1 John 5:18-21

It all boils down to idolatry. Is there anything to which we turn before we turn to Jesus? Is there anything that we love more than being in right-standing with Him? Idols trigger an emotion in us; maybe we ought to investigate why. We may (will) not like what we find.

John has the solution and gives it before his last statement. Let’s read:

18 We know that anyone born of God does not continue to [in willful] sin; the One who was born of God [Jesus in us] keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them. 19 We know that we are children of God [and our citizenship is in heaven], and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one [Satan]. 20 We know also that the Son of God has come [to us] and has given us understanding, so that we may know him [experientially and intimately] who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ [and He in us]. He is the true God and eternal life.

21 Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.

The secret to getting rid of idols in our lives is simple, but not easy. It requires getting the right mindset every morning and renewing it throughout the day.

  1. We get up in time to spend some time washing our brains with the Word. We orient our attitude of who we will please today to be HIM. It’s micro-repentance. It’s easier, safer, and much more pleasant to make minor course adjustments often than having to major course adjustments occasionally.
  2. We adjust our schedule to include eating right and drinking enough water. Our brains work better when given the right fuel. Don’t give the devil a foothold.
  3. Rehearse ahead of time how we will react/respond to certain situations according to Ephesians 4:2-3, “Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love. (3) Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
  4. Look for ways to share your story today. Even a part of it is useful by the Spirit in a person’s life. Share one aspect of what we have been learning in His Word or how the Spirit prompted in a certain circumstance. Let’s give the Spirit handles to work in other people’s lives.

Knowing that our citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20) and that Satan has control of this world–for a little while longer, let’s live our lives in constant awareness of our present state. Don’t trust ANYTHING from Hollywood or New York or D.C. Instead, test everything according to the Spirit and the Word of God. Let’s be fanatics for Jesus!

Lord Jesus, I want YOU to be my main concern today. I want YOU to direct my paths. May I make you my ONLY hope and trust today; may I lean not on my own understanding and, instead, learn all I can about Your Word and from Your Word. Lead me, O Holy Spirit, that I may become a drink offering ready to be poured out for You: May I fight the good fight, keep the faith, and finish the race (based on 2 Tim. 4:6). Oh, how I long for Your appearing! In the meantime, keep transforming me into You so that others may see You when they see me. Amen.

1 John 5:16-17

Up to this point, John has been talking about our spiritual state, the position of our souls. Now, he moves to the relationship we have with our brothers and sisters in Christ, His Family.

Remember in Ephesians where Paul deals with the family of God, “To Him be glory in the church [His Family] and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:21. He now turns our attention to helping our brothers and sisters.

16 If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.

Our first order of business is to talk to God about them. We ask for His perspective on them. Knowing that He loves them and wants the best for them, we view them through that love. In what form will that LIFE come to them? Through us? We must be willing to be part of that life. God may or may not ask us to join Him in sharing life with them, but are we willing to be His hands and feet–and pocketbook– if He asks?

What is this sin that leads to death? It is often referred to as the unpardonable sin. There is at least one denomination that thinks suicide is it because the person has no time to ask forgiveness for the sin of suicide. What’s wrong with this thinking?

  1. We are not judged by individual sins. We are either under the blood categorically and positionally, or not under the blood.
  2. Yes, it is a sin, but it’s a sin like all others, and is forgiven at the cross.
  3. Granted, suicide is unfixable on this side of eternity, but those who have been to the cross for forgiveness are instantly glorified when we step from this world to His world, regardless of the circumstances.

So, what IS the unpardonable sin, the one that leads to death? Let’s read it:

“And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.” Matthew 12:31

“And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.” Luke 12:10

What is blasphemy? It is, “the crime of assuming to oneself the rights or qualities of God.” It’s basically when a person resists the urging of the Spirit for salvation by deciding that he doesn’t need or want Jesus. Since the Spirit is the One who saves us and seals us, to resist Him is to resist Salvation itself. The one who resists the Spirit chooses to stay in their sinful condition. THIS is the unpardonable sin.

In John’s case, there were people who were going around to the churches spreading false Gospels:

  1. Jesus didn’t really come in human form; He just appeared as a human. This lie refutes the humanity of Jesus which was needed in order for Him to be our propitiation, our sin sacrifice, which satisfied the price of sin and put us back into a right relationship with the Father.
  2. We must keep the Levitical Law. This lie refutes the NEW COVENANT that Jesus established. We go back to the original covenant with Abraham where God took the mantle of fulfilling both sides of the covenant (see Genesis 15, particularly verse 17). We are saved by grace; the work was finished on the cross by Christ.
  3. You can fall from grace and be lost again. This lie refutes the permanence of the sacrifice of Jesus. All we need to do to expose this one is to look at the verses where it says that Jesus died ONCE FOR ALL. John makes it clear in 2:19 that anyone who walks away from the faith was never a full believer in the Gospel to begin with.

With this last one, we are back to the sin that leads to death, or, unpardonable sin. Can a person be led astray to the point of losing their salvation? Scripturally, I don’t think so. The real proof is in whether or not the LORD disciplines them “because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Proverbs 3:12 and quoted in Hebrews 12:6. We pray for them that it is so, and that they would respond to His urging to come back into fellowship with Himself.

True born-again believers, who have trusted in the LORD for the forgiveness of their sins and received the Holy Spirit into their hearts and lives, do not continue in a life of willful sin. Instead, we work to break the habits of sinful behavior and to renew our minds through a consistent conversation with the Spirit. Through this steady walk with Jesus, we prove that we are His. Let’s walk with Him today and trust Him to lead us “higher up and further in.”

Abba, Your Spirit within me testifies with my spirit that I am Your child (Romans 8:16). Thank You that I don’t have to fight with doubt any longer! May I work tenaciously to emulate You and may I lift up my brothers and sisters in You in prayer that they might be strong in their faith. According to Ephesians 3, may You strengthen them with power in their inner being so that You may be President in their hearts; may they be rooted and established in Your love and dive deep into Your love for them. Fill them up to overflowing, Lord Jesus. Me, too! Amen.

1 John 5:14-15

Knowing what to pray is the secret to successful praying. Adrian Rogers did an excellent job of teaching on this subject several years ago in a sermon called, “How to Pray For Friends and Influence People.” If you would like to listen to it, here is the link:

Adrian Rogers: How to Pray for Friends and Influence People

In it, he revealed how to pray successfully. John knew how. Read what he said:

14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

In order to know what His will is, we need to read Ephesians 3:14-21.

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a]in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, What reason? It’s back in verse 8, “to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches Christ.” These riches are wrapped up in our relationship with Christ, who has made them our inheritance. Not only for later, but He dips into them as we need them, “And my God will supply all your needs according to [out of the abundance of] the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19. “What riches?” you might ask.

15 from whom every family[a]in heaven and on earth derives its name. We derive our identity from His identity, from His name. Our last name is different; it’s now “GodSon,” heirs with Christ Jesus Himself (Romans 8:17). We should take great comfort in that name.

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell [abide, rule] in your hearts through faith. Our inner being is who we are on the inside. It’s who makes the decisions for our lives. Through the presence of the Holy Spirit within us, we are strengthened with His power to live as He would live were He us. In other words, we become “little Christs,” which is exactly what the term, “Christian,” means. An attainable goal? I should say so, since HE is the ONE who is doing it!

Christ dwelling in our hearts makes the difference. The term, “dwell,” means constant and consistent habitation. Christ lives in our hearts and never leaves the premises! He also rules our hearts. “He’s not just resident, He’s President!” Thankfully, long-suffering is one of His attributes.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. We are loved by God–did you get that? He wants us to learn through knowledge and through experience the vastness of His love for us. Just look at what He did for us: He left heaven and came to earth, was born a human, lived 33 years, died on a cross, went to a tomb, rose from the dead, and ascended back to His throne JUST SO WE WOULD KNOW HOW MUCH HE LOVES US.

—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Here’s the prayer part. We can confidently pray these things:

  1. That we may be strengthened by His power as the Holy Spirit works in us;
  2. That Christ would rule in our hearts as LORD;
  3. That His Spirit would empower us to begin to grasp His never-ending love for us;
  4. And that we would be filled to the brim with all the fullness of God. May He spill over onto others because we are so full of Him!

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, When we call on Him, we get ALL of Him. When we ask these things, we are SURE He will grant them. Why? For His glory!

21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. “In the church” is us. We bring Him glory when we pray these things for ourselves and for others, when we expect Him to do above and beyond what we could ever ask or imagine, and when we allow Him to work through us.

Now we know what John means when he says, And if we know that he hears us, we know that we have what we asked of him.” I’m excited to start praying these things for you! Please pray them for me, as well.

Abba, according to Your Word, I can have confidence that You will answer my prayers as I come boldly before Your throne of grace. May you strengthen my brothers and sisters in Christ–and me–to grasp Your love for them as well as your church; may we treat each member as Your beloved child, and may we be Christ to them as You fill us to overflowing. Don’t give me what I ask–give me far and above what I can even imagine! I love You, Abba. May I be filled with You today so that people can know You through me.

1 John 5:13

When comparing John’s Gospel to this letter, we find several similarities, particularly the one where he tells us the reason for writing the letter. It comes at the end of the greatest part of the Gospel where Jesus, after rising from the dead, appeared to His disciples. John says,

“But these things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:31

In John’s letter, he writes:

13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 

The question we ask in order to know is this, “Do you walk with Jesus daily?” Another way to ask it is, “Do you commune with the Holy Spirit constantly?” If the answer is yes, then we KNOW that we are saved and are enjoying the fruit of that relationship, which is His love, His joy, His peace, along with patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

If the answer is no, then we must first look at our salvation experience and make sure that we belong to Him:

  1. Did He come to you and ask you to let Him be LORD of your life? Or, did you think it was a good idea, do it because others were doing it, or do it because it was the expected thing to do?
  2. Did you understand that it was a lifetime commitment? Or, were you simply afraid of going to hell (that’s called, “fire insurance”)?
  3. Do you check with Him before every decision? Or, do you still run your life?
  4. Do you grow daily by reading His Word and communing with Him? Or, is your time your own to do with as you please?

John wrote that we may KNOW that we have eternal life. Do you have the Son? If He is your LORD, then you have life. If He is NOT your LORD, then get Him today! He is asking right now for you to let Him into your life and allow Him to be your LORD. But, we must be ready to give Him everything, everyday, from now on. Oh, how He wants to commune with us!

“Call to me and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3 (referred to as God’s telephone number)

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and sup with him and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20

 

1 John 5:6-12

God’s Great Rescue Plan was inconceivable. Only He knew what He was up to! Now, after the fact, His testimony stands firm. Let’s start with that testimony:

11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

The strength of this testimony can be seen in the next verse:

12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

On what is it based? THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST. Let’s look:

This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify:the[a] Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. 

There are three elements to this testimony:

  1. The water- This reference is to His physical body being born. The amniotic fluid that surrounds the embryo is mostly water. There is also a reference to water when Jesus was pierced by the spear in His side. The sac surrounding the heart is also filled with water and was punctured along with his heart–a sure sign of His death.
  2. The blood- This reference is to His purpose, which was to be the sin sacrifice for us (2 Cor. 5:21). The entire sacrificial system was designed as a picture of what Christ would do for us–had already done for us. One of the mind-blowing verses in the Bible is Revelation 13:8, which says, “…the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.” How God did it, I don’t know, but we were redeemed before the world ever began and the Fall ever happened! EVERYONE is judged according to the CROSS: Those who looked forward to it and we who look back on it.
  3. The Spirit- The third Person of the Trinity. He came down in ceremonial form on Jesus in the form of a dove when He was baptized (Matt. 3:16), thus officially beginning His ministry. His Father was very pleased with Him, “This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased.” One might go so far as to say that Jesus fulfilled the Law and the Old Covenant by living 30 years righteously, something that no one up to that point had done. Upon His baptism and the receiving of the Holy Spirit (ceremonially)*, He ushered in the New Covenant. From that point on, everything pointed to the Cross and salvation through Him.

Again and again, Jesus told them that if they didn’t believe His message, to at least believe the miracles that testified about Him (John 10:25, 32, 37, 38, 14:11). Those who refuse to believe make Jesus out to be a liar, which makes God a liar, as well. NOT A GOOD THING! They have moved from standing in front of the Judge’s bench to the Judge’s seat–which is reserved for God alone! Mankind can be so arrogant.

John ends this discussion by summarizing Christ’s life:

11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Salvation is simple–not easy, but simple. We believe Jesus. We prove we believe Him by walking with Him continuously and obeying Him. We have the Spirit, who is Jesus, who is God, living in us and communing with us. What more could we ask?!

*Who can explain Jesus? He was God, yet human. He was sinless, which made Him eligible to be the Passover Lamb; He was human, which made Him eligible to be our sin sacrifice; He was one with God through the Spirit. I see the Spirit coming down on Jesus at His baptism as a ceremonial filling, an outward sign of an inward reality, identically to our baptism: An outward sign of an inward reality, which is “Christ in us, the hope of glory.” Col. 1:27. When we graduated from high school, we received a diploma in a ceremony that testified that we had met the requirements set before us. It was the same when I received my black belt in Karate. The belt verified that I knew what it took to be a black belt and had demonstrated my knowledge and skill. Baptism is our testimony of the transformation and indwelling inside us. It doesn’t DO anything to us; it shows WHAT HAS ALREADY BEEN DONE!

1 John 5:1-5

Love is an action verb. It shows up huge in this passage. Let’s take a look.

As always, read it first in your physical Bible; then, read it here and/or on your electronic device.

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. 

What does he mean by, “the Christ?” The Christ is the Savior, the Anointed One of Israel, their King, the Messiah. Martha spoke well for us: “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” John 11:27. Our trust is in His Person and in His Plan. We have put all our eggs into His basket, so to speak. We have no “plan B.” It’s all or nothing, and we have chosen to place ALL of our faith and trust in Him. Whatever He says, goes. Period. And what does He say we will do? Love His other children.

This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 

If you want God to know you love Him, then do what He has commanded. What has He commanded?

  • We could start with the Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7;
    • We find His command to be salt and light;
    • Jesus gives more in-depth instructions concerning the 10 Commandments, particularly murder, adultery;
    • He deals with love for our enemies and what to do when we are mistreated;
    • He deals with prayer, the poor, fasting and worry;
    • He instructs us to lay up treasures in heaven instead of in this life;
    • He warns us against judging others and teaches us to ask, seek, and knock;
    • He exhorts us to enter the narrow gate and stay on the narrow road;
    • He warns us that we will be known by our fruit rather than by what we say;
    • And to be sure to build our house on the rock of His foundation.
  • Skipping to John 6:29 coupled with 14:15, He tells us that our main job is to Believe Him and do what He says. In fact, we prove we believe Him by doing what He says.
  • He gives us a new command (different in emphasis from the old Sinai Covenant, which was based on personal obedience in order to be righteous; we are righteous, therefore we obey!), and that command is to love one another (John 13:34).
  • For more of His commands, read the Gospels and get charged up!

In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 

Our biggest Weapon, our greatest Source, our Advocate, Helper, Counselor, Trail Guide, Friend and Associate is the Holy Spirit. He makes following God’s commands a pleasure–not easy, sometimes, but lightening. We find release from tension with Him when we are obedient. Pay attention to the tension. In this way, we overcome the world with its temptations, lures, traps and hidden snares.

Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

Do we believe that Jesus is who He said He is and that He did what He said He did? YES! Then, let’s believe that His Spirit lives in us and will help us and encourage us to follow Him. As we already know, He’s worth every step and every breath!

 

1 John 4:13-21

John wants us to know without a shadow of a doubt that we are in Christ, that we are saved, sealed, and will be delivered safely over to the other side. But, we must be willing to change. If not, then the love of God isn’t really in us; love of self rules supreme in our hearts.

13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 

Elijah heard the Voice: After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper…“What are you doing here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:12-13 God has us question our motives. We are to use our minds to determine what it is that would please God the most and bring Him glory as the Spirit reveals it to us. Therefore, the more we know of His Word and His Will, the more closely we listen to His voice, the more we converse with Him throughout the day, and the more heavily we lean on Him for strength and support, knowledge and wisdom, comfort and peace, joy and love, the easier and more plain it is what would please Him. Actually, the activities described above bring Him more joy than anything we could DO FOR Him.

14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 

This is John’s testimony. He was an eyewitness to the LORD and His ministry. He walked and talked with Him after His resurrection, and was a recipient of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. At this time in his life, he has walked in step with the Spirit for several decades. He KNOWS what he is talking about!!!

15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

The best test of Christianity is whether or not a person acknowledges Jesus as his LORD in his daily life. Where’s the proof? If we say we love the LORD, but do not keep his commands nor live according to His will, then, say what we want, we do NOT actually love the LORD, for He is NOT LORD of our lives. Consequently neither is He in us. Sorry. We can’t have it both ways. We must learn to RELY on His love.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 

Want to be like Jesus? Then love as He loved: With complete abandon, with no thought to Himself, with our best interest in mind, in complete unity with the Spirit and His Father. WE CAN DO IT WITH HIS SPIRIT IN US! But, we must train, and we must work. Repetition is our greatest teacher. Practice makes progress (not necessarily perfection).

18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Working hand in hand with the Spirit solidifies our knowledge of His love. As we walk closely with Him, we lose our fear of the unknown, of possible pain and loss, and of death. It’s our goal, anyway.

19 We love because he first loved us. 

Jesus is the Initiator of love and our Example of love. He calls us to love as He loved. Let’s emulate Him!

20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

John steps out of the doctrinal and into the practical here. He moves from teaching to practice. The fundamental test of our love for Christ is our willingness to give up our hatred for others. Hatred shows up in many forms: Malice, arrogance, resentment, hostility, conceit, anger, hurtful words and actions, stinginess, jealousy and envy, etc. The Spirit immediately begins to help us remove these forms of hatred from our lives. Are we willing to work with Him? It’s a daily process.

Abba, I pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ that they would sense Your presence and participation as You transform them into Christ-likeness. May they give themselves completely over to You today. May they be categorically committed to You, devoted to Your Way, and fully persuaded that You are worth following. May their lives be simply a shifting and sorting of priorities, a trading of their life, will, agenda, schedule, hopes, dreams, wishes, aspirations, desires, goals, pleasures, mind, attitude, thoughts and personality for Yours. Me, too. Amen.