The letters of John are written to a group of churches who are being threatened by heresy. In his letters to them, John writes to reaffirm the historical and spiritual reality of the incarnation of Jesus the Christ. Because God took on flesh in the person of Jesus and rose from the dead, the church can remain steadfast, immovable and confident in the face of heresy and other trendy but false doctrines. The reality of the incarnation is the reason we can have hope, joy and eternal life.
The Apostle John, reiterates the message he received from Jesus, that God is light. God is truth, perfectly holy and in Him there is no sin at all. Therefore, when someone is united to God by faith, brought into the family of God, their lives are lived in the light. Christians live lives that are conformed to God's will and character. To say you are a Christian and fail to conform to Jesus' Word and life, is to lie. Anyone who does not surrender all areas of their life to Jesus is not walking in the light and should not have any confidence they shall receive eternal life. BUT if we walk in the light, the blood of Jesus cleanses us.
This week we were privileged to have Mike Beasely preach for us. Mike presently serves as a chaplain in our Armed Forces. Before that, Mike was in pastoral ministry. We are delighted to have Mike and his family apart of the Journey Church family.
God is infinitely holy and as such He cannot overlook our sin. If He did so He would cease to be holy, righteous, just and good. In order to deal with our sin and reconcile us to himself, He has put forth Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. Jesus has become an atonement for our sin through the sacrifice of his life on the cross. He absorbed and satiated the wrath of God that was rightly ours. And now, He stands as our advocate before the Father. Everyone who repents and is united to him by faith, has his righteousness credited to their account. The redeemed can have ongoing assurance of their salvation through a life of obedience to his commands, walking as He walked.
Throughout much of John's letter, he frequently seeks to assure the members of the church that they are in Christ and that they can have assurance of their salvation. John knows these churches and he knows that they are in Christ. John provides three 'tests' to confirm that one is saved. These 'tests' are not the means of one's salvation but rather they are the signs that one is truly saved and on the path to glory. These 'tests' are theological, moral and social. In verses 3-14 John introduces the moral and social signs that indicate someone has come to genuine faith and therefore, may have assurance of their salvation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.