going to heaven.
So, How do I know if I am saved?
I generally respond to that question that we should be witnessing that God is working out the kinks in our character. When we look back over time we should be seeing that we are becoming more and more like Christ. And we should be enjoying more and more abiding in God’s will and obeying His commands.
Also John gives us here in this last word of this last verse the key: It is our Faith.
We all have a gap in our minds of what we do know and what we know we don’t know. And we have an even bigger gap where we don’t even have a clue about we don’t know. For instance, I love my wife’s home cooking. And I especially love her strawberry shortcake. Now I know that I don’t know how she makes the cake, and let me tell ya it is soo good, I had some just yesterday. That is an easy example because I know something about it, albeit just a little, and I know what I don’t know about making strawberry shortcake.
Now I hope you will agree with me that there is a lot about God’s work that we don’t even have a clue about. Creation, Eternity, Demons and Principalities, and the way into a woman’s heart for instance J I don’t even know what questions I might have for God on some of those topics. I don’t know even what I don’t know. But one thing I do know is that Faith fills the gap, Amen? I think I would like a Sweatshirt that says that; “Faith fills the Gap”. Amen?
Our faith fills that gap between what we know and what we don’t know about God. Again, I love how this first set of verses ends here, “This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith”. Our faith fills the gap. You might recall the history about Doubting Thomas in the Gospel book of John 20. Jesus knew that Thomas doubted his resurrection, so when Jesus appeared to Thomas and had him touch his hands and side. Then Thomas replied, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Isn’t that awesome. Jesus knew Thomas needed that touch, and Jesus knew you needed record of this in scripture. Faith fills the gap brother and sisters. Faith fills the gap.
When God first created man He told Adam effectively to trust me. Adam failed that test. And God now is asking each of us also the same; to trust in Him; Have faith in Him. Are you willing to do that?
Our next set of verses in context start at verse 5:
5 Who is the one who conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 Jesus Christ—he is the one who came by water and blood, not by water only, but by water and by blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify:
8 the Spirit, the water, and the blood—and these three are in agreement.
9 If we accept human testimony, God’s testimony is greater, because it is God’s testimony that he has given about his Son. 10 The one who believes in the Son of God has this testimony within himself. The one who does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony God has given about his Son. 11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 The one who has the Son has life. The one who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
In the Old Testament Jewish contract, it was required that you have witnesses that testify what you say is true. Verse 6 here states that Jesus’s witnesses were the water Baptism, the Blood sacrifice, and God’s Holy Spirit. Now there were also thousands that witnessed Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection, and thousands that were healed and/or saved. Not to mention the many that witnessed Jesus performing all His miracles. Nobody denies that Jesus was something special, that Jesus really did change the world. Even the world’s calendar is based upon his birth. Jesus is truly the one and only Savior and King. John wrote here that “The one who has the Son has life. The one who does not have the Son of God does not have life”. There is only one way to heaven and it is through the blood of Jesus Christ. He paid our fine, He made a way so that we can go to heaven.
We are all destined for an eternity someplace. Some will live for eternity in heaven, and some will die for an eternity in hell. And as these verses convey here, there is only one way to eternal life, and that is through the proclaiming of Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord. Everyone here take a breath, breath in, breath out. That could have been your last. Don’t wait another day.
14 This is the confidence we have before him: If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked of him. 16 If anyone sees a fellow believer committing a sin that doesn’t lead to death, he should ask, and God will give life to him—to those who commit sin that doesn’t lead to death. There is sin that leads to death. I am not saying he should pray about that. 17 All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin that doesn’t lead to death.
My Bible version entitles this section as Effective Prayer. This topic is related to many other verses in the New Testament, for example: John 16:23 “..Truly, truly, I tell you, whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you”, or Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened”. However, I like best this First John statement, “If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us”. This means that when we ask for what is in keeping with what His will is for us, when we ask for effectively what He wants, based upon His commands in the first place, then of course He will give it to us. And how would we know what His will is? We need to be reading His Holy word. We need to be praying, and listening to His Holy Spirit. Then we can ask with confidence that He will surely grant us our prayer.
These verses also suggest praying for people who sin. We should all be doing that regularly. We are all sinners. Sin has wounded many families and churches too in my lifetime. It hurts when we witness it, and it takes a lot of grace and mercy to heal those deep wounds for sure. We need to pray more brothers and sisters.
Regarding the unpardonable sin or “the sin that leads to death”, Christians do not have to worry about that. For the only true unpardonable sin is rejecting the Holy Spirit’s leading in accepting Christ as your Savior and Lord. That is the only sin that leads to an eternal death and it should not be taken lightly. However and thankfully God is patient, 2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance”. God loves you all, I pray you know that. This verse encourages us to continue praying for one another, and we must be careful not to hastily assume any other person’s sins, for we have enough of our own to be working on. Are you praying for others in your family and in your church? Take some time today to pray for someone who is struggling with sin.
Finally starting at verse 18 is the conclusion of First John. It says:
18 We know that everyone who has been born of God does not sin, but the one who is born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. 19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world is under the sway of the evil one. 20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know the true one. We are in the true one—that is, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
Then the last verse 21 says: 21 Little children, guard yourselves from idols.
One might think this last verse is an afterthought; I know I did when I first read it. But you should know this is really the second and first commandment. 1) You shall have no other Gods but me. 2) You shall not make for yourself any idol, nor bow down to it or worship it. That contrasts well with our previous verse 20 where it says that Jesus is the true God and eternal life.
This is The Final Test brothers and sisters. John, who was inspired to write this epistle by Jesus Christ Himself, again declares that Jesus is the one and only true God. And thus, going back to the first verses we had today in First John 5:1, it says, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father also loves the one born of him. This is how we know that we love God’s children: when we love God and obey his commands”.
Are you obeying God’s commands?
If you publicly declare yourself to be a Christian, then you should be endeavoring to become better and better at obeying God’s commands? I am not only talking about the Ten-Commandments, I am talking about the commands of Jesus. Of which He said, the Greatest Commandment is this “That you love your neighbor as yourself”.
It is interesting to see Christian development take place in people. Especially within the lives of the children. At Bible Camp we have been privileged to see these children grow in their faith and mature as adults over the years.
We are all being refined, we are all being sanctified according to God’s Word. And when you look back and you see the positive changes happening in your own life, then you can be assured that you have the Holy Spirit in your heart. You can be confident that you are a Christian and that you are actively passing The Final Test. God has a place for you in heaven. And He wants you to be confident in who you are and whose you are.
Let us Pray..