Confidence In Prayer
CONFIDENCE IN PRAYER
1 John 5:13-21
I think we have all prayed for something or for some situation…and what we prayed for didn’t come about…it seemed as though our prayer went unheard and did no good…and as a result our faith is shaken and we lose confidence in prayer.
- Well, John is going to deal with some of that in this passage that was read…so let’s begin in verse 13.
13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life.
- John has been dealing with the influence of the Gnostics who had come along and were telling these Christians that Christ was good…but Christ wasn’t enough…if you really wanted to have eternal life…if you really wanted to have fellowship with God…you needed something more.
And John, here in this verse, says that the “things he has written to them about Christ and who He is”, he wrote those things so that they may “know”…and that word “know” is the Greek word “oida” which speaks of a “settled knowledge”…in other words…there is no doubt…no uncertainty…they can “know”, they can be confident that they have eternal life.
- Because of their belief that Jesus was human, the Savior, the Messiah, and Deity…and because they have been obedient to Him; not perfect but striving to “walk in the light as He is in the light“, “They can know” they have eternal life.
- And just as “they can know” we who believe in the Son of God today can also “know that we have eternal life.”
- (Unfortunately, a lot of faithful Christians are uncertain of that. I often hear a brother or sister in Christ say, “I hope I will be saved.” John says, “You can know.” )
Now, what John is going to do is he is going let us know how our awareness of our present relationship with God contributes to “confidence in prayer.”
- If you “know” you live in fellowship with God…you can be confident in your prayer.
- But if you have no fellowship with God…well there is no confidence.
- When you know you are not on good terms with God it devastates your prayer life.
But, just because God does not answer your prayer the way you think He should does not mean that your fellowship with God is broken.
But we “know we have eternal life”…therefore look at vs. 14:
And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
- Notice there where he says “we ask anything.”
- “Anything” is global…it is not limited…you have confidence to ask anything!
- “According to His will” does not diminish “anything.”
- We do not have to know what God’s will is in order to ask. In many situations we will not know what God’s will even is!
- Our list does not have to be edited according to what we think God’s will is.
- Make your list out and ask it!
And then after you ask…ask God to grant what you ask for…according to His will rather than yours.
- Develop the attitude, “Not my will but Thy will be done.”
- Ask God to exercise the right of veto…He will exercise that right anyway…but what you are doing is you are acknowledging that He is Sovereign, that He has that right to veto your request…and that it is for your good that He exercises that right.
Listen, we can pray for “anything”…but what often happens is we are motivated by selfishness; and when we don’t get our way we get upset; sometimes we turn away from God.
- We respond like a spoiled child who doesn’t get their way.
- We have faith just as long as we get what we want…but when we don’t…well I am out of here!
Remember when Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane? He asked God to “let this cup pass from Me.”
- Was that prayer answered? Yes, but not the way He wanted. Did He abandon God because God didn’t answer the way He wanted?
- Instead, He said, “Not my will but Thy will be done.”
- In essence He said, “Father, edit My list!”
We can ask for anything…but then grant God the sovereign right to edit your requests.
- And when we ask God to edit our list…what we are basically saying is, “God, out of these requests that I have made, protect me from selfishness and preserve me from gifts that I cannot handle…from things I am requesting that would hurt me or someone else…or that would not best serve You.”
You know, one of the things that we often pray for is rain, “Send us rain.” So we pray for rain.
- But the farmer who is trying to harvest his wheat doesn’t need rain. So, whose prayer does God answer?
- We can’t always know what is best for someone else, perhaps even the person we are praying for.
- We can’t always know what God is trying to do.
- Leave it up to God to answer according to His divine knowledge and will.
But the point is, “according to His will” does not limit the “anything.”
- Ask for “anything” but give God the Sovereign right to veto your request; then faithfully accept it.
And look at the very last phrase of verse 14: He hears us.
- 1 Peter 3:12 says: “For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, And His ears attend to their prayer, But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
- God hears our prayers…the only prayer of God’s people that He does not hear is the one not prayed.
Now verse 15: And if (this is not an “iffy” issue. There is no doubt here…this is a “when”) When we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.
- The hearing is not doubtful…we know He hears…and we know He answers.
- But remember what we are asking God to do…we are asking God to edit our list…to take off that which would not be good for us…to take off those things that might hurt us or someone else…or that would not best serve Him.
- If we pray with that attitude…we are going to get the answer to every prayer that we ask.
- There will be no prayer that does not receive an answer from God.
Now, let’s go to verse 16. In verse 16 John gives us an example of something that we might ask for.
- Keep in mind that John is still talking about prayer.
- The discussion here is not “a sin that leads to death…or a sin that does not lead to death”…that is not the topic of discussion.
- We often get sidetracked trying to figure out what “a sin that leads to death” is and what the “sin that does not lead to death” is.
- Any sin can lead to death but John is not making a distinction in this passage about which sin does and which sin doesn’t. He doesn’t even tell us what the sin is!
- John is still discussing the confidence that we have in prayer because of the relationship we have with God.
16 If (when) anyone sees (you can see it…the characteristics are visible) his brother (this is key-this is a brother or sister in Christ) committing a sin not leading to death (God has not cut him off ) he (the one praying) shall ask and God will for (dative-“to”) him (the one who is praying) give life (not eternal life) to those who commit sin not leading to death. (God answers your prayer. The granting of life here has nothing to do with the sinning brother changing. It is given because the concerned brother asks for it.)
In this verse who is it that is “committing a sin not leading to death?” A brother.
- This is a brother who is in fellowship with God and even though he is in fellowship with God he still sins; 1:8, 10; but it is not a “sin leading to death”, not because his sin is acceptable to God; all sin is wrong.
- His sin is not a “sin leading to death” because of the direction of his walk”; 1:7.
- However, if he changes his direction of walk, he is no longer “walking in the light” and God can and will cut him off.
So, his brother sees him committing sin or living in a way that could cause him to lose fellowship with God, and he asks God to “grant the sinning brother life, not eternal life, but an extension of his life” and God grants that request, because his concerned brother asks for it.
- And what should this concerned brother do? Go to his brother committing sin and talk with him about the sin he is committing and warn him of the consequences if he continues to sin.
Let me see if I can put this in simpler terms to help you understand what John is saying.
- Let’s say you have Pete and Sam…they are brothers in Christ.
Now, let’s read this verse again with those names:
If anyone (Pete) see his brother (Sam) committing a sin not leading to death, he (Pete) shall ask and God will for(to) him (Pete) give life to those (Sam) who commit sin not leading unto death.
- The granting of life here has nothing to do with Sam changing…it is given because you ask for it.
Here is the deal…Pete is noble…and Pete sees Sam sinning…and Sam is in trouble…he is slipping away. 1 John 3:8-10.
“God, I have been watching Sam and Sam has been going places he shouldn’t and I am concerned. I do not want my brother to be lost. Please do not cut him off. I am aware that his sin is hostility toward you. I am aware that you cannot and will not tolerate the practice of sin. But please don’t cut him off. Let me work with him. Please extend his life. Please don’t cut him down but keep him alive. Let me work with him.”
- (Anytime a man is sinning a sin he is getting close to death).
Now, when Pete gets through praying what do you think he is going to do?
- He is going to go to Sam and talk to him about the danger he faces of committing sin.
This tells us something about the awesome power of prayer.
- You can get an extension of life through prayer.
This is not a verse whose main point is a discussion of “sin leading unto death.”
- We are not concerned with what specifically Sam’s sin is.
- The point is that God honors the prayer of a man who is so concerned about his brother’s and sister’ salvation that God will grant to the concerned man an extension of that brother’s life.
- God will and does answer prayer…He likes intercessory prayer.
Now, look at the end of vs. 16: There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this.
Any sin can be unto death. What is important is the direction of the man’s walk when he sins.
- The individual here in vs. 16 is dead in his sin; he is not walking in the light; he has no interest in doing what God wants; and John does not prohibit prayer for this man, he simply releases the faithful brother from the obligation to pray for him.
I encourage each of you to study this for yourself; but what we do know for sure from this passage is there is power in prayer; and prayer may keep a struggling brother from being cut off.
Now, vs. 17: All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death.
- There is not 2 different categories of sin. Any sin can lead to death.
- What makes the difference is the direction of the walk of the sinner.
- If he or she is in Christ and they are walking in the light, the sin they commit (1:8-10) will not lead to death.
Vs. 18: We know that no one who is born of God sins;
- The word “sins” is a present infinitive and it speaks of a persons practice; something they do over and over again.
- The Gnostics said you could live a life of sin and still have a “new birth” standing with Christ and John says, “No you can’t.”
Vs. 18: …but He who was born of God keeps him and the evil one does not touch him.
- The Gnostics didn’t think Jesus was enough. John says He is.
19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. 20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might 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. 21 Little children, guard yourselves from idols.
- Where did John discuss idols in this letter? All the way through.
- An idol is a human invented god and the Gnostics had plenty of them and they tried to make false gods out of Christ and God; and John says, “Do not accept their idolatry.”
- Do not accept a Jesus that is short of human, the Savior, the Messiah, and Deity.
All through this letter John is trying to encourage those in Christ to remain faithful to Christ.
- His primary concern is that they will listen to the false teachings of those who claimed to be in the know, and turn away from Christ and the salvation that is theirs.
Today, that is still his primary concern. He is, all through this letter pleading with each of us to remain faithful to Christ.
- Keep His commandments; Love one another; Walk in the light as He is in the light; Test the Spirits because there are many false prophets in the world.
- Be confident in prayer; and do not accept a Jesus that is short of being human, the Savior, the Messiah and Deity.
If you have drifted away, come home.
- If you are not in fellowship with Christ and you want to be; if you want to know what you must do we are here to teach you and assist you in that.
HOW IS YOUR LOVE LIFE
HOW IS YOUR LOVE LIFE?
1 JOHN 4: 7-14
I don’t mean to embarrass anyone but let me ask all of you, “How is your love life?”
- And you may be thinking, “Wow preacher, you are getting pretty personal!”
Well, you are right, this is pretty personal. But the truth is, it is not me that is asking; God is the One that is concerned.
- In fact, I don’t know if you noticed it, but in the 8 verses that were read, the word “love” is found 13 times, and if you go from verse 14 through verse 21 “love” is mentioned 14 more times.
- So here in 14 verses, the word “love” appears 27 times.
- And the purpose of these verses is to teach you about love, and about how much you and I are loved, and how we are to respond to His love for us.
- And because our “love life” has eternal consequences, if our love life isn’t good, it is very important that you and I change it.
- So, God asks over and over again in these verses, “How is your love life?”
Now, as we through this passage and answer that question we need to understand what God means when He speaks of “love.”
- In the Greek there are 4 words that are translated “love.”
- There is the Greek word “eros”; we get our word “erotic” from this word; this is the sensual, sexual love.
- Then there is the word “storge”; this speaks of family love; love parents have for children; children for parents; brothers for sisters, and so on.
- Then there is the word “phileo”; we get our word “Philadelphia” from this word; it speaks of friendship; love given to all kinds of people; brotherly love.
- Then there is the word “agape”; this is the word used by John in these verses. It is a love that does not desire to get but to give; and it is not attracted by some lovable quality but is poured out even on those who are worthless and degraded.
- It is unconditional love. It is sacrificial.
- It means “to seek the highest good of another regardless of what it costs me; whether they deserve it, appreciate it, accept it, or not.
- If you want an example of this kind of love, look at the cross!
- These other kinds of love can and do often fail, but “agape” love, like the apostle Paul says in 1 Cor. 13:7, “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, and never fails.”
And that is the kind of love that we are to have. So, once again God asks, “How is your love life?”
Look at Vs. 7 Beloved, let us love one another (reciprocating action – back and forth; seek the highest good of each other even when we don’t deserve it or appreciate it. It is loving each other even at times when we may not be very lovable),
…for love is from God;
- The kind of love that John is talking about has its roots only in God…and our love is reflexive.
- God’s love is original and we love because of the love that He has for us.
…and everyone who loves is born (is begotten…this is a perfect tense verb) of God and knows God.
- If our “love life” continues to be what it should be we have a present standing new birth in Christ.
But, vs. 8 The one who does not love (Love has action. It is not just something you say. It is easy to say, “I love you.” But “agape” love can be seen in what you do.) does not know God, for God is love.
- Everything that God does has love as its platform.
- And notice that John says that “the one who does not love does not know God.”
- An individual can claim to know God and have fellowship with Him. But if you do not love your brother or sister there is no fellowship.
- Therefore, love is as essential for salvation as faith, confession, repentance and baptism is.
- So, again, how is your love life?
Vs. 9: By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten (one and only) Son into the world so that we might live through Him.
- The phrase “in us” speaks of an investment…and what this means is God has invested a cross full of love in us!
- And notice where it says “that we might live through Him”…without His Son we would be dead…if we are going to live He would have to die.
10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us (We didn’t start it…it started with God…He sent His Son on a death mission) and sent His Son to be the propitiation (satisfaction…God is going to be satisfied…He sends His Son on the death mission and then He carries out the penalty…and He does this…) for our sins.
Now, we talk about how much Christ loves us in that He died on the cross for us. But, which is the most difficult: to die for others; or to send your son to die for others?
- God’s assignment to send Christ was more difficult than if He would have come Himself.
- God’s love goes beyond comprehension.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought (speaks of a moral obligation) to love one another.
- Because God sent His Son on a death mission and then He carried out the death penalty…then we have a moral obligation to love one another.
- If I am going to take advantage of the love that God has extended to me through His Son, how can I dare refuse to love my brother or sister in Christ.
- I have a moral obligation to love them.
Vs. 12: No one has beheld God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.
- No one has seen God…the only way that people can see God is by the way we as God’s people love each other.
- He is invisible but His love isn’t.
- His love was seen on Calvary…and it should be seen in us?
- God has invested His love in us and we should then produce a love for each other as our response to His investment.
Vs. 13: By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.
- We have a greater Spirit than the Gnostics and the world…His Spirit promotes love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
- The spirit they had promoted self…jealousy…strife…greed…immorality…and division.
Vs. 14: And we (the apostles) have beheld and bear witness that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus (Savior) is the Son of God (Deity), God abides in him, and he in God.
- Deny His humanity…His Deity…Deny Him as Savior…and you deny the manifested love of God.
- We are talking about a real Jesus…the Gnostics denied that He was real.
Vs. 16: And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us(Calvary is convincing…love is self-verifying…Calvary is the verification of God’s love). God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
- Fellowship is rooted in love and again, God is asking, “How is your love life?”
17 By this, love is perfected with us, that we may have confidence (Gnostic doesn’t have confidence) in the day of judgment (He is coming); because as He is (God’s love is redemptive…He is in the world in a redemptive way), so also are we in this world (We are to be in this world in a redemptive way as well).
18 There is no fear in love (He is speaking of the Gnostic here); but perfect love casts out fear (If we have love we can walk into the presence of the judge of the universe without fear), because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
- The man who does not see Calvary and who does not know God and His love has no boldness before God.
19 We love, because He first loved us.
- You cannot love the way God wants you to love without a trip to Calvary.
20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.
- You are to love Him whom you have not seen through the one you have seen.
- This kind of love is expected…but not only is it expected but look at verse 21.
21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.
So, once again, God through the apostle John is asking, “How is your love life?”
- If our love life is good, we have an ongoing standing new birth in Christ.
- But if our love life isn’t good, if we don’t love, we don’t have fellowship with God; no salvation.
And as far as we are concerned, we each one have a moral obligation to love each other; and it is important that our love life is good because people see God and His love through us.
And our “love life” confirms that we abide in God and that He abides in us; and our love give us confidence to stand before God without fear.
- And a “good love life” proves us to be faithful…so, “How is our love life?”
- If your love life is not what it should be, it may be that we need to revisit Calvary and the love that was manifested there.
- Let’s do that: #332 “Lead Me To Calvary”
Now, look at vs. 7 again. John says that we are to “love one another.”
- Don’t make this hard for your brothers and sisters to do.
- Make every effort to be lovable.
- Over the years I have encountered several brothers or sisters in Christ who have made it difficult to love them.
- If you or I are rude, crude, thoughtless, unkind, harsh, difficult and disagreeable we may not have the love of God with in us.
- Make every effort to love your brothers and sisters just as God loves you…and as much as it depends on you, make it easy for your brothers and sisters to love you in return.
Test The Spirits
TEST THE SPIRITS
1 John 4: 1-6
“Test, test, test.” You are probably thinking, “This preacher is losing it. Surely he can tell that the sound system is on.”
- Yes, I know the sound system is on. But what I am doing is, very briefly, telling you what the apostle John is saying in these verses that were read.
Look at vs. 1: Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
I think it is interesting that people “test” almost everything.
- You don’t buy a car unless you “test” drive it.
- You don’t get in the bath tub unless you “test” the water.
- Mothers test the temperature of a baby’s bottle.
- We also have our eyes tested and our blood tested.
- People test almost everything!
But when it comes to our eternal salvation, where knowing the truth is so important because the truth will set us free, most people fail to test what they have been told or what they hear.
- And that is what was happening when John writes this letter.
When John writes this letter he writes to Christians who were dealing with the influence of some people who claimed to be “in the know” on spiritual matters…he is writing due to the influence of the Gnostics.
- These Gnostics, and there were many varieties of Gnostics (Cerenthians, Docetist, Libertines, Denialist, Monastics, Essenes, Ascetics, and Ebionites) and they were perverting God’s sound doctrine teaching all sorts of convoluted ideas and philosophies and as a result many of the Christians were being led astray…especially the new, immature in Christ.
- So out of a deep concern for the purity of the Christian doctrine and God’s plan of salvation, and to refute the Gnostics, John writes this.
And, even though this letter was written toward the end of the 1st century the Gnostic teachings are alive and well today.
- People teaching doctrines that counter the word of God…that dispute God’s plan of salvation…teachings that express man made views rather than God’s.
- So what John says here in these verses is something that we must learn in order to not be deceived by some of the teachings that we encounter in our lives.
So look at what John says starting in verse 1:
Beloved, do not believe every spirit…
- The Gnostics claimed to be “spirit people.”
- Some claimed that what they taught they got from God through some spiritual experience or through enlightenment.
- Others claimed that what they taught they got through some other esoteric or outside spiritual experience…
And it is much the same today
- There are so many teachers out there all claiming that what they are teaching has come from God or from some “spiritual experience.”
- Others say they received their knowledge when God spoke to them…or as the result of a dream…or a vision…or as a result of something that touched their heart.
- And what John says here in verse 1 applies to us…”Do not believe every spirit…”
- They may sound so good…they may sound so right…they may even give the appearance of being very spiritual speaking using all the “Thee’s and Thou’s” and “God bless you” and “Peace to You”…but John says, “They can be wrong!”
So, how do you know which spirit to believe?
- Look what John says next.
1 John 4:1 …but test (this word in the Greek literally means “to put them on trial) the spirits to see whether they are from God;
- When some one comes to you and teaches you something claiming that their teaching is from God…put them and what they teach on trial!
- Don’t just take what they say for the truth…check it out…examine it…question it.
- It may be a very popular teaching and a lot of people may be embracing it…but that doesn’t make it true.
- John says, “Test it!
“Test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
So how do you test them…how can you tell if they are a “false prophet?”
“By this you know the spirit of God: every spirit that confesses (acknowledges – that says the same thing that God says) that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is from God;
…and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.”
- This verse eliminates over half of all the religions in the world as being from God.
- It eliminates Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Shintoism, Spiritualism, Zoroastronism, Paganism, New Age, Scientology, Jehovah Witness, and all these other forms of Gnosticism.
- And here is why.
John says, “Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is from God.”
- “Jesus” is the name that was given to Him because “He will save His people from their sins”; Matthew 1:21
- This name indicates “Savior”: it was a name specifically given to Him by God.
The name “Christ” means “Messiah”…”the One sent from God!”
And then John says, “is come in the flesh”… He was human!
- Every spirit that confesses that Jesus is the Savior…that confesses that He is God’s Messiah…and that confesses that He came in the flesh…that spirit is from God.
But any spirit that denies that He is the Savior…or that denies that He is the Messiah (they want to separate Him from the God of the O.T.)…or that denies that He came in human form…that spirit is of the antichrist.
- In short, the first thing to do when testing the spirits is to see what they say about Jesus.
- That is the reason why over half of all the religions of the world are eliminated from being from God…they deny that Jesus is the Savior, the Messiah, or that He came in human form.
When it came to the different groups of Gnostics, the Docetist were teaching that Jesus only seemed to exist in the flesh because in their minds if Jesus was Deity then He could not possibly have anything to do with the flesh so He only appeared to have a fleshly body.
The Cerenthians believed that Jesus was a plain, ordinary man and lived that way until His baptism at which point the Messiah took up abode in the body of Jesus and stayed there until He was nailed to the cross at which point the Messiah left and the human Jesus died on the cross, a plain, ordinary man.
The Ebionites denied the deity of Christ altogether; that he was just a man.
The Denialists taught that Jesus could never be viewed as being equal to the Father.
The Essenes and Judaizers said that Jesus wasn’t enough; that you needed more.
Now, what about these groups that exist today (Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Shintoism, Spiritualism, Zoroastronism, Paganism, New Age, Scientology, Jehovah Witness); what do they say about Jesus?
- Do they say the samething about Jesus that God says about Him?
Now look at verse 5. John says:
5 They (false prophets) are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them.
- Their knowledge is human speculation…it is worldly wisdom…and the world loves this kind of doctrine.
- It allows you to believe and do those things that are worldly…things that tickle the ears and satisfies the flesh.
- This is the reason why some doctrines and teachings are so popular…the world loves it and the world speaks of a lot of people.
- But just because a lot of people like it doesn’t mean it is from God.
So John says: They (false prophets) are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them.
Now vs. 6: We (the apostles) are from God; he who knows God listens to us, he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
- If some one comes along and teaches you something that does not agree with what the apostles taught…if they reject apostolic testimony…they are not from God…they are instead “the spirit of error.”
- If what they teach does not agree with the Bible…don’t listen to them.
This is not talking about a man who sincerely seeks the truth of God’s word and because of a wrong understanding teaches in error.
- I know of instances where people have approached a teacher after he spoke and hatefully accuse him of being a “false prophet.”
This passage is not talking about that…there are many difficult passages in the Bible and every one of us who teaches and have taught will, from time to time, teach something that may not be right.
- This passage is talking about someone who refuses to listen to what the apostles say and who continues to teach the wisdom and doctrines of the world.…that endear him to men instead of to God.
And they will tell you all kinds of things some of which sound so good…so right…so pleasing.
- But they can be so wrong.
- John says, “Test them…put them on trial.”
- Because failure to do so could lead you “through the wide gate that leads to destruction. “
We have all of these different religions and religious groups in the world today…something that God never intended…but knew would happen.
- He also knew that many people would come along and claim to be His prophets…and claim that their teachings were from God.
- And He also knew that people would be confused and perhaps pulled away by the false teachers and doctrines.
- Because He knew these things would take place…He gave us these guidelines on how to determine who we should and shouldn’t listen to.
With these guidelines comes great responsibility…because the only way you can follow these guidelines that God has given…they only way you can keep from being deceived…is you have to have a firm, confident, knowledge of what the Word of God says.
What does the word say about Jesus Christ who came in human form?
- Anyone who denies that He is the Savior, the Messiah, or that He came in the flesh…they are false prophets.
- And if what they teach does not agree with what the apostles say…if it does not agree with what this says (Bible) then they have a spirit of error.
- For the sake of our own salvation and to keep from being led astray we each one must dedicate ourselves to a greater, faithful knowledge of the Bible.
And because there are many false prophets that have gone out into the world.
- Do not just blindly believe what they say…instead…”test ,test, test” the spirits to see if they are from God.
Love And A Clear Conscience
LOVE AND A CLEAR CONSCIENCE
1 John 3:18-24
Several years ago the number one song in America was “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” and you could say, that is exactly the way the Gnostics, those who thought they were enlightened, or the antichrist mentioned in chapter 2 thought, “What’s love got to do with it?”
- They believed that they could have fellowship with God while standing on a platform of hate.
Here in chapter 3, John says that love has everything to do with it!
- In vs. 10, John says, “The one who does not love his brother is of the devil.”
- 11, John says that “Love is foundational; it was the message that these brethren heard from the beginning.” They couldn’t hear about Christ without hearing about love.
- 12, John says that they were not to love like Cain; they were not to have a self-love or a self-centered love.
- And look at vs. 14: “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.
- And in vs. 15 John says, “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer” and does not have eternal life.
Regardless of what the Gnostics say, those who claim to have a special knowledge, John says, “If you want to be right with God; if you want to be in fellowship with God; if you want the assurance of eternal life; love has everything to do with it!”
But John doesn’t leave it up to the Gnostics or anyone else to define what love is. Look at vs. 16. John says: “We know love by this, that He (Jesus) laid down His life for us;”
- The only way we can know love or “agape” is by looking at the cross.
- “He laid down His life for us” – Jesus’ love was totally unselfish; it was deliberate; it was sacrificial; it was His choice; He gave 100%. And we didn’t deserve any of it.
And look at what our response should be to His love; vs. 16: …and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
- The word “ought” in the Greek speaks of a moral obligation. This is how we manifest our love for Jesus by loving our brothers and sisters like He loved us.
- In the day that John wrote this, when Christians were arrested and imprisoned by the Romans; and the Jews; many followers actually lost their lives to protect their brethren.
- The Gnostics sure weren’t going to do this.
And most of us will, more than likely, never find ourselves literally laying down our lives for our brethren. .
- But, there are ways other than dying to “lay down your life for a brother or sister” and John mentions those in vs. 17.
But whoever has the world’s goods (means of livelihood – you are capable of helping), and beholds his brother in need (food, clothing, shelter, medicine) and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?
- The answer is, “It doesn’t!”
- The Gnostics thought it did but John says otherwise.
Now, vs. 18: Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.
- You cannot carry out this assignment to “love those in need” simply by lip service.
- Genuine, Christ-like love is manifested by action and it is sincere.
So, that is the standard; vs. 16-18 is our assignment: 1) Be willing to lay down your life for your brethren; 2) give of your livelihood to help your brother and sister in Christ who are in need; and 3) manifest a sincere love by your actions, and not just by word.
But how many of us can fully live up to this standard? How many of us can fully love like Christ?
- The flesh is weak and as hard as we try we can no more love like Christ than we can live sinless lives like Christ.
- And when we don’t live up to the standard we feel bad. We feel like we have failed.
- We feel like we should have done more?
- We feel guilty and we condemn ourselves.
- Does God? Does God condemn us when we condemn ourselves?
- Look at vs. 19.
We shall know by this (by our actions of love) that we are of the truth (we are not pretending to love), and shall assure our heart before Him, 20 in whatever our heart condemns us;
- Why would our heart condemn us?
Because we feel like we have failed to live up to the standard.
- I think we have all probably done that. We have a brother or sister in need and we want to help; but we don’t know what they need; or how much they need.
- So we do what we can.
And later we fill bad thinking perhaps that we “Didn’t do enough”; we “wish we could have done more.”
- We feel like we haven’t even come close to manifesting the amount of love that Jesus has shown toward us, and so we feel bad.
But John says here that our sincere actions of love show that we are “of the truth and we can stand with assured hearts before God.”
And look at the end of verse 20: …for God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.
- Your heart or your conscience may condemn you; but God is greater than your conscience; and He overrules your condemning conscience and He gives you assurance.
- He reverses the sentence of the conscience that says we failed to love like He did.
And notice that little phrase at the end of vs. 20: …for God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.
- God knows our hearts; He knows our desire; and He knows our faith.
- He knows that we care; He knows that the flesh is weak; and He knows that we did what we could.
- But, He also knows when we could have helped and selfishly or unlovingly didn’t.
Look at vs. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.
- Even though our heart or conscience tells us that we are guilty and have failed to love like we should, God overrules the sentence of our heart and we can still ask Him and know we will receive it.
- Our perceived failure and short coming does not condition His response to us.
Vs. 19-22 tells us that a Christian can live without guilt complexes even in the midst of failure.
- This passage gets rid of guilt.
Vs. 23: And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.
- How can God command us to believe?
- Because God has given sufficient evidence that Jesus is His Son.
- The man who does not believe is without excuse.
Vs.24 And the one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And we know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
- How do I know I know that God abides in me?
- Because His Spirit abides in me.
- How do I know that His Spirit abides in me?
- Because I keep His commands.
So, “What’s love got to do with it?”
- You can “believe in Christ; you can confess Him as Lord, you can repent of your sins; be baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of sins; you can give all of your possession to the poor, and you can surrender your body to be burned (1 Cor. 13:3) but if you do not have love, you have nothing.”
And we will probably never have to literally “lay down our lives” to help a brother or sister; but we may be compelled to “lay down our lives” in other ways.
- And when we help our brother or sister in need, we know that we are of the truth and our hearts are assured before God; even when we feel like we may not have done enough.
- “Little Children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”
LOVE ONE ANOTHER
LOVE ONE ANOTHER
I John 3: 10-18
If I were to ask you what the ‘STEPS TO SALVATION” are…you would probably say, “Hear, Believe, Confess, Repent, Be Baptized, and walk in the light.
However, in this passage that we are going to cover John indicates that there is one more item required for salvation…that Hear, Believe, Confess, Repent, Baptism and walk in the light are not enough.
- And the fact is, even if you have what John mentions here…it must be the right kind.
- Let’s begin in verse 10.
Now, keep in mind that John is writing this due to the influence of the Gnostics…and what John is doing is he is writing to tell these Christians not to give in to the Gnostic teachings…
- The Gnostics had come along and they said, “Even though we live a lawless life…even though we practice sin…we still have fellowship with God.”
- And John says, “No you don’t!”
- You can not practice sin and have a righteous standing with God.
In fact, look at verse 10: By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice (present tense) righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.
- These Gnostics were practicing sin and claiming to have fellowship with God but John says the only fellowship they have is with the devil.
- So you cannot live a life of sin…you cannot practices lawlessness and have a right standing with God.
- Your practices identifies your fellowship.
But what I really want you to notice is the last phrase of Vs. 10…because John moves into another facet that excludes the Gnostics from fellowship with God…but not only the Gnostics but anyone who does not have what John mentions here. Look at the end of vs. 10 again:
…anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. 11 For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; (reciprocating action)
- This was a foundational truth…they heard this from the very beginning…in fact, they couldn’t hear about Christ without hearing about love…and the love He had for others.
- If they wanted to be right with God they had to love one another.
The Gnostics didn’t have a love for their brothers…they were Elitists…they thought that they were enlightened…they were smarter than others…and in their great wisdom they looked down on those who weren’t as smart at they were.
- And their self-proclaimed intellect bred jealousy and envy…and as a result they sometimes despised each other…and yet they claimed to have fellowship with God.
- John says here it does work that way…if there is no love for your brothers there is no fellowship with God.
And, it must be the right kind of love! Look at vs. 11.
John says that we “should love one another…not as Cain, who was of the evil one.”
- If you are going to have fellowship with God you have to have the right kind of love.
- What kind of love did Cain have?
John says, “We are not to love like Cain, who was of the evil one!”
- Now, look at vs. 8: “The one who practices sin is of the devil.”
- Cain’s killing of Abel wasn’t the result of an isolated instant of rage…it was the result of a lifestyle…a practice.
- Cain was a self-lover…He loved himself so much that he killed Abel.
- Cain was always an egotist…Cain was always self-seeking.
- Cain didn’t care what happened as long as Cain was satisfied.
John says, “Don’t love like Cain, who was of the evil one…”
- Don’t have a selfish, self-seeking love.
- That kind of love is from the evil one.
Look at verse 12: And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds (speaks of a practice) were evil and his brother’s were righteous.
- Cain killing his brother wasn’t the result of an instant of anger…
- Cain was a self-lover…and he killed Cain as a result of his lifestyle…a “think only of self” lifestyle.
What about Abel’s walk and status? He was righteous as God is righteous.
- If you are going to have fellowship with God you must have the right kind of love!
- You cannot have a love that thinks only of self.
Now look at verse 13: “Do not marvel, brethren, if the world hates (detests, hateful) you.”
- Just like Cain…who was of the evil one…hated Abel who was righteous…people in the world are going to hate us too.
- And if they hate you…according to vs. 12…who are they of? The evil one.
- From Genesis 3:15 on…there has always been animosity between good and evil…so if they hate you don’t be surprised…don’t marvel at it.
Now, if the world loves us what does that mean?
- It means we are not doing what we should be doing.
- IF we do nothing we are no threat…so there is no reason to hate us.
Now look at verse 14: “We know that we have passed out of death into life…he is going to tell us how we know…
- People often ask “How can I know that I am right with God?” Here it is:
“We know that we have passed out of death into life….because we love (present indicative) the brethren. He who does not love abides (present indicative) in death.
- You cannot get the “new birth” on a platform of sin and lawlessness.
- You cannot get the “new birth” on a platform of hate.
- There has to be love…an ongoing love for the brethren.
Now, look at verse 15: Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer;
- You don’t have to commit the physical act…all you have to do is hate.
And look at what John says next: …and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
- These Gnostics despised one another and they still claimed to be right with God…John says we as Christians know better…don’t be fooled by their false teachings.
Vs. 16: We know love (agape) by this, that He laid down His life for us (the church).
- The only way you can know “agape” love is by looking at the cross.
- It has never be expressed or defined prior to the cross.
John says, “He laid down His life for us.”
- It was a deliberate act…it was His choice.
; and we ought (Ophelay – speaks of a moral obligation: we are indebted, bound) to lay down our lives for the brethren.
- How did the Christians lay down their lives for others?
- Romans would kill Christians if they caught them…some laid down their lives to keep Romans from finding their brethren.
Vs. 17: But whoever has the world’s goods (the means of livelihood – food, clothing, shelter) and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart (shows no compassion) against him, how does the love of God abide in him?
- The answer is simple…it doesn’t.
- Now, if God’s love doesn’t abide then what does?
This is a day to day assignment…love is not an isolated act.
18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.
- You cannot simply carry out this assignment verbally.
- There is no “I love you brother but….”
- It is “I love you brother therefore…”
He says we are to love “in deed and truth.”
- Love manifests itself in action…and it is not hypocritical.
- Anyone can say, “I love you”…even the Gnostics…but real love requires more than that.
What are the steps to salvation: Hear, Believe, Confess, Repent, Baptized, Love, and walk in the light.
These Gnostics said they had fellowship with God even though they hated each other…and John says, “If there is no love for one another…there is no fellowship.”
If you look at our culture and society it is evident that most people do not know what real love is.
- It is up to us, his church, to manifest the love that Christ has for them, to them so they can have fellowship with God too.
Sin Does Matter
SIN DOES MATTER
1 John 3:4-10
I want you to notice vs. 7 again. John says, “Little children, let no one deceive you…”
- If you are like me you don’t like to be deceived or lied to…and that is especially true when it comes to spiritual matters and our eternal salvation.
- And John doesn’t want us to be lied to either.
- So, he writes the 6 verses that were read.
So, what is the deception; what is the lie?
Well, we must remember John’s purpose for writing this letter.
- John is writing to refute the teachings and influence of the Gnostics…individuals who believed they had special knowledge…and what they did is, as the “gospel of Christ”, spread throughout the different regions, the Gnostics synchronized their pagan beliefs and practices with the teaching of Christ and the apostles so they could continue to practice their ungodly practices.
The specific Gnostic teaching that John deals with here in this passage is the teaching that said, “Sin doesn’t matter.”
- The Libertines especially said that “The body and the spirit were completely separate and unrelated and therefore the body could do anything it wanted with no affect on the spirit.”
- So basically they said, “Eat, drink, and be merry because what you do in this fleshly body has no bearing on what happens to the spirit after you die.”
- You can live a sinful, rebellious, immoral life…and still have fellowship with God…and still go to heaven.
In other words you can be a fornicator, an idolater, an adulterer, effeminate, a homosexual, 10 a thief, covetous, a drunkard, a reviler, a swindler, be filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; one who gossips, 30 slanders, hates God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventor of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and still go to heaven.
The Gnostics said that “sin doesn’t matter” and that deception or lie is extremely prevalent today. And that is the lie that John refutes in this passage. Look starting in verse 4:
4 Everyone (There are not exceptions. People often want to exclude themselves or certain individuals from this teaching but John doesn’t exclude anyone.)
Everyone who practices sin…
- This is present tense…an on going practice.
- This isn’t talking about the Christian who is trying to walk in the light and stumbles.
- This is talking about “practice”…and everyone knows what it means to practice…if you have piano or baseball practice you do it over and over again…it speaks of repetition.
- This is talking about the individual who claims to be in fellowship with God and yet continues to live a life of sins.
And John says, “Everyone who does that, who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.”
- “Lawlessness” is the refusal to be governed by law…
- And John says, “That is what sin is…sin is lawlessness…it is a refusal to be governed by God’s law.
- And John’s point is, if you refuse to be governed by God’s law and commands, there is not fellowship with God!
- Sin does matter!
Now verse 5: And you know that He (Jesus) appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.
- If “sin doesn’t matter” why did Jesus “appear to take away sins?”
And notice the end of the verse where it says, “…and in Him there is no sin.”
- This verse is not saying that Jesus “had no sin”…that is true but that is not what John is saying here.
- See the word “IN”…that word is locative voice in the Greek…it speaks of location…the arena…and what John is saying is, “Those who are IN Him do not practice sin; they do not practice lawlessness.”
These Gnostics were saying, “Sin doesn’t matter. We practice sin and we have fellowship with God.”
- John says, “No you don’t!”
- An individual can claim fellowship all they want but as long as live a life of sin, as long as they practice lawlessness and refuse to obey God’s commands, they are still separated from God.
Now look at verse 6: No one (again, no exceptions) who abides(present tense – acts in accordance, obeys) in Him sins (present tense – practice.)
- You cannot have a “present practice of sin” and have a present abiding relationship with Jesus!
- “No one!”
And look at what John says next: …no one who sins(present tense…on going action) has seen Him or knows Him.
- People can claim they have fellowship with God.
- Preachers can even preach them into heaven.
- But the truth is, if a person “practices sin”…has an on going practice of lawlessness…there is no fellowship with God!
Vs. 7: Little children(these are new Christians…the most vulnerable to the Gnostic teachings), let no one deceive you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous;
- Christians are going to practice the same thing Christ practiced.
- And John says, “Let no one deceive you”…don’t let anyone drive you away from this conviction!
Vs. 7 “The one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is”; how righteous is God?
- 100% pure and clean.
- We are not pure and perfect and never will be.
- But if we make righteousness our aim…then God imputes righteousness to us. .
- Our practice is not perfect but our status is.
- Some times we do not feel righteous…let your knowledge over ride your feelings.
8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
- Do you see who the man who practices sin has fellowship with?
- These Gnostics were telling these Christians that you could live a life of sin and still have fellowship with God. No you can’t!
- If you could…why did Christ come?
- Your practice identifies your fellowship.
9 No one who “is” (punctiliar present active) born of God (born in the past and stays born) practices sin,
- If you have a present standing birth in Christ there is one thing that is certain…you do not have a present standing practice of sin.
- You cannot have a “new birth” and practice sin.
- Anyone who has a “new birth” and starts practicing sin now belongs to Satan.
- If you have a “presently born again status with God” it is because you do not have a standing practice of sin.
Vs. 9…because His seed (Greek word “sperma”…used in Mk. 4:14 where Jesus taught the parable of the soils and referred to the “seed” as being the “Word.”)
…abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
- If God’s “seed” or word abides in you, you do not practice sin.
- And notice where John says, “He cannot sin”…He cannot practice sin because when you do the word that abides in you says, “Stop it!”
- If the word abides in you…if you are born of God…you cannot practice sin.
10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.
These Gnostics said that “sin makes no difference.”
- They said that you could practice a life of sin and still have fellowship with God.
- John says, “No, you can’t.”
- It makes no difference who you are, if you are a Gnostic or if you call yourself a Christian…or if you are a Christian who has gone back to practicing sin…if you practice sin…there is no fellowship with God.
- Christianity requires a sanctified life.
But regardless of what John says here…people still believe today what these Gnostics taught…and sadly…many preachers teach this same thing.
- Listen some time when you go to a funeral.
- Preachers, and it is not only preachers, it is common for people to do this, they don’t want to hurt the family…don’t want to cause them to grieve…so instead of telling them the truth in a loving way…they tell the family that their family member who has died is in the “arms of God…or He is in heaven.”
In those situations I am saying that we shouldn’t be caring and sensitive.
- But at the same time we must be careful about giving people the idea that they can live a sinful life and still be in fellowship with God.
If sin doesn’t matter, then there is no need to evangelize.
If sin doesn’t matter, then there is no need for Christ.
If sin doesn’t matter, then there is no need to come to the assemblies.
If people would quit teaching the “man who practices sin” into heaven, do you think it would change or society?
- Do you think it would change some people?
The Gnostic teaching that John deals with here in these verses is very much alive today and sadly it is being spread by men who call themselves “Gospel Preachers.”
Aint It Amazing
AIN’T IT AMAZING
1 John 3:1-3
How many of you know what “language of amazement” is?
- Perhaps you have stood and looked out over a field and as far as you can see it is covered with bluebonnets and you said, “Oh my, look at this!”
- Or maybe you stood looking at a sunset that only God Himself can design and you thought, “Oh wow, what a sight.”
- Or maybe you have held a new born child in your hand and said, “Oh my…”
- That is what language of amazement is.
Well, that is how John begins this chapter. Look at verse 1. John says: “See how great a love…”
- The NKJ and the KJV and the American Standard say, “Behold what manner of love…”
- And that word “see, or behold” doesn’t just mean “look at it”…it is more than that…it is the idea of “give deep consideration to…contemplate…that which is remarkable or impressive.”
And where John says, “How great a love…or what manner of love” that is the Greek word “potapos” and it has behind it the idea of “something amazing.”
- And so what John is saying here is “Give some consideration to…contemplate…do some deep reflection on the Father’s love…and how amazing it is!
But there something more to be amazed about…look what he says next; “See (give deep consideration to)…the great (amazing) love…the Father…has bestowed…
- This is amazing in itself!
- This “great amazing love” was a gift from the Father!
And look at the next phrase…this great love was “bestowed” by the Father…upon us!
- Who is the “us” here? In the context it is the Christians that John is writing to…but this also includes us today…”the Father has bestowed His great love on us…it is a gift.”
In and of ourselves we aren’t righteous people…we were sinners and we still are sinners…and yet Christ died for us.
- We were enemies…and yet we were reconciled to God through the death of Christ.
- We were dead in our transgressions…and yet He made us alive together with Christ…
- He did all of that because He loves us!
- We can’t earn it; we don’t deserve it.
- And there is no other way to describe that other than “amazing!”
But there is more…look at what else John says: “See…give deep consideration to…the great or amazing love…the Father…has bestowed or given upon us…that we should be called children of God;
- That is amazing status!
- I think my children are proud to say, “I am a child of Virgil Webb”, I hope they are.
- And most of you are probably proud to say, “I am the son or daughter of….”
- But give some deep consideration to this statement…”I am a child of God!”
- That is amazing status!
So what you have here in this one verse is “amazing love…an amazing gift…and amazing status.”
- And John says, “Do some deep reflection on that.”
Now, I want you to look at that last statement where John says “that we should be called children of God.”
- Notice what he says next…”and such we are.”
- And look in verse 2: “Beloved, now we are children of God…”
- Three times here in two verses John tells us that we are God’s children.”
- Why does he do that?
Remember why John is writing this letter?
- The Gnostics had come along and they were saying, “We alone have fellowship with God…we alone are sons of God…they were claiming to be children of God exclusively.”
- And they didn’t acknowledge the “son-ship” that these Christians had.
In fact, look at the end of verse 1: For this reason the world (Gnostics) does not know us, because it did not know Him.
- The Gnostics were telling these Christians that as Christians they weren’t sons of God…and unfortunately some of these Christians were being influenced by that…and they were wavering.
- And John, to remind them…to rebuke them…says three times…”You are children of God!”
A lot of people claim to be…and maybe that is why we sometimes don’t fully appreciate the amazing status that we have….this has been trivialized.
- But the truth of the matter is, a lot of people who claim to be children of God are not…and the reason they aren’t, is for the same reasons these Gnostics weren’t.
- They claim to be children of God…but they walk in the darkness.
- They claim to be children of God…but they don’t totally depend on the Father for the forgiveness of their sins.
- They claim to be children of God…but the love of God is not in them.
- They claim to be children of God…but they don’t keep His commandments.
- They claim to be children of God…but they don’t love one another.
- They claim to be children of God…but the word doesn’t abide in them.
- They claim to be children of God…but they love the things of the world.
- They claim to be children of God…but they deny the deity, the humanity, and the Messiah-ship of Christ.
- They claim to be children of God…but they deny the word.
- A lot of people claim to be a child of God…but they aren’t.
But for those who do walk in the light…who do have the love of God in them…who do keep His commandments…who do love one another…who do let the word abide in them…who love the Father and not the world…who recognize the deity, the humanity, and the Messiah-ship of Christ…you are…you can be sure…that you are a child of God.
John writes this to refute the Gnostics…and to remind us of the amazing love…the amazing gift…and the amazing status that we have.
Now, look at verse 2 again. John says, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be.
- Everyone wants to know this.
- You talk to people and they want to know, “After we die…what kind of bodies are we going to have in heaven?”
- Well, John is going to answer that…but before he does let me ask you this…why do you suppose John brings this up here?
- Why does he say, “…it has not appeared as yet what we shall be.”
I will tell you…remember the Gnostics…some of them had come up with all different kinds of ideas.
- Some thought that you would have a body with all of its fleshly desires and when you got to heaven all of your fleshly desires will be satisfied. (Muslims-70 virgins).
- Some said that “if you were poor in this life…in the next you would rich…again…the indication is you will have a body with fleshly desires.
- However, the most common idea was when you die…you die and it is all over…there will be no resurrection.
But John refutes that. He says, “We are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be.”
- Obviously from what John says this life is not all there is!
- We don’t know for sure “what we will be” but we “will be.”
And John says, in the here and now we are “children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be.”
- He says, “It has not appeared as yet what we shall be.”
- It is not clear what we will be when He comes.
- We can know some things perhaps from 1 Cor. 15: 35ff.
- But the truth is, “If John doesn’t know…we don’t either.”
What we do know, because of the word of God…we will be like Him.
- Look at verse 2: We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.
- What He now is we will be.
- What we will be has not been seen by man.
- That means we will not be what Jesus was after His resurrection because that has been made manifest.
- How do we know we are going to be like Him? Because “we are going to see Him like He is…”
Scripture does not attempt to define “what we shall be.”
- What we do know is a change will take place.
- In fact, look at Phil. 3:20: For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21 who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.
- No one knows what we will be like…but we will see Him.
And now, go back to 1 John 3: 3 and look at this very important verse…because this verse tells us a lot about how we are to be and live.
3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him(no one else…no thing else) purifies himself, just as He is pure.
- “purifies himself”- is present tense…continuous action.
- This is talking about sanctification.
- Our sanctification is not going to be perfect…we will still need the cleansing blood of Christ.
- But we do commit ourselves to holiness of life.
Why do you think John says this?
- Because the Gnostics said they could live an impure life and still have fellowship with God.
- John says, “If you live an impure life not only will you not have fellowship with God…but you will not be transformed from this body to a more glorious body when He comes.
What has John taught us?
- He has taught us about an amazing love, that is extended to us as an amazing gift, and that amazing love grants to us an amazing status, and an amazing future.
- May we each one be determined to hold fast to the hope we have in Him.
1 John 2:18-29
This past week I got a notice in the mail and on the envelop it said, “Urgent!”
- What does that mean? Urgent?
Nothing to a lot of people and the reason it doesn’t mean much to a lot of people is because we use the term when the situation isn’t really “urgent.”
But there are times and instances when the situation is really “urgent” and should be treated as such.
- And that is what the situation is here in the verses that were read.
- There is a sense of “urgency” here in what John writes and it requires our immediate attention.
Look with me at vs. 18 again.
Vs. 18: Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour.
- First of all notice that John speaks to the “Children.”
- Back up in verses 12-14 John wrote to three different groups; the children, the young men, and the fathers…and he isn’t referring to their age.
- He is referring to their spiritual maturity…the fathers being first generation Christians “who have known Christ from the beginning”…the young men “who have overcome the evil one” being second generation Christians…and the children “whose sins are forgiven” being new converts.
So here in vs. 18 John is speaking to the “children” or to those who are new converts…because the new converts are the weakest in their faith…they are babies in Christ…they are the most susceptible…they are the ones who are in the most danger!.
So John says, “Children, it is the last hour”…two times in this verse John says, “It is the last hour.”
- “This is urgent! There are no hours after this!”
Now initially when you look at this statement it sounds like an “end of time statement.”
- But that is not the way that John uses the term “”
- John uses the term “hour” to speak of a transition…a change.
- For example look at John 2:4:
And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what do I have to do with you? My hour has not yet come.”
- Jesus says, “A transition or change will take place but not yet.”
John 5:27 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour (a change) is coming and now is, when the dead (spiritually) shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live.
John 5:28 “Do not marvel at this; for an hour (a change) is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice,
John 12:23 And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. (Here Jesus is saying, “It is time for a change.”)
Several times John in his writing uses the word “hour” but he doesn’t use it in the context of “end of time”…he uses it to refer to a change.
So, what you have in 1 John 2:18 is a warning about a change.
- And John doesn’t say, “It is going to take place.”
- Instead, 2 times He says, “It is the last hour.” “It is happening now!”
- It is an urgent situation! And it requires your immediate attention now.!
And why is this so “urgent?” Because “even now many antichrists have risen.”
- Some today say that the “antichrist” have yet to come.
- That is not what John says. John says they are already here!
And this should not be a surprise to these new converts because John says that they have “heard (past tense) that these antichrist (these people who were against Christ) were coming.”
- Up until the time John wrote this the people were eager to hear the good news of Jesus, but now these “anti-Christ”, these people who were opposed to Christ have “arisen”, and they will pervert the “good news of Christ” and confuse these new converts and turn them from the sound teachings of Christ.
- And that is what is so “urgent” about this!.
In fact, look at what John writes in 2 John vs. 8. John says, Watch yourselves, that you might not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward.
John is not talking about the “end of time.”
- What John is doing is, he is sounding a warning here to try and keep these new converts from a present danger that could and would cost them their salvation in Christ.
- This is an “urgent” situation. It requires their immediate attention.
- And this situation still exists today for us.
So John says, “Even now many antichrist have arisen.” Who are these “antichrist?”
Well, notice in vs.18 that John says that these antichrist are many.
- And when he speaks of “many” he isn’t talking so much about numbers.
- No doubt there were many of them just as there is today.
But when John speaks of “many antichrist” he is speaking more specifically about the many different currents of antichristian teachings and doctrines coming from false teachers who claimed to have a special knowledge (syncretizing the gospel of Christ with their human reasoning).
- And John has already mentioned a few of their teachings; teachings that still exist today.
In chapter 1:7 some of these false teachers were teaching that you could “walk in the darkness and still have fellowship with God.”
- Later in chapter 1:8 and 10 they said they “were without sin” which in essence made God a liar and which meant they didn’t need Christ.
- In chapter 2:4 they were teaching that “you didn’t have to keep God’s commands.”
- In chapter 2:12 they were claiming to have fellowship with God while standing on a platform of hate.
- And in vs. 15 of chapter 2 they said you could have a divided devotion; that you could serve two masters; you could “love the world and all the allurements of the world and still love God.”
And look at vs. 19: John says, “They went out from us (they claimed to be Christians), but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us.
- You can almost hear their argument…in fact, we often hear it today.
- “We believe in God too! We believe in Christ! We believe in heaven we just have different ideas on how to get there.”
John says, “These antichrist went out from us” but were not really a part of us.”
- They looked and sounded so good; they were very impressive; but they never really accepted the truth…and they never had fellowship with God. They only claimed to be Christians….
- “Because”, look what John says, ”If they would have been of us, they would have “ have remained with us.”
- “But they went out in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us.”
The church didn’t lose anything when these people left because the church never had them in the first place.
- These deceivers came in secretly as though they were spies…they were false brethren.
- They were sectarian…they only wanted to teach and promote their way of thinking…they came in to cause confusion and division.
And look at vs. 22: Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.
- These false teachers, these deceivers, these perverters of the word of God they denied that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah…they wanted to deny His O.T. roots.
- They wanted to deny His deity; His Father and Son relationship.
- And John says, “They are liars.”
And if you look at vs. 26 you see why John is writing this: These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you.
- These false teachers; these liars; these perverters of the word of God were on a mission to deceive these Christians.
Why would they do this? To justify themselves.
These “children, these new converts” were going to encounter many different facets of antichristian teachings, just as we do today.
- And John is urgently warning these new Christians as well as all of us of the danger we face.
- The situation is “urgent” requiring our immediate attention!
So, what do we do? In the presence of this danger that exists today, what do we do to keep from being deceived by those who pervert the word of God?
- Well, John tells us. Look at vs. 26 again.
John says, These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you.
27 And as for you, the anointing which you received… (What is this anointing? Well, you learn what the anointing is by what the anointing does!)
27 And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you…
- These brethren that John is writing to have “received this anointing.”
- And they received it from “Him”; 20 says they received this “anointing from the Holy One.”
- And the “anointing” abides in them. In vs. 24 “what they had heard” abides in them.
- So the anointing is what they had “heard from the beginning” and since it does, “they abide in the Son and in the Father.”
Now, vs. 27 again: And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you and you have no need for anyone to teach you (why?); because His anointing teaches you about all things (redemption and salvation), and is true and is not a lie, and just as it (not a person) has taught you, you abide in Him.
What is this “anointing?” Well, it is something that teaches us; about all things.
- It is true and is not a lie.
- It is totally adequate. We don’t need any one else to teach us; especially the antichrist; those who pervert the word of God.
- And since “it” is an “it” we know “it” is not a person.
- And when we let “it” teach us we abide with Him; we have fellowship with Christ.
- What is it? WORD OF GOD or the BIBLE.
And what John is saying is, there are many false teachers and there are many false teachings who will deceive you and lead you astray.
- And to keep us from being deceived we must make sure that the word of God abides in us. (Study it; learn it; spend time in it_
- If what someone teaches us, including me,(Don’t need to be baptized; live a sinful life and still be saved; don’t have to keep His commands; you can hate your brother; Jesus is not the Son of God; you can save yourself; Jesus isn’t enough, you need more) if what they teach you does not agree with the word of God, they are false teachers and liars.
- Ignore what they say.
Little Children, Fathers, Young Men
LITTLE CHILDREN, FATHERS, AND YOUNG MEN
1 John 2:12-17
___________ do you have a watch? Here is what I am going to do…I am writing a number down and if you guess the number you get to keep the watch, but if you don’t guess the number, I get the watch!
- That doesn’t make much sense because he already has the watch…it is his!
- Why should he give it up regardless of what number I have?
I am sure that most of you have had some young men come by your house and they want to tell you about their prophet…and they want to give you their prophet’s so called “Latter Day Revelation.”
- Let me ask you this? Don’t you already have what you need for salvation?
- Why would you need something else?
- Why would you give up what is already yours for something else?
The reason I mention these things to you is because that is basically what John is saying here in this passage: Why would you give up what is already yours for something else?
- Look at the passage starting in verse 12.
Now it is important that you keep in mind that John is writing this to counter what the Gnostics were teaching and to counter their influence on these Christians.
- There were several different Gnostic teachings such as “You can live any way you want and still have fellowship with God because what you do in the flesh has no bearing on the spiritual.”
- Or they said that “they had fellowship with God because they weren’t sinners.”
- Others said you didn’t have to keep the commandments of God and still others hated their brothers while claiming to have fellowship with God.
- And basically what they were doing is they were influencing these Christians to do the same thing they were.
- So John is writing to counter that influence.
So look at this passage…
- The first thing I want you to notice is the 3 different categories of people that John writes this to.
- They are all Christians…they are all IN Christ…but in verse 12 and 13 he is writing to “little children”…in verse 13 and 14 he is writing to “”
- And in verse 13-14 he is writing to “young men.”
Now, obviously, when he says he is writing to “little children” he isn’t referring to age.
- Little children can’t read little on comprehend what the Gnostics were teaching.
- So when John speaks of “little children, young men, and fathers” he is not referring to their ages.
Instead, he is referring to their spiritual chronology…their spiritual maturity.
- The “little children” are new converts.
- The “young men” are 2nd generation Christians…more mature.
- And “fathers” are those who have heard the message of Christ from the beginning…they are first generation Christians.
Now look at verse 12: I am writing to you (present tense) little children, because your sins are forgiven you (perfect tense in the Greek: speaks of a present state resulting from a past completed action; their sins were forgiven in the past and they are still being forgiven) for His name’s sake.
- Do you understand what they already have?
- These “little children”…these new converts are the most vulnerable to the influence of the Gnostics…and John, to keep them from falling for the false teachings of the Gnostics says, “Your sins were forgiven in the past and they are still forgiven!”
- Because of their obedient faith in Christ…and because of their acknowledgement that they are sinners…for His name sake God, out of honor to Jesus, keeps forgiving their sins.
Look at what else John says to these “little children” or these new coverts…look at the end of vs. 13:
I have written to you (now it is past tense – this speaks of past correspondence), children, because you know the Father (perfect tense).
- If they didn’t “know the father” their sins would not be forgiven.” Do you remember what John said about how you can tell who “knows” God?
Now, if their sins are forgiven…and if they know the Father…they don’t need to listen to the Gnostic doctrine. The Gnostic doctrine is of no value to them.
- Why would they give up what they already have for something else?
And the same is true for us…”why give up what you already have…for something else?”
Now look at what else John says in vs. 13: I am writing to you (present tense), fathers, because you know (perfect tense – again, this speaks of a present state as the result of a past completed action) Him who has been from the beginning (the beginning of Christianity).
- These “fathers”, these first generation Christians had obeyed the Lord’s commandments in the past and they were still keeping His commandments.
Now look at verse 14:
I have written to you (past tense- speaks of past correspondence), fathers, because you know Him (perfect tense) who has been from the beginning.
- In both verses John says to these more mature Christians…these who are first generation Christians…that they “know Him…they know God!”
- They know His commands…they know His commands of love…and they know His commands of righteousness!
- Now if they know God, if they have fellowship with God…why would they need anything that these Gnostics would teach them?
Why would they give up what they already have for something else or why would they have to add to it?
And the same is true for us…”why give up what you already have…for something else?”
Now, look at the “young men” in verse 13:
I am writing to you (present tense), young men, because you have overcome (perfect tense) the evil one.
- Through Christ they had overcome “the evil one” and they were still over coming him.
- Why would they need or want anything the Gnostics had to offer?
Vs. 14: I have written to you (past tense- speaks of past correspondence), young men, because you are strong (present tense), and the word of God abides (present tense) in you, and you have overcome (perfect tense) the evil one.
- If they are strong…if the word of God abides in them…if they have already heard the Gnostics’ teachings and rejected it…
- If they know the truth and have fellowship with God…then they do not need to even listen to what the Gnostics have to say.
And isn’t that true for us today?
And notice the results of John’s past correspondence. Because of his past correspondence the little children, fathers, and young men “know Him; they have overcome the evil one, they are strong, and the word abides in them.”
- John’s past correspondence either refers to the Gospel of John or the Book of Revelation; probably the book of Revelation because those who are faithful have “overcome, they are strong, and they are victorious.”
But regardless, because of John’s past correspondence and his present writing, these “little children, young men, and fathers” are in fellowship with God.
- Why would they even listen to what the Gnostics have to say?
And the same is true for us.
If anyone who comes to your door and says, “You need this new revelation or you need what this “latter day prophet” has to say, they are doing the same thing that these Gnostics were doing when John wrote this letter.
- God has given us everything we need to know for salvation…
- Through His Son we have the forgiveness of sins…we have the full revelation…we have fellowship with God, the Son and the apostles…
- If we already have that…why then would we want to listen to anything they have to say?
- If it is already ours…it wouldn’t make much sense to give it up no matter what they have to offer.
Now, why do you suppose that John writes to all three categories of people here: little children, young men, and fathers?
- Why write these reminders of what they already knew and have?
- Because every one is vulnerable.
- The “little children”…the new converts…without a doubt were the most vulnerable.
- But the young men and the fathers were not without vulnerability.
- We have all seen a new Christian be led astray by some silver tongued preacher.
- But it happens to the more mature as well.
- We need to all take heed lest we fall.
Now, look at verse 15…again…remember that John is dealing with the influence of the Gnostic’s teaching. Look what he says:
15 Do not love the world, nor the things in the world.
- The word “love” is the Greek word “agapao.”
- That speaks of a “sacrificial love.”
- John says here that the world and the things of the world do not deserve sacrificial devotion.
- A lot of people “sacrifice” what is important for what the world has to offer.
Look what John says next: “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
- It’s not hard to discern what the Gnostic teaching was.
- They taught that you could do both…love the world and all its sinful pleasures…and love the Father.
- Split devotion.
- John says, “You cannot serve to Masters…you cannot fellowship darkness and be devoted to the light.”
Vs. 16: For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh (internal appetite for what you do not have) and the lust of the eyes (external appetite for what you do not have) and the boastful pride of life (wrong attitude concerning internal and external that we do have…the haughty display of possessions) is not from the Father, but is from the world.
- These things can only give us temporary gratification of our fleshly appetites.
- So John is saying, “Don’t just love those things which satisfy the less noble side of man.
- Instead, love the Father…and look at why in verse 17:
17 And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.
The world can build up your ego and satisfy your fleshly appetites…but that is all it can give you.
- And a lot of people sacrifice the eternal for the things of the world.
- The question is: is it a good trade?
Brethren, what we have in Christ…is incomparably more valuable and precious…than all that the world can offer and give.
The Old And New Commandments
THE OLD AND NEW COMMANDMENT
1 John 2:7-11
Like many today, when John wrote this letter to these followers of Christ, there were a lot of people who claimed to be “in fellowship” with God.
- One of those groups of people were the Gnostics (Libertines, Antinomians, Docetists, Monastics, Denialists, the Cerenthians, Ascetics, Ebionites, and the Essenes).
- These people all claimed to have special insights into the mysteries of the spiritual realm…in fact, the term “Gnostic” comes from the Greek word “gnosis” which means “to know.”
- And even though all these different sects of Gnostics had different ideas and philosophies, they all claimed to have fellowship with God.
- And their claims were confusing those who were followers of Christ, just as they do today.
So, John writes this letter to dispute their claims of fellowship; to clear up the confusion; and to tell us who really does have fellowship with God.
- In chapter 1:6 some of the Gnostics were saying that even though they walked in darkness they still had fellowship with God…and John says, “No you don’t!”
- In God there is no darkness and you cannot walk in darkness…you cannot live a life of sin and have fellowship with God.
Some other Gnostics, the Ascetics and Monastics, said that they were in fellowship with God because “they had no sin”; 1:8, 10.
- And John points out the error of that kind of thinking when he says, “If you say have no sin you deceive yourself and the truth is not in you…and not only that, if you say you have no sin you make God a liar and His word is not in you.”
- And, if you make God a liar there is no fellowship.
Then the Libertine Gnostics and the Antinomians said in chapter 2:4 that “You don’t have to keep God’s commandments to have fellowship with God…God doesn’t care about commandment keeping.”
- But John says, “Any one who does not keep God’s commandments is a liar and therefore, there is no fellowship with God.
Now, we come to the passage that was read; chapter 2: 7-11 and in these verses John is going to dispute another claim of fellowship by the Gnostics.
- So let’s look at this…and as we do let’s each one ask ourselves if we have fellowship with God…and if not what do we need to do to restore that fellowship.
- Let’s look at this starting in verse 7.
Now, John has just said that if you have fellowship with Him, you are going to keep His commandments.”
Vs. 7: Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. 8 On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you,
- This is kind of confusing; John says that he is not writing a “new” commandment…but an “old” commandment…but then on the other hand he is writing a “new” commandment…what is he talking about?
Notice the words “new”…in the Greek that is the word “Kainos” and that speaks of something “new in time…and new in kind.”
- So John is saying, “I am not giving you a brand new…something you never heard before commandment…I am giving you an old commandment which you have heard from the beginning.”
- But now even though it is “old”…even though you have heard this before…John says, “I am writing a new…new in time and new in kind…commandment.”
What is he talking about?
Well, first of all look at the commandment in verse 10:”The one who loves his brother…”
- That is the command…we are to “love our brother.”
- But what is “old and new” about that?
Well, look with me at John 13: 34.
- Jesus is speaking here to His disciples and He says: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
- Here is the “new” commandment that John said was “old.”
Now, what makes this commandment so “new.” Let me show you.
- Look at Lev. 19: 18: ‘You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.
- Notice how they were to “love their neighbor?”
- They were to “love their neighbor as they loved themselves.”
- This was the standard for the Law of Moses… it was based on self… and it was an inadequate standard for Christianity.
Go back now and look at the standard that Jesus sets forth in John 13:34.
- How are we to “love one another?” (As He loved us.) I am afraid that I sometimes leave this part out of it! “As He loved us”…that is a lot of love!
- Loving your neighbor in Lev. 19:18 is based on a “self” love…it was “self-centered, exploitive” but the new standard of love commanded by Christ is based on how He loves us.
The word for “love” is “agape” in the Greek and there is no “self” in it.
- Agape love is sacrificial. Just as Jesus put Himself on the altar for us, we are to do the same for each other.
- Agape love seeks the highest good of another person; regardless of what it costs you; and whether he deserves it or not; appreciates it or not; or accepts it or not. (That is how Christ loved us.)
The old love found in Lev. 19:18 was incomplete and faulty while the love found in John 13:34 is complete and perfect.
- This is why Jesus calls this a “new commandment.”
But John now says that he is writing an “old commandment which you have had from the beginning.”
- John is writing this 60-65 years after Christ gave this “new” commandment.
- So, the new commandment is old.
In fact, John says that they have had it from the “beginning”: from the beginning of what?
- The beginning of Christianity…they have had this from the time Christianity was born and they have heard it.
- So by the time John writes this, the “new” commandment that Jesus gave is old.
- But, in verse 8 it is still “new”…it is “new” compared to what the Law of Moses gave.
- And here we are 2000 years later and this commandment is still “new.”
- We are to “love each other just as Christ loves us.”
So let’s look at what John says again: Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. 8 On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you,
- Jesus not only ordered “love”, He lived it! It was manifested in Him.
- And it was also found in these Christians; Acts 4:32ff.
Jesus was and is the standard of love…and it is to be our standard also.
- Loving each other like Jesus loves us is our home base…
Now, look at the next part of the verse. John says, “…because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.
- Where ever this “love”…the standard of love that loves like Jesus”…wherever that standard of love is being practiced the “darkness will pass away”…the selfish love will recede…and “true light (or the sacrificial love that Jesus manifested) will shine forth.”
- As one advances the other retreats.
- These brethren have been loving the way they are supposed to!
But what were the Gnostics doing? Well, look at vs. 9.
These brethren really needed to understand this and so do we. John says, The one who says he is in the light…
- It is not your talk that counts, it is your walk.
Vs. 9: The one who says he is in the light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now.
- See the “until now?” The one who says he is in the light…who says he has fellowship with God and yet hates his brother…he has never been in the light!
- He has been in the darkness and still is!
- The man who hates is not a saved man.
- You cannot be “born again” on the platform of hatred!
Now verse 10: The one who loves (present indicative) his brother abides(present indicative) in the light and there is no cause for stumbling in him.
- The one who “loves his brother just as the Lord loves us”…that one is in fellowship with God.
And do you see that phrase “there is no cause for stumbling in him?”
- If I love as I should…if I do what Jesus wants me to do…say the things that Jesus wants me to say…and be what Jesus wants me to be…
- If I am “walking in the light”…His principles guiding me…I will not stumble and I will not cause others to stumble either.
Vs. 11: But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
- Now, based off of what John says in verses 10 and 11, what was it the Gnostics said they could do and still have fellowship with God? (Hate each other).
Now, why would a Gnostic hate his brother?
- We could go into that. But the most important question is, why would anyone who is a follower of Christ hate his brother?
- Suggestions: Skin Color; political preference; differences in personality; social standing.
- Jealousy is always a big factor in hatred (knowledge, success, wealth, influence (the reason some hated Jesus).
- Done wrong or a perceived wrong?
The Gnostics had two different categories of people: the Psukoi or soul people and the Pneumatoi or spirit people.
- They called themselves this because they claimed to have been illuminated…they claimed esoteric knowledge…some things were revealed to them that wasn’t revealed to others…they were visionaries…they had a special knowledge.
- And they were proud of their knowledge…in fact, they were so proud of their knowledge that they put themselves over and above others.
- As Paul says in the Corinthian letter…”their knowledge had puffed them up.”
But then there was another category of people…this was the Sarkoi…the flesh people…people without this special illumination…this special knowledge…
- The ignorant…the stupid.
- Anyone who would reject Gnostic illumination is a clod.
- Therefore, in their stupidity the Sarkoi would be hard to love.
- So the Gnostics didn’t.
- They hated others…and they often hated each other…because “I know so much…and I know this…and that guy over there just thinks he knows…”
- And so the jealousy…and the arrogance…caused these Gnostics to hate each other…and yet they claimed they had fellowship with God.
- And the problem was…they had influenced some of these Christians to perhaps believe the same thing…
- And John says, “IF you don’t love your brother…just as Christ loves you…there is no fellowship with God.”
So, how is our fellowship with God?
- Do you or I have a brother or sister in Christ that we hate…or don’t love like we should?
- I have heard some of my brothers and sisters in Christ say, ”I just can’t stand so and so…”
- Like Christ, toward each of us, we may not like what they do sometime…but again, like Christ, we must love them.
We are not going to love as perfectly as He loved.
- We each will have occasions of selfishness.
- But we get credit for our direction of walk.
Let’s show the world that we are all disciples of Christ by loving each other the way our Lord loves us.
© Sunset Ridge Church of Christ 2023