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The Life God Gives (1 John 5:1-21)

Sermon on 23 August 2020 by Ps Gaius



1 John 5:1-21 - “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. And Jesus Christ was revealed as God’s Son by his baptism in water and by shedding his blood on the cross —not by water only, but by water and blood. And the Spirit, who is truth, confirms it with his testimony. So we have these three witnesses — the Spirit, the water, and the blood—and all three agree. Since we believe human testimony, surely we can believe the greater testimony that comes from God. And God has testified about his Son. All who believe in the Son of God know in their hearts that this testimony is true. Those who don’t believe this are actually calling God a liar because they don’t believe what God has testified about his Son. And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life. I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for. If you see a fellow believer sinning in a way that does not lead to death, you should pray, and God will give that person life. But there is a sin that leads to death, and I am not saying you should pray for those who commit it. All wicked actions are sin, but not every sin leads to death. We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them. We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life. Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.”

What is the life that God gives? The answer lies in the verse below.

1 John 5:11-12 - “And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.”

It says clearly that the life God gives is not a life with riches, comfort and high status on Earth. Rather, it is talking about eternal life. On Earth, how long can we live here? But no matter what, one day we will leave this earth. Therefore, when God talks about life, He doesn't talk about this temporal life but goes beyond the time when we are not around. But in order to get into the eternal life that He has planned for us, we need to know how to live our current life. We need to know from God how He wants us to live. It says in the verse that it is God that gives us the eternal life and it is found in His Son. To know how to live our lives right, we need to know Jesus.

1 John 5:4 - “For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.”

In fact, we have to be related to Jesus. Even the devil knows who Jesus is, but he has no relationship with Jesus. In order for us to be truly with Jesus, in Jesus, we must be born of God. When we talk of being born of God, what does it remind you of? We all remember the story about a teacher of the law, who is Nicodemus, looking for Jesus and asking Him about the mysteries of His word. Jesus answered, unless you're born again, you cannot enter the word of God. What does born again mean? Let us draw an analogy. For those of us with families, take a look at your father and mother if they are next to you, if not you can look at your child. Do you see some resemblance there? I think those who know my father and children, you can see a lot of similarities. Especially when I look at my father's photograph when he was the same age as me. Similarly, for my children, one looks a little bit more like me physically. Even in character as well, she resembles me. I remember when she was just born, we were finding which baby in the room was my child. As we looked around, we saw a child with my wife’s room number and realised that’s my child. But every child looks the same, how would I know that’s my child? I saw this child with the room number of my wife’s kicking and the swaddle came off. Straight away, my father and I looked at each other and said, “This is the correct child. So active, just like you.” If our child is born of us, not only they will look like us, they will behave like us. This is the true dipstick test that shows if you are born of your father or mother.

Back to this verse, it says anyone who has been born of God. If we look like our parents and our children look like us, we should resemble Jesus.

Pointers:

1. We have a status in God

We are children of God. Another verse says that we are the people of God, we are His possession. How does this come about? It’s through our faith in God. When we have faith in God we have a relationship with Hod. In our eternal life, we first have to recognise that we have the relationship with God. Last Sunday, we heard the passage on Christian relationships. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to have the correct relationship with God. It is only through this relationship that we can truly believe in avid and have a relationship with Him otherwise, we will think that these successes come from ourselves and not find glory in God.

2 Corinthians 5:17 - “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

It is a very famous verse. Before we come to Christ, we don’t look like Christ. After we come to Christ, we are in Him and we start to become like Him. Therefore, we are a new creation, the old has passed away. This marks our true birth again.

1 Peter 1:14-16 - “So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.””

Earlier I said that if we are born of God, we should look like God and behave like God. Here it says that for I am holy, you shall be holy. To really look like God and behave like God, we have to be holy. That is how we can truly start to have this eternal life. Our life starts to change for holiness. Last Sunday, we have seen the whole list of unholy things and how we have to put unholy habits off in order to walk towards God. This is also another hallmark of being born of God. In the Bible, we remember the story of the Garden of Eden, the first people God created, Adam and Eve. God told them not to eat the tree of knowledge and evil. In the end, both of them ate the fruit and sin entered. When you are young, you think that there is power in that fruit. As we grow up, we realise that it is not that the fruit that has certain powers. In life, it is not about the non living object that has certain powers. But rather, it lies in the attitude of the person. Adam heard directly from God to not eat the fruit, but they disobeyed. And it is that disobedience brought about sin. Once again, in our lives as well, have we been obedient to God? If we haven’t been obedient to God, we are not holy.

2. Be sanctified


When we are holy, it actually shows that we love God.

1 John 5:3 - “Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome.”

God told us to be holy for He is holy and that is His commandment. It says if we keep His commandments, it shows that we love God. God wants us to be holy and sanctified. When we pursue these, We love Him.

John 14:15 - ““If you love me, obey my commandments.”

Although as children we want to be filial to our parents and bring them to places, we didn’t really ask what they really wanted. If my parents just wanted me to listen to them and talk to them more, but I replace it with material goods, I am not loving them as I am not obeying them. Children, including myself as well, let us try to be obedient to our parents and honour them. When we fulfil the commandment of God, we love God.

1 John 3:4 - “Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God.”

As long as the Bible says so but we do not do it, we are breaking the law. When we are lawless, it is sin.

1 John 3:9 - “Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God.”

If we still continue sinning and have the urge to do something that God is not pleased, we probably have not been born of God yet. If we are not born of God, we are not able to inherit eternal life. It says if we continue to practice sinning, we cannot as God’s seed is in us and He will keep us from sinning. When we want to sin, the first thing to do is to quickly come back to the word of God. I believe the Holy Spirit will guide us to read in the passage the word in season to touch our heart and mould our heart to tell us what to do next.

1 John 5:18 - “We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them.”

When we are born of God, God will protect us. He will not allow the devil to come and harm us. Then why is it that sometimes I still have those evil thoughts in my head that does not please God? Our head is the battleground between God and the devil. Definitely, we will have a lot of doubts and confusion at certain times of the day. It is important to understand the Bible and cling onto the promise. God says that he who is born of God, God protects him. God will protect us. And the evil one cannot touch us. With God, we come back to His word. It protects us and the devil cannot move a step further. When Jesus was tempted by the devil three times, He used the word of God three times and the devil has no hold over Him. If we do not allow the devil to occupy the mind, there is nothing that he can do, unless we allow him to do so. There are many things in our lives because we allow and therefore we find our lives in a total mess. We cannot get the life that God wants to give us. I would like to encourage all that God is protecting us if we are born of Him. To keep on Him, come back to His word. Next time when temptation comes, with the word of Gods he will teach you how to flee.

Hebrews 4:15 - “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.”

Jesus was like us. He was tempted in every respect. But one thing He is different from us. He was without sin. Because of that, He qualifies to help us. Therefore, we can have this assurance that as Long as we come to Him, He knows how to open a way for us.

1 Peter 2:22-23 - “He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.”

Here lies the difference. He committed no sin. Why did Jesus commit no sin? How did He not commit any sin? When He was scolded, humiliated or accused, He did not return an eye for an eye. Because of this, He committed no sin. Let’s look at ourselves. Whenever we are being accused, it doesn’t feel good. Very naturally, if our old self is in us, we would want to take revenge. Many times, we want to say things to make people feel worse. When Jesus was suffering for us on the cross, what was His response? At that point, He is like any of us here. He suffered the same pain that anyone of us would face in that situation but He forgave. This is the example He wants from us. Back to our lives, we are not persecuted yet. But in our daily walk, are there any people that have offended us or caused us to be angry? How should our response be?

Hebrews 12:14 - “Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.”

Peace with everyone, no quarrel or argument. This is holiness. When we have holiness, we can see God. Therefore as I come back to this point, let us seek after sanctification and holiness to have eternal life.

3. Supplication

1 John 5:16 - “If you see a fellow believer sinning in a way that does not lead to death, you should pray, and God will give that person life. But there is a sin that leads to death, and I am not saying you should pray for those who commit it.”

If we keep sinning and sinning purposely without repentance and purposely do not come back to God, that is a sin that leads to death. It is a sin that is made by our own choice. If we see a brother committing a sin that is not in this type of unrepentant sin, are we supposed to scold them immediately to bring them back on the right path? We need to take another step first. We need to pray and ask first. Praying itself shows that we love others.

1 John 5:1 - “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too.”

Others are also born of God. If we love God, we must love them as well. If we love them, we will pray for them if they're in trouble.

Mark 9:29 - “Jesus replied, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer. ””

It talks about any difficulty as well. Our struggles can only be solved by prayer. When we are faced with difficulty, how often do we quiet down and pray? Or do we use our human resources to solve it? Praying should not be a panacea. It should be done everyday and be the first thing we do everyday. Jesus starts His day by praying because He knows that there will be challenges for Him the whole day. He draws power from God by prayer.

Ephesians 6:18-19 - “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike.”

Putting everything on is not to go to war but to pray. At the same time, we do not just pray and do nothing about it. If God has impressed upon us to go back to the brother or sister and correct them by speaking the word of love to them, we can have the courage to share the word of God today. Most of the time as we are scared to offend people, we don’t dare to tell people when they are wrong. Here God says, before we talk, pray first and He will guide us to speak the right words to change the lives of others. It would not be words that make people feel worse or make people want to quarrel with you, but one that brings peace. Not that you need to sugarcoat anything that is important, but rather it is the truth. Once it is spoken, when the person receives it, the Holy Spirit will work in that person.

1 John 5:14 - “And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him.”

To save someone from darkness, it is definitely in accordance to God's will. To bring this person to light is also God's will. We can have the confidence that after prayer, the Holy Spirit will guide.

How to have eternal life? We have a status in God, which comes from believing in God. Let us live a life that is sanctified to seek after holiness. Thus, we obey Him and love Him. Finally, let us not forget about the brothers and sisters that He has placed in our life. Let us continually pray for them to have supplication and that they can repent. This is the true love that we have for others. It is not a love that spoils others but brings others to Christ.

1 John 5:13 - “I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.”

For us who believe in Christ, we have eternal life. Let us share this good news with everyone around us. May His words keep us from temptation and walk out a life that pleases Him.

Amen.

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