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As we enter the last chapter of 1 John our focus will be on overcoming the world. John writes that because of our faith in Jesus Christ we have overcome the world. As we learn what an overcomer is, the implications for each of us is immense. I John 5:1-5
John 5:1-5 (NKJV)
Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
[podcast]http://reformationchristian.com/wp-content/uploads/16_4_3_Martin_I John Series.mp3[/podcast]
In describing what it is to be a Christian, the Apostle John uses language of mutual indwelling: God abiding in us and we in Him. His motivation is to reassure his “little children” that they are God’s children, since a lack of assurance permeates this church. Lack of assurance is still very prevalent today. John’s purpose in writing this letter is “that you may know that you have eternal life.” The Gospel does not merely bring us forgiveness of sin, it brings a transformation – it brings us into union with God in Christ Jesus. I John 4:13-21
I John 4:13-21 (NKJV)
13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son [as] Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us.
20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God [must] love his brother also.
[podcast]http://reformationchristian.com/wp-content/uploads/16_3_6_Martin_I John Series.mp3[/podcast]
In 1 John 4:7-12 John urges his readers to “love one another” to show that in their relationships with one another love marks them out as being children of the God who is love. John is again pressing the truth that without God-like love to our fellow Christian brethren, we expose ourselves as frauds.
John gives three reasons to inspire us to love one another, which gives us a wonderful picture of God’s perfect love. I John 4:7-12
1 John 4:7-12 (NKJV)
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.
[podcast]http://reformationchristian.com/wp-content/uploads/16_1_31_Martin_I John Series.mp3[/podcast]
In the first six verses of I John 4, John transitions from the theme of love and the abiding Spirit Who grants us assurance of salvation to certainty in our obligation to love being grounded in the Apostolic faith.
We are told in these verses to “test the spirits,” so that we know if the spirit is of Divine origin – the Spirit of Truth, or if it is a spirit of demonic origin – the spirit of error. The Apostle John is telling us not to be gullible, not to be mindless, but be alert, be warned, for false spirits have gone out into the world. Satan desires to mingle the spirit of error with the Spirit of Truth to lead us away from the truth, but we have the victory in Jesus Christ: “Greater is He Who is in us, than he who is in the world.”
1 John 3:11-24 addresses the issue of Christian assurance. John desires to answer the question: How do we know we are Christians? Verses 11-18 demonstrate Christ-like love, and verses 19-24 demonstrate a God-given heart of assurance by His abiding Spirit. So, we can link the love command to His indwelling Holy Spirit – this produces in the believer a heart of assurance of faith as a result of the Holy Spirit, Who indeed abides in believers. 1 John 3:19-24
1 John 3:19-24 (NKJV)
And by this we know[a] that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. 20 For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us[b] commandment.
Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
[podcast]http://reformationchristian.com/wp-content/uploads/15_12_6_Martin_I John Series.mp3[/podcast]
As we continue in the book of I John, we now come to the subject of love. Here we see the Apostle John distinguish what true love is and how it looks in the Christian’s life. 1 John 3:11-18
1 John 3:11-18 (NKJV)
For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another,
not as Cain [who] was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.
Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.
We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love [his] brother abides in death.
Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren.
But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?
My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
[podcast]http://reformationchristian.com/wp-content/uploads/15_11_8_Martin_I John Series.mp3[/podcast]
As Mr Martin continues in the book of 1 John, we see how the Apostle makes a distinction between the children of God and the children of the devil. Sin is incompatible in the life of a believer for we are no longer lawless, we have the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Those who are born again cannot continue living a life that yields to sin. I John 3:4-10
Mr. Martin continues in the book of I John this week, and we see the Apostle John illustrate the purifying hope that believers have in Christ. Hope is like turning on a blazing light in a dark place because it immediately illuminates our outlook, it lifts the soul, it produces joy in the heart, and it reduces fear. The goal of hope is eternal glory, and there is no certain or reliable anchor of hope other than the hope that rests in Jesus Christ. I John 2:28-3:3
It appears today that many people are easily led astray from God’s Truth. Two things account for this: a lack of grounding in the Word of God and a lack of anointing of the Holy Spirit. John is warning the brethren to persevere in the truth and not to be led astray by false teachers. He strives for two things so that his readers are not deceived: a deeper rooting in the Word of God and a deeper experience of the Spirit of God. The Word of God and the Spirit of God are our only hope for stability in a world filled with antichrists. 1 John 2:18-27
[podcast]http://reformationchristian.com/wp-content/uploads/15_8_9_Martin_I John Series.mp3[/podcast]
In the second chapter of I John, the Apostle John commands the church to “love not the world nor the things in the world.” This week in Mr Martin’s sermon we are going to explore what this world is that we are not to love, and three reasons John gave as to why believers are not to love it. 1 John 2:15-17
In 1 John 2, the Apostle John writes about the spiritual state of his readers. As Christians their sins have been forgiven and they have come to know God in a true way, but they live in three distinct stages of spiritual growth: as little children, young men, and fathers. Spiritual growth is not only a privilege, it is an obligation and a responsibility for every believer. Mr Martin’s sermon will address spiritual growth: what it is, how we grow, and the significance of our maturing spiritually.
[podcast]http://reformationchristian.com/wp-content/uploads/15_6_21_Martin_I John Series.mp3[/podcast]
The book of 1 John was written so that we might know that we have eternal life. John laid out certain tests of assurance so that believers can measure their spiritual condition. The test for us this week is the supreme test of love. After all, love is the fulfillment of all the commandments in regard to our relationships, both to God and man. Loving one another is so important that Jesus said it is how all men will know we are His disciples. We will look at love as both an old commandment and a new commandment, and as a way of life. Will we pass the love test? 1 John 2:7-11