We live in an age of confusion and falsehood. False teachers and prophets all claim to be from God or speak for God and seek to lead many astray. John teaches the church that we must be discerning. We should not believe every one who claims a revelation from God, but rather we should test their words and their confession. The Holy Spirit aids us in our discernment and enables us to know truth from error.
Christians are to live counter-culturally. This does not mean that Christians are to be weird, or practice strange rituals - but Christians are to live a life of generosity, continuously looking for ways to help others. With Christ as our example, how do we set aside our own needs and desires and work first for the betterment of our brothers and sisters in Christ? While John does not give us a magic formula, he does let us know how Christians should discipline ourselves to act, and the power of the Holy Spirit in helping us know if we’re heading in the right direction.
Having been born again and come to faith in Christ, Christians are commanded to love one another. Within the household of faith, there are to be bonds of unity, commitment and self-sacrificial love. Just as our nature has been transformed by being born again by the Holy Spirit, so too our relationships are to be transformed following the example of Christ. Our love for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ cannot be cheap, flimsy and fake. Rather, genuine love is distinguished by its concern for the welfare of others. Love means readiness to do anything for other people, even being prepared to give up one’s own life in order that others may live.
Jesus appeared to take away our sins and destroy the works of the devil. Through Jesus' perfect record of obedience, his substitutionary and atoning death and his triumph over death through his resurrection, Jesus has taken away our sin. Furthermore, those that are in Christ are born of God. God works and wills in his children to be sanctified, progressively putting sin to death in their lives and conforming to Christ in all areas of their lives. Jesus' conquering over sin and Satan is total, complete. Satan is defeated and even his works are coming to an end.
All human fatherhood should be modeled after God's divine Fatherhood over us. Christian fathers should actively seek to encourage their children, not dealing with them harshly and teach them to place their hope in God. The ability to be an encouraging, hope-filling, courageous child comes not from instinct or innate ability, but from the regeneration and sanctification of the Holy Spirit.
This morning as we finish celebrating 10 years of God's faithfulness to Journey Church, we examine Moses' final words to the nation of Israel. Moses commands the people to remember the Lord: his leadership of them as a people, his salvation and his provision. Remembering these things will preserve and sustain God's people all their days. And the same is true for us.
The measure of God's love for His people is expressed through the adoption of sinners into his family to be called children of God. This relationship provides eternal security and great hope for Christians today as we anticipate the appearance of Christ. Until that day, we are called to live righteously and reflect the character of Jesus.
Since the resurrection of Jesus, a new age has dawned. The Kingdom of God is growing and spreading through Jesus' disciples in the hearts of all who believe in Christ. Hence, the present age is passing away and as it does, many false teachers and prophets have and will arise. In his letter, John warns his readers not to be deceived by these false teachers. They are instructed to insulate themselves from being deceived by remaining in the Word of God and the Holy Spirit that they received.
John warns believers in Christ to guard their hearts and lives against loving the world. Love for the world and love for God run contrary; you cannot love both at the same time. John provides specific examples of love for the world that is sinful. Furthermore, he explains that this world and its desires are dying. A new era of the Kingdom of God has dawned with the incarnation and resurrection of Christ. This world is passing away and will not last. But the ones who love God and do His will, will live forever.